SEO is as Dead as a Zombie!

Yesterday I did my FIRST EVER! Webinar with the help of Michael Flannigan from Target360 who is no less than the Bruce Forsyth of webinars.

It being Halloween I had to ask the question “If SEO is dead, how is it possible that business can still be doing it?” The answer? Zombies!! All SEO’s are zombies because we are super hard to kill and just don’t stop till you chop our heads off. I mean this figuratively (WARNING: Please do not attempt to decapitate an SEO. Miratrix is not liable for your actions).

For SEO’s to die search engines would need to die first.

Flick through. It’s the first one I’ve done so would love feedback!

How To Set Up Google Local/ Place/ Maps

The Benefit of Google Maps

Appearing in Google’s local search results can be immensely beneficial to most businesses. Especially small hyper-local businesses, who gain from the online equivalent of passing trade. Someone could be in your area, round the corner for instance, looking for exactly what you sell or provide. That person uses their smart phone to Google “…in Your Street” and if you’re set up correctly you will be at the top of their list of results. You are encouraging an easy sale and who doesn’t like an easy sale?

The question is, what’s the most efficient route to maximum opportunities? Sit back and relax while I take you there.

Google Local

First, be aware that Google has changed the name of the product so often that I don’t know what to call it anymore – Local, Maps, Places, Business, Whatever. Different names, same thing. Let’s go with ‘Google Local’.

Setting up Google Local is pretty easy and quick. The only downside is the length of time it takes for Google to verify the listing.

In order to do this you will need a Google account. If you don’t have one then create one here. You’ll be using this account for other Google services which we will discuss later in the series.

1. Create A Google Account
2. Enter Business Details
3. Pick Your Business
4. Verify Your Google Local Listing

1. Create A Google Account

If you follow the link above you can start to create a Google account. Click the Sign Up button at the top right of the page. The first page you’ll come across is the Personal Details page.

Create a Google User account

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Enter details into Google user sign up form

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Fill out your details and move to the next stage.

If you’ve not got a Google account you’ll hit a page which will entice you to sign up to Google+. They use clever wording to disguise what they are doing. Ignore it for just now. We will return to it later in the series.

Google will try to get you to sign up to Google+

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2. Enter Business Details

Next you’ll land on the page where you’ve to enter your business details. Google have simplified this process and it’s far easier that it used to be, simply because they want you to sign up to Google+ to develop your business profile.

Google business details form

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Google business listing with service area map

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Fill out these details. Make sure that the map point is in the correct location. Google doesn’t always get this right.

3. Pick Your Business

More often than not, the next page will have other options of similar or closely located businesses. Sometimes it will have your business. This is because someone else set it up before you. If this is the case claim the business. If your business is not there then click ‘none of these match’ and move on to the next stage.

Claim your google local listing

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4. Verify Your Google Local Listing

We are at the end HURRRRAAAAH! It wasn’t that hard, was it? You will see a text box where you enter the recipient’s name. Do that then click. You will see a confirmation overlay showing an example of the verification postcard. This is what Google sends you and inside is your verification pin.

Verification postcard from Google

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Now. You might be thinking ‘Awesome! That’ll be here by the end of the week and I can start earning my place in local listings.’. Wrong! The time it takes for a card to arrive varies greatly. I’ve seen it go from one week to six. Make sure you don’t miss it because you have a long wait on another card.

Easy, eh?

That’s it. Fairly straightforward, eh? The other stages of local optimisation are just as simple. Stay tuned.

Small Business SEO – DIY SEO For Small Businesses

When you’re out and about you tend to meet people from all walks of life, from billionaire bankers to sandwich shop owners (we go out and about in some remarkable places). The former have no interest in what we at Miratrix do for a living, while the latter usually do and bombard us with questions on how to boost their footfall. This article, then, is the first in a series of blog posts dedicated to the little guys, the real heroes of the contemporary economy (so if you’re a billionaire banker, cool your Lear jets for now: we’ll get back to you soon).

Making hyper-local searches super-effective

To be even clearer, the series is designed to help those businesses who’d benefit hugely from hyper-local searches such as ‘cafe in’, ‘restaurants and bars in’ or ‘clothes shop in’.
We decided to create a resource to suit businesses that are small and entirely local; businesses of a scale that cannot justify the cost of hiring a search marketing expert.

If you have a business which you think would benefit from ‘in’ search terms take your laptop or tablet, head to the nearest coffee shop, order a drink and read this. If you own a coffee shop go to a quiet corner and read this.

Contrary to the belief of many who deal with SEO’s (or what you might believe by reading other articles on local searches) the easiest, most influential thing a small business owner can do is not keyword research and calling the developer to update the title tags.

Setting up and claiming local listings will be the first and most effective things a small business can do.

Before you start setting up local directories you will need:

  • Your business info
  • Blurb/back story about your business
  • Photos (don’t have any? Get some!)
  • Videos (if you have them)

What Will We Be Covering?

As I see it, if you cover the bases below you are in good stead to improve your local SEO traffic.

  1. How To Set Up Google Places/Maps/Local – whatever you want to call it
  2. Set up Qype
  3. Set up Google Authorship
  4. Content ideas

These posts are for small business owners who aren’t search savvy. If you are one of those people and are finding trouble with the tutorials please let me know where you are having problems and I’ll amend the posts to make it easier.

Over And Out!

What Penguin Did To Black Hat SEO Scene

Keep this under your hat, but I like looking at Google Trends. I find it useful for understanding what’s happening in sectors and with brands. It is trend based so not to be taken as gospel but from my experience the predictions are usually accurate.

The other day I decided to investigate if people were still talking about black/white hat SEO. Not sure why it popped into my head, it just did. Maybe my head was cold and I needed a hat.

Anyway, the results were interesting and to me they made a lot of sense.

White Hat SEO versus Black Hat SEO

The trend for black hat SEO has been around from as far back as Google Trends can show you. White hat SEO seems to have had made an appearance about one year later.  I feel that the phrase white hat SEO was created to counter black hat and help differentiate the two when selling in to clients.

I prefer the phrase ‘ethical SEO’ but as you can see from the graphic it’s never really taken off. Unlike hats, which are easy to take off.

What Country do We Most Associate
with Black Hat SEO?

It’s not a surprise that black hat SEO attracts greater interest than white hat. Using it you can either spam the competition, boost your traffic or both simultaneously. What is worth noting though is that the country we most associate spamming with is the country which seems to have the greatest interest in black hat SEO. That’s right, India!

No longer can we say ‘they didn’t know what they were doing’.

A Penguin Ate My Black Hat

When Google released Penguin, its job was to destroy link spammers. I was happy when this update hit. A lot of sites which didn’t earn their SERPS were hit hard. Unfortunately, as in most wars, there was collateral damage and some good guys got taken out, but in general it was a helpful update.

Penguin created a shock wave in the industry and beyond. If we are to compare Penguin to natural disasters I’d liken it to a meteor blast. Why? According Google Trends it’s caused lasting damage which over time may lead to the extinction of black hat SEO or at least people’s interest in it.

RIP, Black Hat

In May 2012 the search phrase ‘black hat SEO’ dropped off a cliff. While the phrase ‘black hat SEO’ still gets more interest than ‘white hat SEO’,  people’s interest in black hat techniques are in free fall and unlikely to return.

Although black hat techniques still work and it is possible to rank using spammy techniques it would seem that Penguin has put the frighteners on people. Nobody wants to talk about it, they live in dread of the shadow of the Penguin!

Maybe black hat SEO will evolve and another term will take its place. Crash Hat SEO, maybe. Or how about Top Hat SEO? Any other suggestions out there, that you’d like to hang your hat on?