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Rich Snippets, Markup, and SEO

Rich snippets are an increasingly important piece of the SEO landscape. One study suggests that they can increase your click through rates by up to 30%, regardless of what position you hold in the search results. They can also improve your search rankings and give searchers a better sense of what information is on your website. Consider the following example, which shows the Google search engine results for a search for “blueberry pie recipes.”

be locally seo search engine optimization snippets

The first example displays significantly more information. You quickly can see user reviews, how long the recipe takes to make, and even the calorie count. The second result, while probably equally good, feels scant by comparison. More detailed information is the result of using rich snippets.

What are the benefits of rich snippets?

There are four primary benefits of using rich snippets, from both an SEO and user experience perspective:

  1. Rich snippets help increase the visibility of your site, by enhancing the chances that your results will display a thumbnail image and other information.
  2. They improve the quality of the information that you provide to people viewing your site description, resulting in a better user experience.
  3. Snippets potentially help your site rank better overall in the search engine results, as Google is able to provide better results to their searchers thanks to the more detailed information.
  4. Reduce bounce rates, as more information increases the relationship between searcher’s expectations and on-page content.

How do rich snippets operate?

Rich snippets enable Google to extract more than the usual information from your site. In addition to page titles, URLs, and basic descriptions, rich snippets allow you to highlight information such as author data, images, and logistical details. For example, if you have a restaurant you could include information about reviews and star ratings, average menu prices, and hours of operation. If you’re promoting an event, you could provide information about the location, date, and ticket prices. As you specify this microdata through some simple coding, Google is able to read the information and integrate it with your listing. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of Snippets.

Types of Snippets

In order to simplify the process, Google has provided different types of snippets that webmasters can use to categorize their data. Several are particularly useful to small businesses. These include:

Author snippets: This highlights your name, displays your Google + image, the number of followers you have on the Google + network, and links to other articles of yours as connected to the Google Authorship program.

Business snippets: Business snippets provide detailed information about location, contact data, pricing details, hours of operation, and reviews if applicable.

Product snippets: Product snippets include descriptions, cost, images, and product ranges.

While these three types of snippets are the most relevant for most small business owners, it’s possible to take advantage of the other snippets types as well. These include people snippets, event snippets, album snippets, video snippets, recipe snippets, and review snippets.

Making the most of snippets

If you’re interested in learning more about the programming behind rich snippets and the markup that you need to use in order to implement them on your site, Google’s in-depth tutorial can get you started. To test the effectiveness of your snippets, use Google’s Structured Testing Tool. Finally, be aware that it can take up to 30 days for rich snippets to be properly crawled, indexed, and displayed in the search results. Once it does, you can expect to see an increase in your traffic and ultimately in your rankings.

Rich snippets can have a big impact on your search visibility, click through rates, and organic traffic. But getting started with rich snippets and the markup needed to make them happen can be a challenge for a novice. Contact us today to discuss how our experienced SEO team can evaluate your overall strategy and work with you to implement rich snippets and other search engine best practices into your online marketing plan.

 

Lessons Learned from Google’s Hummingbird (So Far)

Keeping up with Google is challenging—especially when you’re talking about search engine optimization (SEO). Changes are constantly being made, and understanding what Google wants is crucial to controlling where your website is in search rankings. Of the algorithm incarnations over the years, Hummingbird made its debut in August 2013 and with it came massive changes. Today, businesses are still struggling with a sharp learning curve. And if you don’t have an SEO guru? You’re falling behind.

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Hummingbird required big modifications to previously successful web marketing campaigns as well as SEO approaches. A good SEO strategy audits websites to glean current perspectives of what SEO efforts are working and which aren’t. Post-Hummingbird, business website rankings were all over the place—some instantly improved, others plateaued and yet others started slipping. What does Hummingbird want?

The Sweet Stuff

Just like the bird it was named after, Hummingbird wants the good stuff—but there’s a shift in methods necessary to get there. For example, you need a solid internal link structure as well as overall architecture designed to help consumers navigate your website easily. This means lightning fast page loading, clear sitemaps and high quality images. It’s the end-user experience that really (still matters). But at the end, it’s what’s on the page that gets them there.

For a while, there were rumors that the basic elements on pages no longer mattered much. That’s not true. Those ALT image tags, title tags, H1 tags and URLs still play a huge SEO role. In fact, they seem to be more important than ever. Solely focusing on these on-page elements have helped some businesses drastically improve their SEO. However, content is still key.

Beating a Dead Hummingbird

You’ve heard it time and time again, but it bears repeating—content is at the heart of SEO. Hummingbird agrees. Stay away from duplicate content, keep the quality premium, and remember that audience relevance is crucial. Hummingbird has responded favorably to sites that are accurate, consistent, and customer-focused. The bird wants sites to have one goal: Benefit the customer (and make it really obvious for Google).

To get on the fast track, make sure all content is natural—which will require a skilled SEO writer (not your college intern majoring in English). Make use of website signage and URLs, which should also read conversationally and point visitors where they want to go. Updated title tags lower bounce-back rates, while accurate meta descriptions and title tags should showcase what the page content has. Strong geo-targeting can garner great results for companies focused on local areas.

Bonus Round

To seal the deal, ensure your architecture is intuitive and reveres clear navigation. Your visitors aren’t Alice in Wonderland (and don’t want to be). Finally, make sure your site has responsive design and works in a mobile world. It’s slated that mobile users will outrank desktop users in 2014, and if you don’t keep up, you’ll lose visitors. Hummingbird isn’t a brand new species of algorithm, but it is quickly fluttering into the evolution of Google. It’s simply taking previous algorithm lessons and building on them.

 

Schema Can Boost Your SEO Efforts

As a business owner, you need to focus on search engine optimization (SEO) and maybe even localized SEO (LSEO). It’s what drives traffic to your site, improves your click through rate (CTR), and ultimately can lead to new customers. However, your SEO toolbox needs to be packed well, and that includes using “Schema” to make it happen. This sole tool can better direct targeted traffic to your site, converting “potential customers” into full blown leads.

Schema consists of a certain data markup structure that all the major search engines haveWhat's Your Online Marketing Strategy Website Screen Plan embraced since 2011. Whether your customers use Bing, Yahoo!, Google or maybe even Yandex, these search engines are leaning on Schema structures more than ever before. If your SEO incorporates it, you automatically make your SEO better. It all starts with Schema’s focus on “rich snippets” which better catch the reader’s eye, whether you’re number one or number three on Google search results.

Get Rich Quick

“Snippets” are those (aptly named) snippets of information you get about certain links when searching online. Let’s say you’ve Googled “florist Salt Lake City.” You’re going to get dozens of Google pages, but (studies show) you’re never going to look beyond the first page and probably not beyond the first five results. You’ll notice the results have a link, URL, and a few words displayed about the page. However, not all snippets are created equally.

A “rich snippet” that utilizes Schema might have reviews, a complementary photo, and a drastically improved link visibility. Studies using eye tracking heat maps show that people are more inclined to click on a rich snippet than a regular one, even if the rich snippet is number four on Google search results. You may not be able to make it to the number one spot for your keywords of choice, but you can certainly employ rich snippets to get more CTRs.

Great Things Come in Small Packages

Schema is a way to increase your organic leads—ultimately helping your business grow. It’s made up of “microdata” which is read and translated by every big search engine. “Microdata” is created via “tag sets” (which were released with HTML 5) and allows you to mark up your website using vocabulary that engines like Google and Yahoo! understand. For the most part, this microdata is either Microformats or RDFA.

Algorithms that translate data, and determine your SEO standing, prefer simplicity and to-the-point information. Don’t make search engines “guess” what your content is. They want things to be structured and easy, and Schema gives you the tools necessary to properly label content and categorize them. Schema is the Martha Stewart of SEO, it makes sure things are incredibly organized but looking gorgeous, too. Get those ratings, breadcrumbs, images, and relevant listings in the public eye with Schema—it’s an accessory to your SEO campaign that you simply can’t go without.

Spell Check Isn’t Enough: How Grammar and Spelling Impacts SEO

You may have heard over and over how important “quality content” is with your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. However, quality is more than providing digestible content that’s informative or entertaining, and gives your target audience what they want. Let’s go back to the basics for a minute and focus on two key things your fourth grade teacher warned you about: spelling and grammar. Spell-check is a great tool, but don’t depend on it to keep your writing anywhere near perfect.

In February 2019, search engine giant Bing confirmed what the SEO pro’s have thought forbe locally seo search engine optimization years—grammar and spelling can make a huge difference with your SEO. That last sentence was a doozy, but spell-check would only have caught a few of those mistakes. SEO may certainly be an acronym for something (just not what you intend), and if Bing is confirming things years in the future, maybe it really does deserve to be formidable competition for Google.

Search Engines are Judging You

You know when you’re reading a book or the newspaper and you’re in the zone, then you get pulled out of it because of a typo or (even worse) a genuine spelling mistake? Not only does your flow get interrupted, but you probably think whoever published or wrote this piece isn’t the most professional person. The Senior Product Manager of Webmaster Outreach at Bing, Duane Forrester, says, “If you struggle to get past typos, why would an engine show a page of content with errors higher in the rankings when other pages of error-free content exist to serve the searcher?”

In other words, search engines are judging your writing just like a “real” reader does. Google hasn’t confirmed this as clearly as Bing, but the head of Google’s Webspam Team, Matt Cutts, has come close. Back in 2011 (and yes, that’s the correct year), Cutts hinted that there’s a strong connection between PageRank and spelling. Google is known for constantly updating its algorithm, and it would be foolish to think that spelling doesn’t play a factor.

A Tip from HR Departments

Some recruiters have “basic” red flags that automatically move applications into the slush pile. In the world of Human Resources, there are so many applicants rolling in that any excuse to reject some is a good thing. The same works with search engines: There are thousands of potential websites and links to choose from, and if search engines can “reject” yours because of spelling or grammar, then why wouldn’t they?

A good editor costs money and it’s an easy shortcut to get as many eyes on the content as possible to avoid embarrassing (and SEO-harming) errors. The best approach is to partner up with an SEO company that reveres the importance of comprehensive quality content so you don’t have to face an embarrassing faux pas. It’s all too easy to leave the “L” out of “public service.”

Why An Active Blog is Critical to a Strong SEO Campaign

Many current and prospective clients ask how an active blog helps attract traffic, leads, blogand customers to their business. We’d go so far as to say that an active blog is the bedrock of a successful SEO campaign. Consider this: a striking 81% of consumers trust information from blogs. Regularly updating your blog has far reaching consequences for your business, from improving organic SEO rankings to building your brand with customers and prospects. Here’s a closer look at how an active blog can help you achieve your SEO goals.

Blogs add fresh content: With Google’s Panda update which launched in 2011, one of the criteria that the search engine giant rolled into its algorithm was a freshness component. The Freshness Update remains in full force today. The concept is simple: the more regularly your site is updated with new, high quality content, the better it will perform in the search engine results. A frequently updated blog is one of the easiest and most natural ways to do that.

More opportunities to rank for priority key terms: Another benefit of active blogging that’s not frequently discussed is indexing. As you add new content to your site, Google’s search bots come back to index your new content. Each new piece of content in turn represents a fresh opportunity to rank for your priority keywords. One Forbes expert aptly described it as “each blog post serving as another entry into the SEO raffle.”

Regular content inspires trust: Regularly updating your blog has several relationship building benefits with your audience. From a customer perspective, it shows that you’re active and engaged in your business. Customers looking for credibility indicators are more likely to trust a business with an active blogging and social presence. In fact, one study showed that 81% of customers expect companies they do business with to have an active online presence. Blogs also provide a natural opportunity to showcase your expertise, share up to date commentary of factors influencing your customers, and address your audience’s most frequently asked questions.

Blog content helps build new links: Companies that blog attract 97% more links. There are a number of reasons for this – blog posts that are fresh and timely are more likely to be shared and noticed. Blog posts also allow you to discuss a wide range of topics that interest your audience. From an SEO perspective, this is critical. The more you can do to create opportunities for organic link building, the better.

Blog frequency impacts customer acquisition: Blogs improve lead generation numbers throughout the buying cycle. 92% of companies that blogged daily attracted a customer through their blog but at least once weekly is a good baseline to get started.

Developing your blog gives you a channel you control: From Google algorithm changes to Facebook decreasing the reach of Business pages to somewhere in the 1 – 5% of followers range, depending exclusively on outside platforms for your marketing leaves you at the mercy of the industry’s changing forces. Focusing on developing channels that you own – such as your blog and your email marketing list – ensure that your communication efforts and customer relationships stay intact regardless of algorithm or other industry shifts.

An active blog is a core component of any successful SEO strategy. From providing opportunities to connect with your customers to make it easier to attract natural links, there are numerous benefits. What impact are you seeing an active blog have on your business?

 

How Often Should I Blog?

It doesn’t matter if you sell vegan cupcakes for cats or you’re the head of a major corporation—blogging works. Well, it can work. When done right, you can drive more traffic to your site and vastly improve your search engine optimization (SEO), which is where you rank in Google searches. One of the first questions new (or fledgling) bloggers ask is, “How often should I be blogging?”

how often should I blogThe answer—consistently. Numerous studies have shown that regular, high quality blogs are the ticket to continuously improving your online reputation, brand image and site traffic. Not happy with such a vague response? Between two and four times a week has proven to be the magic number for SEO purposes.

Hitting the Sweet Spot

Blogging is partially a numbers game. The less you post, the less the search engines scour your site for new, fresh content. This doesn’t mean you have to post on a daily basis, but squeaking by with one post a week is taking a gamble. A steady flow of traffic can be snared if you aim for the two-to-four range. According to the marketing firm HubSpot, companies posting between three and five times per week enjoy double the traffic of their “competition” who only post once per week.

To sweeten the deal for small businesses, the research also showed that these companies get the biggest traffic increases when “adding blogs more often.” In other words, just by virtue of your smaller stature, you’re already in a better position to enjoy those blog-driven traffic surges. However, this can take a wrong turn if consistency isn’t in place.

Strong and Steady

It’s not enough to just commit to a certain number of blogs each week—you also have to stay consistent with timing. Your fans will start to look forward to those new posts, and we’re creatures of habit. If you usually post during the week at around 10am, a random Saturday post at midnight isn’t going to fly. HubSpot’s Social Media Scientist (yes, that’s really his title) Dan Zarrella says, “The time of day (or night) that you post blogs also impacts the traffic it receives.” Timing really is everything.

According to this not-so-mad scientist:

  • Posting blogs around 9:00 a.m. EST gets Facebook shares (so post as soon as you clock in)
  • Posting the same blog on Twitter at around 4:00 p.m. EST leads to more retweets
  • More Facebook shares happen when posting on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays—but posting on Twitter on Friday can also lead to more retweets
  • Posting more blogs means more traffic and incoming links

Quantity vs. Quality

So more is more, right? Not necessarily. If the blogs are full of typos, clearly rushed or lack direction, that’s not doing you or your business any favors. Each blog should be well researched, have a purpose and give readers a benefit, takeaway message or both. Most importantly, the blog should give them a reason to come back for more. Whether it’s informative or for sheer entertainment, you’ve got them hooked—but you haven’t reeled them in quite yet.

Writing a blog requires prep work, just like a great meal. Choose a hot topic, one that solves a problem or one that addresses a new issue. What does your reader need to know about your industry, and how does it serve them? The blog should be direct, concise, engaging and around 350 to 500 words. A pinch of wit works at times, too.

Why WordPress is Good for SEO

As a startup business owner, or the manager of an existing business needing a website that features the most current functionality, you want two things: A website that’s (truly) easy to update, and to be at the top of Google’s search results for your keywords and phrases. The good news is that there’s already a perfect match that gives you both—WordPress plays very nicely with search engine optimization (SEO). Here’s how it works, and why WordPress is the only platform you’ll ever need.

WordPress Website Design

As an uber user-friendly content management system (CMS), WordPress has been raking in the “good press” for years. It lets millions of people publish professional websites, quality blogs, operate their business (regardless of the size), and—if you’d like—it really makes it easy to completely design and manage the site yourself. Of course, there are website management companies who can also develop your custom WordPress site from the ground up, ensuring simplicity in key elements you want to manage in the future—such as changes to schedules, blogs, etc. But the best part? WordPress has what it takes for SEO.

Keeping Things Clean

There’s a reason WordPress is currently powering more than 61 million websites, and it starts with the incredibly clean code. Default templates (and of course the premium ones) have no excess fat and allow you to include the meta tags, categories, excerpts, URL strings and titles of your choice. SEO and LSEO both require you to be able to include as many organic key words and phrases as possible. That’s tough to do if you have a CMS that’s bogged down with blubber or doesn’t allow you to customize every crevice where SEO goodies can be stored.

Not sure what a meta tag even is? As previously mentioned, WordPress is extremely easy to use—but you still may prefer to have a professional website developer take charge in the beginning. Every developer is going to be familiar with WordPress, and an SEO company with a solid reputation is going to know how to make the most of any WordPress site. However, go with a more obscure CMS and you might have to go on a serious hunt to find a good developer who’s skilled with how it works.

Creativity Counts

SEO Search Engine OptimizationThere are scores of different types of WordPress templates available, and each one is designed for a specific type of site—it might be eCommerce, pure blogs or a retail shop that needs an extensive gallery to display their wares. Each niche is also designed to maximize the SEO fundamentals, complete with coding that adheres to best practices. Each template offered has been handcrafted to optimize search results for whatever business it caters to.

Additionally, plugins specifically for WordPress sites have been built entirely around SEO function. Plugins themselves can give your SEO a boost, and you can even opt for a plugin whose sole purpose is to keep your SEO on track with little help from your SEO professional. Depending on these plugins can help you streamline the entire optimization process.

Speed Things Up

Google algorithms instantly assess the quality of your website in terms of SEO, and that includes how fast it is. Slow loading times will penalize you, perhaps even kicking you off the first page of search results. As a fast CMS, made faster with certain plugins, you never have to worry about WordPress lagging and costing you SEO points. Better yet, your customers will thank you when they’re not stuck waiting for a page to load.

Ready for the bonus round? When search engines scan your site, they generally gather the first third of the page’s content, and WordPress designers know this. That’s why most themes have the content close to the top of unstyled pages, pushing sidebars and footers down so that search engines see that rich SEO content first. If you thought you only had a few seconds to make a first impression on a date, job interview or when meeting the parents, that stress has nothing on a search engine SEO scan—but don’t worry. With WordPress on your side, you’re sure to get rave reviews every time.

Is Google+ Important for Your Business?

Google’s top spam fighter Matt Cutts recently released a video answering the question, “What social signals matter for your business?” Surprisingly, according to Cutts, Google doesn’t currently measure Facebook or Twitter shares or followers in its algorithm. While this could change, it underscores an important point: Google+ is the major social network that the search engine giant uses to extract social signals from.

Since Google launched the social platform in 2011, there’s been significant speculation about its relevancy for business and SEO. From a user perspective, there’s no question that the platform has become a powerhouse among networks. Google+ has grown to over 540 million active users. While it’s no Facebook yet, it’s gaining on the social networking giant with one billion total users. But the question remains: Is an active presence on Google+ important for your business? Here’s a closer look at how Google + can help you achieve your business and visibility goals.

Getting started

Establishing your business’ presence on Google+ is the first step to taking advantage of the network’s reach. The process is simple. Visit Google’s Google+ for business page, and select the “Get Your Page” button

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You’ll be prompted to pick a category that’s right to describe your business.

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You’ll then be asked to select the appropriate subcategory that describes your business.

be locally seo google plus

The next screen will request that you provide some basic information.

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The information will include:

  •       Choosing a name for your page.
  •       Linking to your external website.
  •       Indicating if your page is appropriate for anyone, for users 18+, for 21+, or is alcohol related.
  •       Agreeing to the terms of service.
  •       When you’re done, click continue. Note that your professional page won’t connect to your personal information unless you choose to do so later.

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You’ll then be able to customize your profile, with information such as:

  •         Adding a photograph.
  •        Adding a cover photo.
  •        Including your contact information.
  •       Confirming that you own your website.
  •        Connecting with people in your network.
  •        Adding updates.

And more. This basic tutorial will get you started enough to take advantage of the benefits that are offered by Google+. On the other hand, if you have a reputable SEO firm working with you, they should be able to prepare your Google+ page with you. The benefits of engaging in Google+ include:

Broadening Your Reach
With over 540 million active users, it’s clear that some of your customers are on Google+. Whether you’re a local business owner who wants to connect with potential customers or an entrepreneur interested in reaching a global audience, an active presence on Google+ can help you broaden your reach.

If you’re at a loss on how to get started, create your page and take a look at the data you’ve already collected for your customers. Your existing email list for your business can be paired with Google+’s email search feature to connect with your existing customers. The next step is creating an active presence. Updating your page regularly is important, with high value content to appeal to your customers. You can also create an experience that’s only available to Google+ users by taking advantage of some of the robust features the platform offers. For example, you can host Q&As on Hangouts or create your own community and connect with other groups.

Building Your Reputation As an Influencer
According to a recent report in Search Engine Journal, over 70% of businesses now have a presence on Google+. Not only does this represent a tremendous opportunity for B2B companies, it also means you can easily connect with influencers in your space to build your business’ reputation. Create a list of individuals and brands in your industry that you admire and start following their updates on Google+. Comment on their posts, get involved with their communities and hangouts, and +1 valuable blog posts and websites that they share. Building connections with influencers can help improve your business’ reputation in your industry, and in turn these individuals will begin to support your efforts.

Search Engine Optimization
It’s increasingly apparent that an active presence on Google+ is an integral part of any strong SEO strategy. Google’s major goal is to improve their user experience by providing the most relevant search results when a particular query is entered. Each time a Google+ user “+1s” something, it sends a message to the search giant that that piece of information is relevant and important to the person. This increases the likelihood that related information will rank higher when that particular user searches for related keywords. On a larger scale, content that receives significant +1 ratings are seen to have been vetted by human beings and marked as valuable. That is likely to affect general, as well as personalized, search results.

From an SEO perspective, Google+ may also be useful for increasing your business website’s page rank. Unlike some of the other major social networks, all links added to Google+ pages are tagged as do-follow. There are two major benefits to linking up here. Not only does adding links to your Google+ page help you increase relevant traffic to your website, it may also help to improve your site’s page rank over time.

If you aren’t already using Google+ for your business, it’s time to take the plunge. Whether your goal is to reach new customers, improve your reputation among others in your industry, or build your SEO strategy, an active presence on Google+ can help. Claim your page and start building your presence today. You won’t regret it!

Having a Website isn’t Enough

Have a website for your business? Fantastic—but that’s just the bare bones you need, whether you’re a business owner, freelancer or trying to make a name for yourself as anything from a model to a guru. You’ve probably noticed there are quite a few other websites out there, too. How does yours stack up? Are your potential clients even seeing it? There’s a lot of competition out there, even if you consider yourself in a niche field, and it takes more than a website to stand out.

First, you need to make sure your website is alluring, attractive and easy to navigate. That’sbe locally seo search engine optimization easy, right? Well, unless you have a web designer who stays on top of design best practices, responsive design and is committed to updating your site on a regular basis, your online presence is outdated already. However, that’s still just keeping up with the basics. You need to make sure your stunner of a website is getting seen by all the right eyes and that search engine optimization (SEO) and maybe even localized search engine optimization (LSEO) is in good hands.

Look at Me!

They say it takes seven seconds to make a first impression (“they” being researchers at NYU), and that’s in person. It takes much less to make a first impression online, and that’s assuming your future clients and customers find you at all. You are the proverbial needle in the haystack when it comes to having your website get some love online, and attention mongering in the virtual world takes skill that only a professional can provide. Let’s start with optimizing that .com, .org or whichever “dot” you own.

Quality matters—a lot—which means the content you provide, from the written text on every single landing page to the photographs used have to be prime. This calls for the skill set of a writer who has a background in SEO. Maybe you or someone on your team has some strong writing chops. They may have even published a few blogs online or a short story. Remember that online content writing with an SEO angle is worlds away from other types of writing, and requires unique knowledge and skill. Forget apples vs. oranges; you’re comparing a decadent lava cake to berries as a dessert here (and everyone knows there’s no comparison).

The Weakest Link

SEO isn’t just about the content. Remember that your website needs to have the right seo schemekeywords and phrases updated regularly, to ensure that your website is on the first page of Google search results when your customers-to-be query “collision repair in Salt Lake City,” “custom portrait paintings Florida” or whatever service/product you provide. You also must have the right inbound marketing and links. One “bad” link, whether it reads as spam or it’s simply outdated and no longer works, can push you down the SEO rankings—and if you move from page one to page three in a search, consider your website (and your business) lost in the abyss.

From on-page set-up to integrating social media and a blog with your website, there’s a lot more to succeeding in an online world than just having a website. You need the right website. It needs to be optimized. It needs to be constantly monitored, updated and improved. If you think your business is your baby, you haven’t seen anything yet. Nothing requires more TLC than your online presence, because if you’re not staying on top of things (or letting the pros do it for you), you can be sure your competition is.

Why Stealing Website Content Can Land You in Hot Water

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but there’s a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism when it comes to online content. It’s understandable. Not everyone is a professional writer, and even fewer people have the skills for search engine optimization (SEO) writing. However, every company needs online presence—and facing a blank screen or the pressure to drum up some killer content for that new website can be anxiety-inducing. What do you do when you find another website that says exactly what you want to say perfectly?

Many people “borrow” (sometimes heavily and verbatim) from other websites, not realizing be locally seo content writingthe full consequences of these actions. Simply put, it’s stealing. And there are quite a few people and entities, including the almighty Google, who aren’t going to be very happy about it. Whether it’s an entire website’s content which is “lifted,” infographics or bits and pieces, “getting away with it” is actually pretty difficult in the online world. Here’s why.

SEO Knows…

There are a lot of big no-no’s in the world of SEO, actions that will get your website punished via pushing it down to the dregs of Google searches. One of these actions is “duplicate copy.” Sometimes people want to monopolize their industry or key words, so they’ll buy multiple, similar URLs such as AwesomeWebsite.com, AwesomeWebsite.net, AwesomeWebsite.org and even AwesomeWebsite.info—and then they’ll copy and paste the exact same content onto each site.

Google will catch you with their algorithms when this happens, and Google will also catch you if you copy and paste content from someone else’s website. Duplicate content is duplicate content, period. There’s no hiding from Google, who doesn’t take kindly to black hat SEO tricks.

…and the Owner Knows, Too

Getting in trouble with Google is one thing. But what happens when the true owner of thebe locally seo copywriting content finds out (as they often do)? You can get sued for stealing online content, and it’s just as serious as if you photocopied a published book and tried to market it as your original work. A lawsuit over stolen online content isn’t something that happens in extreme cases. It’s actually pretty common and can destroy a business, reputation and clean out your finances.

Not everyone who steals content realizes they’re in the wrong. Sometimes it just seems easier (it’s not in the long run), sometimes people don’t understand the legality of the matter and sometimes it’s seen as a temporary fix until original content can be written. Writer’s block is a very real thing, especially for non-writers, and taking content from another source is seen by many as the only option.

The good news? A quality SEO company has expert writers who specialize in SEO and provide the highest quality content for you and your unique website. Don’t settle for “hand me down” content, risk a lawsuit or tempt the rage of Google. You deserve something 100 percent original and written just for you.

both photos credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net