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Authority is one of the most important concepts within digital marketing and the SEO world, and there are several different forms of authority that may play a key role in your efforts here. One of the most notable and possibly significant such forms is known as topical authority -- what exactly is this?

At Be Locally, our team of search engine optimization (SEO) experts is happy to explain a variety of different terms or industry concepts to our clients -- and to show you how these themes may factor into your own company's marketing decisions. What do those in our sector mean when they talk about topical authority, why is it important for your business, and what can you do (in coordination with our team of professionals) to improve it? This two-part blog series will discuss everything you need to know.

SEO topical authority basics

What is Topical Authority?

As its name somewhat indicates, topical authority refers to how much authority your brand or site has built up within the specific field or topic that it covers. That is to say, this metric showcases how much of an expert or leader your company is considered to be on the products, services, or information that you provide.

When we talk about authority in SEO and digital marketing, it's important not to confuse this with things like domain authority (which measures how well your site will rank as a whole) or page authority (which looks at the strength of individual pages). Instead, topical authority is all about your business's niche, and determining how well you are considered to be an expert on that topic.

Why Topical Authority Matters

There are a couple of different reasons that topical authority may matter for your business, and why you'll want to work on increasing this metric. For one thing, it may have an indirect impact on some of the other authority metrics that we mentioned above.

If your business is seen as a leader and an expert in its field, that will likely lead to improved rankings and authority scores across the board. Furthermore, a strong topical authority can help you to attract new customers and clients, as they will be more likely to trust a company that is considered to be an expert in its field.

Elements That Play Into Topical Authority

There are a few different factors that can contribute to strong topical authority. These include:

In part two of our series, we'll go through some tips on increasing your topical authority. Stay tuned! For more on this, or to learn about any of our SEO, PPC or other digital marketing solutions, contact our team at Be Locally today.

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on how to identify spam in your web traffic. No one wants spam on their business website in any way, as it risks everything from a worse customer experience to dropping page rankings from Google and other search engines, and taking the right steps to identify and remove it is very important -- which can be done using a few simple tools that help point to likely spam.

At Be Locally, our SEO services include a wide range of specific solutions, and limiting spam is absolutely something we'll assist you with. In today's part two of our series, we'll go over some of the other tools available for identifying spam on your site, plus how to utilize them.

IDing spam web traffic

Pages Per Session

When you have quality, non-spam traffic on your site, it's normal for users to view multiple pages in the same session. If you see a high number of pages per session in your analytics, but a low average time on site and high bounce rate, this is an indication that something is off -- likely that the traffic is coming from bots designed to quickly hit as many pages as possible rather than real people actually reading your content.

Specifically, if your pages per session is sitting around 1.0 or not much higher, that's a sign that you should investigate further as to where this traffic is coming from.

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic is simply traffic that comes to your site from another site -- for example, if someone clicks on a link to your site from another site, that referral traffic. You can find information about referral traffic in most analytics platforms, and it's a good idea to keep an eye on it.

If you see a sudden or significant spike in referral traffic from a site you don't recognize, that's another sign that something might be off -- especially if that traffic doesn't seem to be resulting in anyengagement (like pageviews, time on site, etc.) on your site.

New Users

While some increases in new users to your site are to be expected, such as if you recently ran a marketing campaign that resulted in more traffic, if you see a sudden or significant spike in new users with very little other activity on your site, that's another potential sign of spam.

These kinds of spikes, especially when compared with your past traffic patterns, can help you determine if the traffic you're seeing is real or spam.

By keeping an eye on these key metrics, you can get a better idea of whether or not the traffic you're seeing is real or spam. If you see any red flags, it's important to investigate further to ensure that your site isn't being targeted by spam.

At Be Locally, we can help you identify and remove spam from your site so that you can focus on attracting quality traffic that will result in more leads and sales for your business. Contact us today to learn more about our SEO services and how we can help you take your online visibility to the next level!

There are a few undesirable terms or items in the world of SEO and digital marketing, and one of the most well-known is "spam." Referring to low-quality content or messages that are sent to large audiences for the purposes of non-solicited advertising, spam is one element that digital marketers and business owners everywhere are typically looking to limit within their traffic, content and other website areas.

At Be Locally, we're here to help with a huge range of SEO services, from web design to content and traffic moderation and numerous others. We'll show you a number of methods to both identify and limit the presence of spam within any part of your site or related marketing areas, including social media as well. One of the most important parts of this entire conversation: The identification of when traffic is likely spam, versus when it's not -- especially if you've recently seen some major traffic increases and want to determine their legitimacy. In this two-part blog series, we'll go over some of the top indicators that will help point you to spam content, plus how to utilize them.

IDing spam traffic bounce rate

Average Session Duration

One of the most important metrics on Google Analytics, and for several reasons (including some that don't relate to spam at all), is average session duration. As the name indicates, this metric tracks and reports the average amount of time that users spend on your site during a given session. A "session" is defined as a period of continuous activity -- so, if a user clicks away from your site and then comes back later, that would count as two separate sessions.

This metric can help you determine whether or not incoming traffic is spam for a few reasons. First, it's important to understand that spammers are typically looking for a quick hit: They want to get their message out there and move on to the next target. That means that, in general, spam sessions will be shorter than average. If you're seeing a sudden influx of traffic with very short session durations, that's a strong indicator that spam might be at play.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule -- and it's important not to immediately discount all short sessions as spam. Sometimes, users might simply not have time for a longer session, or they might get pulled away from your site before they're done exploring. In general, though, this is a good indicator.

Bounce Rate

Another major Google Analytics metric, bounce rate is defined as the percentage of sessions in which users view only a single page on your site before leaving. So, if a user comes to your site, views one page and then clicks away, that would add +1 to your "bounce" total.

Bounce rate can be affected by several factors, including page load time, content relevance and more -- but, in general, a high bounce rate is not desirable. If you're seeing a sudden increase in traffic along with a spike in your bounce rate, that's another possible indicator of spam.

Again, there are exceptions to the rule here: sometimes, users might come to your site specifically looking for a single piece of information, and they'll find it and leave without looking at anything else. In general, though, a high bounce rate combined with other indicators on this list should raise a red flag.

In part two of our series, we'll go over several other metrics or indicators of possible spam. For more on this, or to learn about any of our SEO or other digital marketing services, speak to the team at Be Locally today.

The world of SEO is a comprehensive one, and it requires attention to several different areas for success. One of these that's important for virtually any business looking to maximize SEO and digital marketing returns: Identifying and tracking primary competitors in your industry. 

At Be Locally, this is just one of many themes we assist clients with within our SEO programs, which include everything from on-site optimization and local SEO to web design, PPC and various other off-site areas. Before you can learn from your competitors in the SEO space, you need to be able to properly identify them; this two-part blog series will go over a few different strategies we may recommend for doing so.

identifying SEO competitors relevance

Relevancy and Direct Competitors

A big part of this broad approach is the theme of relevance and direct or indirect competitors. You will have "relevant" competitors within each of these areas, possibly, plus another:

With direct competitors, the need for understanding is pretty clear: You want to know what they're doing, how they've positioned themselves and what tactics are working for them. We'll go over these in our next sections, however.

Utilizing Indirect Competitors

One of the larger mistakes we see companies make is only utilizing direct competitors for their intelligence, and in doing so they're leaving out a lot of valuable insights. Indirect competitors can provide a unique perspective on the market as a whole, often revealing areas where your target audience is being spoken to, but not by you.

There are two ways to glean this kind of intelligence: Watching what they do and looking for marketing channels you're not utilizing. As you watch what indirect competitors do, you'll want to note things like the topics they cover, the tone of their content, the design of their website and how they're using social media.

Utilizing Semantic Competitors

In addition, there are even uses for semantic competitors as you look to glean insights from your competition. Knowing where your audience goes to find information about your product or service can give you a good indication of where to allocate resources for content and marketing.

One way we like to use semantic competitors is by utilizing Google AdWords to identify keywords that they're bidding on and/or ranking for. This will give you an idea of the topics they deem important, and in some cases, even the keywords you should be targeting yourself.

In part two of our series, we'll go over some other approaches to identifying and learning from your SEO competition. For more on this, or to learn about any of our SEO services, speak to the team at Be Locally today.

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the major reasons why long-form content is so valuable in the world of SEO and digital marketing. From its ability to target multiple keywords to the way it makes it easier for Google to crawl and much more, there are several reasons why utilizing long-form content regularly is important for those in the SEO world. 

At Be Locally, we're happy to help with a variety of SEO and related themes, from web design and other on-site needs to PPC and many other off-site optimization services. What are some of the other major value-add areas of long-form content, and what are some tips we can offer on how to implement this content well on your site? Here are several basics to keep in mind.

long-form content SEO implementation

Multiple Angles at Once

Part of the value of long-form content is the way its length allows you to include multiple angles and topics on a single subject. This can be valuable for both the reader, who gets to see the topic from several different perspectives, and for the writer, who can target multiple keywords with a single piece of content.

It also allows you to go into more depth on a particular subject than you might be able to in a shorter article, giving you more information to work with and a better chance of ranking for multiple keywords.

Can Become Reference Material

In addition to providing a great place for content, long-form is also an opportunity to create reference material for your site. By including detailed information, citations, and other valuable resources, you can make your long-form content into a one-stop shop for anyone looking for more information on the topic at hand.

This can not only help with SEO, but also with driving traffic and building authority for your site.

Tips for Implementing Long-Form Content

Here are some basic tips we can offer on how to implement long-form content on your business website:

For more on why long-form content is so valuable and how to implement it, or to learn about any of our SEO programs or services, speak to the staff at Be Locally today.

While certain elements of search engine optimization (SEO) are relatively simple and straightforward, some others are a bit more complex. There are several "under-the-hood" examples in this category, elements that help drive SEO success despite most people knowing very little (or nothing) about them -- and one great example here is the use of what's known as a crawl budget for your site.

At Be Locally, we're proud to offer a wide range of SEO services, from well-known themes like web design or social media marketing to lesser-known areas like bot crawlers and crawl budgets. What is a crawl budget, how might certain crawl budget issues impact your site, and what can be done about them?

understanding crawl budget SEO

Crawl Budget Basics

In simple terms, crawl budget refers to the amount of time Google or another search engine spends "crawling" a site, or the amount of time it spends downloading and indexing a particular website. Google has finite resources for this process, and they will use a few factors to determine how your site is prioritized.

As a site owner, there are two pieces of this puzzle to pay attention to: Raising your crawl budget where possible, and getting the most out of your existing crawl budget. Because the former is much tougher than the latter, though, and may involve certain extremely technical themes, the rest of this blog will primarily focus on the latter, which involves several relatively simple concepts.

Possible Causes of Crawl Budget Issues

Here are a few of the problems that may arise on your site with regard to crawl budget:

Dealing with Crawl Budget Issues

You have a few solutions available to you if you're dealing with any of the above issues, or others related to crawl budget:

For more on crawl budget and how to work through issues with it, or to learn about any of our technical SEO expertise areas, speak to the staff at Be Locally today.

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics regarding on-page optimization within the SEO world. Including everything from meta tags to keyword optimization, page formatting and other back-end areas, on-page optimization makes your content as available and visible as possible -- both to search engines and to readers looking for you.

At Be Locally, we're proud to assist with optimization services for any website, including both on-page and off-page areas. While part one of our series went over what on-page optimization is and why it's important to format it properly, today's part two will dig into a couple specific optimization areas all businesses should be focused on -- and areas where we'll be happy to assist you during your campaign.

on-page SEO snippets FAQ

Featured Snippets

One of the most important areas of modern on-page optimization within SEO relates to the presence of featured snippets. Serving as a way to help provide searchers with information instantly, featured snippets refer to the box at the top of search results -- often with bold text and blue links. Sometimes also referred to as snippets, these areas generally house information or data that's pulled from your site's content in order to provide readers with instant answers.

Featured snippets play a huge role in establishing brand authority and driving organic traffic. The better you rank for specific keywords and phrases, the more likely you are to make it into these featured snippets.

One basic tip for driving your presence in snippets: Build more backlinks. The more backlinks you have pointing to a specific page, the more likely that page is to rank within snippets. Of course, the links must be from highly credible sources with great content of their own -- think Wikipedia and other similar sites.

There are also several snippet types, including list-featured snippets, paragraph-featured snippets and even table-featured snippets -- you should understand how each of these works and which is most relevant to your site.

FAQ Sections and Schema

Another major emphasis within on-page SEO optimization is structured data, or small pieces of code you can add to pages that will help Google understand them. A common format here is an FAQ section, which helps Google understand your site's content and how it relates to what users are searching for.

Adding an FAQ section to a page is as simple as adding some code (image below) -- it doesn't require any specific knowledge of HTML, and won't impact how the site looks in any way. The most important aspect of an FAQ section is that it clarifies what the page is about in a simple, straightforward way.

Schema plays much the same role as snippets when it comes to ranking highly for specific keywords and phrases, but there are some key differences. Unlike snippets, schema can be applied across multiple pages -- potentially increasing your coverage of keyword searches even more. Schema also doesn't require any special code (or the expertise of someone to apply it), and is basically just a piece of content you can format however you like.

As with snippets, schema is heavily affected by backlinks -- but is also more difficult for competitors to find and take advantage of themselves.

For more on how to optimize your website for on-page SEO, or to learn about any of our basic SEO, PPC or other online marketing services, speak to the team at Be Locally today.

Within the world of search engine optimization (SEO), on-page content is one of the single most important elements. On-page SEO features everything from meta tags and formatting to keyword optimization and more, helping make your content available to search engines and your audience alike. 

At Be Locally, we're happy to help with a wide range of SEO and local SEO services, including on-page optimization for any of your business's pages. There are several types of on-page optimization you might consider for your website depending on your goals, budget and other factors -- but a few of these are most common and popular within the SEO world. Let's go over what on-page SEO optimization is, plus a few specific strategies for it, in this two-part blog series.

on-page SEO basics formatting

What On-Page SEO Is

On-page SEO, as we noted above, includes meta tags, content format, keyword optimization and other areas that help make your content available to search engines.

The basic idea behind on-page SEO is simple: The elements your site has (or doesn't have) become a part of how search engines index and rank your content. For example, if a page on your site is very fact-based and offers little in terms of reader interactivity or engagement, you can improve the page's overall reach by making sure all of the facts are present and easy to find. This is what meta tags do, among other things: They help search engines "find" your content.

On-page SEO helps boost your content's reach in two ways: One, it improves the chances that a page's content will be found by Google and Bing; two, it can help your content look more appealing to potential readers (and thus improve how likely they are to stay on your site). This means that in addition to search engines, page-to-page SEO also helps you reap the social benefits of good content.

Our next few sections will go over common tactics for on-page optimization that will bring you fantastic results.

Proper Formatting -- For Both Readers and Bots

As we just noted, on-page optimization should be tailored to both prospective site visitors and search engine bots. When you're formatting your on-page content, make sure that it's written in a way that is appealing to both humans and web crawlers.

There are several ways to do this, including:

For more on how to optimize your on-page SEO, or to learn about any of our SEO, PPC, social media marketing or other online marketing services, speak to the staff at Be Locally today.

In part one of this multi-part blog series, we went over some basics on a vital tool for online marketing professionals and business owners: Google My Business. Abbreviated GMB, this is a huge platform run by Google that allows local businesses to submit information, manage reviews and answer questions, post videos and much more.

At Be Locally, we're happy to help with numerous local SEO areas, including understanding and optimizing for GMB factors. We'll assist you from the ground up here, even if that means we help you with creating a new Google profile to begin with, one you'll use to manage your GMB needs moving forward. Today's part two of our series will look at some basics on where you'll commonly see GMB info publicly, plus dig into your management dashboard and the options it offers you, plus how to respond in case of GMB problems.

Google My Business display dashboard

Where GMB Info Displays

Once you've created your GMB profile and inputted data, it will begin appearing on various local search displays for both mobile and desktop. Here are some of the areas you'll see it:

Management Dashboard and Insights

The majority of your GMB management will come through the Google My Business dashboard, which has several components: Info, reviews, images, posts, products and more. There are numerous insights to be gleaned from this dashboard, including the GMB Insights analytical feature that allows you to view data on search impressions, customer actions, search terms that result in impressions for your business, and more.

Managing Problems

For simpler questions or issues with GMB, you might visit the GMB Help Community Forum, which is manned mostly by volunteers. For more significant issues, like issues with listings, you will need to speak to Google directly, which involves a bit more effort.

For more on optimizing Google My Business, or to learn about any of our local SEO or related services like PPC, web design and other services, speak to the staff at Be Locally today.

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on internal links within the world of search engine optimization (SEO). Vital for allowing internal navigation, but also very important for ranking quality and information hierarchy, internal links are a key SEO concept that must be considered for any digital marketing effort.

At Be Locally, we're happy to assist with internal links and numerous other specifics as part of our comprehensive SEO services, which include everything from local SEO to organic SEO and other specific themes. Today's part two of our series will go over a few more of the general tips we tend to offer clients when it comes to maintaining strong internal linkage in ways that will not only make your pages easy for users to navigate, but will also improve your visibility and rankings with search engines.

optimizing SEO internal links

Topical Relevance

One of the key factors that determines the success of internal links: Their topical relevance, which you should be focusing on as heavily as possible. Anytime you are creating links for a new page, think about which other pages already on your site are most closely-related to it – these are the top options you should be considering for internal links.

This theme has value in both user functionality and Google rankings. Specifically, Google has a metric known as Topical PageRank, which evaluates which links have the most relevance given the other content on your site; however, this metric is not public, meaning you will have to work to find the pages that have the best indicators. These are often those that do well in Domain Authority, for example.

Trim the Fat

Success in internal links isn't just about creating the right links – it's about avoiding the wrong ones, which will actually penalize you in many cases. If you have too many links on a given page, for instance, Google's trackers will become diluted and will give a lower overall value to the entire page. But if you eliminate some of the lower-value links here, such as those that are not engaging or relevant given the page content and aren't likely to be clicked, the sample will not be diluted and Google will assign the proper weight to your quality links.

Unique Links

Finally, do your best to make every single link on your site unique. Links should be natural, organic ways of allowing visitors to navigate to other related pages, using simple language that makes them very easy to understand. Google will detect attempts to manipulate link titles or similar areas, and will drop rankings if so – so don't even worry about that angle, and simply make your links simple and unique.

For more on how to optimize internal links within SEO, or to learn about any of our SEO, PPC or other online marketing services, speak to the staff at Be Locally today.

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