In this search indexed world, if your organization or business can’t be found online, does it even exist? Instead of focusing on this philosophy 2.0 question, put your energy into making sure people can find you online. However, with best practices changing at the drop of the dime, who has time to keep up?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to scour the web looking for this information. In case you missed it, here are three updates from the search world that you can’t afford to miss.

SEO, Search & Such

It’s Not 2010: Change Up Your Keyword Strategy

Okay, hopefully you know what year it is. I only bring it up to illustrate the point that keyword research for SEO and paid search has changed a lot. Unless you’re a ninja with a black belt in all things search, you may have missed this revelation. Thankfully, during one of his infamous Whiteboard Friday sessions, Moz CEO Rand Fishkin broke down why doing keyword research like it’s 2010 limits your success.

His points?

  • Using only Google AdWords Keyword Planner isn’t the right move because it hides data, giving you only a partial picture of which keywords you should use
  • Conduct customer and staff interviews to get more indepth keyword research information
  • Visit relevant forums or discussion boards to get more keyword ideas
  • Incorporate all these findings and then use Google Adwords for final keyword selection

 

Yelp Puts Fraud Reviews on Front Street

Yelp, the popular search engine for all things local is making a few changes. Can you think of the last time you tried a new restaurant without reading at least 30 Yelp reviews? With 32% of online consumers trusting a stranger’s opinion on public forums over branded advertisements, you’re not alone. Since trust is a valuable component to its business, Yelp is watching fraudulent reviews like a hawk.

In the ultimate mic drop in response to shady businesses everywhere, Yelp is not only putting businesses who pay for reviews on blast, but they’re also supplying the evidence to Yelpers.

Clearly, don’t pay people to say great things about you on Yelp. Instead, nurture your customers and alert them you’re on Yelp by posting a sticker in your venue. Although it’s tempting to ask people to review you, Yelp discourages this to prevent forced, inauthentic reviews.

So how can you get people to review you?

The trick is to have your call to action be “Check us out on Yelp,” vs “Give us a review on Yelp.” Post it everywhere from your website to your newsletter.

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If you get a negative review, great! Take it as an opportunity to improve. I love it when I see a business address someone’s negative comment. It shows they are real and care about the customer experience.

Google’s Cracking Down on Local Sites

Google

Speaking of local search, local businesses if you haven’t heard, Google’s a comin’! The search engine giant is ramping up its targeting doorway pages, a move that will severely impact local businesses.

What is a doorway page?

According to Google:

  • Having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page
  • Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s)
  • Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browseable hierarchy

Basically Google looks at these types of pages as low quality and unbeneficial to searchers. Local businesses are at risk because some of these practices are common in the industry, especially if they have several locations across the region.

Tip: Create unique content on your landing pages for each of your locations. It may be time consuming, but it could help save you from the wrath of Google. Also, don’t target every region and location in your search strategy. I know, it sounds counterproductive, but pick the most important ones to your business.

Like other updates and crackdowns, Google is focused on preserving search quality. Having multiple pages with almost identical content will be deemed poor by Google, and will likely suffer repercussions.

Worried or confused? Don’t worry. Search Engine Land has some tips.



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Image courtesy of Carlos Luna via Flickr.

Image courtesy of Automotive Social via Flickr.