Contributed by Ben Adams
Every small business wants to rank on the first page of Google. But how do you do it? In an afternoon panel at DMS ’09, Kelsey’s Michael Boland plied a panel of SEO/SEM experts with questions to get their thoughts on best SEO practices for IYPs. Here are some of their tips:
- Tags, Not Taxonomy: Search results are completely dependent on tags, which don’t follow the same hierarchy that headings categories do. Actually, with tags – there is no hierarchy. “The key to getting SEO right is to understand that we’re not reproducing the book experience online anymore,” said Sean Morrow from MyVirtualPaper. “The tag system is a departure from our traditional products, and figuring out how to break away from our legacy business is key. The consumer needs to be able to search on IYPs the same way they search in search engines.”
- Keep It Fresh: Search engine crawlers are trolling every day, changing the rankings in real-time. WebVisible’s Todd Bernard says that the “Set it and forget it” concept is completely outdated. “You have to update constantly to stay relevant.”
- Content is Key: The panel emphasized that user-generated content like ratings and reviews are important, but merchant-generated content is too. LocalSEOGuide consultant and blogger Andrew Shortland points to MerchantCircle as an example. “They’ve done a great job getting merchants to generate content, and once they populate profiles with user/business-generated content, they really know how to optimize it for search.”
- Don’t Underestimate the Power of Video: Video content seems like the newest fad, but don’t underestimate the bang it can add to your search rank. Video content can make the difference between fifth page and first. According to eLocal Listing’s Steve Espinosa, who’s company helped achieve 130,000 active views last year, video platforms like YouTube can be one of the most powerful means to raise an SEO ranking. “We’ve seen a 3.1x increase in the conversion rate for properties with videos compared to those that don’t have video,” he said.
And a parting message to Internet Yellow Pages from Andrew: “You should be embracing the idea of putting your content on other properties. IYPs really need to think about not being so proprietary about your data and getting it out there. This is the best way to get to page one of Google.”