It’s late Tuesday which means it’s time for Link Love Monday. Hopefully you had a solid, and if you were lucky, relaxing weekend. For the rest of us who entertained guests over the Memorial Day holiday, here’s to drinking lots of water and going to bed at 7:30 tonight! Today’s set of links lean toward the local side of search, but the general principles involved in optimizing for local can certainly be transfered to natural search. Let the link love flow:
Love: An aggregator that helps simplify the process of optimzing your local search presence. Last month Google kept it weird and got a lot more local by providing the sexy local 10-pack for a broader range of non-geo targeted keywords ([austin tacos] versus simply [tacos], for example). If you’re a small business, it’s even more important for you to claim your listings in Google, Yahoo! and MSN, as well as optimize your site for maximal local search exposure. GetListed.org, which has been around for awhile now, provides a hub for you to start this process. Simply enter the name of your business, enter the zip code and you’ll be provided with an overview of your local presence — have you claimed your listing? Do you have reviews, citations, pictures or videos in your local listing?
Aside: speaking of reviews, looking for content ideas for your website? Check out your reviews on sites like Yelp.com. Users might tell you exactly the type of information you need to add to your site.
Love: Tracking your presence — it’s vital. Okay, so you’ve hopped into GetListed.org,claimed your listings, updated your website accordingly, notice you’ve improved your lot in the local 10-pack and…now what? How do you know how well your listing in the local 10-pack is working? How much traffic is it driving to your site? You can’t manage what you don’t measure (as Bill Leake, our fearless leader here at Apogee, would say). Check out this excellent post on how to track both local traffic from the 10-pack found in the SERPs as well as traffic originating specifically from http://maps.google.com.
Love: How local search might work, so that you can turn your inquisitive how’s into actionable how-to’s. This post covers an important part of local search, and search in general — intention. What does a searcher actually mean when he or she types in a keyword and how might you go about calculating meaning/intention. The post uses an article by an University of Massachussetts research and two articles from Yahoo! Labs as the basis for the discusion.
“If you have a web site that offers goods or services or information tied to a particular location, the processes described in this paper are some that may help searchers stand a better chance of finding your site online the next time that they search for ‘attorney’s office,’ or ‘camping near shenandoah park,’ or ‘Macy’s Parade Hotel,’or use some other query that may involve a geographical intent without including an actual location.”
Love: Customizing Google Analytics, tracking your presence (again) and mega-posts, of course. A great post covering 23 ways you can customize Google Analytics in order to tease out more of the information you need to create a full tapestry of your online presence. Track: full referring URLs, Universal Search traffic, downloads (PDFs, WMV, etc.) and more.
Love: Data, data and more data. The embedded video is a superb introduction to linked data and why should you care — definitely take the 15 minutes to watch it.
“Linked Data allows you to discover, connect to, describe, and re-use all kinds of data. It is to data what the World Wide Web was to documents back in the 90’s.”
Love: A search friendly CMS. Seriously. It will save you heartache, pain, sleepless nights and money on Pepto Bismol. This is a question that’s asked fairly often by clients, particularly when they’re thinking about or are in the process of changing their CMS. It’s okay to be a control freak when it comes to your CMS — just control it.
BONUS Link Love Laughter Section: Charlie Rose on the future of the Internet by Samuel Beckett.