5 SIMPLE STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR LOCAL SEARCH RANKINGS:

How to Improve SEO:original

The fact is, if yours is a local business you enjoy a great many advantages where search optimization is concerned and by making a few fairly simple changes to your website you can significantly improve your rankings. 

1.jpgAdd Your City/State To Your Title Tag – The title tag is part of the metadata set located in the <head> section of your source code and is one of your most important on-site SEO assets. 

Adding your city/state to the title tag, along with your primary keywords, helps to inform the search engines that yours is a local business. It may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be suprised how many local businesses get this wrong. 

If you offer swimming pool maintenance services in Port Charlotte Florida, that is exactly what your title tag should say – “Swimming Pool Maintenance Services Port Charlotte Florida”.

2.png

Include Your City/State In The <H1> Tag On Your Home Page – Like your title tag, every page on your website should have a unique header or <H1> tag. Including geographic information in the header (like your city name) alongside a primary keyword tells the search engines that this location is important to your business. Sticking with the swimming pool maintenance example a possible heading might read: “Port Charlotte’s Pool Service of Choice”.

3.pngInclude Your City/State In Your Copy – Are you sensing a theme here? Including location information in your textual copy helps reinforce the relevance this location has with regard to your business. You do not need to mention it in excess, just a single reference is plenty; preferably in the first sentence following your <H1> tag as noted above.

4.png

Embed A Google Map On Your Contact Page –Research suggests that embedding a Google map along with your physical address to your contact page improves rankings in local search.

5.pngWrap Your NAP In Schema Markup – NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone and as a local business it is one of your most valuable assets. If you haven’t already you should establish a format for your NAP and use it consistently whenever sharing this information online.

 

For instance, if your business name is ABC WIDGETS LLC and your business address is 123 Main Street, Anytown, USA, you need to decide how you will format this information. Will you always spell out the word ‘Street’, or will you abbreviate? Are you going to include the ‘LLC’ designation, or eliminate it? Will you include a leading ‘1’ on your phone number, or just start with the area code? The point is, you need to establish a format and stick with it.

Once you have established a format for your NAP add it to the footer section on every page of your website and wrap it in Local Business Schema, like this:

COMPANY NAME

ADDRESS LINE 1

CITY,

REGION

POSTCODE/ZIP

PHONE NUMBER

The real take away here is that as a local business you should be treating your city/state much like you would a keyword. Like your other keywords, your city/state should be included in your title tag, your textual headers, your copy, and even your meta description if you like.

In addition, using Local Business Schema and embedding a Google Map on your contact page will help to ensure that Google and other search engines recognize the relevance of your geographic location.

Related:

Top 5 Things Search Engines Look For When Ranking Sites

SEO Tricks of the Trade

7 SEO Challenges Faced by Start up businesses

 

Does the state’s restaurant placard program offer too many chances?

A Waikiki buffet restaurant is no longer allowed to operate.

It is the third food establishment shut down by the Health Department after multiple violations.

“I didn’t know about their sanitary problems,” said Honolulu resident, Kim Jorgensen.

The red placard posted outside Makittii Hawaii located at 2380 Kuhio Ave. says it all.

“So for now the publics health is being protected by the closure of the facility,” said Peter Oshiro with the State Department of Health.

The Health Department launched its investigation into the restaurant on Oct. 13 after receiving a report of someone possibly getting sick.

Inspectors say they found multiple health violations that day for things like inadequate hand washing, stored food temperature violations and even the presence of insects and rodents.

The restaurant was issued a yellow placard on Oct. 13.

Does the state’s restaurant placard program offer too many chances?

Is the state giving restaurants cited for health violations too many chances?

That’s what KHON2 is asking after the recent restaurant shutdowns by the state.

Four days ago, the state Health Department issued Makittii Hawaii, a buffet restaurant in Waikiki, a red placard and closed its doors.

That’s after visiting the restaurant five times over a period of more than three weeks.

Health officials returned to Makittii Tuesday, not for an inspection, but to teach employees food safety lessons.

“Why does the state return so many times?” KHON2 asked.

“Well, we don’t think it’s so many times,” said Peter Oshiro with the DOH.

Oshiro said the placard program is successful, because the large majority of restaurants correct their violations. Two other restaurants on Oahu recently received red placards after multiple visits from the health department.

“What do you tell people who might think, it’s not protecting public safety because people could have gotten sick?” KHON2 asked.

“Again, it’s a weight off between what we’re finding in the establishment and whether or not they’re moving towards correction,” Oshiro said. “When we fine or suspend somebody, we’re litigating the solution. It’s very counterproductive, it costs the taxpayer a lot of time and money, because now I have to talk to the (attorney general)’s office. We have to issue formal legal documents.”

KHON2 went to Makittii to try to talk to the owner and observe the health department class, but no one responded.

But we did talk to a food safety consultant, Tom Frigge, about what he teaches employees.

“First you turn the water on, wet your hands,” Frigge said.

Hand-washing is the most basic lesson, but there are many others.

Frigge says anyone who works in the kitchen, who handles food, should carry a thermometer. He also says food temperatures in coolers should be checked twice a day.

So does he think the state’s placard program gives restaurants too many chances?

“It might be, yeah, because all during that time the public is at risk, isn’t it?” Frigge said.

Since Wednesday is a holiday, the earliest health inspectors could visit Makittii is Thursday.

If a green placard is issued, the restaurant could reopen.

Microsoft has a new tool that can guess how you’re feeling from a photo

Microsoft’s past experiences with computer learning to let it do things likeguess your age from looking at a single photograph have always been a fun glimpse at the future, even if they often couldn’t be considered reliably accurate.

Now, it has a new demo tool that will guess how you’re feeling based on your facial expression. And once again, it can’t be considered anything close to reliable. It is still kinda fun though.

Based on Microsoft’s ‘Emotion API,’ the tool now sits alongside other similar experiments from the company under the umbrella of Microsoft’s Project Oxford APIs.

Naturally, you can upload your own, or drag-and-drop an image from your computer, but Microsoft says it’ll need to be at least 36 pixels square and smaller than 4MB in size.

There’s no telling whether or not these features end up in other Microsoft products, but the age guessing ability found its way into Bing image search.

➤ Project Oxford [Microsoft]

Amazing NEW stuff>>!

My Top 3 Ideal Hospitality Items.

These are definite necessities:

t goes without saying that I love to travel and try to do it as much as I can. When I’m not jet-setting to the West Coast for a sun-soaked getaway beside the Pacific, catching a train to NYC for a weekend in the city that never sleeps, or trekking up North for some peace and tranquility in rural New Hampshire or Vermont- I’m aimlessly driving to new locations around New England where I spend hours exploring new places and snapping plenty of photos.

I’m the type of person who is planning my next trip while on a return flight/train home from my last one. I just want to see anywhere and everywhere I can!

But of course, with extensive traveling comes the often daunting task of selecting a safe and comfortable place for lodging.Fairmont Hotels, who have luxurious locations all over the globe (including right here in Boston), recently asked me to describe my packing necessities when I’m going away for an overnight trip- and the top 3 hospitality items I wish hotels would provide their guests to make their stays more enjoyable and convenient.

Challenge accepted!

When it comes to packing, all the life-saving essentials are kept close and within reach inside my purse: my wallet, my fully charged phone, lip balm (it’s a necessity. Trust me)– hand cream and a bottle of ibuprofen for those unexpected jet lag-induced headaches or muscle pains. Everything else- the more easy-to-replace stuff (should the airline lose my luggage at any point) like clothing, shampoo, makeup and shoes- are stored away neatly in my suitcase to make my trip through airport security a little faster andmuch lighter on my shoulders. I’m a habitual gate-crasher, meaning that I’m the person you see in the airport frantically trying to put their shoes back on post-TSA pat-down while simultaneously darting towards their gate five minutes before the flight is scheduled to take off- so the less weight I have to carry during that desperate run- the better.

Of course, once the initial departure adrenaline fades and after I’ve finally reached my destination and retrieved my bags- I’m ready to check into my room and crash- hard- before I eventually freshen up and head out to paint whatever town/city I’m staying in bright red.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in consistently nicer and clean hotels with friendly and accommodating staff (I’ve stayed in some super sketchy dives, too- trust me- but we don’t need to talk about those right now. Or ever. At all.) Some places have exceeded my expectations by adding little and unexpected things/perks to their rooms that have made such a huge difference in my stay- and after careful consideration- I’d like to see more of the following three things in hotel rooms I check into in the future:

UNIVERSAL CHARGING PORTS/PADS: I carry a lot of electronics when I travel. My phone, my digital camera for more professional-looking shots, my tablet to check e-mails and work on posts for any deadlines while I’m away, and my iPod (I’m one of maybe 12 people left in the country who still have a fully-functioning original iPod Nano.) As such, I have to keep track of multiple cords and chargers in my bag- which is a hassle for me when packing and is probably concerning to many a TSA agent who have had to screen my luggage prior to departure. Even more of a hassle? Charging everything at once in my hotel room- where electrical outlets are typically scarce to begin with. I’d love for more hotels to include universal charging ports/pads for multiple electronics in each room- which means I could leave most of the tangled cords at home but not have to worry about running out of juice halfway through my trip.

MResort01

The M Resort, Las Vegas.

BETTER TOILETRIES: I’ve never- not once- expected to check into my room, go to take a shower, and be greeted by a full-line of LUSH bath products neatly stacked on the counter top next to the sink (a girl can dream)– but I’m always more inclined to stay at hotels that include decent soaps and shower gels by trusted brands instead of drying and overly-perfumed generic brands with the hotel logo crudely imprinted on them. I’m even MORE inclined to stay at hotels that give me a little something extra to help me relax (looking at you, fancy hotel in NYC that left me a bottle of bubble bath to go with their huge tub, a tube of eye cream, and a really cute eye mask to wear while I slept- and I got to take it home with me!)

AN IN-ROOM DINING MENU THAT DOESN’T BREAK THE BANK OR LEAVE ME STARVING: When I travel, I like to go out and explore- which includes but isn’t limited to checking out local bars and restaurants- but sometimes, JUST SOMETIMES- I want to lay in my hotel room and eat a grilled cheese sandwich at 2 a.m. while watching HBO. This typically happens in California when I’m prone to staying out really and ridiculously late at night. However, I also don’t want to spend $18 for that aforementioned grilled cheese sandwich (which is always half of the size of a regular sandwich for some reason.) It’s like being penalized financially for most dining establishments outside my hotel closing at a reasonable time. Not cool, right? Right. I know room service is expensive- but come on- I just want an ice cream sundae without having to be late with my car insurance payment, you know? Give me something filling and affordable for those late night cravings.

Those, for me- are the “Big 3” in hospitality must-haves, apart from the mandatory cleanliness and spaciousness (and a decent view- if I’m feeling unusually picky.)

Do you have any “Big 3” hotel must-haves for when you travel? Does the room temperature have to be just right? Do you need those special blinds on the windows that block out any and all light from the outside world? Is a mint on the pillow a deal-maker? I’d love to hear ’em!

And thanks for letting me share my list, Fairmont Hotels! Now, about that full-line of LUSH bath products in the rooms….

 

Legally Redhead

HotelIndigo01 The view from my hotel room- San Diego, CA.

It goes without saying that I love to travel and try to do it as much as I can. When I’m not jet-setting to the West Coast for a sun-soaked getaway beside the Pacific, catching a train to NYC for a weekend in the city that never sleeps, or trekking up North for some peace and tranquility in rural New Hampshire or Vermont- I’m aimlessly driving to new locations around New England where I spend hours exploring new places and snapping plenty of photos.

I’m the type of person who is planning my next trip while on a return flight/train home from my last one. I just want to see anywhere and everywhere I can!

But of course, with extensive traveling comes the often daunting task of selecting a safe and comfortable place for lodging. Fairmont Hotels, who have luxurious…

View original post 903 more words

How to get FREE Advertising for your Novel

KRISTINA STANLEY

Besides the obvious guest blogging, tweeting, Facebook etc. there are ways to get exposure for your novel without having to spend cash. We all know it’s hard to make money in this business – okay not all of us – but maybe the newbies, so here is a list of places and methods that worked for me.

Try online magazines that cover your genre. The following showcased DESCENT in the mystery genre.

The Readers Gazette

OMNIMYSTERY News

Crime Fiction Lover 

If you belong to a writing organization such as Crime Writers of Canada, ask for placement on their advertising. This type of organization exists to help you.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 8.00.14 AM

Share your screen shots from Amazon or other sites. Let the big companies do the work for you. For example on July 26, 2015 DESCENT made #8 and one behind Lee Child in Amazon’s hot new releases in…

View original post 130 more words

Beef & Onion Walkers crisps are back for good

Whatever they said, whatever they did, they didn’t mean it…

And now retro favourite Beef & Onion Walkers crisps are back for good.

In August Walkers reintroduced the flavour along with barbecue, toasted cheese, lamb & mint and cheese & chive as part of their Bring It Back campaign.

Crisp fans could then vote via social media for their favourite to stay.

Now Beef & Onion has triumphed with 480,000 votes out of the 1.3 million cast.

The second most popular was Cheese & Chive, followed by Lamb & Mint, Toasted Cheese and Barbecue.

Nobody likes Barbecue.

Walkers’ Beef & Onion will available in six packs from November 23.

Beef & Onion Walkers crisps are back for good

Did the right retro crisp win?

  • Hell yes!

  • No, no, no

MORE: Walkers is bringing back retro crisps including barbecue, lamb & mint and beef & onion

MORE: 20 British crisp flavours ranked from worst to best

Five Types of Book Publishers

While attending a recent event, I realised there is some misconception about the types of publishing available for writers. I reread my post on The Four Types of Book Publishing and decided it was time to revise the information. In this ever-changing world of publishing, things like this will happen. 

Although there may only be a thin line separating some of these types, and at times, one might overlap with another, the core of each type has its own tone and/or structure.

I also feel it’s time for self-published authors (indies, independent publishers) to define themselves in the true spirit of being independent. Being independent and self-creating means not paying someone else to take control of your project. It means doing it yourself.

Perhaps the distinction will dispel the myth of what self-publishing truly is, and perhaps it will save unsuspecting authors from falling into the pitfalls of many who have paid thousands of dollars to ‘self-publish’ and who have had horrible experiences, and some who spent the money and didn’t even receive their published books.

Traditional Publishing

A traditionally published author is one who submitted their manuscript to a publishing company and was accepted.

BENEFITS

  1. Author pays no money to get their book published.
  2. Everything from the editing and design of the book is organized, completed and paid for by the publisher.
  3. The publisher pays to have the books printed and marketed.
  4. The publisher handles sales and calculates royalties. They pay the author for the right to publish their book.
  5. The publisher does all the necessary paperwork to get the book registered with Library and Archives Canada. They take care of the ISBN and the CIP.
  6. Publishers may offer an advance to the writer before any sales are made.

DOWNSIDE

  1. Authors can wait two or three years before their book is actually published.
  2. Authors—new authors particularly—have to build a platform, market their book and set up launch dates and readings. They may have to pay for this out of their own pockets.
  3. Authors have limited input into the publishing process.
  4. Authors often sign away rights to publishers to limit their future use of their property.
  5. If an author wants to republish their book, they cannot simply create a replica of the published book. Many aspects of the book are owned by the publishing company.
  6. Royalties earned by an author depends on sales. Authors get 10% or less of the profit. Royalties are paid three or four times a year, depending on the publisher.
  7. The publisher chooses the title of the book and the cover, not the author.
  8. Some traditional publishers are asking for ‘guaranteed sales’ and requesting the author to pay for X-amount of books before they agree to publish. This sounds similar to Joint Publishing.

Joint Publishing

Joint Publishing is an agreement between a writer and a company—usually a publishing company—to publish a book. This is not to be confused with self-publishing. Writers who joint-publish often do not own many aspects of their published book even if they paid to have the work completed (unless clearly stated in the contract).

BENEFITS

  1. The joint-publisher’s name goes on the book; this makes it look more ‘official’ and it gives it credibility, making it look less self-published.
  2. A joint-publishing company—if they do what they say they’ll do—will take care of most of the grunt work for you and guide you on the right path to publish your book.
  3. The company may provide some marketing on their website.
  4. Authors retain copyright of their words (unless the contract states otherwise), and the author can immediately publish their books in other formats or through other venues.

DOWNSIDE

  1. Although authors retain copyright of their words, they may not know until they break away from the joint-publishing company or attempt to re-publish the book themselves that they don’t own the exterior and interior designs. They will have to pay for the services a second time.
  2. If the company does not do what it states it will do, the author may end up paying thousands of dollars and still have no published book.
  3. This is essentially hiring a middle man who controls certain aspects and rights to your book. It’s usually more expensive than other methods to publish a book.

Subsidiary Publishers (or Package Publishers)

This is closely related to joint-publishers and vanity presses, but slightly different in tone. These companies are in business to make money off writers, and that’s all. They don’t care if you sell books. All they want is to sell you packages that begin around $1,000 and go up from there.

BENEFITS

  1. If the company does what it says it will do, it will provide the services and guidance necessary to publish a book.
  2. Authors can choose from several packages, doing as little or as much as they want and hiring the company to do the rest.

DOWNSIDE

  1. Many authors are unhappy with the services provided with these companies. Customer service is poor or nonexistent once the customer—the author—has paid for the package.
  2. These companies tend to up-sell to unsuspecting authors, and they often bombard their customers with phone calls and emails to encourage them to buy more.
  3. Many complaints found on the Internet regarding these companies state the quality of editing and design is poor.
  4. These companies add things to their packages that are free to authors anyway, such as ISBN in Canada and Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’.
  5. Authors pay more money than anticipated for just a few books. For example, with iUniverse’s cheapest package of $1,000, you get three ‘free’ softcover books. That’s $333.33 a book. Far from free. And you have to pay for shipping and handling of those books. The highest package costs $4,399 (20 ‘free’ softcover books: $219.95 a book, plus shipping and handling.)
  6. Many authors have learned the hard way (having fallen victim to these companies) and the easy way (learned from other author’s mistakes and reporting on those mistakes) about these companies. One person who reports on these companies is David Gaughran. Read his post Author Solutions and Friends: The Inside Story to learn more. There’s others on his blog, too, if you want to learn more about this.

Self-publishing

They call themselves self-publishers, independent publishers and indies. Self-publishing is just that: doing it yourself or contracting out a particular job (such as illustrating, editing) to eventually own the final product. There is no middle man involved.

BENEFITS

  1. The author has complete control over their book.
  2. A book can be written one week and published the next. There is no wait time.
  3. The author reaps all the royalties
  4. The author owns the finished product and retains copyright on the work.
  5. The author chooses who they want to work on their books by hiring them by contract.
  6. The author sets the budget for their projects and saves money on things they can do themselves.

DOWNSIDE

  1. The author must learn how to bring all the tools together to get the book published. They ask individuals for help, but they are the driving force behind getting a book published.
  2. Marketing and distribution is up to the author.
  3. Some book stores won’t accept books by self-published authors, but this is slowly changing.
  4. Authors have to finance the entire publishing project themselves.

Vanity Publishing

When I think of vanity publishing I think of the episode of The Waltons where John-Boy falsely believed his manuscript had been accepted by a traditional publishing company. He had no say in how the book was published, but he wasn’t worried; he thought he was going to be a published author. Then several boxes of books arrived at the corner store that also served as the post office. When John-Boy opened up one of the boxes he found an invoice stating the amount of money he had to pay for the books. Obviously he was very disappointed at being fooled.

This is vanity publishing. The writer pays to have a book published/printed with little to no input.

BENEFITS

  1. All aspects of the publishing end it performed by the publisher.
  2. The author doesn’t have to do anything, just pay the bill and walk away with books.
  3. If the company does what it says it will do, the author will have a quality book to sell or give to family and friends.

DOWNSIDE

  1. The author learns very little about the publishing end of things.
  2. The author will retain the copyright to their words, but not how they are displayed in the book, including exterior and interior design and cover images.
  3. This is an expensive venture.

For writers who want to publish only one book, this is the perfect option. Why bother to learn anything about the publishing industry if all a writer wants to do is get fifty or a hundred copies of the only book they’ll ever write to share with family and friends?

The bottom line is this: You are NOT self-publishing if you are buying packages and hiring a company to publish your book. You are ONLY self-publishing if you are the publisher, contracting out work (such as editing, formatting, cover design) and doing all the organizing yourself. This may be a hard line to draw, but I believe this is a necessary line that must be drawn to separate those who truly self-publish from those who slap down money for someone else to do the work.

It’s true that some unsuspecting authors have fallen victim to these other forms of publishing (other forms as in Joint Publishing, Vanity Publishing and Subsidiary Publishers). When they realise their mistake, they look for other options. Perhaps by drawing these lines, it will save authors new to publishing from losing their money.

NOTE: I have highlighted the following phrase in a few places: if the company does what it says it will do. I did this because that’s the deciding factor that will make the author happy or unhappy with the experience. Sadly, I’ve heard and read many stories where the company received payment but did not provide a finished book or the book was poor quality.

Revised: Five Types of Book Publishers

http://dianetibert.com/2015/11/06/revised-five-types-of-book-publishers/

Diane Tibert

While attending a recent event, I realised there is some misconception about the types of publishing available for writers. I reread my post on The Four Types of Book Publishing and decided it was time to revise the information. In this ever-changing world of publishing, things like this will happen.

Although there may only be a thin line separating some of these types, and at times, one might overlap with another, the core of each type has its own tone and/or structure.

I also feel it’s time for self-published authors (indies, independent publishers) to define themselves in the true spirit of being independent. Being independent and self-creating means not paying someone else to take control of your project. It means doing it yourself.

Perhaps the distinction will dispel the myth of what self-publishing truly is, and perhaps it will save unsuspecting authors from falling into the pitfalls of many who…

View original post 1,527 more words

Create Wall Art with This New App

Round Two

Don’t have brush skills, but want some cool custom art? Estonian startup SprayPainter has created a smart spray paint that recreates a photo or image on your wall.

READ MORE »

http://ift.tt/1M9vsVr

View original post