A class on website development and google local search optimization: a review

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I was able to attend a class that was sponsored by localU which was sponsored by Google, the Small Business Administration, and a local Austin business organization.  It was a great set of presenters.  The session lasted 4 hours and had 6 speakers from google and other firms and consultants in the web optimization firms.  After two prior posts about how I have found that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) companies were useless, this group of people finally provided insight that Smarter Solutions was looking for that these SEO companies would never discuss.  Here are a few of my high points.

Four SEO Myths and issues.

  1. Anyone that guarantees a #1 page rank is not truthful.  It cannot be done, with the exception of using Pay-Per-Click advertising where you buy the way to the top.  Which can be very expensive.
  2. The web page meta keyword field is completely ignored by all major search engines (google, bing…)  This meta field only provides you competitors a view at your keyword plans.  Only the title tag and description tag matter.
  3. Do not build a site in all Flash, because it can not be indexed by a search engine.
  4. Do not use hidden or really small text fonts to up your content where people cannot use it.  The algorithms can tell and will mark it against your site.

How a Search Engine Works

  • The indexing is based on a known connection to an existing site, it is difficult to get on search results if you have a stand alone, unlinked site.
  • Only the HTML code is read by the Search engine (SE)
  • Each page is ranked by content, links….   not just the site.
  • Not just pages are indexed, but photos, videos, blogs…  as long as you have text associated with each object.  Non-text is not indexed unless labled.
  • SE look at the operating system of the device in creating the results .  Mobile OS will provide more local content than a desktop.

General Search info

  • 30% of searches are on Bing/Yahoo.  It is high enough to start considering it.
  • 42% of all searchers never leave page 1 of the results.  11.9% will also look at page 2.
  • What you can control in searches, your site is only about 1/5 of the things that impact your result being presented.  About 2/5 of the influence is the linkage from and to other sites, the other 2/5 is competitors and other stuff on the web.
  • Google has between 50 to 200 active algorithms in work at one time on their servers.  You may never see the same results repeated on repeated searches.
  • Organic SEO and Local SEO are different efforts, but somewhat related.  Organic efforts do not really help local, but local seo efforts can help organic searches.
  • Avoid pages with blocks of text, like articles.  Use bullets, headers, and such.  Assume the reader will only scan the page to decide whether to stay and read before pressing the back button.

Social Networking Information

This information was quite different than what I have read.

  • A blog is the primary reference to any good social networking effort.  Tie all efforts back to your blog, which should be hosted on your domain.  Not hosted at a blogging site.
  • Target the primary location where your customers interact.  Not all businesses benefit from FaceBook, twitter and others.
  • 63% of respondents in a study say that they consider the social networking information in the businesses they choose.
  • FaceBook reports that only 3-7% of your facebook friends will see a business post because of their “edge rank” function.  It seems edge rank looks at your activity and decides which posts from linked businesses should hit your timeline.
  • Twitter success is slow, 6-8 months.  To get it to work you must balance the number of tweets, replies to tweets, and linkage to your tweets.  The ratio is about 1:1:1
  • Google+ is not yet much of a social network, despite what you might read.  The participation is high because your account is created as you use other google services, may users are not really active.

Measuring Performance

The last discussion was on analytics.  It make me feel validated when the speaker started with the quote from Dr. Kelvin “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” The speaker went into how you must check your analytics or you might as well quit worring about SEO.

  • Examine your business and set the KPIs for your business.
  • Track each KPI.  Set a goal and monitor performance.
  • Act on trends, not the actual magnitude of the values.

This advice is not that different from Lean Six Sigma project advice.


If you are involved in your website, SEO, or have a business that you want to grow through a web presence.  Attend the LocalU class on local searches.  They are provided around the country.


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One Comment
  1. Rick

    Thanks so much for coming and blogging about the event. We love Austin and hope to return.

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