:: Each week, Travis Bliffen of Stellar SEO recaps the recent news affecting search and rounds up a collection of highly relevant content and an actionable SEO tip to help Website Magazine readers with their online marketing efforts. ::
Google continues to lead the way filing for a patent that would protect the technology they are developing to allow users to view menus and place orders from mobile devices. This is called the "order ahead" patent and early information indicates that it will let you order your food and pay before arriving. You can see the full patent submission at the US Patent and Trademark office website.
SMX West is set for March 11-13. If you still don't have your tickets it is not too late. Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land is set to headline along with Amit Singhal, the chief of search at Google. This year should be another excellent resource for SEO and SEM professionals.
Xbox owners rejoice, you can now use Bing to search the Web from your gaming platform. With the release of Xbox One, Bing and Kinect partnered to bring a wealth of music and videos to owners using a natural voice search system. Bing announced that you can now search the web from your device using the system. You can read the full story on the Bing Blog.
The number of local searches being conducted each day is growing due to Google's increased understanding of user location. Search terms that would have previously not return localized results are now triggering them. In a recent post titled: "What is Local SEO and How Can I Improve my Local Rankings" you can learn how to make sure you are ready for local search. Since deception is not my style, I should mention I wrote that article.
Online reputation management is crucial to the success of your brand. Readily available reviews sites make it easy for a single unhappy former employee or customer to damage your reputation. A recent post on Website Magazine covers 5 tactics you can use to protect your reputation.
Do you have a hard time coming up with blog topics? If so, you are not alone and the team at HubSpot has got you covered. They have released a blog topic generator to help you think of catchy titles and topics, just enter a few terms and bam, a list of titles. If you are really hurting for topics, visit the Google Keyword Planner and enter your site or blog URL for a list of relevant keywords to enter into the generator.
Google+ is always a topic of controversy with numersous SEOs believing that it influences search results. I recently caught up with Crystal Childs who closely follows how social impacts search and asked her what she thought of Google + and its' influence on search. You can find her response here.
Many of you may be familiar with Scrapebox. It was first used for blog comment spamming but has since been called the "Swiss Army Knife" of SEO. You can use it to find thousands of high quality link opportunities in minutes.
If you do SEO and don't have Scrapebox, you should buy a copy. It generally goes for $97 but here is a discount link where it is only $57. This is not an affiliate link from me and I receive no compensation from it, just for the record.
Once you have your copy of Scrapebox, you are now ready to easily locate a wealth of local citation sites using your competitor's addresses. Here are the steps:
1. Open Scrapebox and add your proxies. You can either buy proxies or harvest them. They are added to the bottom left box in the picture below.
2. Go to Google and do a search for your local keyword. This will return a list of local results containing your top competitors. For the sake of this tutorial, let's use "plumbers near St. Louis". When you search that term, here is what you will see.
3. Visit the website of the first 7 local results above and copy their address. Paste that address into the top left box of Scrapebox. You should then add parenthesis to the street address of each listing to ensure exact match results only. Here is what that looks like.
4. Once you have loaded all 7 addresses, we are going to add a custom footprint. To prevent pulling all the pages from the website we copied the address from you need to add: -site: website url to the end of each address. The url will be the homepage of the site you found the address on.
5. Now you simply select start harvesting and allow your tool to work. Once it is completed you will have a list of sites that mention your competitor's address.
6. You can then export this list and start working your way through the list finding opportunities to gain local citations. Build citations until you are the top local result or you have completed the list. If you have gone through your list and still don't rank, repeat the process for competitors 8-14 and so on until you do.
As you can see, Scrapebox has many uses besides comment spam. I hope you have enjoyed this week's tip and that it will help you rank higher locally. If you have any questions about this tutorial just leave them below and I would be happy to answer.
This week's tip comes from Adam Heitzman of Higher Visibility.
One of the most actionable tips I have that drives SEO strategy comes down to performing competitor analysis. Although the overall idea of performing a competitive analysis is not new or earth shattering, how it is performed from another's perspective can be.
Too many SEOs think competitive analysis is all about copying exactly what your competition is doing. I like to think of it as identifying the tactics or content/link strategies my client's competition uses to rank well. We take ideas from the competition and blend it with our own methods to create a plan that we feel will send our client's website shooting up in the rankings.
As you may recall, Jon Cooper mentioned this technique in an earlier SEO roundup. Competitor research is a foundation of link building for many SEOs so if you are not familiar with it, you would benefit greatly from learning.
Next week we are going to look at three simple link building methods that you should be using in 2014. We are also going to take a look at the hashtag craze and cover a few of the ways you can use them to benefit your content.
Is there a question you would like answered or an SEO topic you want to know more about?
Let us know below and we might cover it in an upcoming SEO roundup.
About the Author
Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a search marketing firm near St Louis, Mo. Travis enjoys researching and writing about SEO and search marketing. He has been featured on several industry related sites and enjoys sharing actionable marketing advice. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.