"Bike Shops Near Me" - gets a lot of searches
Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential element of any Bicycle and Motorcycle marketing strategy. It is the one place small business has an advantage over large corporations.
To maximize opportunities you need to optimize your Brand for location-based searches. There are lots of details and many moving parts to Local SEO, but essentially its not really very complicated. Basically you need consistent, useful information in a number of different places.
Keep in mind that search results aren't just about getting discovered, they're about keeping your customers and conveying confidence before they walk through your door.
Even if your target audience already knows you're located Downtown on Main Street, they are still likely to use a search engine to both find information about you and find more about what they're interested in.
The last thing you want to do is take your existing clientele for granted. If they use the internet (search engines and social media) to double-check location; or look for prevailing prices and special deals; or vendor and product reviews; you certainly want them to see your business and offers displayed prominently and positively.
Give Google What It Wants - By Giving People What They Want
Google published these findings in 2014, you can imagine even more usage of mobile search.
Search Engine Ranking is Different Now
(no, SEO is not dead, it matters more than ever)
If you want your Brand and Offers to get found through search results (Google, Bing/Yahoo, etc.), common-sense advice from Motorcycle & Bicycle Marketing Consultants suggests that you list your Biking & Cycling business or organization in location-based and relevant niche directories (citations); engage in social network interactions with peers and customers; produce quality content (articles, images, video, etc.); use 'mobile friendly' websites; make sure things not only look good but have proper 'behind-the-scenes' code; and importantly, connect everything together.
Having these things in place is a good start.
Keep in mind that if you really want to compete for search engine rankings you should also probably be considering - What Does Google Really Want and How Do They Figure-Out Search Results?
Google has developed an advanced search algorithm - that uses machine learning artificial intelligence - they call "RankBrain" to deliver what they consider to be the best possible search results to inquiries. While all the factors that go into search results and rankings are constantly changing and very complex - it really boils down to how Google looks for and evaluates "Solutions to Problems" and/or "Answers to Questions".
Google has almost one million computers crunching data around the world that they use to try to understand (and influence) internet usage.
They attempt to match up what they think someone wants with an entity (identifiable brand, person, thing) that is best qualified to provide it. They track user behavior, but more importantly they invest heavily in analyzing 'entities' and their 'data relationships'.
The Google algorithm analyzes content extremely well now, and it is also moving toward prioritizing mobile-devices and voice-search. "Mobile First" indexing means that they evaluate and list websites based on how they will appear on mobile devices before they index sites for desktop-based searches.
Another major paradigm shift is the whole notion of 'keywords'. While it is still important to use meaningful wording that people are looking for - we should all stop obsessing with things like 'long-tail keyword phrases, keyword density, and monthly search volume'. Current best practice is to write/create useful content that includes a variety of meaningful words - and let Google figure it out.
Instead of focusing on the 'words' people use in search, focus on 'what answers are they looking for'. That said, the concept of optimizing for long-tail keywords (long phrases) makes sense if you're actually going to write about and solve an issue related to that phrase. Simply sticking a long keyword phrase into a header tag or page title isn't enough anymore.
There are still things that can be done to improve all search results, such as to be sure to include location information in your content when it makes sense. While we emphasize writing for people first, there are some important 'backend' writing techniques that help SEO; these include 'meta' and 'schema' information which are seen from the dashboard admin when writing/updating posts.
Answering the 'who, what, when, where, how' that people are looking for will give you an advantage over other content.
Focus on identifying what people want, not just the words they use. Provide a solution to that demand (answer the question) - write for people not search engines.
Give Google the confidence to recommend you to their users.
BikingPress is designed to help you Give Google What it Wants.
Give Google What it Wants
- Verifiable Authority Related to Search Inquiries
- Mobile-Friendly Content
- Structured Data it Understands (behind the scenes code)
The Google RankBrain search engine is looking to present a solution to the search inquiry made by someone expressing an interest in something (not just keywords but tailored for that specific person and their web history). The algorithm tries to associate an 'entity' (brand, person, thing) providing answers/solutions and it uses 'data relationships' (content, links, mentions, profiles, track-record of successful engagement [click through and dwell time], user experience, and more) to determine authority and how high to rank the information they have to offer.
To compete for search engine ranking position (SERP) requires some effort and strategy. First step is to make sure Google knows as much about you as possible. You can use BikingPress to establish data connections, and to keep them active and updated with the signals search engines look for.
Google is also obsessed with location data - because it carries a ton of 'certainty' - that is a big reason you want to be associated with a location on a map (Google Map) and make sure you've claimed your Google Places listing.
You can also Claim and see how Google lists your information on the BikingPress Directory.
Is It Worth the Effort?
Google is responsible for at least 60% of search activity, and by some metrics more than 80%. Search results on the first page of Google for Bicycle and Motorcycle inquiries get something like 90% of the clicks, and top of the page gets most of these; first position getting maybe 35%.
Traditionally, if you earned Google number 1 rank position for some set of search inquiries that generates 1,000 searches a month on the internet, you'd enjoy something like 250-300 visits every month. [at that point you'll need to focus on 'conversions' and 'engagement' - but that is a whole other big topic]
That's why there is so much competition to get first page listings - and there are different places on that page you want to be seen: Google Answer Box, 3-Pack, Knowledgegraph, Site Links, Images, Video, Related Social, Above the Fold, and if someone clicks the 'also searched for' you want to rank there too.
But the whole way Search Results are getting generated and what gets shown to people is changing; and changing fast.
BikingPress Helps You Rank in Google
and Drives Traffic to Your Offers
Motorcycle & Bicycle Business and Organizations need to consider whether or not it is worth the effort to attempt to get top SERP (search engine results position). Google is biased toward 'brands' because they are considered 'verifiable' - that's why even a one-person operation still needs to think about branding if they want to leverage and get the most from online marketing efforts.
Local Search does give you an advantage for searches like Bike Shop Near Me - but you'll probably want/need to make sure you're also getting as much visitor traffic as possible from other sources such as social media, YouTube (think of it as a search engine), Bing/Yahoo, advertising, referrals, and other referral sources such as citation directories like Yelp or TripAdvisor.
Quick note about the word "Offer" - your offer is not some schmaltzy product promotion, it means what you do for people. Before you start investing time, effort and money into online marketing is a significant way - you need to have a well defined idea of what your 'offer' is. What are you offering, and to whom, and how...
BikingPress and Your Plans for Motorcycle & Bicycle Marketing Success
The more facts Google and other search engines know about You, Your Website(s), and Your 'Authority'- the more likely it is you will get the Search Engine Results Position (SERP) you deserve.
Google in particular is looking for 'entities' and 'data relationships'. It also prioritizes answering questions; i.e. Solutions to Problems and Answers to Questions.
Google's 'RankBrain' search algorithm is calculating SERP (search engine results position) in real time based on a particular individual searcher's criteria. Meaning it attempts to match up what is shows on the search results with what people want right now, where they are, and based on their preferences and the device they are using.BikingPress helps to verify and strengthen associating and connecting information about you, your organization, and your web properties (blogs/websites here or hosted elsewhere). You'll also see a lot of opportunities for addressing problems and answering questions.
Good Content = Something Worthwhile to Talk About
A part of this is that BikingPress Motorcycle & Bicycle Forums, Groups, Directory, and Hosted Websites are not only a place to put your content, comments and links; and engage with existing and potential customers; but also gives you something to talk about elsewhere - you can link to relevant content about solutions to problems that YOU answer - from your social media and Web2.0 properties - ie. generate a much bigger web footprint to get in front of more people and to give search engines information about you, and why you deserve to get listed at the top of search results.
Important note about syndicating content and/or using BikingPress Authority Blogger hosted websites to go beyond merely presenting to a wider audience but to also build your online authority: simply copying the same content from one blog to another does little to benefit SEO. Talk about the other content as a solution to a problem; analyze it, review it, offer an opinion about it - identify it as an answer to a question - don't just copy and paste.
Elements to Local Motorcycle & Bicycle Marketing
Overall Local Search Engine Ranking Factors
There isn't one single magic formula that works for every business and every situation; and the rules and best practices tend to keep changing as technology and human behavior evolves. This means there is both a burden upon marketers to pay attention and continue working on onlinemarketing, but also an opportunity for people putting in the time and effort to catch up with older, more established competitors.
According to the research done by Moz, 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors include:
- On-page Signals (20.3%)
(Presence of NAP, Keywords in Titles, Domain authority, etc.)
- Link Signals (20.0%)
(Inbound anchor text, Linking domain authority, Linking domain quantity, etc.)
- My Business Signals (14.7%)
(Categories, Keyword in Business Title, Proximity, etc.)
- External Location Signals (13.6%)
(IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, Citation Volume, etc.)
- Behavioral/Mob. Signals (9.5%)
(Clickthrough rate, Mobile clicks to call, Check-ins, Offers, etc.)
- Personalization (8.5%)
(Google finding search results based on the Person doing the searching)
- Review Signals (8.4%)
(Review quantity, Review velocity, Review diversity, etc.)
- Social Signals (5.0%)
(Google+ authority, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, etc.)
Take a NAP
NAP = Name, Address, Phone. These should be consistent everywhere you have your contact or profile information listed on the web.
Key elements to optimizing Bicycle and Motorcycle search results include:
- Consistent and Complete Information
- Structured Data (aka schema.org) - Behind-the-Scenes Proper Coding of Information
- Relevant Related Content Surrounding this Data
- Mentions and Connections to and from Other Online References
- Ratings and Reviews that Google Recognizes (and rewards)
Follow the Advice from Google
The first step in making sure you maximize your opportunities to get found and make a good impression through search is to optimize your Google data. They keep changing how it is organized, but it should be at the top of your list if you're looking to earn good SERP (search engine results position).
The Motorcycle & Bicycle Community Directory pulls data from Google Places (and Factual); its a quick way to check what data they are using, and what you might want to add or edit.
Get Listed In Top Directories
Google isn’t the only local business directory you want to focus on. There are about 15 reference sites you want to make sure you're listed on:
- YP (Yellow Pages)
- Best of the Web
Focus on Creating a Quality, Quick-Loading Mobile Friendly Website
Mobile friendly web content is a priority for Google. "Mobile first" indexing means they check a site for mobile device searches before desktops; and they are beginning to integrate search results based on 'voice search' keywords (one of the key factors behind the paradigm shift in SEO).
You have some choices here for marketing Bicycle and Motorcycle related businesses and organizations.
Responsive Themes - this means that when someone uses a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) the same website you use for desktop visitors adapts to the different sized viewing screen.
Dedicated Mobile - a different website completely - with content and setup strictly for mobile devices - you can use certain meta data that comes from the device web browser to automatically detect when to serve a different website for mobile only. This makes sense if you really only want to present basic contact and location information with short description of what you're about. AMP is replacing these types of sites - but it isn't as simple as it could be.
AMP - Accelerated Mobile Pages. This is sponsored by Google, (tells you it is worth looking into, so is schema.org by the way) - basically a way to present pages more quickly for mobile devices. The tech behind this has been changing and we're trying to keep up so we can offer this to our members. AMP pages are stripped of all the cool effects so they load fast - we're testing the right setup so site managers can choose which pages to focus on for AMP and Local Mobile search.
Mobile Apps - this is another area that is evolving quickly. Quick and easy mobile apps can be made free online using your site RSS feed - but just because you can, you still need to consider if you should. How do you intend a Mobile App to be used for your business/organization?
Build an Email List
"The money is in the list" is an age-old marketing catchphrase. Just keep in mind that having a list of emails is just the first step in online relationship marketing. You'll need to have a strategy and a plan - and produce content you want to share with your list.
Nurture your list by never spamming and only sending out relevant, helpful emails.
Key components for managing email lists are autoresponders and email services. Sending emails can get surprisingly expensive however. We integrate with Amazon SES which reduces costs, and is reliable to not just send the emails, but so that they don't get flagged as coming from a spam source.
Make Social Media Work for Your Organization
From Moz: "The essence of social media is really a public conversation with your customers and prospective customers—sort of like one big dinner party. Just as partygoers aren't really attending with the intent of being sold to, neither are social media followers looking for a constant sales pitch. And no partygoer likes to be cornered by someone who only talks about themselves, so don't be "that guy" on social media either! Engage your followers, ask their opinions, and give them a sense of investment in your business."
Read these posts for some more detailed thoughts:
- Building a Social Following Locally – a great series from Moz which breaks down local social media for every network.
- Social Media Marketing Strategy Essentials – some helpful tips on developing your social media strategy.
- Good advice from sources such as Elegant Themes (they have great blog posts), Lead Magnets, and More on Local SEO