Category Archives: blog

Local SEO – What You Need to Know

Many are familiar with what we fondly refer to as the “map pack” or “snack pack” in Google.  Last year the map pack was narrowed down from a seven pack to a three pack, making it much more competitive.  So, what exactly does it take to score in one of the three coveted spots? Detailed below are some best practices, newer discoveries and top ranking factors.


First, let’s discuss what Google has outlined as basic guidelines to follow.

  1. Your name should reflect your business’ real world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, business cards and as known to customers.
  2. Use a local phone number, not a toll free phone number.
  3. Use the most precise, accurate address you can. No P.O. Boxes.
  4. Provide your customer facing business hours.
  5. Use as few categories as possible to describe your business. Be as specific as possible.
  6. Chains and Brands: Maintain consistent names and brands. All locations must have the same name, unless their real word name varies by location.
  7. Individual Practitioners: Only create a page if he or she operates in a public facing role and he or she is contactable at the location directly. Do not create multiple pages for different specializations.

Now let’s discuss what some of the top ranking factors for the map pack are:

  • Physical address in city of search
  • Proximity of address to point of search
  • Consistency across citations
  • Quality and authority of citations earned
  • Proper category associations
  • Domain authority
  • Address on website matching address on Google My Business Page
  • City and state listed on landing page connected to Google My Business Page
  • Product / Service Keyword in GMB Business Title
  • Click through rate from search results

Other Factors to Consider:Local SEO

  1. Google likes to return results based on the proximity of the searcher. If you are not located in the searcher’s near proximity, it is becoming increasingly hard to score in the three pack consistently.  As you move your cursor around in the maps section in Google, you will notice that the results change based on where you are telling Google you are located or want to search from.
  2. User behavior influences search rankings, including those three listings in the map pack. This means that depending on your industry, rankings can change day to day or on certain days of the week due to search patterns.
  3. Recently we have seen many changes to the way the Google My Business pages are displayed. There is now a two-step action required to access the website from the page. Once a viewer clicks on a listing they can see, Name, Category, Address, Phone Number, Hours, Reviews, Street View, and Photos. You can no longer see a description.
  4. Reviews matter for conversions. You need at least five reviews for your star ranking to show up in a Google My Business listing. You need ten, five star reviews to have a perfect 5.0 rating.  While reviews do not always seem to correlate with how high you can rank in the map pack, they do seem to determine how many clicks you get from that page to your website and how many phone calls you receive.
  5. Google appears to be making the transition of all G+ pages to Google Maps. Now users are being redirected to a business’ Google Maps listing rather than their Google Plus page.  This can be problematic if you are using the Google Plus link to have customers leave reviews.  The new suggestion is to send them the link to your Google Maps listing.

For more information on local SEO services at SocialSEO contact us today!

3 Ways to Improve Organic Search Visibility with Social Media Marketing

The connection between search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing is becoming more apparent as time goes on.  Starting as completely separate entities, SEO and social media weren’t even thought of as a striving pair, but now it’s hard for one to live without the other.

Search Engine Optimization is the process of maximizing overall website traffic by ensuring it ranks well in search engines.  Many factors go into developing a successful SEO campaign, but the incorporation of social media never used to be one of them, until now.  Many factors go into increasing overall organic search visibility with social media marketing, but we will just cover a few important ones.

Social Profile OptimizationSocial Media Optimization

Optimizing your website for SEO is one thing, but this can also be done on your social media platforms.  Ensure your profile is filled out to capacity with up-to-date short and long descriptions that include your targeted keyword phrases, choose the right business category for the platform, link back to your website and other social media platforms, as well as detail your current hours of operation and an accurate business address. By incorporating a well-defined social profile more people are likely to find you, not only in the search engines, but in social search engines as well.

Here are some additional tips for optimizing your social media platforms.

Quality Content Optimization

As Google and Twitter’s relationship grows and your Tweets begin to show up in the search engine, the content that you put forth desires uniqueness and value. Optimizing your blogs and social media posts to incorporate targeted keyword phrases, links and relevant hashtags can help boost your brand authority, audience following, and website strength.

Living in an age of content overload, it is important that your content flows with your brand voice and is engaging and informative.  Ask yourself this:

  • Does my content relate to my industry?
  • Does my content contain engaging & useful information?
  • Does my content offer anything new to my audience?

With less than 6% of your audience actually seeing your content on Facebook, due to their algorithm, ensuring that the content is all of those items listed above will put you ahead of the curve and will assist in obtaining more unique engagement on your posts.  Click here for more information on post optimization.

Social Sharing

Social sharing is the new way of link building with social media, and it also is driven by quality optimized content & posts.  Link building for SEO has been important for many years as it helps grow the strength of your website.  By obtaining valuable links from other strong websites to yours helps boost your search visibility.

Social sharing aids searches engines, like Google, to validate your brand due to verifiable external sources pointing to your website and then increasing domain authority.  Encouraging social sharing can be more easily accomplished when your posts offer an incentive.  Proposing a reward or special service offering for your audience to share your post can make all the difference.  Social sharing is going to be one of the strongest factors when it comes to help organic search visibility, but likes, favorites, replies and retweets all count as well.


The 3 ways listed above will all help to improve your organic search visibility.  The social media experts at SocialSEO develop in-depth posting strategies in conjunction with your current content marketing strategy to ensure what is being posted gets the most visibility and will grab your audiences attention to point them to your website. This in turn generates more leads and traffic to your website.  For more information on the social media management services that we offer, contact us for a FREE quote.

Maps Advertising is Here & Why You Shouldn’t Be Surprised


Google has been slow to roll out its changes to Google Maps and AdWords. And this is with Google reason. Since Maps launched in 2005, they have struggled to make a monetizable maps listing. The concern was, if you give the advertisers too much control, the maps listings would become irrelevant to the searchers.

In 2008, Google took the first step to creating maps advertising with the launch of “Google My Business”. And again in 2011 with the re-branding of “Google My Business” as “Google Plus”. Google had successfully incentivized millions of business owners to sign up for a free listing with “Google My Business”. This information was then used to make relevant maps listings and social media profiles.

Now Google has the largest business directory in the world, but the question remained; how do they monetize this newly created audience without watering down the relevancy of the maps and directions search results? The answer is to take the advertising placement out of the hands of marketers and into the control of Google. By using a tried and true metric, quality score; Google has been able to make a grand compromise.

Advertisers can choose to participate in maps listings, but cannot choose when and where the advertisements display. Eliminating the possibility of off the charts directions or irrelevant search results. The Maps Advertisements will display, if the advertisements quality score is high and the location is relevant to the searchers location.

Additionally, this is a great way for Google to improve paid search as a whole. As Pay Per Click managers rush to join the Map Advertising bandwagon, the less-than-quality advertisers will find their quality score to be a road block. Forcing them to reevaluate the campaign and to improve its relevancy.

For PPC Managers that feel this would be too much of a burden, consider this. If you begin maps advertising, you and your clients can now track “Free Clicks”. These clicks have technically always been free, but we now have the ability to collect data on how often people engage with maps features like:

  • Saved Locations
  • Shared Locations
  • Navigation Clicks

(some not free, but trackable clicks include; phone clicks, location detail clicks, and sitelink clicks)

maps 2

With this change, a lot of people are concerned that their free listings will go away. Fortunately, that isn’t the case; with maps advertising you are paying for additional space and ad-content within your existing listing. This is not paying for higher (or irrelevant) placements within the maps search results.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can begin Maps advertising, please reach out to our pay per click team; here at SocialSEO.


Spam Fighting Superhero: How to Prepare Your Site for Penguin 4.0

Let’s talk Penguin, and not the tuxedo clad zoo animals who love tap dancing.

According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes, the 4.0 update to the Penguin Google algorithm is coming, and soon. Penguin, if you don’t know, was designed and sent into the search engine world as a vigilante to fight the menace of spammy backlinks. Essentially, if Google decides that the links pointing to your site aren’t of reputable value, you get dinged, hard. Honorable webmasters and SEOs have little to worry about. Those who don’t like to play by the rules aren’t big fans.

Backlinks may be one small part of the intricate contraption that is SEO, but they’re nothing to scoff at. In fact, after analyzing over 1 million Google search results, the pros at Backlinko determined that the link authority and sheer number of different domains linking to site was associated with rankings “more than any other factor”. Now, you may have expected that from a site called Backlinko, but the message remains the same: quality backlinks are incredibly important in a site’s rankings, credibility, and overall prominence on the web.

Penguin 3.0 was released back in October 2014, so we’re certainly due for some black-hat fighting upgrades. So what will be included in the newest, shiniest Penguin? Well… we don’t know. Not really. What we do know is that update will be implemented as a “real-time” update, meaning that Penguin will always be on the prowl and can update further freely, catching nasty spam links earlier and more often. And with Google’s recent love affair with all things relevant and semantic, there may be a crackdown on any and all irrelevant links, though this is simply conjecture at this point of the game.

So, since Google is infamous for not giving fair warning before an update, what do you need to do now in order to get your site ready? Check your backlinks. Reputable sites with household recognition like Yelp or are typically fine. Sites with a high PA (page authority) and/or DA (domain authority) are safe bets as well; if Google trusts them, you can too.

Now, if you see site like or are linking to your site, you’ll need to get your hands dirty. Normally, any links relating to gambling, pornography, and payday loans are big red flags. Organize a list of the sketchiest looking links and tell Google you want nothing to do with them using their Disavow Tool. And, as an extra layer of chainmail, make sure your incoming links are relevant to your site. Do you run an emergency plumbing service but have a link coming from That may be a no-no soon.

With these steps in place, your site should be reasonably unaffected by the latest and greatest in Penguin. Of course, Google has a nasty habit of changing its algorithms overnight, so to be fully protected, you’ll want some SEO experts on your side. Be it Local SEO, National SEO, or improving your Social Media, the SEO professionals at SocialSEO are just a phone call away from turning your site into a superhero. Call today at (719) 725-6400 for a free consultation.

A Major Core Ranking Algorithm Change in Google… How Will This Affect Your Website?

You may have noticed unexpected ranking changes with your website recently.  This is not just a coincidence; Google has confirmed a core ranking algorithm update.  Many SEOs and webmasters initially thought this was part of the Panda update that was supposed to roll out at the end of last year, but it only deals with core search.

What does this update mean for your website?  We are still trying to uncover all the details about the sudden change, but many niche markets have been vocal about the effects the update is having on their rankings.  Could this update be specific to niche markets?  Google quickly shut down that assumption with a statement from spokesperson John Mueller, “Algo changes aren’t niche specific.”  Also adding that, “they try to make search work globally [and] Google’s search algos are the same worldwide and that they do not create specific algos for various countries or languages.”

We also learned that the Panda algorithm is now a permanent part of the core ranking algorithm.  Google confirmed this at the same time as the core ranking update, but this change has most likely been happening for months.  This leaves us with many unanswered questions.  Does this algorithm update in real time?  What does Panda being permanently incorporated into the core algorithm mean for ranking changes in the future?  Several webmasters have asked Google, but, as usual, they haven’t received any firm answers.  Only time will tell how these changes will impact your website rankings.

It is more important than ever for SEOs to stay on top of their rankings to avoid their websites plummeting to the bottom of the SERPS.  If you notice a change, we’d love to hear about it!  How much of an impact did your rankings experience?  What strategies are you using to fight back?

If you have additional questions on how this might affect your website, contact us for more information.

As of January 1, 2016, Pikes Peak SEO has transformed into SocialSEO.  With a new name, new logo, and new centralized location, SocialSEO is ready to start off 2016 with a bang.

Our digital marketing agency has been a successful resource for businesses across the nation for over 18 years.  With Greg Walthour as the founder and CEO, he has increased growth of Pikes Peak SEO & now SocialSEO exponentially in the last 3 years alone from just a few employees to now over 30.  As a dedicated SEO firm and internet marketing company, we are passionate about generating exceptional results for your business.  Through our Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media, Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC), and Web Design services, we can help grow your business.

As a one-stop digital marketing agency, our service offerings include:

We understand the technicalities involved in running a advanced SEO, Social Media, and PPC campaign, by incorporating industry trends, common internet marketing tactics and years of expertise.  Finding a reliable SEO company can be a difficult feat.  Maybe you have been burned by SEO companies in the past or have been unable to understand the importance of digital marketing and the ROI it can provide. The experts at SocialSEO will ensure you are in the right hands.  Our outstanding knowledge and expertise in digital marketing has helped many businesses get and stay ahead of their industry competition.

As a trusted digital marketing agency, our main focus for your business is profitability.  A profitable return on your investment is going to be the key to your businesses success.  In order to run successful digital marketing strategies in today’s competitive market, it is necessary to combine a sophisticated blend of online marketing strategies.  Without this, your business will fall flat.

If you are looking to increase your businesses website traffic, grow your brand awareness and convert those leads into sales, then you have come to the right place.  Join us and thousands of other companies who are taking their online marketing strategies to the next level with the work from SocialSEO.

Click here for a FREE quote or contact us for more information.