Nightclub and Bar Show 2015

Remember: SEO is complex and Google releases updates every week. Some updates are small, but some completely turn the world upside down. You will never have “perfect” SEO, so stop worrying about perfection – just be “good”!

SEO is about being less imperfect than your competitors. It’s a market, after all. If you practice SEO better than them, you’ll be killing them in no time. I’ve researched many websites in the bar industry in preparation for this talk and the bar is… low. If you take away and apply even 2-3 things from this, you’re ahead of the game.

N.A.P.: Your company’s Name, Address and Phone Number. It should be on every page of your site.

Here’s a quick look at how to put your NAP on your site.

Important: Google considers your Google My Business page as your definitive N.A.P. If you don’t have this set-up correctly, Google won’t know that citations apply to your business.

Directories: Sites that register information for businesses within a given vertical, and feature your NAP. Relevance and reviews matter. For example, Google counts reviews on Yelp more than Angie’s list when it comes to bars/nightclubs/restaurants. However, if you’re a contractor, you’d better be on Angie’s list.

Common issues with directories:

  • Incomplete profiles: Sites like Google+ and Yelp like it when you fully buy-in to their system. Sharing business hours, uploading photos, and adding information about your business helps them make their site better, and they’ll help you for helping them.
  • Duplicate listings: If you find that you’ve got duplicate listings on a given directory, you’re in trouble. Best case: Google will move on without counting anything. Worst case: Google will count it against you for rankings.
  • Inaccurate listings: If your profiles do not match your definitive N.A.P. (see below), Google won’t know it’s your business. Common issues include listing an old location, an owner’s cell phone number rather than the businesses number, and using different names (“Ted’s Bar” vs. “Ted’s Bar and Grill” vs. “Ted’s Bar – Lake Oswego, OR”).

Reviews: Often, these directories let users review your business. In general, sites that have more and better reviews than their competition will get greater benefit towards local SEO. As mentioned in the “Directories” section above – relevance and authority matter.

Reviews on sites that are relevant to your vertical (and that people actually use) are more important. Ask for reviews on Yelp and Google+!

Structured citations: Fix your N.A.P. on directory sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc. If the N.A.P. on the site doesn’t match your definitive N.A.P. exactly, Google doesn’t know that your reviews are yours.

Unstructured citations: Google tracks when any part of your N.A.P. (could just be your business name) shows up anywhere on the internet. The source, and its authority, matters: a citation from the New York Times is worth more than a mention on your daughter’s blog.

Here’s a list of the best citations for your category.

Here’s a list of the best citations for your location.

Page titles: This is the text that appears in the tab in your browser (check the top of your browser right now). Tell Google what you do and what this page is about. A good format is keyword 1 – keyword 2 | your business name.

Example: San Francisco Cocktail bar – bar in the Marina | Ted’s Bar.

Keyword targeted pages: Create different pages for each service and promotion you have. Happy Hour, brunch, and your specialty drinks should each have different pages with their own page titles.

When someone searches for “Brunch San Francisco,” you’ve told Google you do brunch, and that page tells Google you’re in San Francisco (N.A.P.!).

On-site tips:

  • Put your N.A.P. on every page (the footer is a great place).
  • Google can’t read images! Make sure important information (business name, NAP) is in text.
  • Any content should be more than 300 words. Otherwise, Google thinks you don’t have a lot to say.

General tips:

  • Make sure your site is optimized for mobile! Starting April 21st, if your site has a bad mobile experience, you are going to get killed by Google. Killed.
  • Blog: blog, blog, blog. The more you blog, the more pages get indexed, the more Google’s crawlers come back, and the more content Google can use to determine your authority. Think about it like this: if you blog about your drinks, promotions and city, and your competitor doesn’t… who will Google like more?
  • Write naturally. Google can tell when you’re trying to game the system. Hint: it doesn’t like that.
  • Google likes it when you have social buttons on your site. The more people talk about you, the more important Google thinks you are.
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