Category Archives for Orange County

4 Ways to Optimize Your Google My Business Profile in Orange County (and what not to do)

If you want your business to reach local customers in Orange County, having a complete, accurate, and optimized Google My Business profile is no longer negotiable. Google’s My Business tool launched in the Summer of 2014 and has since grown to be one of the most important factors in local SEO strategy. In fact, a whopping 64% of consumers rely on Google My Business to find contact details for local businesses.

One of the biggest contributors to Google My Business’s success is its Google Map Packs. The Google Map Pack consists of three business listings customers see at the top of a Google search result (under the advertisements and visual map), as shown here:

Google Map Pack - Local Search Intent

With the sharp rise of mobile search and the trend of consumer tastes leaning more toward visual and graphic search results, being included in Google’s Map Pack has become a top goal for many local businesses. 

In this blog, we’re going to walk you through how to optimize your Google My Business listing, enhance your chances of being included in the Google Map Pack for your Orange County SEO Strategy, and ultimately, bring in more local business. 

Let’s jump in:

Learning to Play by Google My Business’s Rules

If you already have a good handle on local Orange County SEO strategy, be advised that the rules can be quite different to achieve success with Google My Business.

Essentially, Google My Business is its own separate type of SEO entirely, so it’s important to know its unique optimization techniques, and how they differ from traditional SEO. 

For example, here are just a few techniques you’d typically use to optimize local SEO sites:

  • Use SEO tags with an emphasis on local and geo modifiers
  • Link building strategies
  • Adding local and relevant content to your site on a regular basis
  • And on-site optimizations (like the use of keywords on pages, meta tags, etc.)

With Google My Business, there are similar things from this list you can do, but really moving the needle with your ranking includes a different set of items to focus on:

Google My Business Optimizations 

The optimizations I’m going to be sharing below are things I’ve seen really make the greatest difference in my own Google My Business ranking, as well as the rankings for many of my clients — including inclusion in the Google Map Packs. 

Completing your Citations 

If you’re not familiar with citations, they refer to an online reference to a business that features the business’ name, address, and phone number— typically on an online business directory.

Citations are a local SEO strategy that actually works for both organic search and Google Maps. 

Why?

Because making sure your citations are complete will help provide a baseline in getting your business recognized by Google search and Maps. Citations provide Google with a certain level of confidence that you are representing a legitimate local business.

In other words, ensuring your citations are built, complete, and accurate on major local directories will help signal to Google that they should register you as a trusted local business.

Unlike link building, citations aren’t a ‘more is better’ strategy. The amount of citations you have won’t necessarily help increase your SEO, as once Google has recognized your legitimacy, it has the information it needs to include you in future search results. 

Building Reviews

Reviews are a heavy-hitter for any online business when it comes to increasing traffic and conversions, but they’re also a super important success factor for ranking on Google My Business.

Reviews on Google My Business don’t necessarily have an impact on organic SEO, but through our work with local clients, we’ve seen that it has a very strong correlation to being listed in the Google Map Pack. 

For example: one of our current clients has 100+ reviews on their Google profile. Their average competitor has less than 10. Aside from that, there’s not much difference in the Google My Business profiles. However, that 10x difference with reviews has been a huge factor in having their Google My Business profile rank consistently above their competitors. 

So, the takeaway here is very simple: if you want to increase your Google My Business ranking, you need to focus on collecting quality Google reviews from your customers. (Bonus points if you can get your customers to include keywords you’d like to rank for in their reviews! Don’t be afraid to ask.)

Site & Content Optimizations

One of the other major correlations we’ve seen in Google My Business ranking success is the relationship between ranking position and keyword-rich content on site pages. 

When a consumer performs a local search, they’ll often see a Google My Business listing pop up with a message from Google that reads:

This website mentions [keyword from search term]

This message makes it pretty clear that Google My Business puts a big emphasis on ranking companies with corresponding website pages that use keywords matching the search query and in a Local SEO sense, that they have local keywords as well. 

So, in order to take advantage of this, be sure that the content of your pages naturally works in popular keywords and keyword phrases that your target audience is likely to use in addition to geo modifier keywords like the city, county, state, etc

Profile Optimizations

This might be the easiest step in optimizing your Google My Business Profile: making sure the business description, services, and product descriptions within your profile are complete. 

Although this step is super simple, a lot of businesses neglect to do it, which can be detrimental to their ranking!

Having a complete and accurate Google My Business profile gives Google a clear picture of what your business offers. It’s like having a direct line to their algorithms to feed them information on your company.  

Your profile should give a complete and complementary representation of your business. Along with your descriptions, include strong quality photos of your business as well. This helps to speed up Google's verification process, but it also enhances user experience and makes your profile a more attractive choice for Google when it comes to ranking.

Google My Business Posts and Questions & Answers

Another area of Google My Business that you can optimize is the Question & Answers section and the Google My Business Posts.

We wanted to include this as the last point on our list because although it’s fairly easy to optimize, we have not been able to find any research to actually prove that it can improve Google My Business rankings.

We recommend that businesses simply copy and paste the Questions & Answers section or FAQ’s from their website into their Google My Business’s Q&A section. This will allow you to both ask and answer each question, which gives you the opportunity to naturally add more keyword rich content to your Google My Business profile. 

While we’re skeptical about the positive difference this can make for rankings in Google My Business, we know it definitely won’t hurt them. And giving more information to your customers via Google My Business is never a bad thing. 

There are some SEO techniques, however, that may actually hurt your Google My Business ranking. Let’s look at those next:

Optimizations Not Meant for Google My Business

Some local SEO optimizations that work great for boosting organic search ranking actually do the opposite for Google My Business. Here’s a few of our top tips on what not to do on your Google My Business profile:

SEO Tags & Keyword Optimizations  

When it comes to organic search, SEO optimization through the use of keywords in title tags and meta descriptions is a basic best practice. 

However, this is not the case for Google My Business! 

Google actually considers it against their regulations to add anything to your business name on your Google My Business profile. Your business name must be listed exactly as-is, and not include any keyword modifiers. 

For example, if your business name was ‘Joe’s Furniture’, it would be against Google My Business’s rules to list it on your Google My Business profile as ‘Joe’s Furniture Orange County’.

This can be confusing for business owners, because there are currently tons of listings on Google Map results that present themselves this way. However, there has been a big push by Google and supporting players to either take these accounts down or force their owners to make accurate edits— so in my opinion, it’s simply not worth the risk!

Link building

In organic SEO, link building is a central pillar. However, when it comes to building links to your Google My Business profile, there’s really no need. There is some evidence that strengthening your link building strategy to your main website may help your Google My Business profile rank, but again, link building to your main site is just a general best practice overall. So, keep your focus on building links to your website, not your Google My Business profile. 

Conclusion

As you can see, Google My Business has quite a few parallels with traditional local SEO techniques when it comes to trying to rank in Orange County, but there are important unique differences as well. The best strategy is to treat your Google My Business profile as its own priority to supplement your local Orange County SEO efforts. 

Creating a Reputation Management Strategy for Orange County SEO

What’s interesting about reputation management and SEO is that they are often pitted against each other. For many business owners when considering investing in these, it’s thus a choice between either SEO or reputation management.

And to tell the truth, when I was young and desperate for the deals, I used to think the same. It was never both, but always a choice between the one or the other. 

However, after working with several different clients through the years, I’ve since found that this is the wrong way to look at it and I’ve changed my ways. And I’ll urge you to change yours too. 

The thing is, if you’re trying to win at Orange County SEO, you’re trying to be seen by users searching for businesses like yours in Orange County. That means you want your business in front of as many eyes as possible. This increases your chances to be found and acquire more customers.

If that’s the case, you’ll make a mistake in choosing either SEO or reputation management. You’ll have to choose both. In other words, reputation management should be a partner to your SEO strategy in order to get the most coverage and the best results. 

But where do you start creating a reputation management strategy? Do you just pick a site and it’s done? The answer is a bit more involved, and with this post I aim to shed some light on these questions and help you create a strategy that’s suited to your needs. 

Reputation Management Sites Will Vary by Industry and Location

An important thing to remember is that, when it comes to reputation management sites, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. There are a few things to consider to make your reputation management strategy work for you. 

For instance, when talking about reputation management sites, most people immediately think of Yelp. Although Yelp is a perfect example, it by no means is the complete gamut of these kinds of sites. There are many others.

The first thing you should keep in mind is that reputation management sites will vary depending on the industry and even the location. This means that although one site may seem great on paper, it may be unsuitable for your business due to its location or industry. For example, in Orange County, the main reputation management firm for SEO searches at the time of writing this is Clutch. However, in other localities you will see that their competitor, Upcity is the site that ranks well. 

So, for instance, based on the basic fact that Clutch ranks for “Orange County SEO” terms, that means that Clutch is the primary ally for Zupo we engage with.

Another example would, for instance, be a business with offices in different locations. Let’s say the business has offices in Orange County and Phoenix. Would the same reputation management site be suitable for both offices? In this example, Clutch would be the main reputation management site for related keywords in Orange Country, while the main site for related keywords in Phoenix would be Upcity. So, no, they won’t be able to use the same site for both offices.

Therefore, for your business in Orange County you’ll need to investigate what the reputation management sites are for your industry and location and then determine which of them ranks well in Orange County. Because the rankings change by locality and industry, it can have a huge effect on how your strategy is implemented.

Once Identified, Determine the Rules of Engagement

Another important thing to remember is that not all reputation management sites are equal. Some, like Yelp and Google My Business make writing reviews quick and quite easy. In contrast, others like Clutch and Capterra are more involved. With them the review process takes more effort and can involve 5 - 10 minutes of focused writing to write a review.

Each reputation management site is therefore different, and you’ll have to compare them to make sure you win with the right ones. 

Once you’ve narrowed down the sites, you’ll also have to consider the pricing, or the sponsorship and paid features. This is where the rules of engagement really become important.

For instance, some sites like Yelp are extremely biased towards sponsorship and pay to play. This means that the more you pay, the more exposure you’ll get. In contrast others, are not as focused on sponsorship and will use their own metrics in their rankings.

Ultimately, you’ll have to decide whether or not you’re willing to engage with these reputation management sites based on the price you have to pay. Obviously, this doesn’t pose a problem for those sites that don’t rank on the first page as you don’t need to engage with them, especially on a paid level.

Where it does matter, though, is with the sites that do rank on the first page of search results. In this case you’ll have to consider whether the extra exposure you’ll get by engaging with these sites is worth the price you must pay. 

Personally, I have a bias against paying for some review sites, but I have also seen amazing results by paying for sponsorship on review sites, in tandem with strong Google My Business and Organic Orange County rankings. 

Keep in mind, though, that your preferences may differ and it’s quite possible that you’ll get different results on different sites or combinations of sites. 

Make the Review Site a Priority

So, now that you’ve looked at the options, weighed up the pros and cons, and considered the pricing, there’s only one thing left to do. It’s simple, execute your strategy. 

For the most holistic Orange County SEO success you want to feature in the Google Map Pack, use Orange County organic results and related reputation management sites. It surely is a worthy goal to strive for.

This will truly give your business the most visibility in Orange County Searches

Linkbuilding Through Local Orange County Publications & Sites

So, now you got a website for your business and you’ve started to implement Orange County SEO strategies into your site to increase your reach, get more customers, and, yes, increase your revenue. But I know, you want to further improve your reach. You want as many eyes as possible on your site. That’s what most businesses want for their sites, isn’t it?

One way you could further expand your reach is by link building. In fact, today, it’s more important than ever to build high-quality links if you want to compete online. The thing is, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Link building is one of the more difficult aspects of SEO. Why? Well, because it goes beyond your site and requires you to get 3rd party sites to agree to link to your sites. Not only does this improve your reach, but it also establishes you as an authority in the market. Despite this, for many businesses, link building is their main struggle in trying to improve their SEO. 

So, where do you start? What are some things you should consider? In this post, I’ll be dealing with using Orange County publications and sites as a springboard to start using link building in your business’s SEO strategy.

Link Building in Orange County

Like I said, link building isn’t easy. Being difficult as it is, it’s usually best to cast your net as wide as possible to get more prospective sites that can link to your site. There’s nothing tying you to Orange County, so you don’t have to stick to local sites only. So, it’s easy to send an email or message to anyone across the globe to link their site to yours.

When you, however, want to pursue link building avenues in Orange Country, it goes a bit further than reach and I recommend it as an avenue when you want to create local brand awareness. 

One way to do this is by using guest appearances or guest writing on other websites and link these back to your site. It’s almost as if it’s a natural form of link building. Since you’re an Orange County business, this is a perfect fit and a perfect way to create awareness around your brand. Despite this, many owners are so focused on just running the business that speaking or being interviewed is not something they’ve thought of. 

The Big Players 

If you're thinking of local publications to build your brand by link building, the first publications that come to mind are publications like OC Register, OC Weekly and OC Business Journal. These are some of the big players in the county, they’re well known, and they can be considered the upper tier of Orange County publications

If you therefore have the opportunity to work with some of the journalists from these publications, then you should definitely consider it. The exposure and link value you can obtain from these sites would be of immense value

Keep in mind, though, that these publications are not the be all and end all of a link building strategy. Personally, I have seen many businesses use all their resources and efforts in trying to get into these magazines, and more often than not, it doesn’t pay off.

Trade & Interest Groups 

What if you don’t get into one of these publications? Well, there are many other options to consider that can give you as good a reach as some these publications.

One of the most underutilized areas of link building I’ve seen is trade specific publications. Orange County is a thriving market with many businesses and groups coming together to support their respective industries and there are many of these types of publications. It can be as general as a chamber of commerce, but also a niche like a meetup group that are enthusiasts of a certain breed of dog. 

Irrespective of the group, the important thing here is that these trade and interest groups are a great way to find some worthy link building opportunities. Also, these groups usually each have their own website and own marketing that you’ll be able to benefit from.  

Apart from possible link building opportunities, these groups also offer another opportunity in that it opens the door to more businesses and establishes your credibility in the field. Remember, all the members of a trade organization are typically connected to several other companies, organizations, and websites that, in turn, want to connect to other businesses as well.

So how do you go about creating awareness around your brand and credibility by using these groups? Well, become involved and get some speaking engagements and features on these groups. It’s a perfect way to build your brand, establish yourself, and open yourself to bigger and better opportunities.

Being involved locally in Orange County and being an active participant is one of the most important aspects of these groups. In this way you’ll get the most value and the most benefits. In other words, when working with these groups, don’t go in with the main goal of link building. You must go in with the understanding how it will help your business as a whole. 

Blogs

Blogging, generally, is an easy way to get started with link building. With it you’re able to add value to another site and have it link back to yours. Once a reader reads something you wrote on their favorite blog, it immediately increases the chances of them going to your site. By reading on their favorite site, you’re also able to immediately establish yourself as an authority in the field.

With this is mind, all the blogs that are based out of Orange Country is a thriving area of link building examples. For example, Orange County is famous, and has been for more than a decade, for having a rich culture of parenting and food blogs. But don’t forget, Orange County has many types of blogs that go beyond parenting or food. You’ll find anything from blogs focused on community news, to the start-up scene, and politics. If you search a bit, I’m sure you’ll find a blog related to your business. 

Sure, the popularity of these types of blogs have dwindled a bit in recent times, but they’re still a great resource for link building. At the end of the day, everyone likes working with local businesses and many of these blogs want to support them. That’s why I like to work with local blogs when trying to build a site’s portfolio.

Podcasts, Radio Shows & Channels

Typically, when we talk about link building and publications, most people automatically think of text on a page like blog posts and articles.

However, the rise of podcasts and YouTube channels are another fantastic opportunity. These platforms have shown immense growth and are now on a par with blogs for people who are looking for information. 

Because of this, many companies or educational institutions will start podcasts or YouTube channels where they not only spread information, but also promote their and other businesses. These can be excellent link building opportunities, especially when they’re accompanied by strong and feature rich websites. Apart from podcasts and YouTube channels, there’s also radio shows that present opportunities from time to time. 

Just like blogs, if you do some digging, you will find many Orange County based podcasts, radio shows and channels that you can approach to start link building. 

Always Remember, Link building Requires Creativity & Value

Remember, link building requires creativity, persistence, and a commitment to providing value. It’s about give and take. These sites will link to your site if you bring something to the table. It’s thus imperative that you provide value to their consumers. 

So, do you have a unique story that others can really learn and get value from? Do you have information or technical knowledge that other players could benefit from? 

Then it’s time that you start on your link building journey.

For SEO in Orange County, You’ll Need to have an Address in Orange County

For businesses that are competing in local SEO, Orange County SEO is often an enticing market. This has to do, in part, with the fact that Orange County is home to more than 37 different cities — including Laguna Beach, Irvine, Coto de Caza, and Las Flores, to name a few. All of these cities identify, holistically, as Orange County. 

Because there are so many cities within this county, there’s a lot of opportunities for businesses to capitalize on it for local SEO. If you can rank in Orange County searches, you’ll also have tons of chances to bring in more traffic.

It’s important to note, though, that you can’t become competitive in Orange County just by stuffing keywords that contain the term “Orange County” into your online content. It takes a lot more. Those interested in following a guide we suggest you read our Orange County SEO Guide.

First Off, You’ll Need an Address in One of the Cities 

If you want to rank for any kind of city or county, including Orange County, it helps immensely to have an address in that city or county. This is because Google will give preference to businesses that have addresses in one of Orange County’s cities. 

How important is an address in one of these cities? In our experience, it’s pretty important. We’ve seen plenty of businesses that have relatively weak SEO profiles still be able to rank in their local city because they have the benefit of being located within its limits. 

If you’re located outside of an Orange County city but still want to try and rank in Orange County search engine results, you’re fighting an uphill battle. You have to work hard to overcome the handicap that Google gives to businesses that don’t have an address in the city.

It’s Not Impossible

Of course, it’s not impossible for your business to rank in other cities. While we’ve seen businesses with weak SEO profiles rank in Orange County searches, we’ve also seen lots of instances in which businesses managed to rank in cities outside of their own with the help of good SEO practices.

If you want to rank in a city that’s not yours, you’ll need to prioritize certain SEO initiatives. One of the most beneficial things you can do is to develop content and create sections of your website that are devoted purely to that city or the county (such as Orange County) for which you’re trying to rank.

There are lots of other factors to keep in mind when you start publishing this type of content and optimizing your site for another city. Your site will have to grow with that content in mind. 

For example, let’s say you have 100 pages devoted to optimizing your SEO for Irvine, a city in Orange County. Then, let’s say you decided you also wanted to rank for Tustin. You might start taking some of the Irvine-optimized pages and optimizing them for Tustin instead.

By doing this, you’ll have split your pages in half, and you’ll only have 50 SEO-optimized pages each for Irvine and Tustin. This waters down the SEO strength of your website and, in the worst-case scenario, can make it harder for you to rank for either Tustin or Irvine. 

If you want to try to rank for another city, you need to create new content for that city instead of borrowing from what you already have. This will give you the SEO resources to improve your ranking, and you won’t be at risk of cannibalizing your own content and spreading yourself too thin. 

Conclusion

If you have a goal of optimizing your site and ranking for Orange County searches, your best bet is to get an address within that county. If that’s not possible, you’ll then need to start investing heavily in growing your site and optimizing it for an Orange County city so that you can effectively expand into a new market.

Roadmap for Winning at Orange County SEO

There are many businesses and websites who want to rank their site for the entirety of Orange County. This isn’t hard to believe as Orange County is built up of over 37 cities and with many businesses and consumers. 

However, when it comes to ranking in Orange County, there are a multitude of factors that you’ll have to take into consideration, in order to strategize properly and win. 

In today’s post, we will be going over all the factors and variables you need to consider when developing your own Orange County SEO strategy.

Local SEO in Orange County

First things first, if you are trying to rank in Orange County, then you are competing in a Local SEO game. Therefore, you’ll need to ensure that you have all of your Local SEO tactics and campaigns ready and in place. 

This means that you will need to ensure that:

Geographic Modifiers in your Copy - Make sure that your title tags, meta descriptions and on page content all have the appropriate geographic modifiers, which in this case in “Orange County” or “OC”.  Ensure that this just isn’t on your home page, but across the whole website where relevant. 

Citations and Local Listings Updated and Consistent - A staple of Local SEO, citations and local listings ensure the accuracy of your business information, which helps Google and search engines ensure that you are a real business and that your information is accurate. Ensure that your info across the web is correct and that you have your address actually in Orange County. 

Ensuring business information is correct and easily found on the website - An often overlooked part of Local SEO, your business information has to be easily found on your website. This means your name, address, phone and contact information need to be displayed. An error or hiding your information can cause issues with your local SEO rankings. 

When it comes to Orange County SEO, you’ll need to ensure that you set up your campaigns with local SEO goals in mind. Your competition and actions will be honed down to other business in the county trying to rank.

This is an important mindset to discuss. Many businesses when engaging in SEO will forget that they are competing in Local SEO and will start thinking too broadly and think about other SEO goals, which can deviate and take away from the focus of your local SEO efforts.

Identify the Competition & Their Strengths

Before we can create a winning SEO strategy that will get you ranking at the top of your industry we must first understand your competition. You may think you know who your competitors are but your competition may not always be what it seems. Research will show us exactly which of your competitors are ranking within Orange County and which should be your main targets or threats. 

In our experience, we have found that although there are often a number of businesses trying to rank within a local area; in reality, there is only a handful (between 3 -5) of competitors that are actively trying to improve their rank. These are the only legitimate threats for SEO in Orange County that we should be concerned about.

When devising your SEO plan we must consider your competition as well as analyze their relative SEO strength and dominance within the Orange County market. Keep in mind that Google typically has 10 positions available for first-page ranking. If our research uncovers you have 1 or 2 competitors ranking on the first page will not be a difficult task. However, if the market is saturated with competitors vying for that first-page ranking then we must devise a more intricate and focused plan to compete for those top spots.

The first step will be to scope out the competition and figure out their strengths to help you create an effective SEO plan that will rank you among and above the best, rather than the rest.

Strategic Partnering & Reputation Management

 When conducting preliminary research for first page rankings you will often find that the first page is often a mix of competitors along with relevant articles and reputation management.

Reputation Management

In Orange County the most popular reputation management sites include but are not limited to:

  • Yelp
  • TripAdvisor
  • Foursquare

Oftentimes, different industries will appear in some reputation management sites more often than others. However, it is important as part of your company's visibility to ensure that you are appearing within the results of those sites. Some sites may rely on sponsorship advertising while others may link your company's reviews to your visibility. Ensure you are taking the necessary steps to gain visibility within these sites.

Articles & Publications

Another common appearance on the first page of rankings will be articles or publications that mention their preferred choices for a service or product within an industry in Orange County. These articles can be written by a number of sources such as the Orange County Register, Orange County Business Journal, Local Mom and Parenting Blogs, or publications related specifically to your industry.  For your company to appear listed within these pages it will be necessary for you to develop a relationship with these publications for them to consider including your business within their top choices. Sometimes certain publications may offer advertising arrangements to be included within their lists and other times a simple email or request to be included may be all you need.

Google My Business & Google Map Pack

In order to achieve a successful SEO strategy for Orange County, you absolutely must optimize your Google My Business listing. Google My Business is a crucial element of your SEO due to the fact that Google Map Pack will more often than not appear above all other search results.

Optimizing Google My Business

First and foremost check all business information for accuracy and then make sure you are presenting consistent business information across your business website, your Google My Business listing, and all other citation and directory sites that you are listed on.

Next, take the time to fill out and provide all information requested within the Google My Business Listing including:

  • Business Description
  • Products and Services Offered
  • Categories of Your Business
  • Reviews

Closing Thoughts

Winning at Orange County SEO entails knowing all the goal posts you have and what you should be optimizing for. When engaging in SEO in Orange County, take stock of the keywords that you are targeting, the competition and the strategic partners. From there you can reverse engineer all the assets and needs and if you need more information feel free to follow our Orange County SEO Guide.

Guide to Orange County SEO

Guide to Orange County SEO

When conducting SEO, information can be found almost anywhere. There are plenty of free tools and great articles out there that can provide guidance. However, if you are like us, there are times when things just get frustrating; wishing there was a way to get an exact answer for the exact location of operations. Today we want to try to provide just that for all our friends and businesses conducting SEO in Orange County.

Local SEO or Wider Scope? 

One of the first considerations that will dictate your ultimate strategy is choosing whether or not to compete in local SEO. If you operate out of a brick-and-mortar location, or you service  mostly local clientele, then you will likely be operating in local SEO. If you are a business like us in that you provide services without geographic limitations, then there is a little bit more to consider diving into.

Take Zupo for example!

Search engine optimization services are a search query that though seemingly have no geographic bounds, when Googled, actually returns local results. In short, this means that Google is treating the keyword as a local search, where they will give preference to companies that are within a nearby radius. For a company like ours, taking a hybrid approach is needed. Local SEO results are prioritized in one campaign, with non-geographic results in another.

To sum up the scope of SEO: keyword groups are targeting local results, and will be competing in Orange County’s local SEO game. If the results are non-geographic specific, then feel free to disregard the rest of the article, because you will not be competing strictly in Orange County when it comes to SEO. 

Orange County or a City in Specific 

Another aspect that must be determined is the reach your business has within Orange County’s SEO. This is the scope of the area you are competing in. Let’s break it down. 

Specific Cities in Orange County  

Some businesses are really only interested in competing in their local city. Say you are in South County (let’s say Irvine) you may not be interested in having users from Anaheim find you. In other cases, companies have catered their businesses to be optimized for their local county or surrounding area’s citizens. In this case, they may not be interested in servicing people from other demographics who may have different socioeconomic statuses or styles of living. 

A classic example of this can be found in Anaheim, where businesses in East Anaheim are very much different than those in West Anaheim. In East Anaheim, businesses are much closer to Disneyland and are servicing tourists and the entertainment crowd. In West Anaheim, where there are more families and small businesses, the services are geared toward those families and many different immigrant and ethnic groups. 

When competing on a city level, there are some factors that influence the circumstances that you will be participating in. When it comes to the individual cities of Orange County, the number of searches per city is typically quite small. Based on our own research, we see city-specific searches go anywhere from 10 searches a month to maybe 100 if for some reason, surges in demand cause them to be really high. 

Simply put, when you are competing on a city level, you will have a smaller pot of searches that you’re competing for. This also means, however, that the competition is much weaker because less sites will be fighting for the local city’s business. Typically, for our clients, what we normally advise is to first win at your local city level, and then move to the county level. This way you can make incremental improvements and see results more quickly. 

Orange County 

Then of course, there is the county as a whole. Many businesses, especially service businesses would like to rank in the county to build clout and further future commerce.

Orange County amasses over 37 cities, a decently large area. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t go ranking for the county as a whole. For many of our clients, we work with them on ranking for Orange County so that they can have the widest net possible to capture leads and customers. When trying to rank for Orange County as a whole, the searches will always be much larger. You can see them anywhere from 50 to 200 searches a month for different keyword groups.

Of course, there are occasions when searches in the Orange County region are also low at 10 searches a month, but it really depends on the service that you are offering. On many occasions we can see a very small search volume, but because the business provides a high ticket service, one project has a larger return on investment. 

When ranking for Orange County specifically, the competition will typically be ratcheted up. More businesses across a larger area are all competing for the Orange County searches, so what is needed to rank requires more effort. This means a larger commitment to content and link building. However, once a business begins to start ranking for Orange County searches, they start to see large improvements in their leads because of the amount of exposure they are receiving. 

Content Development in Orange County 

Regardless of if you are competing for a specific OC city or if you are competing for Orange County as a whole, the content you make will need to be oriented towards the local area you are trying to rank within.

This means your online content needs to mention Orange County (or whatever city you are going for) in order for SEO to pick up on it. At times, this can seem weird, almost difficult or forced, because talking about your trade doesn’t necessarily always involve naming your local area. However, it is something you will have to commit to. Find ways to organically place mentions of your city, or in our case, Orange County into the written pieces.

For many of our clients, the best action to take is to become a known, active player in the community. Consider either leading, founding or joining different trades and community organizations to spread notoriety. Orange County specifically is thriving in different trades like community and nonprofit organizations which allow for business development to flourish. On an SEO level, these trades provide businesses with a great opportunity to write content that is geared towards the local city and county with ease. 

The content produced doesn’t need to be 100% catered to the local area, but will have to be a priority and an emphasis. Otherwise, your site will not be seen by Google as a business that is well optimized for the local area. 

Orange County Specific Content 

The key to a successful local SEO campaign is to be location-specific - meaning your content bleeds “Orange County” or the “OC” - NOT the “Greater Los Angeles” area. See what we did there? Only people not from Orange County call it the “Greater Los Angeles” area. 

For your content to climb in search rankings you’ll want to lean into all the things that make life in the OC unique and relate it to your business or industry. This can be difficult when you’re so immersed in the area - you may not even notice what is “unique” as it all seems familiar to you. 

Not sure where to start? Sometimes the best way to get inspired is to look at what websites located elsewhere are talking about and adapt it with an Orange County spin. Some examples of great OC content could be:

  • Best Dog Beach in Orange County
  • Best Picnic Spots or Hiking Trails in Orange County
  • Best Places to Do a Video Shoot in Orange County

At the end of the day, the best options depend on the nature of your business. You’ll just have to get creative and employ one key strategy: try to think like a person who has OC pride. Think about what they’d like to read, learn and know. Build your content with that person in mind and you’ll be well on your way to grabbing the attention of local influencers and becoming a trusted resource. 

If all else fails, check out the competition and do what they’re doing but better. Mimic their topics but bring a better tone. In researching your competition you are likely to get those creative juices flowing - and once those juices start flowing make sure to start writing right away. Documenting your great ideas about OC, even if they aren’t fully baked, will help to ensure that nothing is forgotten. Jot down every sound bite that comes to you. You’ll thank yourself later for that diligence. 

Complimentary Topics

The other thing you need to keep in mind is that you want to be as authentic as you can with your audience. Of course you have to be thinking of your business’s bottom line when you’re devising your marketing and content strategies, but people don’t necessarily want to feel like they’re being “marketed to” all the time. You want potential customers to feel like your business is contributing to a greater good in terms of knowledge. 

For example, if you are a dentist, you don’t want your web content to be only about teeth and procedures - you need to explore other topics of interest. You can create local content that explores other interesting themes, such as the local school lunches, what foods are teeth healthy or how the fluoride levels are in your city’s water. 

In other words - don’t be one-dimensional. Build your content library and establish yourself as a trusted local resource. Leverage your industry expertise and generate local content specific to your audience - the effort will undoubtedly pay major dividends in sake ranking and overall engagement.

On Site Optimizations

When working on your site’s search engine tags for optimization, keep in mind they also have to be catered to Orange County or one of the OC cities you are targeting. This will have a lot of similarities to content development in that you want to make sure the title tags and meta descriptions of your site include the local modifiers. Also, when building internal links, there should be anchor text that states the OC city name or “Orange County.”

Link Building & Referring Domains in Orange County 

When it comes to link building, it is much less relevant to have links come from only local sources. So when engaging in link building campaigns, there can be less focus on developing links specifically from local areas or sites.

What we have found is that an over reliance on local link building can severely slow growth of links and referring domains. We encourage businesses to build links where you are able, and do not make it restrictive. A large part of link building is acquiring links from relevant sites, so if you are trying to rank within your area and can acquire links from local sites, we recommend to do so! This is one aspect of link building that is advantageous when it comes to working in your local area. 

If you live and operate in Orange County, you probably have built some level of network with organizations, educational institutions, or friends. With these connections under your belt, it will be easier to give talks and provide value in your local area. If you think about it, you most likely already have some of these existing relationships. However, if you are reading this and don’t think you have a network within the community, then getting started isn’t too difficult either.

You live and operate in Orange County, all you have to do is put in the time and start reaching out and attending events. That of course is if you want to start acquiring thought leadership in the local community.

Building Thought Leadership to Help Orange County SEO Campaigns

For many business owners in Orange County, working towards building thought leadership can be an intimidating process.

Being right next door to Los Angeles, one of the biggest centers of business in the world, many Orange County companies feel overwhelmed or unworthy of thinking of themselves as a thought leader, or as a name worth featuring online, or even at an industry event.

I understand that… but I don’t necessarily agree.

That’s why in today’s post, I want to tear down this idea and go over actionable strategies your business can use in order to build thought leadership for itself. Read on!

Collegiate and Educational Institutions in Orange County

I want to start here because it was in educational institutions that I personally built most of my PR and contributor opportunities.

Graduating from California State University, Fullerton, provided me with the launchpad to kickstart my link building and digital PR abilities, as I had the chance to work with the local business clubs, entrepreneurship departments, and business schools, not only to speak at certain events but also to contribute with some content.

This is essential because it allowed me to keep building my portfolio, which is key when it comes to building thought leadership.

Plus, universities and educational institutions have their private interest to ensure there are resources for students to engage with, particularly those that can speak to future careers.

Clubs, classes, and the universities themselves are starving for programs that can bring those who are already working to come back and speak, and that represents a great opportunity for yourself.

My tip is that if you’re not sure whether or not anyone would want to hear about your brand or your opinion as a business owner, start with speaking at schools and colleges.

Reach out to clubs or professors, as they’re usually very casual and don’t have to do any intense vetting of your past accomplishments, and propose your idea.

The truth is that they just want to hear from someone real who can speak about certain topics… someone like you!

And if you didn’t go to college in OC, don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out. As long as you have relevant insights to share with the students, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get in touch with the university.

Orange County Specific Publications

Orange County is thriving with several publications - and no, I’m not just speaking about the typical Orange County Register or Orange County Business Journal.

In fact, there are many publications in OC that cater specifically to a certain industry, and all you need to do is find the one(s) that are a good fit for your business.

Personally, I have worked with two OC startup publications, OC Startup Now and OC Startup Council, and I can say that doing is a foolproof way of boosting your thought leadership, as these publications often want to talk specifically about businesses in the area.

And the best part is that more often than not, these journalists or website owners are incredibly accessible!

In order to get in touch with them, you can:

  • Attend local events where journalists typically go to in order to write stories and find people to feature in their pieces.
  • Send outreach emails to your chosen publications, letting them know that you’re from OC and mentioning what you could offer to their website and content.

Personally, I find that going with the first option, and having face-to-face conversations from the get-go, increases your chances of being featured. However, going with the traditional online marketing route can work just fine as well!

Meetups and Events

Last but not least, going to industry meetups and events is another great way of building thought leadership.

As someone who doesn’t exactly love networking, I have found that if you have no contacts or networks whatsoever, meetups and events are great starting points to build some credibility.

Granted, you’ll find countless people just trying to sell you things. However, you’d be surprised at how many high-powered OC individuals to these networking events to find up-and-coming names in the area.

As such, my suggestion is that you do your best to attend relevant networking events and meetups. Do it consistently, and you’ll start making some headway and become someone that people look to for advice.

And if you want to take things one step further, why not start hosting events yourself? After all, being the host of an interesting, well-organized meetup will give you credibility like never before.

Additionally, whenever you go to events, try and identify strong organizations that you should pursue opportunities with, in order to service on boards or get an elevated position.

I have found that if you continually go to networking events from a specific organization and they show opportunities to join their board, you’ll find great chances of building credibility and boosting your exposure much faster. 

The key to starting your journey towards thought leadership and to finding opportunities for link building is simple: you need to get out there. 

Luckily, there are plenty of SEO opportunities in Orange County, thanks to the many publications, institutions, and organizations looking for more content and value. Make the most of them, and you’ll become an authority in your industry!

Conclusion

When working on SEO in Orange County, the strategies that are to be used are similar to traditional SEO campaigns, however, what you have to keep in mind is that your strategies have to skew towards the local OC goals you have. 

Going through what we have discussed above will help create the mindset and foundational strategy when creating your own SEO strategy. 

Zupo Wins Silver & Bronze at the American Advertising Awards

Zupo participated in its first award season, by applying for the 2020 American Advertising Awards which awarded great advertising work done in 2019. Zupo submitted 2 entries under the “Integrated Media”, specifically focusing on Blogs. We actively engage in Digital PR and thought leadership work for our clients, so we wanted to submit some of our work.

Silver Addy Award - Hubspot Thought Leadership Post

Silver Addy - Hubspot

The Hubspot Thought Leadership post was a campaign we worked on together with Sparkhouse and Torrey Tayenaka. We we worked together to author a blog piece titled "The Guide to Successful Silent Videos for Facebook Videos Ads (+Examples)". 

The piece provides readers with the latest tactics and strategies for video ads working in silence. And of course, the article is filled with examples of ads and videos that utilize silence effectively. 

The goal of the project was to help improve Sparkhouse’s brand strength, exposure and, most importantly, their backlink profile. This thought leadership blog posts was just one of the many articles and blog posts that Zupo worked on to help Sparkhouse drive high quality, relevant links back to their website. 

After completion, the article was pitched to Hubspot’s marketing blog and published!

Bronze Addy - Social Media Examiner Thought Leadership Post

Bronze Addy - Social Media Examiner

The Social Media Examiner Thought Leadership post was one of the final projects we completed in 2019, with it being published on December 24th. The final piece was titled “How to Use Instagram Stories in Your Sales Funnel”. 

This was the culmination of a campaign where Zupo helped drive thought leadership guest posts on a variety of publications discussing video SEO strategy within the sales funnel. For this particular piece, we worked with Social Media Examiner to go more granular by focusing on a piece that went into detail about how to use Instagram Stories, a very niche medium of video, and how to employ these stories with the sales funnel in mind. 

This was another example of the long term SEO strategy to help drive more high quality links back to Sparkhouse. This would ultimately help Sparkhouse tighten its grip on ranking in Orange County SEO for video production terms, while also growing their potential for ranking in other keyword groups. 

The piece is rich with specific tips, examples and screenshots from actual Instagram stories!

Thank You's & Shout Outs!

Overall, we were flabbergasted to have won awards. This was Zupo’s first year entering any type of awards and applications were sent in just as practice so that for future years we could better understand the process. 

We are very grateful to have received recognition for the hard work everyone on the team has done, so it is only fitting that we shout out and credit the key players that were apart of these award winning projects. 

Christina Brown
Christina Brown
Torrey Tayenaka
Jason Khoo

Zupo is Now Working with Kaizen Shabu

Zupo is excited to announce that it is now working with Kaizen Shabu, Orange County's hottest Shabu Shabu & Hot Pot restaurant. Kaizen Shabu is led by Lamson Nguyen, a local Orange County entrepreneur and a board director for Downtown Inc which helps facilitate the enhancement of Downtown Santa Ana as a vibrant shopping, entertainment, business and cultural destination for all.

What is Kaizen Shabu? 

Kaizen Shabu is a specialty Shabu Shabu and Hot Pot restaurant and bar located in the heart of Downtown Santa Ana and Orange County, CA. “Kaizen” is a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices and personal efficiency.  We are always striving for the betterment of our store and within ourselves as reflected in our motto:“Be Better Than You Were Yesterday.”

Kaizen Shabu’s Future

As the name suggests, Kaizen’s future is in continual improvement and growth. The vision for the company is looking to continue to expand beyond its one location with more restaurants, concepts and locations. The ultimate goal is for Kaizen to become a national brand! 

Zupo & Kaizen

Zupo will be helping Kaizen Shabu with their fast growth in there Orange County SEO rankings. The restaurant is quickly becoming a top restaurant in Orange County, and with Zupo’s experience helping other restaurants reach the top spots in Google, we are excited to be partnering with Kaizen and working together to continue their success and growth. 

Zupo nominated for Anaheim Small Business Person of the Year

Zupo Nominated for Anaheim's Small Business Person of the Year

Zupo is happy to announce it’s nomination for Alignable’s Small Business Person of the Year in Anaheim. Jason Khoo, Founder of Zupo, was nominated and currently is a leading vote getter for the title of Anaheim’s Small Business Person of the Year. 

We are extremely excited to see Jason nominated and doing so well in this contest. Zupo puts a lot of emphasis on not only delivering for our clients, but also helping the local community. The contest is still ongoing, so we do encourage all our friends and fans to help vote for Zupo and Jason to win the final prize! 

What is Alignable?

With millions of connections across +25,000 local communities, Alignable is the free network where small business owners build trusted relationships and generate referrals. Members use Alignable to get the industry answers they need, connect within their local business community, and increase word-of-mouth for their business. 

How the Contest Works

  • Comment with the name of the business owner you’d like to nominate and include a link to his or her Alignable profile.
  • Like and reply to other nominations you agree with. Only 3 of the most-liked nominations will make it to the next round -- and only Alignable “likes” count.

Case Study: Optimizing Sparkhouse for Video Production in Orange County

When Sparkhouse, a video production agency based out of Orange County realized their critical need to optimize its Search Engine presence they called on us our experienced and professional team at Zupo to help them out. Sparkhouse came to us boasting a strong network and a reputation as a well-known agency in the marketing and advertising community. For years they had relied on its networking capabilities and connections within the community to build their business, but they had been missing out on critical SEO opportunities. Zupo was brought in to assist Sparkhouse in understanding and implementing an effective SEO strategy to bring in more traffic to their current business.

Optimizing Sparkhouse for Orange County SEO Strategy

Due to Google's classification of video production searches as local intent searches, it became apparent to us rather quickly that Sparkhouse would have to develop and compete in an Orange County SEO Strategy. Our primary goal was to attain ranking for Sparkhouse for "Orange County video production" searches and its possible variants. Our team at Zupo wanted to see significantly improved performance for Sparkhouse in both Search Results and Google Map Pack.

An SEO Strategy for Sparkhouse

Citations

Once we determined Sparkhouse's need to focus on local intent searches we knew we would be engaging in an SEO strategy that revolved in and around Orange County. Citations and local listings were an essential part of the overall SEO strategy for Sparkhouse. Citations not only ensure that the information available across various internet sources is accurate and consistent is also works to give Google important signals of where a business is actually located.

Based on our research and analysis we discovered that Sparkhouse had a substantial amount of inaccurate information through various sources on the web. This was in large part due to a prior brand name as OC Creative Media used in its past business dealings as well as three different business addresses used over the years when Sparkhouse relocated to different office locations. Zupo worked hard to rectify all inaccuracies and correct all information related to Sparkhouse across the internet. In addition, we took the extra step of making sure to eliminate and delete any outdated and wholly inaccurate citations linked to the Sparkhouse business.

On-Site Markup

Sparkhouse is a successful and elite video production company with many years in business. However, the nature of Sparkhouse's business revolving around video puts them in a weak position when it comes to SEO. Unfortunately, Google has yet to perfect an algorithm that will read video in an efficient and accurate manner. In fact, video weighs very low when it comes to rankings in organic searches.  

While Sparkhouse's website was filled with amazing video there was little to no text in support of their media. Their website was overflowed with multimedia content that Google was unable to properly read, making the company virtually nonexistent in various search rankings. Zupo was able to identify this weakness in Sparkhouse's website and update and optimize their site with relevant and effective text-based content in combination with their video content to ensure that their overall content was optimized for Orange County searches. The Zupo team included the use of the "Orange County" term across the site in headers, titles, and SEO tags. The team properly implemented Orange County keywords throughout the SparkHouse website. In addition, we took the time to organize each different section of the website to flow smoothly and effectively. As a result of these changes, Sparkhouse's website began to rank quickly in searches for Orange County video production keywords and its variants.

Consolidating Local Orange County Links for Sparkhouse's Benefit

Due to Sparkhouse's well-regarded reputation and networking throughout their local community; they had a very valuable competitive advantage and SEO asset that we could implement into their overall SEO strategy.

Sparkhouse had extensive connections throughout the community having collaborated and worked with various other local companies, small businesses, and community organizations such as:

  • American Advertising Federation Orange County
  • AD2 Orange County
  • Forge 54
  • Ocean's Institute
  • OC Food Bank
  • Playworks Socal
  • Eva Drop – Orange County Startup
  • Kite Patch – Orange County Startup

Zupo used these valuable local connections and their involvement with each different organization to drive traffic through the implementation of local OrangeCounty links from all of these organizations into Sparkhouse. This identified connection between Sparkhouse and each company works as an Orange County Signal to Google. The implementation of these Orange County links helped signal to Google that Sparkhouse was not only located in Orange County but was also connected to various Orange Country organizations and websites related to this specific location through these connected links.

Sparkhouse's Successful SEO results

After the various changes integrated by Zupo into Sparkhouse's website and web presence; the company quickly achieved becoming the top-ranked site in many of the searches using "OC" or "Orange County" in combination with a variety of video production keywords. Sparkhouse also made a drastic turnaround in performance and dominated the Orange County Google Map Packs with their Google My Business Account. Since Zupo began its work with Zupo their Google Analytics Traffic has tripled in performance. More importantly Zupo's relevant business leads and incoming inquiries has tripled since working with Zupo.

The development of Local SEO requires unique strategies and tactics that differ from a typical SEO strategy that does not require the identification and implementation of geographic factors. Zupo's expertise and knowledge of Local SEO created a successful Orange County SEO strategy that boosted Sparkhouse's SEO in Orange County to dominance. Sparkhouse continues to see monthly growth and continual improvements in their SEO results leading to increases in traffic and a steady flow of leads.  

Sparkhouse's situation is not unique or rare. There are many successful businesses especially those in niche sectors such as video production that are surviving on networking and connections but are not reaching their full potential because of a lack of a fully functional website and strong web presence that could work to its benefit in building and growing their business.  

>