What I mean by that is that I like to help smaller businesses target their local customer base.
More than that, however, I like to help them grow that customer base.
That’s what we’re getting at with local SEO – expanding your reach and influence locally, where it matters the most.
Are small businesses still important?
Considering the 28 million small businesses we have in America today, yes.
And my have we come far – we know that in 1980 there were just 15 million small businesses in America.
This is growth.
Small businesses are the heart of the American economy, it’s main engine and driver. Without them we’d be up shit creek.
Well, we already are.
This country’s falling apart and people are feeling it. Why even bother to shop locally for products or services when I can get it all with a click of the mouse?
Well, because you care.
That’s why people shop locally – because they care.
- They care about their neighbors and neighborhood;
- They care about families and the future they should have;
- They care about small things that lead to big differences;
- They care about America.
That’s what shopping locally means, and with local SEO you can do that.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that local products – even if they’re made thousands of miles away and just sold locally – really lose out to the internet.
But you know what? Services don’t.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written local SEO services…even before I knew anything about local SEO.
And let’s face it – until a year or so ago, few of us were seriously talking about local SEO as we know local SEO today.
Mobile has changed everything.
So what is local SEO, and how can it help you sell those services…and maybe even those products?
In this post I’d like to recap what we’ve learned about SEO this year. I’ll do that by profiling what I consider to be the top local SEO posts.
I can do this because I take content curation seriously, as followers of my Midweek Content Roundups know.
A benefit of this is that I can find and access – retrieve, really – information quickly, faster than most in fact.
Let’s retrieve some of that local SEO info today. I have a feeling it’ll help your site, your business, and your desire to help those in your local area.
Local SEO Problems
Back in January Jomer Gregorio had a post on Digital Marketing Philippines called Top 8 Local SEO Problems and Solutions. Some of those problems are:
– The Site Has No Location-Specific Content;
– The Site Has No Location-Specific Pages;
– The Business Has Multiple or Incorrect Listings on Google;
– The Business Receives No Good Citations.
Gregorio tells us that “43% of search queries now make use of locally-focused keywords.”
gives out quite a few solutions for each. For instance, on the citations problem we just mentioned he tells us that citations are generated when someone “mentioned your NAP details.” Again, get that Name, Address, and Phone number on your site.
All in all, stuff to think about on this post.
Slideshows and Social
Another interesting article form Search Engine Land on January 26 was 11 Tips For Using Slide Presentations For Local SEO Advantage.
This was put out by Chris Silver and it’s also worth a look. In fact, this is a good site for your SEO bookmark bar as it’s always adding relevant content each day. Here are the main points of this article:
– Leveraging Your Existing Assets;
– Crafting An Effective Slideshow – Without Giving It All Away;
– The Benefits of Using Slideshows For Local SEO & Web Visibility;
– Tips for Optimizing Slide Presentations For Local SEO..
You get a lot of tips here on using images with social media to get traffic to your site. Someone in Montana politics puts out slide shows on Twitter, and you can flip through 45 to 100 images and text – just like you would with an informative PowerPoint slideshow – right there in your social media feed.
This is a big thing, and it’s great for getting your message out. People are already on social media, and it’s very easy for them to click that little ‘right’ arrow once to get started, then again and again once you’ve pulled them in. In other words, you need your team looking into how this can work for you.
A good post for Local SEO types is 10 Common Mistakes To Avoid On Local Websites. It was written by Greg Gifford and appeared on Search Engine Land on February 2. In it he lays out these 10 no-no’s:
– Don’t Just Focus On Your Brand;
– Don’t Just Focus on What You Sell;
– Don’t Make The Mistake Of Thinking People Already Know What They Want;
– Don’t Forget To Optimize Local Elements On-Site;
– Don’t Forget To Optimize Off-Site Local Signals;
– Don’t Forget Your Home Page;
– Don’t Forget Your Internal Pages;
– Don’t Spam Cities or Keywords;
– Don’t Spam Your Title Tags;
– Don’t Forget To Update Your NAP (Name, Address, & Phone Number) When It Changes.
There is one thing this article forgot – Don’t Forget The Kitchen Sink.
I mean, I'm sorry, but this article says just about everything. Still, there are some good ideas and you can read more about them in the post.
I found this post called Complete Guide To Multilingual And Multiregional SEO to be very interesting. It’s about using different languages and such to get your site seen by more people. It was written by Amit Kothiyal and appeared on TIS India on March 2.
“Once, you have understood where you are targeting for performing multilingual and multiregional SEO,” Kothiyal says, “the next step is to select the URL structure strategy and domain.” You can do that with geo targeting. Intrigued? The post is worth a look.
Mixing Marketing and Local SEO
Jonha Revesencio had a good post on Huffington Post on March 6 called 5 Ways Content Marketing and Local SEO Need to Mix. Those 5 ways are:
– Keep a Blog;
– Social Media is a Must-do;
– Images and Video;
– Cultivate Online Reviews;
– Stay Consistent.
These are simple tips that new folks will want to keep in mind. Remember, refresher posts are a good idea from time to time…and make great landing pages too.
Setting Up Local SEO
Pam Neely had a good post on Business 2 Community on March 11 called Get Found Faster: 10 Tips for Successful Local SEO. Some of those tips were:
– Make your site mobile friendly;
– Set up your Google My Business listing;
– Set up your Yahoo Local Basic listing;
– Set up Apple Maps Connect;
– Build your social following.
Wow, I didn’t know there was so much stuff to set up when I was doing local SEO. Maybe this post would be good to look at more, huh?
Starting From Scratch with Local SEO
A March 13 Search Engine Journal post that might help you is SEO 101: Getting Started in Local SEO (From Scratch). Hin Lai wrote it and it talks about the “local 7-pack” that is typical now for Google local search queries.
He talks about checking local listings in your area for comparison and then delves into Google My Business and how that can help you.
He offers tips for building your local presence so that you can get more traffic from those closest to you. This leads to more brand awareness and eventually sales.
Local SEO is only going to get bigger, especially as more people use mobile. Get your site set up so it can capture as much of that mobile traffic as possible.
Measuring Q1 Performance
Rachel Lindteigen had a post on Search Engine Land on April 10 called Measuring Success For Your Local SEO Program In 5 Easy Steps. Those steps are:
– Review Overall Traffic Numbers;
– Review Conversions & Profit;
– Look At Your Mobile Traffic;
– Compare New Vs. Returning Visitors;
– Review Your Referral Traffic.
Lindteigen says that it’s important to “look at all the goals you laid out initially” for the first quarter of 2015, as well as “your program’s overall SEO performance.”
The performance of that should give you a good idea if you should press on or change things up. Sounds elementary, but I’d say 10% of sites do this, if that! Be one of them.
Local Directory Traffic Down 35%
Is Local Directory Traffic On The Rise Again? That was the question posed by Myles Anderson in a June 30 Pioneer e-Solutions post. Anderson “studied 30 of the most prominent, well known, and high traffic U.S. directories” to come up with his results. So what’s the news?
“Over the past 28 months, there has been a 35% decline in top online directories,” he says. The only directory that’s worth anything anymore, it seems, is Yelp.
So why are we seeing this huge decline? Anderson points to Google’s May 2015 “Doorway” algorithm as being a culprit, but I feel the crackdown on guest posting rules a while back was also a cause.
We do know that larger directories have seen a greater loss than smaller directories, but only by 5%. And it’s anticipated that this decline will continue, while huge mega-sites like Yelp will keep growing.
Responsive Design and Mobile
Responsive Is The McDonald’s Cheeseburger Of Mobile SEO is an informative post, but the images might make you kinda sick. It was put up on Marketing Land by Bryson Meunier on July 16. In it he talks about responsive web design.
Holy shit, is this news? Did we suddenly realize that responsive design is the winner? Wow, because I was under the impression that we figured that one out a long time ago. I guess this post is for those still back there in the dust, huh?
I had to go ahead and check the date on this one again, just to make sure it’s in 2015 and not 2014. Somehow the post is indeed from this year. I guess that’s because it’s mobile, so old news can seem new again!
Maybe it holds some secrets for you – it was certainly put together with care, kinda like someone doing their schoolwork in a classroom with the window open.
While they’re not looking, the breeze comes in and blows their textbook onto another page. Not knowing, they continue on. In the end the teacher calls them up to the desk and asks what the hell happened. You go red in the face, it’s not pretty, the other students laugh.
So that’s what this post is, just like that time in 3rd grade. Maybe you’ll want to check it out, but the two negatives – terrible images and total lack of relevancy – tells me that you probably needn’t.
Local SEO Survey on Moz
The 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors was a post on Moz that appeared this week and kind off the survey findings from September/October 2015.
Each year Moz puts out one of these surveys and the results. This year we see categories like Top 50 Localized Organic Factors (Domain Authority or Website is #1) and Negative Ranking Factors (Incorrect business category is #1)
At the end you get lots of experts offering additional insight. If you want a lot of detailed local SEO info, this is a good spot. Boning up on it will give you an edge going into next year.
Looking at the Local SEO Picture with Stats
I love reading local SEO posts because they tie into mobile, linkbuilding, content marketing, reviews, and paid advertising.
Local SEO is really where it’s at, and the old saying “think globally, act locally” will take on a whole new meaning.
Tamara Weintraub gets at this in her October 12 Search Engine Journal post. It was called SEO 101: Local #SEO Stats You Need to Consider for Your Strategy.
If you like stats, you’ll get a ton here. Some that stand out are that “88% of consumers have read reviews” and “93% of searches” for local issues will have the Google 3-pack.
Yeah, we’re talking about that small packet of ads that shows up, oftentimes with reviews.
More and more, if your business or site isn’t showing up in those results, it just won’t be found. This is the new SERP as far as local SEO is concerned.
Besides the Local Pack and Reviews you’ll also get stats on Mobile-Friendly Sites and On-the-Go Searches. Good tips to check out!
Local SEO Tips for Physical Businesses
One post that might interest you is Getting on the Map: The Intro to Local SEO for SABs
An SAB is a service-area business, though I expect Joy Hawkins didn’t include the full title in her headline on this November 2 Moz post because she wanted to sound more impressive.
That’s fine, and maybe you’ll be impressed by some of the local SEO tips in this post. They’re for brick and mortar stores, the kind that have a physical location and hours of operation.
Yeah, I’m frustrated too. What if I offer online services but want to target my local SEO area? Sorry – the big boys do not give a damn about you.
The nice thing is that you can still get some ideas in this post, 8 to be exact. They’ll help you if you do have a “real” business. It pretty much revolved around your location and getting it on the map, literally. If that interests you, check out this post.
Common Mistakes with Local SEO
Local SEO: 6 Critical Mistakes You’re Making And Why You Need to Fix Them was a November 19 Social Media Today post by Sam Warren. Those 6 mistakes are:
– Not being consistent with NAP;
– Not claiming a Google My Business Page;
– Not adding your business to local listing sites;
– Not actively getting reviews from customers;
– Not adding fresh content;
– Not using schema.org markup on your website.
NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number and that’s what many people are often looking for when they type in your site. As you can see, there’s a lot more and you might do well to check in on it.
Google+ Tells Small Businesses to Go
Since it pertains to local SEO efforts, I’m putting Google Drops Display Of Local Business Reviews in New Google+ in the SEO section. The post appeared on Marketing Land on November 24, put there by Martin Beck.
Mainly, the new redesign of Google+ will not show reviews. Reviews “are still accessible on Google Search and Maps,” we’re told, and Beck thinks this is a “signal that Google is giving up on efforts to encourage small businesses to create and maintain presences on Google+.”
I’d like to point out that Google isn’t as smart as we’d like to think. They’re big, bloated, a bureaucracy. So large do they expect to become that they started a holding company that can use every letter of the alphabet for company names, and intends to.
Welcome to IBM 2.0.
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