Making The Case For Local Search Optimization

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The key to success with local search engine optimization is to start small and stay focused on your customers. But by building slowly on your success, you can accomplish big things! …

The key to success with local search engine optimization is to start small and stay focused on your customers. But by building slowly on your success, you can accomplish big things!

In this presentation at David Mihm's Local University at SMX Advanced 2012 in Seattle, Jonathon Colman, the in-house SEO at REI, walks us through how he and his colleagues made the case to pursue local SEO and how REI later bought into a wide-ranging cross-channel customer strategy that had big wins for local search visibility.

Watch out for a special guest appearance by Data the android from TV's "Star Trek: The Next Generation"!

You can learn more about Jonathon Colman at http://www.jonathoncolman.org/

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  • 1. Photo © Flickr user iL.C.Nøttaasen at flickr.com/photos/magnera/3157602186/
  • 2. MAKING THECASEFOR LOCALSEARCH
  • 3. AN INSIDE STORY OFSMALL CHANGES AND SOME BIG WINS Jonathon Colman www.jonathoncolman.org Twitter @jcolman Agile SEO for REI www.REI.com
  • 4. We operate 123 stores in 30 states Such as our Seattle Flagship Store: 222 Yale Ave. N Seattle, WA 98109 Oooooh, a citation!Photo © Flickr user Sonofabike at flickr.com/photos/oyj/2609205311
  • 5. %Traffic to our store pagesfrom local organic search is growing at +25% YTD
  • 6. It wasn’t always this way
  • 7. Just 2 years ago, we weren’t growing our organic traffic to local store content at all
  • 8. Photo © Flickr user Petereed at flickr.com/photos/petereed/496392956/
  • 9. Someone else’s fault No budget Other right now priorities Who will own it? Someone Someone else’s job else’s budget ROI can’t be This is not measured Someone what we do else’s metrics Right idea, Wrong time This not how Better we do this opportunities Wrong idea, It will take Wrong time too longPhoto © Flickr user Petereed at flickr.com/photos/petereed/496392956/
  • 10. How do we find this?Photo © Flickr user loop_oh at flickr.com/photos/loop_oh/4541017817/
  • 11. By assigning value to indicators of off-line activities.Photo © Flickr user Thomas Hawk at flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/540936323/
  • 12. • Store locator use • Store page views • Rentals pages • Local event pages • Local class pages • Local volunteer opportunities • Links, Likes, Tweets for local contentPhoto © Flickr user Thomas Hawk at flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/540936323/
  • 13. They’re all worth something. So make an estimate. Don’t fall into the trap of making your estimate perfect. Perfection takes up lots of time and stops good work from happening. Just be reasonable.Photo © Flickr user Thomas Hawk at flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/540936323/
  • 14. Use these values to estimate the worth of total off-line activities Voilà! Now you’ve created a simple business case …and a vocabulary that you can teach to your organizationPhoto © Flickr user Koen Vereeken at flickr.com/photos/koenvereeken/2088902012/
  • 15. But how do you convince the HiPPOs?Photo © Flickr user nilsrinaldi at flickr.com/photos/nilsrinaldi/5158417206/
  • 16. Bring in the BIG GUNSPhoto © Flickr user Thos003 at flickr.com/photos/thos003/5822205888/
  • 17. We engaged David Mihm to audit our local visibility and help us understand the total landscape of opportunity.Photo © Flickr user Thos003 at flickr.com/photos/thos003/5822205888/
  • 18. The result: A prioritized series of changes and optimizations, big and small, that we could pursue.Photo © Flickr user Thos003 at flickr.com/photos/thos003/5822205888/
  • 19. chose the SMALL onesand that was ENOUGH
  • 20. We used our new “value vocabulary” and business case to win tiny bits of support from all our partnersPhoto © Flickr user Akira ASKR at flickr.com/photos/akira_1972/3104076736/ Photo © Flickr user 401K at flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6355308765/
  • 21. The low- hanging fruit of local search, if you willPhoto © Flickr user Sherwood411 at flickr.com/photos/sherwood411/4864128553/
  • 22. We optimized a few of our <title>s here…Photo © Flickr user tamburix at flickr.com/photos/tamburix/6928172860/
  • 23. Wrangled a tiny UX improvement there…Photo © Flickr user baldiri at flickr.com/photos/baldiri/5735003580/
  • 24. Ran a quick A/B test on our content here…Photo © Flickr user mil8 at flickr.com/photos/mil8/2164167813/
  • 25. We even ran a tiny local Link campaign Mad props if you know who Link is!Photo © Flickr user Dunechaser at flickr.com/photos/dunechaser/1883086933/
  • 26. Our data-intensive reporting and incremental gains caught the imagination of leadership and garnered further supportPhoto © Flickr user Francesco Schwarz at flickr.com/photos/isellsoap/6885674187/
  • 27. Because they had the vision to be able to see that this isn’t about SEO. It’s about the cross-channel customer experience.Photo © Flickr user Jeremy Brooks at flickr.com/photos/jeremybrooks/2294396074/
  • 28. A cross-channel story is one that everyone in your organization can support …because it’s all about the customer, not about you.Photo © Flickr user Daniel Y. Go at flickr.com/photos/danielygo/5391176827/
  • 29. Success often breeds success. Little changes lead to big wins.Photo © Flickr user istolethetv at flickr.com/photos/istolethetv/3887342134/
  • 30. Now our mobile app helps you find our physical stores
  • 31. Now we provide localstore product inventory visibility on our site…
  • 32. As well as on Google.
  • 33. Now we’re working withan agency to manage our local information across Google properties, IYPs,wayfinding services, etc.
  • 34. Now we’re runninglocal/social presencesall across the country
  • 35. Now we’re runninglocal/social presencesall across the country
  • 36. Now we’ve marked up our local store content with Schema.org microdata
  • 37. Now we’ve got local staff engaged in creating localmedia… with our members!
  • 38. %…is just the beginning.
  • 39. Our conclusions: 1. Shrink the change by starting off smallPhoto © Flickr user istolethetv at flickr.com/photos/istolethetv/3887342134/
  • 40. Our conclusions: 1. Shrink the change by starting off small 2. Use data to tell your storyPhoto © Flickr user ipuntxote at flickr.com/photos/dia-a-dia/7046151669/
  • 41. Our conclusions: 1. Shrink the change by starting off small 2. Use data to tell your story 3. Don’t chase the perfect at the cost of getting things donePhoto © Flickr user jayneandd at flickr.com/photos/jayneandd/4450623309/
  • 42. Our conclusions: 1. Shrink the change by starting off small 2. Use data to tell your story 3. Don’t chase the perfect at the cost of getting things done 4. Seek outside counsel and guidance from expertsPhoto © Flickr user istolethetv at flickr.com/photos/istolethetv/3887342134/
  • 43. Our conclusions: 1. Shrink the change by starting off small 2. Use data to tell your story 3. Don’t chase the perfect at the cost of getting things done 4. Seek outside counsel and guidance from experts 5. Small changes lead to big wins for you and your customersPhoto © Flickr user iL.C.Nøttaasen at flickr.com/photos/magnera/3157602186/
  • 44. Thank you! Jonathon Colman Agile SEO for REI Home: www.jonathoncolman.org Twitter: @jcolman E-mail: jcolman@rei.com