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Local SEO: How to Totally Own in Google


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Presented at the Austin SEM Meetup by Laura and Adam Alter.


Published in: Business, Technology
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Local SEO: How to Totally Own in Google

  1. 1. Adam and Laura Alter Created for the Austin SEO Meetup July 2, 2008 Local SEO: How to Totally Own in Google
  2. 2. What is local search?
  3. 3. [austin car wash] Local search is a search term + geo modifier.
  4. 4. What is local SEO?
  5. 5. Local SEO is on-site and off-site optimization, that makes your website more relevant to local search queries. (PS. it's also reputation management)
  6. 6. Local is somewhat new and not perfect. Google is still trying to automatically handle interpret searches, but they aren't there yet.
  7. 7. Austin Texas house painting Google believes this searcher is looking for local referrals and shows the map.
  8. 8. Austin Texas house paintER Google believes this searcher is not looking for local referrals and does not show the map. Why?
  9. 9. Why should you care about local search?
  10. 10. You should care because most searches have local intent (eventually).
  11. 11. How many businesses are losing sales because they can't be found online? Online search influenced $471 billion worth of offline sales last year versus only $136 billion in e-commerce sales. (eMarketer, 2008)
  12. 12. 90% of purchases are made within 50 miles of a person's home. (Kelsey) Local visibility mandatory for mom and pops. Product research and comparison shopping happen online. (69%, 68%) But 67% of those purchases happen offline . (Accenture)
  13. 13. Many searches result in a local event - even if they don't start that way. Every SEO must understand the power of local search and the nuances in searcher intent to be more relevant to their searches.
  14. 14. Local SEO is a supplement to standard SEO. Make sure the SEO basics are done first. You know you need it, so let's go over how to do it.
  15. 15. First, how are local results displayed?
  16. 16. There are 3 result formats: 1. Google 10-Pack 2. Authoritative Onebox 3. Integrated Map
  17. 17. 10-Pack Google moved from 3 to 10 results in Feb. 08. Some searches still show 3. Clear attempt to inject more local results among the "big boys." Can be shown lower, too.
  18. 18. Authoritative Onebox The Holy Grail of local search. Google believes that this one result is the exact match for your query.
  19. 19. Integrated Map Shows as a blended result. Can expand your search results to get more info without leaving page.
  20. 20. Are your local websites showing up in any of these formats?
  21. 21. <ul><li>From their local business centers. </li></ul><ul><li>From business information aggregators. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>InfoUSA, Axciom, review websites, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>Where do search engines get local data? Search engines cannot (yet) read your website and process the specific local information, like business hours. They get it from trusted sources.
  22. 22. It's no one step that matters - it's the aggregate result of all of them. Local SEO starts with a series of basic steps.
  23. 23. <ul><li>Google Local Business Center </li></ul><ul><li>Yahoo! Local </li></ul><ul><li>Live/MSN Local </li></ul><ul><li>(links will be emailed after the meetup) </li></ul>Start with the local directory at the major SEs:
  24. 24. Add your information to &quot;yellow pages&quot;-type websites that aggregate local data: <ul><li>Axciom, InfoUSA, Localeze </li></ul><ul><li>SuperPages, YellowPages, </li></ul><ul><li>These sites feed other websites, so it's critical that this data is accurate everywhere. </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>, </li></ul><ul><li>,, </li></ul><ul><li>BOTW (local), </li></ul><ul><li>Industry-specific sites: search for &quot;your industry +reviews&quot; and &quot;your industry +directory.&quot; </li></ul>Add your business to local directory and review sites:
  26. 26. <ul><li>Local Chamber of Commerce, local business groups and associations. </li></ul><ul><li>Local library websites </li></ul><ul><li>Hyperlocal sites/blogs like </li></ul><ul><li>,, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Links from local sites reinforce the local connection. </li></ul>Add your business to truly local sites and directories:
  27. 27. So how to do you get into the Google 10-Pack?
  28. 28. But it does seem like there are several factors that may affect which sites are listed in the 10-pack. But first... Obviously, Google doesn't divulge the secret sauce.
  29. 29. Mom and Pop shops can compete on a more &quot;even&quot; turf. People weren't clicking past the old 3 listings. It also pushes IYP-type sites to paid search. (intentionally? :D) Why does the 10-pack exist?
  30. 30. <ul><li>Info must be in Local Business Center </li></ul><ul><li>Location (current algo favors central) </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Positive, negative, quantity, reviewer profile </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Links and web references. </li></ul>Factors that likely influence 10-Pack placement:
  31. 31. The importance of reviews cannot be overemphasized. Not just for SEO, but for every local business. Reviews: No Longer Optional.
  32. 32. Favoring the city center:
  33. 33. Where does Google get their reviews? Google prefers different sources for different industries. Do your research and get reviews where Google shows they matter.
  34. 34. <ul><li>Businesses MUST ask for reviews. </li></ul><ul><li>Create a review page on the merchant site and link and give instructions for most important sources. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Print this URL on their business cards, receipts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Email follow-up requests work well. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Negative reviews can make reviews more credible/real. </li></ul>Implement a review plan:
  35. 35. <ul><li>Video is easy to implement in local SEO. </li></ul><ul><li>Produce once, get benefit over and over. </li></ul><ul><li>Need minimal equipment, make it real. </li></ul><ul><li>Many online profile listings accept video. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>These are like mini-commercials. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For example, for a restaurant, interview the chef making a fave dish, and the owner on the history, etc. Edit with free/cheap software and voila! </li></ul></ul>Don't forget video!
  36. 36. <ul><li>Think &quot;citations&quot; versus links. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google seems to treat website mentions very differently in its local algo. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mentions of busines name, address and phone appear to reinforce the existence of the business. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Links and citations on websites that Google treats as local. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on reinforcing your local relevance. Research your 10-pack competitors. </li></ul>Notes on local link building:
  37. 37. What's on the horizon? The Future of Local Search
  38. 38. <ul><li>Algos getting better, more accurate. </li></ul><ul><li>Google now asking for zip codes on some types of searches in some areas. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Paving the way for more geo-targeting in Adwords by zip? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More and more results with local flavor. </li></ul><ul><li>Take advantage of blended search results! </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews help filter the best local venues. </li></ul>Future of Local Search:
  39. 39. <ul><li>Get your business listed in the SE's business centers. </li></ul><ul><li>List on IYPs, directories, review sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Get links from sites that are deemed local by Google. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Citations and links. </li></ul></ul>Local Search 101