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Boston SearchLove How to Prioritize Your Local Search Work

Local search can add a mountain of additional tasks on top of your existing workload. How do you fit in these extra tasks when you’re already overwhelmed with everything else on your to do list? Darren will walk you through his detailed Local Ranking Blueprint, and show you which local search tasks are the most important, how long they will take, and which tasks can be pushed lower on your priority list.

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How To Prioritize Your Local
Search Work
DARREN SHAW
Darren Shaw
Founder at Whitespark
darren@whitespark.ca
@EdmontonSEO
Can you do local SEO in
only 3 hours?
Sure, you can do
*some* work
Organic SEO
• Keyword research
• Website
• Content
• Links
• Social
• Reporting
Local SEO
• Keyword research
• Website
• Content
• Links
• Social
• Reporting
• Google+ Local Listing
• Citation building
• Citation audit/cleanup
• Review acquisition
Additional Work
Boston SearchLove How to Prioritize Your Local Search Work

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Boston SearchLove How to Prioritize Your Local Search Work

Editor's Notes

  1. Can you do local SEO in 3 hours?That’s the question I needed to answer for one of my enterpriseconsulting clients recently.They’re building an in-house team to optimize their thousands of locations for local search. When we calculated the time their team would have to optimize all their locations, it ended up being about 3 hours per location and it was going to take them over a year to get everything done.
  2. Sure, you can do some work in 3 hours. The trick is figuring out what work will have the biggest impact with the least amount of effort.At the same time I was working with that enterprise client I was also working with Phil Rozek on a new Local search service that we just launched last week. We were trying to answer the same questions. What work really matters in Local Search? What is going to move the needle, and what is just wasting your time? This talk evolved out of those questions and the work we’ve been doing for the past six months. I’ll be giving you a full blueprint of all the local search work that I think is worth doing, and I’ll show you what I would do in 40 hours, 20 hours, 10 hours, and as in the case of that enterprise client, even as little as 3 hours.
  3. Part of the trouble with local search is that to get results you still need to do all the regular SEO work you would do on any organic SEO campaign, PLUS a bunch of extra Local specific work. For a local client, you still need to make sure they have a technically sound, fast-loading website, they are getting some quality links, they’ve got properly optimized title tags and content, they’re utilizing social as best they can, etc. On top of that, you’ve got to make sure their Google+ Local listing is claimed and enhanced, they have all the right citations, all their inconsistent and duplicate citations have been cleaned up, and they have a great review acquisition strategy in place. Local search adds EXTRA work and so it’s really important to be able to hone in on what’s worth doing.
  4. Here is my local ranking blueprint. These are all the activities that I think are high value and worth focusing on. Certainly there are many other things you can do in local search, but for this talk on prioritizing your local search work, I just want to focus on the big wins and the low hanging fruit.
  5. Here is a high-level view of the tasks that I think are the most valuable to work on. There are 5 key areas. Reviews… website… Google+ Local listing… citations… and links.
  6. Why Reviews? ImageThis is because I believe reviews are the most powerful ranking booster in local. There is a huge opportunity right now in many industries to rank well in Google’s local results through reviews alone. I’ll explain why I think that. First, about a year ago I took a random sampling of 100 locations for that enterprise consulting client and collected data on their rankings, location age, citations, links, reviews, categories, etc. When you sort the results by rank, it becomes absolutely clear that the locations that are ranking well are the ones that have reviews. It was the key differentiator between the other locations.
  7. Second, listings with reviews provide a better user experience.
  8. And third, keywords in reviews seem to provide a ranking boost as well. This makes sense. When consumers mention those keywords in their reviews they’re helping Google to associate those keywords with your business.
  9. So are you wondering how the Cosby’s are going to help you get keywords in your reviews? They just represent family and they’re the first family that popped into my head. Plus, they’re awesome. The only way I know of to get keywords in reviews is to mention it to people you’re close to. The family and friends of an auto repair shop are likely going to get their car fixed there. So, since the business owner has a personal relationship with them, he could ask them to mention the service they had done. Brake replacement, oil change, transmission repair, etc. I wouldn’t go around asking all your customers to mention specific services, but for people you know, sure, it WILL help.
  10. While, I recommend focusing your reviews acquisition efforts on Google+ until you get at least five, your second most important review site is Yelp.Without question,Yelp is the #1 review site on the internet.
  11. People go directly to it to research businesses, so you want to make sure you’re ranking well internally on the site. To rank well, you need reviews, and keywords in reviews can help you rank here as well.
  12. Besides the benefits that come from ranking well internally at Yelp, Google just loves ranking Yelp pages. Just look at these examples.
  13. You’ll see Yelp showing up in almost every local query you run, so you want to make sure your listing is showing up and enhanced with all possible business info and reviews.
  14. Yelp has a pretty strict policy about asking for reviews. Don’t do it. Don’t ask your customers to review you on Yelp. I don’t say this because you should be worried about getting busted. (although that has happened a few times).
  15. You shouldn’t ask for reviews because they any reviews you ask for are likely to get filtered. If you ask for a review the person will go to Yelp, make an account, leave you a review, then probably never use their Yelp account again. That is going to result in a guaranteed filter. You should only bother asking for reviews if you know that the person is already active on the site.
  16. Here’s a guy you want a review from. He has 44 friends on Yelp, including Elite Yelpers like Phil Rozek. He has a profile photos, has left 8 reviews, added some tips, uploaded 20 photos, and he’s received some compliments. So, if you knew I visited your business and you knew I was active on Yelp, it would be great to ask me to review you on Yelp.
  17. If you’re a business owner, do this, and ask those people.
  18. You have to earn these stickers, but we’re making some simple “find us on Yelp” stickers that you can print. We’ll be putting them up on our site soon as free downloads.
  19. The location landing page is the page linked to in your Google+ Local listing. For the vast majority of local businesses, this will be the homepage.
  20. Multi-location will ideally use location landing pages.
  21. Please. Don’t keyword stuff. Just pick a primary keyword and stick with it. If you have multiple locations in the same city, you can target different location pages to different keywords to diversify.
  22. Now, you want to include as much content as you can on the page.
  23. Often people will search for the address of the business, not the business itself. Make sure you search Google maps for the actual business placemark and embed the resulting map.
  24. To find duplicates, search in Google Maps for the business name and the primary phone number. In this case, results A and B are duplicates. This works better on the old Google maps. If you’re on the new Google Maps, you can switch back to old maps using the little question mark bubble on the bottom right of the map.
  25. Next, you need to determine which listing you want to keep, and which to remove. The one with the most reviews is the one you want to keep. If they both have an equal number of reviews, then you’ll want to keep the one that’s the most complete: photos, categories, additional phone numbers, etc.
  26. The description is NOT considered for rankings but it is looked at for spam. Adding keywords to this field could cause a ranking demotion, but they will never help improve rankings. It’s a good idea to enhance your listing with a good cover photo, photos, and social posts (share your good reviews as posts), but these won’t impact your rankings. They’ll just make people more inclined to call your business when they are looking at your listing.
  27. Can you do local SEO in 3 hours?That’s the question I needed to answer for one of my enterpriseconsulting clients recently.They’re building an in-house team to optimize their thousands of locations for local search. When we calculated the time their team would have to optimize all their locations, it ended up being about 3 hours per location and it was going to take them over a year to get everything done.