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Local SEO Basics


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Mike Belasco's slides from SES Chicago 2009/Local Search Summit on the basics and challenges of local SEO.

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Local SEO Basics

  1. 1. LOCAL SEO seOverflow presented by Mike Belasco @belasco
  2. 2. • SEO, Link Building, Social Media Marketing and PPCs in Denver, Colorado. • Specialize in outsourced work for web designers, marketing consultants, advertising agencies, etc. Always looking for good partners. • The only company with 2 Local Search Ranking Factors participants. We know Local! Who Is seOverflow?
  3. 3. • What is Local Search? • Searching For Local Information • The Challenge of Local Search • The Algorithms Today’s Agenda
  4. 4. What is Local Search?
  5. 5. What Exactly is Local Search? Local Search is any search made with the goal of finding something in a specific geographic area. This is known as searching with local intent.
  6. 6. Local Search = what? + where? People are searching online forsome thing in some place. What Exactly is Local Search?
  7. 7. Local expert, Greg Sterling, defines Local Search as: “seeking information online with the intention of making a transaction off line” What Exactly is Local Search?
  8. 8. What Exactly is Local Search? Essentially, anything that you would traditionally look for in the print Yellow Pages becomes a Local Search when it is conducted online.
  9. 9. Nearcasting is when a searcher is looking for something close to his or her current location. Farcasting is when a searcher is looking for something elsewhere, often in a place where he or she hopes to be in the future. Where are the Customers?
  10. 10. Conservative estimate: 70% of all searches are made with local intent. For some types of business, nearly ALL searches are made with local intent. 73% of online activity is related to local content (Google - May, 2007) Why is Local Search So Important?
  11. 11. ROBO – Research online, buy offline – 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase (TMP / comScore) – 90% of online commercial searches result in offline bricks and mortar purchases (proprietary research / comScore) – 66% of American use online local search, like Google local search to locate local businesses (TMP / comScore) – 54% of Americans have substituted the internet and local search for phone books (comScore networks) – 43% of search engine users are seeking a local merchant to buy something offline. Why is Local Search So Important?
  12. 12. Where and How People Search for Local Business Information
  13. 13. The searcher decides how and where to search for local information and what information is important to them. A local business needs to be in as many of those places as possible with all the information a prospect may be seeking. Resources are limited. Research to determine what’s most important for each niche and each location. How People Search for Local Info
  14. 14. People search in the regular Search Engines with and without geographic qualifiers In Universal Search
  15. 15. People search within the local search engines of the big search brands with and without geographic qualifiers: Google Maps,Yahoo!Local, Bing Local In the Big Three Local Search Engines
  16. 16. People search on Superpages, DexKnows, Yahoo!Yellow Pages, YellowBook, Switchboard, etc. In the Internet Yellow Pages
  17. 17. On Websites Featuring Local Info: Local newspapers, Chamber of Commerce, regional tourism site, Better Business Bureau, local business directories, etc.
  18. 18. Yelp, Merchant Circle, Angie’s List, Topix, CitySearch, InsiderPages, etc. On Social/Local Websites
  19. 19. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. On Social Networking Sites
  20. 20. TrueLocal, Localeze,, etc. In Lesser Local Search Engines
  21. 21. Craig’s List Online newspapers Niche and local shopping sites. In Online Classifieds
  22. 22.,, In Vertical Directories
  23. 23. Truveo, Planet-Cars, Hotpads, Google Image Search, etc. In Vertical Search Engines
  24. 24. Consider where most of a business’ potential customers are located and what the company should rank for when working on a Local Search strategy. Then, fish where the fish are. Where are the Customers?
  25. 25. Research to determine the right places to get listed for each niche and location. – Resources are limited-prioritize submissions. – Track results. – Devote more attention to what’s working. – Rinse and repeat. Fish Where the Fish Are
  26. 26. Where you fish may depend on the geographic location. – Yelp – Northern California – City Search, Superpages – Denver – Kudzu - Atlanta Fish Where the Fish Are
  27. 27. Where you fish may depend on the type of business – Trip Advisor - hotels, limos, tours – Zagat’s - Restaurants – Service Magic - Contractors – Superlawyers - Attorneys Fish Where the Fish Are
  28. 28. Where you fish may depend on the type of customer – Online yellow pages for seniors – CraigsList for bargain hunters – Topix for news hounds – LinkedIn for B2B Fish Where the Fish Are
  29. 29. Get in front of more customers more often using Barnacle SEO. “Barnacle SEO: attaching oneself to a large fixed object and waiting for the customers to float by in the current.” Will Scott optimization-for-the-sams-club-crowd-with-barnacle-seo/ Barnacle SEO
  30. 30. Use Barnacle SEO to turn competitors into partners. Examples: Merchant Circle Yahoo!Local Yelp Insider Pages Superpages Barnacle SEO
  31. 31. Use Barnacle SEO on those sites to help you own more real estate in the SERPs. They may already rank for what you want to rank for. They are trusted sites for Local citations. Barnacle SEO
  32. 32. Point links at your pages on these sites to boost them up in the SERPs. This is especially effective with long tail terms. Research and prioritize for each niche and/or location Barnacle SEO
  33. 33. – Internet Yellow Pages – Convention & Visitor’s Bureau – Local/ regional online newspapers and magazines – Local business directories – Chamber of Commerce Barnacle SEO – Trade associations – Vertical directories – Local city guides – Locally focused powerhouses, like Kudzu, CraigsList, etc. – Better Business Bureau Where to Attach Yourself:
  34. 34. The Challenge of Local Search
  35. 35. Universal Search is all about relevance to a search query: – What we say a page is about (page titles, etc.) – What the Search Engines see that the page is about (content, internal linking) – What others on the web say the page is about (links, link text) What’s Different?
  36. 36. Local Search is all about Local business information relevance to a search query: – Location makes you more or less relevant – Factual information – what and where – Customer opinions – Trust in information and opinions What’s Different?
  37. 37. Rank well in Universal Search Rank well in the Local 3, 7 & 8 Packs Rank well in the Local Search Engines Be on Social Networking Sites Be in the Internet Yellow Pages Be on Local/Social web sites Be in vertical directories and search engines for your industry and location. The Challenge of Local Search
  38. 38. The Challenge of Local Search
  39. 39. Own the SERPs!
  40. 40. The Algorithms
  41. 41. There are 3 distinct Google algorithms: –Universal Search –Google Maps –The Google 7 Pack The Algorithms are Different
  42. 42. The Algorithms are Different Google Universal vs Maps
  43. 43. The Algorithms are Different Google 7 Pack vs Universal
  44. 44. The Algorithms are Different Google 7 Pack vs Maps
  45. 45. The 7 Pack algorithm is mostly based on the Maps algorithm, but also has a layer of the Universal algorithm on top of it. The Algorithms are Different
  46. 46. The Maps and 7 Pack algorithms give true local businesses a distinct advantage over directory type sites, like IYP’s and Yelp, which they do not enjoy in Universal search. The Algorithms are Different
  47. 47. The Maps and 7 Pack algorithms are not that great for – Home based businesses – Business that aren’t in the city they want to rank for, including service businesses that travel to the customer. The Algorithms are Different
  48. 48. • Mike Belasco • @belasco • • • • Thank You!