Local links, tech tools for SME’s, local SEO tips and franchise SEO

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Local search and social media marketing news for 19th February 2016

Some really interesting articles out this week covering a whole host of local marketing topics. There has been no major local update from Google so far this year, which means we’ve all been able to focus on the things that matter rather than speculating and panicking.

So this week we’re looking at local link building, which tools small business owners actually trust along with some great local SEO tips and an insight into working with franchises. Enjoy!

 

Strategies for local link building and engagement
To be successful in local search has always required more than simple NAP citation consistency and a well optimised (mobile friendly) website. Recent Google updates have directed focus more back to traditional web search ranking signals. Domain authority and quality/authority on inbound links are now the top 2 spots in Moz’s annual local search ranking factors. Which brings us to how do you actually build links that matter for local. The two articles below should have you pretty well covered on all points so read them, bookmark them and follow their principles when building your local links.
Read more:
 How to Find Opportunities for Local Link Building via Whitespark
☞ The Ultimate Guide to Local Engagement Strategies by Garrett French

Trusted tech tools for local SME’s (not Yelp!)
Moving along from straight local SEO, there are a great number of other things that SME’s should be looking at when it comes to local marketing. Mobile friendly website, email, social media, ease of taking payment and local advertising all factor in. The first link below summarises a report from Alignable looking into how much trust business owners have in various tech platforms. WordPress is clearly the choice when it comes to websites and mailchimp comes out top for email, quite a distance ahead of ConstantContact. Google is well trusted, whereas sites like Groupon and Yelp perform woefully. Speaking of Yelp, the second link features a great article about how to use Yelp a little more effectively as a business owner. It includes some valuable information about Yelp reviews, so defintely worth a read.
Read more:
☞ New Alignable Rankings Shed Light on What SMBs Really Think of Tech Vendors via Streetfight
☞ 5 Yelp Facts Business Owners Should Know (But Most Don’t) via MarketingLand

More top local SEO tips for 2016
We maybe mid way through February but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for more “guides to local SEO in 2016” type posts. The first one below does a great job of hitting up all the basics of what you should cover. That includes Google My Business, data aggregators, other citations, reviews and more. It also takes a brief look at content marketing, including the need to optimise for voice search. The second article is a handy summary from this week’s #SEOcafe which focused on local SEO and features some nice practical tips.
Read more:

 The 2016 Guide to Local Search Optimization via SearchEngineJournal
☞ Local SEO Tips and Tricks via SEMRush

Franchise SEO … not for the faint hearted
Dealing with local SEO for any multi location business can be tricky. However franchises take that to another level with competing priorities, mixed marketing messages and more. As the SEO you can be in danger of being in the middle and getting it from all sides. This post gives some great insights into the potential pitfalls, how to manage the initial education of all invoilved and who should be in control of which aspects of the project. If you are or are planning to get involved with franchise local SEO then this is a must read.
Read more:
☞ Franchise SEO: For Masochists Only by Andrew Shotland

See you all back here next week!

Trusted Verifier, Amazon Home Services, local links and a quiz

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Local marketing news for 5th February 2016

 

Welcome to February. Plenty to look forward to this month with pancakes on the 9th, Valentine’s Day on the 14th (don’t forget) and, most importantly, the Calcutta Cup tomorrow! I’m guessing there’ll also be lots going on in the land of local marketing too.

In this weeks Roundup we’re taking a quick look at a new program that appeared on Google for a few hours yesterday designed to help partners verify local businesses via an Android app. We’re also taking a good look at Amazon’s Home Services, some great tips on building local links and finally a quiz to test your knowledge of local SEO. I’m sure you’re all hit guru status … enjoy!

 

Google Trusted Verifier program … here and gone
Google has been on a drive to get business owners to verify their local listings for a number of years now. How successful they’ve been is open to debate and opinions vary. Their “Get Your Business Online” program in the US aimed to use partners such as Chambers of Commerce to further highlight Google My Business and other handly tools for local business owners. Another tool surfaced very briefly this week as links emerged to their Trusted Verifier Program. Details are a little sketchy but it looks to be targeted at GYBO partners along with, possibly, Adwords and Trusted Photographers. The bulk of the material that appeared online has now disappeared but the articles below cover it all pretty well.
_Read more:_
Read more:
 Google Trusted Verifier Program For In Person Business Verification on Search Engine Roundtable
☞ Google Trusted Verifier Program: It was there and now it’s not by Mike Blumenthal
☞ Welcome to Trusted Verifier in GMB Help

Insights into Amazon Home Services
Amazon launched Home Services in the US almost a year ago. It remains a US only platform at the moment, offering services from auto mechanics to window washers. It appears to have set pretty high standards for service providers to sign up, including personel background checks. As we haven’t seen it here in the UK at all, our information is limited. Even in the US it is still a relative unknown. So the article below is very welcome for the insight it gives into the process of getting approved by Amazon along with how it works once you’re in.
Read more:
☞ Amazon Home Services for Local Businesses: the Ins and Outs by Corey Barnett

Top tips on local linkbuilding
It’s fair to say that there are quite a few articles available across the web on the subject of linkbuilding. What there are fewer of are those that specifically deal with “local” link building. Building links for local still takes research, outreach, good content and the ability to build relationships. It also puts less focus on the Domain Authority of a site and more on the pure “Local” authority of it. The article below gives 10 great tips for building local links in 2016.
Read more:

 10 Local Link Building Tips for 2016 by Greg Gifford

Test your local SEO knowledge
How well do you know local SEO? Last year the good folks at Moz put together a local SEO quiz and this year they’re updated it. Just click on the link below to access it and see how you get on. Feel free to post your score in the comments below here! This year’s test does seem to be a little more US-centric and there are some tricky questions related to industry news rather than technical issues. But if you’re a regular reader of the Roundup then you should be fine. Good luck!
Read more:
☞ Welcome to the Local Search Expert Quiz via Moz

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See you all back here next week!

Facebook services, Yahoo local, troubleshooting and content research

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Roundup of local marketing news for 29th January 2016

Last roundup of the month and 2016 shows no signs of slowing down. No major updates affecting local search this week but still plenty to talk about. Facebook and local continues to be something of an enigma and I’m not sure if they’re serious or just testing things out.

This week’s roundup also covers some welcome news about Yahoo Local along with a great local SEO troubleshooting post and the best free content research tool currently out there. If there’s something better please do let us know. Enjoy!

 

Facebook professional services for local business
Facebook has been dabbling around in local search for a while. Nearby Places has been available on mobile for sometime and then in December they launched Professional Services. Couple of articles below about this, along with a link to Facebook itself. Personally I think local search on Facebook is just awful. The “Services” page doesn’t appear anywhere in the main navigation and results are nowhere near as accurate or comprehensive as elsewhere on the web. As a recommendation engine and a place to build reputation through reviews it’s something that any local business owner can’t ignore. As a local search engine … meh!
_Read more:_
Read more:
 Facebook Gaining Local Search Momentum vis LSAInsider
☞ Facebook Professional Services: How Your Local Business Can Rank by Kristi Hines
☞ Facebook Professional Services on Facebook

How to fix your Yahoo Local listing data
Good news if your local business is located in the US as there now appears to be a way of fixing your Yahoo Local listing without having to pay through Yext. Welcome news, even if Yahoo itself isn’t particularly committed to local these days (or much of anything it would seem!) Full details of the method in the linked article below. Here in the UK we still have to run the gauntlet of going through Infoserve, which invariably leads to follow up phone calls to sell a plethora of additional services. Just say no!
Read more:
☞ Now You Can Fix Your Yahoo Local Listing without Paying for Yext by Phil Rozek

Troubleshooting local SEO issues
There are always things in local SEO that confuse and flummox the experts as well as business owners. Some agencies and professional put it down to “that’s just Google”. Others enjoy the challenge of inestigating, researching and general sleuthing that’s required in order to figure out a solution. If you have a business or client who ranks well organically but doesn’t show up in the 3-pack Snack Pack then the article below is for you. Well worth a read and bookmarking for future reference.
Read more:

 When You Rank High Organically But Not Locally by Joy Hawkins

Awesome new content research tool
Researching content ideas for local businesses can sometime get a little dry. I’m a big fan of using any tool that tap into auto-suggest and related searches, so basically jumped out of my seat when I saw this post from Linda Buquet over on GPlus. Using information from both Google and Bing it has provided me with some great content ideas for a couple of clients this week. I reckon it’s also saved quite a bit of time compared to my oledr methods. Use it, bookmark it, enjoy it.
Read more:
☞ Answer The Public

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See you all back here next week!

Local search trends, social media monitoring, Vistaprint and Periscope

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Local marketing news for 15th January 2016

 

Big news late last week and into this week was all about an update to Google’s algorithm that had SEO’s searching for answers. You can read more about that here. In this week’s roundup we’re taking a look at other things.

What are we searching for and how we are searching continues to evolve, so we’ve got three informative articles focused on consumer paths to purchase. Also included this week are pieces on social media monitoring tools with location features, a new player emerging in the local listings management market and news about Periscope. Enjoy!

 

Local consumer search trends
According to Google they see more than 100 billion searches each month, which means there are an awful lot of folks looking for answers. In another interesting report it’s suggested that only 36% of consumers actually start their local searches with a search engine. That means it’s clearly not enough to simply rely on Google for your business – but you already knew that, right? The local path to purchase is less of a straight line and more of a zigzag or pretzel. Here’s an overview from Google along with a couple of interesting articles that delve a little more into the search journey of a local consumer.
Read more:
 What We Searched for in 2015, and What That Means for Marketers via Think with Google
Only 36% Begin Local Searches with a Search Engine by Greg Sterling
There Isn’t One Kind Of Local Search; There Are Eight by David Kaplan

Tools for monitoring local social media
Social media done the right way for a local business can have a hugely positive impact. Getting involved in local conversations and providing useful information to your community all helps build your brand and authority. Finding a way to monitor what’s happening in a particular location can be tricky though. We like to use advanced search and Twitter Lists but there are tools out there that can help to make the process even simpler. Most of the ones mentioned in the article below are paid for but if your budget allows then they’re worth checking out.
Read more:
 6 Location-based Social Media Monitoring Tools via Social Media Examiner

Vistaprint moves into local listings management
As the number of “near me” searches has increased over the past couple of years, the importance of accurate and consistent local listings has become vital. For SEO professionals there are several ways to go about managing these for clients from 100% manual efforts to using sites such as BrightLocal and Whitespark. There are also a growing number of companies offering local listings management direct to business owners. These are a pretty diverse bunch including folks like Yext, Moz, GoDaddy and (here in the UK) Scoot. With Vistaprint now entering the market it seems like anyone looking to provide broader marketing services to SME’s needs local listings management as a core service.
Read more:

 Vistaprint Launches Local Listings, Providing a Broader Service for SMBs via StreetFight
Vistaprint Takes Aim at Local Markets via CMSWire

Periscope now streaming live on Twitter
Have to admit to not using Periscope anywhere near as much as a few months back. Maybe it’s just been an out of sight out of mind thing but that could change shortly. Twitter owned Periscope has announced that broadcasts will now show live in your followers Twitter feed. No need to switch apps. It could lead to a larger number of people viewing your content. Rolling out for just iOS initially but should follow for Android users shortly. Some folks have predicted 2016 as a big year for live streaming, so this announcement will help.
Read more:
 Now LIVE: Periscope on Twitter for iOS via Periscope
Periscope Now Added Directly to Twitter Feed via Small Business Trends

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See you all back here next week!

Predictions for 2016, New Year Joy, Facebook Local and Foursquare Pilgrim

Friday, January 8th, 2016

local search marketing news for Friday 8th January 2016

 

Happy New Year everyone! 2015 is well behind us (great review post here) and we’re now a full work week into 2016. Last year gave us plenty of things to talk about including Live Chat in the Knowledge Graph (now gone) to Mobilegeddon, issues with MapMaker, Local divorcing itself from Google+ and finally the Snack Pack.

So what does 2016 have in store? In the first Roundup of the year we’re looking at some of the better prediction posts … and there are plenty of them! In addition we’ve got a couple of great technical local SEO posts along with some news on both Facebook and Foursquare. Enjoy!

 

Local search trends and predictions for 2016
There are a combined 61 predictions in the posts linked to below, covering everything from beacons and autonomous cars to Twitter and Apple Maps. No doubt we’re in for another interesting year! With the continued rise of mobile useage and voice search the key areas for businesses would appear to be mobile optimisation, citation consistency and the use of structured data. I’m really interested to see what Apple may get up to, how Facebook will continue exploring Local, if Amazon Home Services takes off and how Google will respond to it all. Should be fun!
Read more:
 2016 Predictions via Yext
24 Expert Predictions for Local Marketing in 2016 via LSA Insider
What’s Next for 2016 via SIM Partners
Six Trends Shaping Location Marketing In 2016 by Adam Dorfman
10 Digital Marketing Advances That Will Impact Local SEO & Search in 2016 by Bernadette Coleman

Start the year with Joy
There are folks in every industry who you can turn to when you encounter a particular issue you haven’t come across before. In local search one of my favourite troubleshooters in Joy Hawkins, who is one of the Google My Business forum’s Top Contributors (among a great many other things). Couple of great articles from Joy went live over the past week or so, both with a focus on some specific local SEO issues that can have a big impact. The content on duplicate listings is a must-read and one to bookmark for future reference. The article on Moz highlights another great local search insider tip
Read more:
 Definitive Guide To Duplicate Research For Local SEO via Search Engine Land
What Big Brands Need to Know About Google’s Filter via Moz

What’s Facebook up to in Local
In terms of local search on the platform itself, Facebook still way underperforms. Sure, it can be useful to get recommendations from family and friends but pretty hopeless as an outright search engine. But maybe Facebook isn’t too worried about that. Places, Nearby and the newer Services feature aren’t easy to find but if Facebook is taking a long term view on things then they can be patient. Plenty of interesting points made in the article linked to below.
Read more:

 Facebook Continues to Experiment in Local — But Its Focus Is Long-Term by Damian Rollison

Foursquare location data – what is Pilgrim?
Foursquare’s location data is used everywhere, including Twitter and Pinterest. That data is now going beyond merely business NAP information and into maiing actual predictions based on footfall around specific areas. For example, in September, Foursquare accurately predicted Apple would sell 13 million iPhones during the iPhone 6S opening weekend based on its foot traffic data around Apple stores. The potential uses for that data in other apps could be really interesting and get some discussion in the article below. Well worth a read.
Read more:
 Foursquare’s location data is way more powerful than people realize via Business Insider

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See you all back here next week!