Tips for 2016, SEO Advent Calendar, CTR and Location Matters

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Local SEO news for 11th December 2015

It’s been quite a year for local SEO and social media. Rounding up all the changes that Google alone have made would be an epic post – home services, Snack Pack, local splitting from Google+ and more. Facebook continue to make inroads in local and Apple now have far more iOS users on Apple Maps rather than Google Maps. So what could 2016 hold for us? We take a look at some local SEO predictions for next year in this week’s roundup. Also featuring is a rather seasonal take on some local SEO tips along with another look at the importance of click through rate and location data management. This will be the final roundup for 2015, so all the best to everyone for the upcoming festive period and the New Year. Enjoy!


What’s in store for local SEO in 2016

Tis the season right? No, not Christmas. Prediction season. Some of them sensible, some not so much. The links below all head off to ones on the more sensible side of the spectrum. They look at some of the basics that you’ll need to continue getting right, such as focusing on mobile. They also look at the rise of Apple search and the need for a more holistic view when it comes to local marketing. Some good stuff.
Read more:
 Predictions for 2016 via Yext
5 Local SEO Metrics to Get Right in 2016 via LSA Insider
4 Local SEO Tips for 2016 via Duct Tape Marketing
SEO Trends 2016 via the Local Search Forum

24 Top Tips for success in Local SEO

Continuing the excellent local themed series on Search Engine Land, this month features a list of 24 simple tips that any local business owner should be able to implement. Advice from using a local phone number to looking to gather more customer reviews, each tip will have an incremental positive impact for your business. If you’re too busy following the advice in tip #25 then make sure you revisit this one in January and take care of things then.
Read more:
 The SEO Advent Calendar: 24 Tips For Local SEO Success via Marcus Miller

Click Through Rate revisited

Last week’s roundup looked at a couple of posts specifically related to a post in the Google Support forum stating that click through rate is a ranking factor. The original post was edited but debate still continues. The two articles below take a wider view than just local and investigate if Google really does does use click through rate when it comes to a ranking factor. While no-one really knows for certain, it would appear to be highly likely that they do. Some interesting thoughts.
Read more:

 Click-through rate (CTR) might beat PageRank for Google’s top search results via Stephen Kenwright
Do Search Click-Throughs Help Determine Whether A Page Appears In Google Search Results via Bill Slawski

Importance of location data management

There are plenty of places where people can search for a local business, from Google to social media and specific directories. In order to remove “friction along the customer journey from online search to offline purchase” it’s vital that a business’s location data is consistent and accurate. That means strong citations, among other things. This article points out just important they are, especially in this day of mobile and social. Well worth a read.
Read more:
 Why Location Management Matters in the Age of Mobile and Social via Damian Rollinson

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See you all back here next year!

Local SERPs, Ranking Factors, Collections and Reviews

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Local marketing news roundup for 4th December 2015

So here we are in December with the festive season upon us and a New Year just around the corner. Not too many local SEO gifts yet this month but there’s still time. Anyone remember Pigeon rolling out here in the UK days before Christmas last year? This week’s roundup is heavily Google focused. We take a look at how things have been shifting in their local search results and a possible confirmation of a fourth local ranking factor. Throw in some useful posts about image search and reviews and that’s things wrapped up for another week. Enjoy!


More changes to Google’s local SERPs
Google continue to mix things up with their local search results, although it’s doubtful consumers are noticing any difference. This week they removed the ability to manually set your location and then also removed the Pin marker for One Box results. The location setting in search was especially useful for local SEO folks, along with rank tracking tools. The fact that it’s now gone could indicate that it was an under-utilised feature by regular searchers … or something else, you decide. Plenty of reading material below.

Read more:
Google Shakes Up the Local Search World via Fathom
Get Local Results Without Google’s Change Location Search Filter Tool via Search Engine People
Google nukes the local Pin for One Boxes via Mike Blumenthal

Is Click through rate a ranking factor?
Local search pro’s have generally known that the three main ranking factors are relevance, prominence and location. Earlier this week a fourth one emerged, namely Click Through Rate. This one has long been a suspect and featured quite a bit in posts (here and here) following last year’s Moz local search ranking factors report. If dwell time on a website page is a ranking factor then why not also for local listings? The key for business owners is to make use of images and virtual tours along with a strong strategy for gathering more customer reviews.

Read more:
Google Confirms CTR is a Ranking Factor in Local SEO via Joy Hawkins
How do you optimize your Google My Business listing via Google My Business support forum

Collections and Tags for Google Image search
Rolling out to all Android and iOS users in the USA, it’s now possible to “Tag” photos in Google’s Image Search. This gives searchers the ability to build collections of images around specific interests, e.g. burgers, hairstyles, fashion, etc. Some press have already compared it to Pinterest, which is a natural rival. For business owners who take care about optimising their images for search it provides another way of connecting with consumers and potential customers. Especially if you tie in the local aspects described in the CTR ranking factor posts from above. Some good reading in the two links below.

Read more:
Google Turns Image Search Into Pinterest With New “Collections” Feature via TechCrunch
For Google, A New ‘Social’ Strategy Is Emerging via Eli Fennell

The importance of reviews for local SEO
Seems a fairly obvious statement to make about reviews being important but it’s staggering just how many local businesses don’t get it. More reviews give greater visibility and social proof which ultimately leads to a higher conversion rate and more customers. The first link below goes through the basics. The second one helps you to figure out which links to send to customers when you’re looking to gather more reviews. A very useful tool as Google make it harder than it should be.

Read more:
The importance of user reviews for local SEO via Search Engine Watch
How To Make A Google Review Button via Terry Simmonds

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See you all back here next week.

How to verify your local business page on Facebook

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Verify your local business page on Facebook


Having a local business Page on Facebook is a necessity for many reasons. Greater exposure in your local market, the ability to reach a highly targeted audience and driving more traffic to your website would be just three of them. To give your local business Page even greater authority, Facebook rolled out verified badges at the start of October. Initially the badges are only available for business Pages in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.


Why verify your local business Facebook Page?

Sometimes a local business can appear to have multiple Facebook Pages so the new verified badge will help people find the right Page. According to a Facebook product marketing manager for Pages

“At scale there will inevitably be duplicates and multiple entries for the same business. So this is one way businesses can make it easier for people to make sure that they are finding and communicating with the right Page.”

After all, there are close to 45 million business Pages on Facebook so there are undoubtedly a few duplicates around! Reports also suggest that Verified Pages will show up higher in search results on Facebook. This could be a really important point as Facebook continues to develop its search facilities.


Getting your Facebook Page verified

Here’s how to get it done …

Click Settings at the top of your Page

Facebook - click on page settings


From General, click Page Verification

Facebook - click on verify my page


Click Verify this Page, then click Get Started

Facebook - verify this page


Enter a publicly listed phone number for your business, your country and language then click Call Me Now to allow Facebook to call you with a verification code

Facebook - enter verification details


Enter the 4-digit verification code and click Continue

Facebook - enter verification PIN


Your local business page on Facebook should now be verified and you’ll see the grey verified badge next to your business name

Facebook - verified page checkmark


If, for some reason, the above process doesn’t work or if you’d prefer to verify using an alternative method then Facebook does offer verification with documents instead. Full details on that can be found here.

Facebook has really been focusing on the local SME market lately and this step is another way that local businesses can make themselves stand out from the crowd. If you have a local business page on Facebook then we would strongly recommend you follow the process above and get your page verified.

RankBrain, Echo, Facebook and local search conferences

Friday, October 30th, 2015

local marketing news 30th Oct 2015

It’s Halloween tomorrow so have there been any scary happenings in the land of local digital marketing this week? Well, RankBrain (Google) sounds pretty scary as does Echo (Amazon). More details on both of those below along with some useful information about an update to Facebook’s mobile app and a listing of all the 2016 local search conferences you should highlight in your calendar. Have a great Halloween weekend. Enjoy!


Details about Google’s RankBrain start to emerge
Anyone who reads anything about Google’s search algorithm knows that it has multiple moving parts and is constantly evolving. Earlier this week a report in Bloomberg surfaced about a new aspect of the algo; a machine learning system known as RankBrain. It is geared around gaining a better understanding of search queries and therefore gives Google the ability to deliver higher quality search results. It really shows where Google (and others) are heading with search, perhaps even a self-learning algo! There’s a ton of stuff out there to read so hopefully you’ll find the three articles I’ve linked to below useful.

Read more:
 FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm via Danny Sullivan
Google’s RankBrain: 9 Industry Experts Weigh In via Jennifer Slegg
How to get the most from RankBrain, Google’s new ranking-robot via Ben Silverman

Amazon Echo goes local with help from Yelp
Amazon’s Echo was widely launched back in June this year. It’s a hands free gadget that enables the user to access information (news, weather, etc) and connect with various digital services (Prime Music, Pandora, etc). This week it got an upgrade with the integration of local data provided by Yelp. So now as well as asking Echo about your local weather for tomorrow you can then also ask it for the coolest local roof top bar. Tip for local business owners is to make sure that you’ve got a listing on Yelp, claim it and then ensure all your contact details are correct. Rumours and speculation have already started that this may lead to the possible acquistion of Yelp by Amazon, so watch this space.

Read more:
Amazon Echo adds Yelp local search for restaurants and businesses via Mashable
Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant can now tell you about local businesses using Yelp via The Verge
Amazon Echo Gets Smarter With Local Business Listings From Yelp via MarketingLand

Facebook mobile notifications tab gets an update
Facebook’s play at local continued this week as they started to roll out an update to the notifications tab in their mobile app. In the latest version you can customise your tab to get information on local events along with recomendations and offers from local bars and restaurants. Some have compared it to Google Now so we’ll have to see how they stack up against each other. You’ll need to enable your location history, of course, and the update is currently only rolling out to Android and iOS users in the US. Would be interested to hear from anyone who’s tried it out.

Read more:
A More Useful Notifications Tab on Mobile via Facebook
With updated notifications, Facebook pulls people down the rabbit hole via Gigaom
You can now customize Facebook’s notifications tab on Android and iOS via VentureBeat

Local search conferences for 2016
Staying on top of technology and digital developments is part and parcel of a local search professional. While they’re clearly lots of news and information online it’s also useful to check out various conferences and actually talk to people. Below is a great list of local search conferences for 2016 that the author mentions will be updated as and when more dates are added. They’re all US based so if any bright spark out there would like to put together a UK (or global) list together that would be fab! In the meantime, here are all the US slots.

Read more:
2016 Local Search Conferences via Location3

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See you all back here next week.


Duplicates, local SEO 101, mobile sites and Maps

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

local marketing news 23 October 2015


Google gave us a handy Google Maps update this week but they also took away a useful way of tracking down duplicate Maps listings. Have featured both those bits of news in the Roundup this week. In between we’ve popped in a few interesting reads around local search optimisation and the land of mobile marketing. Enjoy!


Duplicate Maps listings just got a little harder to find
One of the major ranking killers in local search is duplicate listings. It’s a little similar to having duplicate content on your website in that it can send the wrong signals out to Google about which one is the correct listing. Part of the job of a local SEO professional is to seek out and deal with any duplicates that exist for a client. One of the ways of doing this was to do a phone number search using MapMaker. This method no longer seems to work unfortunately. Couple of links below which give both a brief summary and a very detailed analysis.

Read more:
Local SEOs: It’s Harder Than Ever To Find Duplicate Local Listings In Google via Search Engine Roundtable
RIP Map Maker Phone Search – Local Dupe Research Just Got A Lot Harder via the Local Search Forum

Optimising your business for local search
There are lots of different ingredients that go into a good local search strategy. Some of the many guides and resources out there on the web can seem clunky and overwhelming, simply due to the huge amount of content required. The infographic in the first link below does a great job of breaking down the very basic details, briefly covering local optimisation for your website, Google My Business (and Bing Places), citations and reviews. For more competitive markets you may need a few local links and the second article highlights how one Utah based business dealt with that.

Read more:
Local SEO 101: Optimizing Your Business for Search via Marketer Gizmo
How One Utah Moving Company Conquered Local SEO—and You Can, Too via

Mobile websites, SEO and location data
Even before Google’s mobile algo update back in April it was recommended that you had a mobile friendly website for your business. A recent study now suggests that up to 45% of consumers will either look for a competitor or simply refuse to do business with a business that doesn’t have a mobile site. That’a ton of potential customers being turned away every day! The other interesting aspect of the study was to highlight the pieces of information that searchers are looking for, namely opening hours and contact details. Also included below are a couple of interesting articles that look at mobile SEO and how consumers are (or aren’t) using location sharing on their smartphones. Well worth a read.

Read more:
Study: 45% of Consumers Snub Businesses with Poor Mobile Website via LSA Insider
Mobile and desktop SEO: is there really a difference via Search Engine Watch
Location Paradox: Mobile Users Recognize Its Value, But Many Won’t Share It via Marketing Land

Handy update to Google Maps
Fab update being rolled out to Google Maps over the course of the next few days and weeks. It’ll be possible to actively search for things you need along your journey within Maps itself. So if you’re running low on fuel or need a coffee break Maps will point you to the nearest locations. I just got the update this morning but haven’t tested it out yet. Something for the weekend! Obvious tip here for business owners is to ensure you’ve got a verified Google My Business listing and that all your citation NAP data is up-to-date and accurate.

Read more:
Google Maps Now Lets You Add A Stop Along Your Route, Check Gas Prices via TechCrunch
Google Maps making stressful times easier via Google

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See you all back here next week.