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!

Twitter timeline, Instagram logins, voice search and local SEO tips

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Local marketing news for 12th February 2016

After what seemed like a relatively slow start to the year in January things appear to be accelerating. There hasn’t been any earth-shattering news in the local marketing world so far, but we’re only midway through February, so there’s plenty of time yet.

Couple of big social media stories out this week as Twitter keeps tinkering with your Timeline and Instagram finally gives users what they want with multiple account logins. In addition to that we’ve also got a couple of great articles looking at voice search and its effect on SEO, along with an interesting piece on local SEO trends and tips. Enjoy!

 

Twitter launches new timeline, users unimpressed
Twitter’s struggles have been pretty well documented. Reports that user growth has flat-lined continues to make the news and their stock suffers, hitting an all time low yesterday. They keep changing/refining the platform and this week launched a new “Never Miss” feature for user Timelines. Some folks may like it but as I hardly ever look at my main Timeline it’s not really a feature I see any value in. I’m a big user of Twitter lists and recommend using them to all our local business clients. For me they help to keep Twitter tidy … and focused! Along with a few links below on the new feature there’s also an excellent write up on Twitter’s troubles in general and how others can learn. They maybe struggling a bit right now but I still love it!
Read more:
 Never miss important Tweets from people you follow via Twitter
☞ FAQ: All About How Twitter’s “New Improved” Timeline Works via MarketingLand
☞ Here’s how to turn Twitter’s new timeline on and off via Mashable
☞ Learning from Twitter’s Decline via ReadWrite

Instagram finally allows multiple logins
Something that’s been missing from Instagram has finally been sorted this week. It’s now possible to login to multiple accounts from the Instagram app on both Android and iOS. For business owners who previously only had a personal account or had to suffer through the logout/login process this makes everything so much simpler. As the fastest growing social platform, and Facebook owned, it’s a wonder this feature actually took so long to roll out. Like the author of one of the articles linked to below, I think this could lead to a decent jump in new profiles. We even have one for Smart Local now!
Read more:
☞ Instagram Finally Makes It Easy To Use Multiple Accounts via TechCrunch
☞ Instagram App Now Allows Multiple Accounts. Here’s How To Do It via Forbes
☞ How to Add and Switch Between Multiple Accounts via Instagram

Voice search continues to change the SEO landscape
According to recent research up to 60% of smartphone users are now using voice search. Whether it’s “OK Google”, “Hey Siri” or “Hello Cortana” we’re all relying less on our keyboards and more on virtual assistants to provide us with answers. Naturally this is going to have an effect on SEO as consumers search differently by voice rather than text. The two articles below cover quite a bit. When it comes specifically to local search I believe that correct Schema along with consistent and accurate citations is the bare minimum you need. Will be interesting to see how voice search continues to increase.
Read more:

 How to capitalize on Voice Search and the death of the keyboard via Search Engine Watch
☞ How Voice Search will Shape SEO in 2016 via SEMRush

Key trends and tips for local SEO in 2016
With all the articles that have come out so far this year talking about local SEO there are definitely some trends that all agree on. Google+ is dead for local and everything now runs through Google My Business. If your business doesn’t have a mobile friendly website you’re going to suffer. Inconsistent data could not only kill your rankings but also minimise your conversions. Voice search (as above) is on the rise. The article linked to below does a great job in not only looking at these local search trends but also explaining what local business owners should be doing. It’s a great read, wish I’d written it!
Read more:
☞ SEO for Local Businesses in 2016: Key Trends and Tips via Jeff Bullas

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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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Getting on the map, consumer journey, reviews and checklists

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Local search marketing news 22nd January 2016

 

Not sure if it’s just me but it seems like the volume of articles and posts related to local search has increased considerably over the past couple of years. According to Google Trends the volume of “local SEO” searches has also climbed gradually. All good news for the roundup, which is focusing on some local SEO basics this week.

For any local bricks and mortar business getting on the map is a key priority, but there’s much more to it than just that. This week we’ve got a number of articles looking at some of the core components of local search marketing. There’s also something we touched on briefly last week, namely the consumer’s local search journey. Hope you find it all interesting and useful. Enjoy!

 

Getting your business on the map
To have any kind of success with local search you need to put your business on the map, both literally and figuratively. That generally starts with Google My Business and various local listings but there are a number of additional things businesses need to be doing as well. Below is a link to a great slidedeck covering how to rank on Google Maps with a particular focus on off-site factors.
_Read more:_
Read more:
 Local Search – Getting on Google’s Map by Aaron Weiche

The consumer’s local search journey
As consumers we all have our own individual ways of searching for stuff on the web. What’s becoming clear is that we all use multiple touchpoints before making a decision, whether itss via social media or a local deals site. The study linked to below shows the number of places we go to look for local products and services. For business owners, that should highlight the need for making sure you have both a presence and accurate data right across the web in all the spots where consumers are looking. That includes Foursquare, who are a primary supplier of data to app developers and the likes of Pinterest.
Read more:
 Under 40 Percent Start A “Local Search” With A Search Engine by Greg Sterling
☞ Local Search: Unleashing Opportunities for National Advertisers on YP.com
☞ Foursquare’s Plan to Use your Data to Make Money via Wired

Boost your Local SEO in 2016 with reviews
Reviews have always been important for local businesses but with the advent of Google’s Snack Pack they’re now even more so. Beyond the suspected potential to improve rankings, they are vital if you want to have people clicking through to your listing and actually take some action. As mentioned in both articles below, reviews build trust and in this day of mobile search and “micro-moments” a stack of positive reviews can make all the difference between winning and losing.
Read more:

 How Reviews Are Changing the Local Landscape by Taylor Bridges
☞ Top Techniques That Will Beef Up Your Local SEO in 2016 by John Boitnott

Local SEO Tips and Checklist
There is no shortage of tips and tricks on the web when it comes to local SEO, or any type of SEO for that matter. Whether it’s information about citations, Schema, links or local landing pages it’s out there. Below are a few links to articles I found this past week that are all helpful, especially the one on Inbound.org.
Read more:
☞ Local SEO tips, tricks, or cheat codes on inbound.org
 Quick-Start Checklist: Local SEO by Travis Bliffen
☞ 10 Steps to Get Your Local Business Ranked at the Top of Google by Jayson Demers

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See you all back here next week!