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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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.

Google Plus, Apple Maps, Reviews and Local Guides

Friday, November 20th, 2015

local search and social media marketong roundup for 20th november 2015

Although it’s been coming down the pipeline for a while now, the big news in local this week is the rollout of a new “beta” Google Plus. As an interest based platform it’s still awesome but as a tool to have in your local marketing arsenal I think the word I’m looking for is “meh”. More information about that change in the roundup below and you’ll not be surprised that there are plenty of active discussions going on in various places across the web. Also in the roundup this week we’re taking a look at the continuing improvements at Apple Maps and then a couple of features with a focus on reviews. The one constant there is that no matter what Google does elsewhere, reviews are still important for local marketing success. Enjoy!


Google Plus revamp leaves businesses behind
There’s been a fair bit of discussion about Google+ over the past few days. The latest revamp of the platform is very much still a work in progress but what is clear is that the focus is on interests and passions, i.e. people not business. There is now a very clear split bewteen Google+ the social platform and Google My Business the business dashboard. That brings up a lot of questions and concerns for many small (and not so small) businesses who have invested time and effort on Plus. It also raises issues about where to send customers to leave reviews and a few other things. Plenty of content to sift through below but would be really interested to hear your thoughts on the changes, especially as it relates to local business.

Read more:
Introducing the new Google+ via Google
Three Reasons Why Google Is Bringing Google+ Back to Life via re/code
Google refuses to give up on Google+ via BBC
Google+ has had a major revamp via Econsultancy
Asking Customers for Google Reviews in the New Google Plus via Phil Rozek

Apple Maps starts tapping into Foursquare location data
Apple has made huge improvements to its Maps app since it launched a couple of years ago. From being something of a joke it’s now utilised more by iOS users than Google Maps. A few days ago it was confirmed that Apple are using location data provided by Foursquare. Although consumers primarily know Foursquare as a local search and discovery app, much of their revenue comes from selling their location data to companies that include Twitter and Pinterest. With Apple now joining the list it’s even more crucial to make sure that, as a local business, your Foursquare location data is correct. If you’ve not had a look recently, please do it soon.

Read more:
Foursquare Confirmed as Apple Maps Business Listings Supplier via Andrew Shotland
Foursquare Joins Apple Maps Data Sources As Company Builds Out Ecosystem via Search Engine Land
Apple Maps Now Using ‘Business Listings’ Data From Foursquare via MacRumours

Reviews and your online reputation
This week’s Google+ update has made it a little trickier for businesses to ask customers for reviews but there are plenty of other sites where reviews are also important. This post contains a video and transripton of a presentation by Darren Shaw that covers pretty much all you need to know about online reviews for local. Who do they matter? How do I get more of them? How should I respond to negative reviews? It’s a 21 minute video with the transcription nicely broken up for easy reading. Lots of golden nuggets in there so take your time and bookmark it for future reference.

Read more:
Reviews and Your Online Reputation via Whitespark

Google rolls out points for Local Guides program
Google’s “Local Guides” program started back in January, previously being known as City Experts. It used to be all around reviews but now Local Guides can add missing places, update incorrect information and upload busienss photos. In addition they’re adding a level of gamification to the program as you can earn points to achieve different levels. I’m currently 6 points away from Level 4, which would then give me a whopping 1TB of free space on Drive. Nice! The usual feedback from local businesses is “how come Google can incentivise for reviews but we can’t?” Answer is generally “Because they’re Google.” But what’s wrong with connecting with Local Guides in your area and encouraging them to “earn points”. Over to you.

Read more:
Google Using Points To Boost User Reviews, Beef Up Maps Content via Search Engine Land
Google Crowdsources Business Listing Corrections, Map Edits With Expanded Local Guides Program via TechCrunch
Local Guides – Spread the love, get some back via Google

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See you all back here next week.