Local Search provides the latest news and information about the growing segment of local search marketing, including tips on how to take advantage of local directory providers and online yellow page listings, mapping tools and location based services to help users uncover real-world merchants, franchise locations, locally owned small businesses and community places. Columnists cover geo-targeting, zip code and map data being used by searchers and search engines to provide locally relevant results.

Survey: Older Generations Embrace Mobile As Local Shopping Companion

senior_woman_on_smartphone Conventional wisdom tells us that younger generations trump older generations in their use of mobile devices during the local purchasing process. While teenagers use their smartphones at every opportunity to find local businesses, read reviews and scan deals, their parents and grandparents rarely rely on their devices to take advantage of what is increasingly available via mobile, right? Maybe not. According to the results of a new consumer survey conducted by Thrive Analytics and released today by the Local Search Association, older generations -- including Boomers and Seniors -- are embra [...]


Survey: 85% Of SEOs Shoot For 1-5 New Local Reviews Per Month

shutterstock_179555099-ratings Managing reviews and reputation isn't a new discipline for search consultants and agencies to focus on, but it is gaining prominence as reviews take on more significance in the world of local search. Consumers consult online reviews more regularly in their research process and put an increasing amount of trust in ratings and review sentiment when determining which local business to contact. Seventy-nine percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to the BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey.  Reviews also play a significant role in gaini [...]


An Open Letter From Google To Local Directory Sites (Parody)

yelp-SERP-clustering To:           Local Directories From:     Google Re:            Local Search Rankings Hey guys... You may have noticed that over the past year, a lot of the organic traffic to your sites has been... well, we guess the right word is "tanking." As you know, it is our stated goal to organize the world's information while simultaneously doing no evil. And, while you certainly have helped us manage the world's information (thanks for adding schema to all your business listings and reviews so we could figure out how to beef up our Google+ Local listings!), we are starting [...]


Why “Barnacle SEO” Is Making A Big Comeback In Local

Yelp SMB Click Test Although I'd heard of "barnacle SEO" as a tactic at some of the early SEO conference networking events, the first real proponent of it in local search was Will Scott. I want to say that Will originally published this post on the now-defunct Local Search News in early 2008; but alas, the original has been lost to the silicon sands of time. Will creatively defines the concept of barnacle SEO as follows: Attaching oneself to a large fixed object and waiting for the customers to float by in the current. Directly applied to local search, this means optimizing your profiles or business pages on [...]


The Local Search Event Horizon: Adopt Events Markup For Your Business

Local Business Listings on Android Wear Smartwatch This month, Google Maps just announced a new events feature appearing on Android phones which has already been appearing in desktop local search results -- for some types of business, events information is now being displayed in addition to the other local profile elements. The focus on events continues to indicate how much importance Google places on this data (and why local businesses should optimize for it). Here's an example of the events feature screenshot from my Android phone -- the venue is Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco: As you can see, Google shows a few listings unde [...]


Which Is The Most “Generous” Search Engine To Local Businesses?

local-search-featured Earlier this month, one of our customers asked an interesting question in a training workshop. They wanted to know which search engine displayed the most local results for different types of search terms. Google gets the lion's share of focus in the SEO world, particularly in Local. They also have the most developed local search product (vs. Bing and Yahoo), but does this mean that they present more local results to searchers? We discussed our own assumptions on this matter and did some digging online but couldn't find any research that compared the display of results on Google vs. Bing vs. [...]


Time For SMBs To Tackle – Or Be Tackled By – Online Reviews

reviews-240px So much of search focuses on being found. But being found doesn’t do much good unless you’re also chosen. The only thing worse than not being found is being found and rejected from consideration. There’s no doubt that online reviews play an increasingly central role in the consumer path to purchase. Research consistently shows that the vast majority of consumers -- as high as 9 in 10 consumers, in one survey -- say they are being influenced by both positive and negative reviews during their decision process. Yet, despite this clear trend in consumer shopping behavior, a surprising [...]


10 Local Marketing Myths Hamstringing Your Business

Local Online Marketing Myths - Local SEO Myths As an internet marketer, I frequently encounter local business owners (and large chain store companies with many local outlets) that haven't had time to really understand online marketing. Many of them have latched onto some myth that's completely false -- and which can keep their businesses from soaring as high as they otherwise might. It's not surprising that local business operators can lack knowledge about online marketing, or that they can get exposed to misapprehensions about how local marketing should be conducted. Google's CEO has been quoted as saying that the world is now generati [...]


Why Duplicate Business Listings Are Like The Walking Dead

zombies-danger-risk-600 In the Local SEO biz, we spend a lot of time fixing duplicate business listings. Duplicate records of your business appearing throughout the Local Search ecosystem can cause a variety of issues like messing with your Google Local rankings, causing you to lose business, and may even make you feel like you're experiencing a zombie apocalypse. The problem is no matter what we do, dupes often come back from the dead to haunt us. Why is that? TL;DR Warning: Time to eat your local data vegetables. [caption id="attachment_184636" align="alignleft" width="300"] Image Courtesy of the Ansel Sho [...]


Products, Prices & Proximity Are Most Important Info On Local Business Websites

local-search-featured Historically, website design and optimization have been uncomfortable bedfellows. The structural and content requirements of SEO were seen to restrict the fluidity of design and user interaction, while a narrow focus on website style often meant that the need to gain visibility in search and convert clicks into customers was overlooked. While these reluctant friends have kissed and made up, there is often too great a focus on design and optimization over the basics, i.e., what information customers value the most when they visit a website. In January of this year, we (BrightLocal) survey [...]


5 Uncommon PPC Strategies For the Local Business’ Toolkit

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 9.21.38 AM Any search on PPC strategies will yield a tremendous amount of resources that are focused on generalized positive and negative PPC strategies for local businesses, e.g., keyword management, bid management, negative keywords, landing page optimization. What is often not as readily available is information on uncommon and highly effective PPC tactics that squarely benefit local search marketers by giving them a competitive advantage in bringing in leads. The following tactics should be a part of the local business marketer's toolkit and will return enormous rewards. Tactic 1: Attributio [...]


5 Tips To Kill The Competition In Local Search

local-search-map-featured If your business has a local presence -- anywhere -- you must take advantage of Google+ Local. Creating and optimizing Google+ Local profiles is a critical marketing practice for local small businesses, multi-location enterprises, national franchises and companies with a single physical location. It will help you reach the 97% of consumers who search for local businesses online. Google+ Local not only helps web searchers find and share local business information, it can also help your business get displayed near the top of Google SERPs. When a search is made with local intent, Google typi [...]


6 Local Tips For Small Business SEO Success

SEL - Billys Bakery Graphic We all know that a key component of any small business' marketing strategy is to effectively position its brand in search engine results. But is it possible to dominate search results with content you control -- or at least content you've influenced? The answer is yes. There are simple and effective ways to boost visibility for your business in search results, while simultaneously improving related marketing efforts in social media, ratings and reviews, and media outreach. Take a look at my six tips for local SEO success, along with action items for each in order to successfully implemen [...]


10 Pro Online Reputation Management Tips For Local Businesses

Online Local Reputation Management Online marketing experts have spent a lot of time providing advice on managing online ratings and reviews for local businesses -- but reputation can have much broader impact than your reviews in Yelp and Google. There's hardly a business out there that doesn't have an occasional issue arise with a customer. Ideally, you can resolve things before it reaches a point where a customer believes they can only get satisfaction through a public forum or feels they ought to warn people about your business. The internet has made it so the barriers between one customer and another are far reduced -- w [...]


Local SEO Scam Of The Month: Craigslist SEO

scam-featured Most SEO consultants I have met are pretty decent, hard-working folks. But there are plenty of SEO con artists out there, and it kills me every time I see a small business (or a big business) get taken. Recently, I had the privilege to witness a true Picasso of SEO con artists. I am sharing this with you, dear reader, so that the next time you are jonesing for that cheap, quick SEO fix, you might calm yourself down and add some great content to your site instead. I was consulting for an agency that builds websites for local businesses. One of their clients had lost patience waiting for the [...]


4 Go-Tos To Make Online Reviews Work For Your Business

Yelp profile By now, everyone knows that online reviews can have a tremendous impact on consumers' purchasing decisions. Ultimately, a single review -- positive or negative -- can tip the scale in favor of one company over another. No doubt, the power of reviews on Google+, Yelp, Angie's List and other local search directories continues to mount. Review prominence in search results is also rising, as they often appear for a business just below their company website and make up the majority of the corresponding top 10 search results. Major search and review sites weight online reviews very highly, and [...]


Health & Medical SMBs Spend More On Marketing Than Other Industries

online vs offline copy When we conducted an online survey of 668 US small and medium-sized businesses in October 2013, a large number of these businesses (just over 20%) classified themselves as belonging to the Health & Medical Industry. This group consisted of a wide spread of specialists, including chiropractors, dentists, mental health practices, medical family practices, pharmacies, psychologists and general physicians. We asked them a number of questions related to their attitudes and use of internet and mobile marketing, and their engagement with search agencies. Interestingly, we found they spent mor [...]


How Local Businesses Can Leverage Twitter’s New Nearby Feature

twitter-nearby Twitter has made headlines in recent weeks with the quiet launch of its experimental Nearby timeline, which allows eligible mobile users to discover tweets posted by others in their immediate vicinity, regardless of whether they are following them. This feature is currently available to a select number of users who have opted-in to allow their location information to be shared on Twitter. Nearby appears as its own tab alongside the Home tab within Twitter's mobile apps. As shown right, the tool features a map with the user's location indicated, surrounded by pins for the locations of ot [...]


Checking In: Our Top Local Search Columns Of 2013

sel-2013-local-featured As more and more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) venture into the digital marketing arena, they are quickly recognizing the importance of being visible within local search results. This past year saw the official launch of Google's Knowledge Graph Carousel for local search results, creating a more visually pleasing user experience for searchers. Additionally, Google continued the rocky process of updating its business listings management from Google Places to Google+ Local. Whether you're an SMB trying to navigate the world of local search on your own or a large brand with [...]


Use Google Keyword Research To Target The Long Tail In Local Search

seokeywordresearchpic There's something of a void where local business marketing is concerned. Local marketers understand they need to target keyword queries in SEO and PPC campaigns, but they assume they know what people search for, and they miss out on valuable referrals because of it. Here's a brief guide on local keyword research to close the gap. Companies tend to get somewhat myopic about understanding how consumers try to discover their type of business. It's natural to find out how some people find your business and then focus your efforts on building and reinforcing that successful vector -- even to the [...]


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