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.

What Will 2014 Bring For Local Search? 6 Predictions

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 12.37.48 PM Another year is closing and search marketers are anxiously looking ahead to what is on the horizon for local search in 2014. As opportunity grows for businesses to connect with customers via search, so do the challenges of determining the best approach and the potential for search engines to change the game entirely, as Google did with Hummingbird in 2013. Here are a few local search happenings to expect in the coming year. National To Local Approach For Brands The idea of a coordinated national to local strategy will become a reality for more brands and local businesses in 2014. Many l [...]


62% Of Marketers Say Local Search Is Getting Harder

local-search-map-featured During the recent InsideLocal webinar series, I've had the chance to gather the opinions and feelings of the hundreds of search agencies, consultants, "in-bound" marketers and business owners who logged in to listen. We ran a number of on-the-spot surveys (or polls) during each webinar, which helped to complement the expert views provided by our speakers. In these polls, we addressed a number of issues ranging from "Is SEO getting harder?" through to specifics of "Review Strategy" and "Optimization for Service Area Businesses." The following charts represent the results of these polls an [...]


8 Tips For Planning Your Small Business’ 2014 Marketing Strategy

marketing strategy While the holiday season is undoubtedly a busy period for small business owners, it's important to set aside time to plan your marketing strategy for the year ahead. How will you continue to maintain and grow your business in 2014? What plans do you have to keep your business on track and stay ahead of the competition? Issues related to marketing are top-of-mind for small business owners going into the New Year. In fact, according to Yodle's recently released First Annual Small Business Sentiment Survey, 42% of small business owners said they are worried about finding new customers, maki [...]


Three Steps for Crushing Multi-Location Local Search

local-search-featured Research firm BIA/Kelsey reports that 97% of consumers use online media to shop locally. If you're a multi-location business, this means it's more important than ever to be visible to Web users in all your business locations. This column tells you how to crush it. Based on my own daily searches, it's clear to me that many local businesses (especially brick-and-mortar multi-location businesses) are not optimized for local search marketing. If you're a business with multiple store locations, with a dealership network, or with multiple state or national branch offices, there's a good chance [...]


5 Trusted Accounts Every Local SEO Should Have

Trust As local marketers, most of us know how to set up a Google Places for Business account or create a Facebook Page. But, these are not the only accounts you should be creating in order to get the full benefit of your local SEO campaign. Below are five trusted accounts every local SEO should have in their toolkit. 1. Google Map Maker Google Map Maker (GMM) is a way for people to add updates and corrections to Google Maps.  If you find a road on Google Maps leads you straight into a brick wall, you can correct that via Map Maker. There are a variety of reasons for a business or its agent to [...]


SMBs Spend An Average 46% Of Marketing Budget On ‘Digital’

mouse-click-money In October 2013, BrightLocal teamed up with ChamberOfCommerce.com to conduct an insightful piece of research into the attitudes toward and usage of Digital Marketing by SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses). (In the survey, we used the phrase "Internet or Mobile Marketing" to make it clear to survey respondents what we mean by Digital Marketing.) The objective of the survey was to learn more about the level of knowledge, engagement and investment in digital by SMBs. We also wanted to understand their attitudes toward search consultants/agencies, to help determine how these 3rd parties c [...]


How Local Businesses Can Overcome Obstacles To Mobile Conversion

Credit: Automotive Luxury Limousine Service's mobile-optimized website For the growing number of consumers who rely on their mobile devices to search for local business information, their focus is on making a purchase -- and fast. The latest Google/Nielsen "Mobile Path to Purchase" study, released last week, shows that consumers who use their mobile devices to find and research local products and services do so when they are ready to buy. The study found that: 93% of consumers who used their smartphones to research products and services went on to make a purchase 83% of consumers said they wanted to complete their purchase within a day of conducting t [...]


Ingress: Is Google’s AR Game A Stealth Local Data Effort?

Ingress - the locational Augmented Reality Video Game by Niantic Labs, a Google startup. I recently got a new Android phone and found a little card in the box advertising Ingress, the "massively multi-player location-based alternate reality game from Niantic Labs at Google." Ingress had slipped past my notice despite Greg Sterling's mention of it nearly a year ago. Yet, here it was, already preloaded as an app in my phone, ready to go. The video game is still in beta, but the invite has apparently been expanded to new Droid Maxx owners. [caption id="attachment_175428" align="aligncenter" width="486"] Ingress is preloaded on Droid MAXX phones[/caption] Ingress is a skunk w [...]


Did Hummingbird Just Kill Your Local SEO?

google-hummingbird-featured Let's cut to the chase: no, it didn't (see Betteridge's Law of Headlines). But Search Engine Land tells me the Hummingbird stuff really drives the page views these days, so you only have yourself to blame. :) That said, Google's Hummingbird algorithm, along with all of the other awesome updates Google has made over the past year, has forced me to reevaluate how I approach a local SEO campaign. First, some background on Hummingbird: Google wants to do better at matching queries to results, particularly as voice search becomes more popular and people start asking their phones complex [...]


How Local Businesses Should Size Up & Tackle Social Media

4 Tips to Launch Your Business into Social The most frequently asked question posed these days at events, webinars and new client meetings is “What is the best social media platform for my local business?” Research shows social channels are becoming more important signals in major search engine algorithms that affect the entire SEO and local search landscape. However, effective local and social media marketing is a time-consuming and daunting, yet important, effort for local businesses. Before engaging in a hands-on, local-social marketing effort, it is a good idea to take a step back and look at your overall objectives. What [...]


34% Of Local SEOs Make Less Than $30,000/Year. Why?

local-search-map As the local search industry evolves and becomes more complex, the role of local search consultants and agencies becomes more critical. Complexity is increasing across most areas of our fast-growing industry, which makes "local search" all the more confusing for local business owners. This complexity is driving increased demand for local search services. SMB owners need local specialists to decipher the multiplicity of factors and opportunities available and to guide them through the tangle of local search. Why, then, with this increase in demand, are so many earning less than $30,000/ye [...]


The Structured Data Brouhaha At SMX East: Clarifying Contentious Issues

schema-logo If you attended the Structured Data Superstars session at SMX East earlier this month, you probably witnessed a very brief interchange between myself and Googler Pierre Far at the end of the session. Pierre woke everyone up by stating that some of the semantic markup recommendations I'd presented would be considered "spam" by Google. It was quite a gut-clencher for me, particularly because it was so completely unexpected -- and because I've long considered myself a fairly conservative, white-hat sort of search marketer. Not the reception I was aiming for by a long shot! I asked for spec [...]


The Local Marketer’s Guide To Apple Maps for iOS7

No Results Found Apple Maps [caption id="attachment_173073" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Shotland Estate[/caption] While the launch of iOS7 has received a ton of press and blogger nitpicking about every last detail, little has been said about how the new version of Apple Maps affects local marketers. I feel like most marketers are still ignoring Apple Maps because it got a lot of Apple Maps Sucks-type press a year ago. Well, I like to say that even if you think Apple Maps suck, you know what doesn't suck? The fact that iOS is well on its way to one billion installations. [...]


Local Voice Search Wars And The Opportunity For Businesses

siri-google-voice Since the official inception of mobile voice search with Apple's launch of Siri in 2011, consumers, search professionals and businesses have watched for the rise of voice search in local. Despite Siri's initial inadequacies and obvious voice recognition challenges, savvy multitasking mobile consumers are finally adopting the technology to find the best nearby restaurant, an urgent care center or a plumber in a pinch. Why? It's fairly intuitive, really. Many folks search on the go and can speak faster than they can type and need both hands free in this 24/7 world. As voice search becomes mor [...]


Survey: Quality Of Citations Matters More Than Quantity

Local-Search-Ranking-Factors-2013-chart At the start of August, David Mihm published the findings of the latest installment of the Local Search Ranking Factors Survey. This year, the breakdown & presentation of survey results has been taken to a new level. Ranking factors are grouped by signal type (e.g., Place Page Signals), then further broken down by result type (e.g., Pack or Carousel) and technology (desktop vs. mobile) in a series of interactive pie charts. [caption id="attachment_172258" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Local-Search-Ranking-Factors-2013[/caption] I really enjoy reading the annual findings of this [...]


Local Businesses, Ensure Your AdWords Accounts Are On Target

local-maps-featured-300x142 Paid Advertising Platforms are growing exponentially on what seems like a weekly basis. What once was Keywords + Ad + Bid = Money has now become a full-time job. Bid adjustments, rules, remarketing, extensions, day-parting, local or geographic targeting, modified broad match, and more -- the vocabulary alone is a struggle for small business owners who do their own marketing. As I review and overhaul paid advertising campaigns for new clients, I've noticed that there are numerous misunderstandings surrounding local paid search advertising in Google and Bing. For details on how local bus [...]


Key Metrics For Success With A Local Business Website

SEL LSA 3 There’s a lot of literature out there discussing what local businesses can do to improve their websites, ranging from boosting search visibility through targeted keywords to leveraging content like video to keep visitors engaged. But what's often missing from these conversations are broader discussions about the importance of analytics in providing local businesses with ongoing and targeted insights into which content, functions and flow are working on their websites (and which are not). No business owner, marketing guru or website developer can build and maintain a great website in an [...]


10 Tips For Using YouTube To Kill At Local SEO

youtube-featured Here's a local search optimization tactic that is a staple in the repertoire of many professional SEOs: YouTube Optimization. It's particularly effective in local search since relatively few businesses have created and published video promotions for themselves. Before launching into the technical tips for optimizing your YouTube videos for local search, it's worthwhile to mention the content itself. While my tips below will provide benefit somewhat independently of whatever the video is actually about, all benefit derived from the work will be magnified if the video is compelling. So, subje [...]


10 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Customer Review Management Service

Thumbs Up & Down [caption id="attachment_170947" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo credit: Man Ray Shotland[/caption] I have been doing a bit of work in the reputation management space as of late, and the subject of customer review management comes up a lot. There are probably hundreds of review management services out there, and it's difficult to understand what makes one better than the other. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to provide a list of questions for those in the market for a review management service: 1. Do you syndicate content? If so, where? If the reviews actually go [...]


Crush The Competition With Hyper Local Listing Management!

holiday-inn-listing In May 2012, Google partnered with Ipsos OTX Media CT to get a better understanding of U.S. smartphone usage. Their study revealed that 94% of smartphone users have looked for local information, and 90% took action as a result (called the business, walked into a store, redeemed a coupon, etc). Also, 96% have researched a product or service on their phone. At around that same time, Myles Anderson discussed key findings from BrightLocal's Local Consumer Review Survey -- one of which was that 85% of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses. It's more important than ever for lo [...]


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide