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.

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 [...]

Best & Worst Ways To Influence Local SEO Rankings

local-search-seo-featured The vast majority of local businesses out there – even those heavily invested in digital and mobile marketing – are constantly looking for insights on how they can improve their placements in Google’s search engine results. While there’s plenty of advice available on specific tactics ranging from leveraging keywords and linking to boosting reviews and Facebook likes, most business owners struggle with how to prioritize their local marketing budgets to improve their rankings, while avoiding unintentional negative hits to their search visibility. David Mihm at Moz, a marketing anal [...]

Logo Optimization: A Local SEO Stealth Tactic

When local businesses look to beef up their SEO game, they're often looking for some clever technical trick. But, one of the simplest and most elegant local SEO tactics is to optimize the site's logo. Since many businesses are unaware of it, employing it will amount to a "stealth" tactic, giving an advantage over competitors. I've written a number of times about SEO for images, and many sites and blogs do image SEO to one degree or another. The logo is one of the most important images associated with a website and with a company, so it should be the most consistently optimized image on webs [...]

7 Things I’ve Figured Out About The New Google Maps

PLeasanton Pizza Google Maps 2 Google has been busy changing a lot of the user interfaces for its local search services. Between the new Google Maps, the Google Local Carousel and the new Reviews Pop-Ups, they have certainly thrown the local search world into a tizzy. I have been playing around with the new Google Maps, and I thought I'd share some random observations about how to work inside the Matrix: 1. Want Traffic From Google Maps? Buy An Ad Below is a set of map results for "pizza" in Pleasanton, CA. As you can see, the purple & white ads stand out. In the queries I have tried, there are rarely more t [...]

Keys To Working With New Search Clients: Planning, Communication & Setting Expectations

client agency relationship I recently conducted a series of interviews with four successful and respected local search experts. The interviews focused on the all-important client-agency relationship and examined four key stages, from winning new customers to retention of long-term clients. [caption id="attachment_168117" align="aligncenter" width="497"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] The objective of the interviews was to understand how each consultant/agency approaches the different relationship stages and to understand what makes them successful. Interviewees were as follows: Laura Betterley – YadaYada M [...]

The Key To Success In Local Lies In A Vertical Approach

YP Vertical offerings are playing an increasingly critical role, not only in attracting consumers and directing them to relevant local business listings, but also in providing consumers with the necessary tools to evaluate and directly make purchases. As verticals better enable consumers to simplify, speed up, and complete their path to purchase, local businesses need to ensure they have the framework in place to capture these new lead opportunities. Categories Have Always Been Important Over the years, local players have emphasized the importance of category search as a way to improve and q [...]

How To Use Twitter Cards For Branding & Local SEO

Local business Twitter Card I've written before about the benefits of using various semantic protocols to improve your search engine optimization efforts. Using Schema.org markup and geotagging webpages can help search engines associate your website with online business listings, and a variety of semantic markup types can help your site's listings appear more attractive in search engine results with rich snippets. Authorship markup, in particular, is my number one tactic for local SEO this year, enabling proprietors' photos to appear as icons next to their listings in SERPs, drawing in consumers' eyes and clicks. [...]

Confessions Of A $100/Month SEO Client: Part II

Last month's post on the realities of low-cost SEO for small businesses seemed to hit a nerve and got some great responses. One of the best was from a Bill Trott, the owner of Bill's Pest and Termite in Phoenix, not to mention a guest star on Discovery's Property Wars. [caption id="attachment_165724" align="alignright" width="281"] Image courtesy of Bill's Pest & Termite[/caption] Here's the email Bill sent: Re: June 10th Blog - Interesting blog...I'm a SBO and stumbled across your blog in my attempt to get a glimpse into that other world of SEO. I read the feedback/comments and whi [...]

Local Businesses Need To Expand & Refine Advertising Approach

With consumers leveraging a broader array of online and offline media when searching for local business information -- and increasingly relying on smartphones and tablets to conduct searches -- local businesses need to expand and refine their advertising approach in order to remain competitive, according to new research released today by the Local Search Association. Broader Array Of Local Media Offerings LSA's annual "Local Media Tracking Study," conducted by Burke, Inc., measured the reach of various local media sources among U.S. adults throughout 2012. The results showed strong consumer [...]

2013 Study: 79% Of Consumers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations

Today, we at BrightLocal released the findings of our 2013 Local Consumer Review Survey. This is the third wave of this study which explores consumer consumption (aka "reading") of online reviews and how these influence their opinions and purchases from local businesses. More People Reading Fewer Reviews The results of this year's survey show that more consumers are reading reviews as part of their pre-purchase research before selecting a local business to use. However, it also shows that they are forming opinions faster and needing to read fewer reviews before they trust (or don't trus [...]

Maps & Metros: Surviving And Thriving In Local Search

Last week I attended the SMX Advanced session, "Maps & Metros: Surviving And Thriving In Local Search," moderated by Matt McGee with speakers Mike Blumenthal, Mary Bowling and Mike Ramsey. It's extremely challenging right now to recommend new "advanced" SEO methods for local search within Google (this is my take, prior to going into this session). Things in Google have been in flux, transitioning from the old Google Places to Google+ Local pages, and changes have been unpredictable and frequent. Also, the local algorithms haven't seemed to have had a whole lot of additions, necessar [...]

The Best Link Building For Local SEO — None!

Since Google rolled out the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, numerous sites have been impacted or penalized. Often, companies that incur penalties or experience a drop in rankings don't have a clue as to what they've done wrong -- especially small, local businesses. This leads me to a novel proposal: perhaps for local businesses, the best link building is absolutely none at all. I've been approached by many small-to-medium businesses seeking help with various degrees of penalization as a result of these updates over the past year, and some of the commonalities to me are striking -- pri [...]

Confessions Of A $100/Month SEO Client

Are you an agency trying to sell super cheap search marketing services to SMBs? If so, here's some free market research! Last week, I got my kitchen counters resurfaced. Inevitably the service guy asked me what I did for a living. When I told him I did SEO, the conversation quickly turned to the local online marketing and I put my interviewer hat on.  Enjoy: NAP Citation: Cleaner One 416 Honeysuckle Lane San Ramon, CA 925-336-0600 Owner: Paul Breaton Service Categories: Carpet Repair, Marble Polishing, Marble Cleaning How long have you been in business? I've been running [...]

Hyperlocal Social News On Patch

Over the past few years, as print advertising sales have plummeted alongside circulation numbers, local newspapers have faced a somewhat treacherous path to survival. Many have ended up forced to choose between consolidating with national outfits or relegating themselves to online-only publications. Local newspapers of long and storied pedigree have shied away from daily publication, closed altogether, or been acquired by large digital media companies. In the process, news about smaller, local areas may get lost in the digital shuffle for page views. It seems that 140 characters may be trum [...]

8 Keys To A Successful Local Business Website

A company website is the core of most local businesses’ online presence. In fact, more than half of all SMB online marketing service dollars are spent on the Web presence category, including Web design and hosting, according to a Borrell Associates study released late last year. Yet, despite its central role, the vast majority of SMBs continue to struggle in developing a site that can be easily found in search and that provides the information, engagement and trust that consumers are looking for. A recent vSplash audit of the presence of 3.9 million U.S. SMB websites found deficiencies [...]

New Google Maps UI Calls For Shifts In SEO Tactics

Last week at the Google I/O developer conference, a newly redesigned Google Maps design was introduced. While a number of online commentators have virtually gushed about the new interfacing from an end user perspective, there may be a less-than-rosy view for many local businesses. Thus far, the new version of Google Maps is pretty much in beta, rolled out by invitation or to select user groups. So, some parts of the design may still be in flux for a while. However, the direction of the development is likely crystallized sufficiently to be able to make a number of observations and deducti [...]

New Google Maps Interface Launching At Google I/O Today?

New Google Maps Interfaces & Leaked Map Design Images Last week, Alex Chitu at Google Operating System blog reported on some screengrabs that were apparently leaked from Google Maps. The images indicated that new Maps interfaces could be in the works, and it was supposed that these might be officially announced at Google I/O today or tomorrow. This morning, Mike Blumenthal reported on new Google Place Results pages that are rolling out in Europe and appear to be closely related in look and feel to the leaked images. Compare a closeup detail of one of the leaked images on the left, with a screengrab I just took of the map portion of the results [...]

5 Ways To Rank Outside Of Your Physical Location In Google Places

One of the more desperate requests I get from clients interested in Local Search is wanting to rank well in Google for local queries when they don't have a physical location in the searched city. The challenge is that Google appears to not want to show businesses that are not physically located in the searched city if they can avoid it. And, in their guidelines, they are fairly explicit about trying to game the listings, particularly with easily faked addresses like P.O. Boxes: "Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O [...]

93% Of Local SEOs Expect To Grow Their Business In 2013

Last week, we published the findings of the BrightLocal Local SEO Industry Survey 2013. The objective of this survey is to gain greater understanding about the health and nature of the local SEO Industry. Through this survey, we aim to find out what life is like "on the ground" for those in the local SEO industry and share those findings publicly to help improve the knowledge and insight within our industry. This is the 2nd wave of the survey. The 1st wave was conducted in 2011 and looked ahead to 2012.  Wave 1 survey results can be viewed here. About The BrightLocal Local SEO Industry [...]

7 Takeaways From The Local Search Association Annual Conference

Earlier this month, local search marketing leaders from the U.S., Canada and 12 other countries gathered in Las Vegas for the Local Search Association’s 2013 annual conference, "Search Starts Here." Over several days, attendees engaged in informative discussions about the numerous opportunities and challenges facing our industry, ranging from the growing importance of original digital content to the rise of mobile and social media. In this month’s column, I will highlight my key takeaways from the LSA conference, which are focused on both the strides I believe local marketers should [...]

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