Survey: 60% Of Consumers More Likely To Consider Or Contact Businesses With Images In Local Search Results

UK based SEO firm BrightLocal reported the results of two online surveys about local consumer behavior and local SEO. The surveys were conducted in Q1 2011. There were more than 600 SEO survey respondents and 1,250 US consumer survey respondents respectively. The findings are not a surprise. Google dominates as a traffic source to local business websites, though in this survey not as much as some other surveys. Mobile was not a part of the results reported. Here's how the SEO respondents ranked the top sources of traffic to their clients' sites: That ranking is further unpacked in [...]

BrightLocal Conducting Local SEO Survey

UK based SEO firm BrightLocal is conducting a local SEO survey. The survey covers the US, Canadian and UK markets and asks specifically about local SEO practices. We haven't participated in formulating the survey questions but we'll release the results when they become available in the next couple weeks. The survey essentially is trying to find out basic things about local SEO attitudes, metrics and clients. It takes about 5 or so minutes to complete. If you're interested, you can start here. [...]

9 Ways To Start A New Local Business Using Facebook, Twitter, Groupon And Google*

Ever dream of being your own boss? If you've got a good idea and are willing to take the plunge into starting your own business, it's now easier (and cheaper) than ever to get a local business started. Put Up Your Website (<$100/yr) You'll probably want your own domain, so you'll have to shell out $12 or so to a domain seller like GoDaddy and get a shared hosting package for $7/month. After that, there are a number of free website builders you can use such as Weebly. You don't need to be a techy to do any of these things, but it helps if you are not afraid of trying to figure out how t [...]

Local Search: Fish Where The Other Fishermen Aren’t

Most businesses tend to focus on the big channels when it comes to local SEO efforts. While it makes sense to optimize your Google Place Page and pay attention to your presence on other big local search services (e.g. Bing Local, CityGrid, DexKnows, Insider pages,, Merchant circle, Superpages, Yahoo Local, Yellow book, Yelp,, etc.), because of the fragmented nature of local search, there are plenty of other services that generate great local traffic and can provide you with SEO benefits. Here's a brief overview of some "off the grid" opportunities. Facebook Places. So Fa [...]

Call Analytics Bring Sophisticated New Data, Insights to Search Marketing

Many search marketers have experimented with call tracking and measurement as a way to capture online-to-offline consumer activity and determine which ads and campaigns are generating calls. But there has also been debate about whether unique phone numbers required by call tracking harms SEO especially for local advertisers. Some new developments in the field make a compelling argument for call tracking and analytics, at the very least among enterprises or large advertisers trying to generate calls to call centers. Search marketing platform Kenshoo earlier this summer introduced what it cal [...]

Local Search Marketers Share Ranking Factors

Nearly three dozen local search marketers from around the world have shared their opinions on what matters most this year when it comes to ranking well in Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local. David Mihm has published the results of the 2010 Local Search Ranking Factors survey. The survey asks local search marketers to estimate the positive or negative impact of things like claiming a local business listing, having a keyword in your business name, the value of user-generated content such as Google's "MyMaps" service, and dozens of other potential factors. The respondents surveyed believ [...]

Year In Review: Local Search & Maps

While analysts and practitioners have been prognosticating the imminent arrival of local search for the last several years, 2009 was finally the year that proved us right. A number of innovations and developments in mobile search, such as the widespread adoption of the iPhone, the release of Android, and a burgeoning number of location-based apps like Foursquare have certainly helped fuel local search's rise. But local has gained mind share among SEO's, marketers, business owners, and perhaps most importantly, searchers, in its own right as well. Let's take a loo [...]

Which Internet Yellow Pages Site Has The Best Rankings?

One of the challenges for a local business that wants to rank for phrases like "reno dentist" or "nashville accountant" is that the large Internet yellow pages sites and similar local directories often take up a lot of the real estate on search results pages for "city category" phrases. Ergo, one of the most basic pieces of local SEO advice is to piggyback on the authority that these IYPs and directories already have. Two recent blog posts take a shot at trying to determine which IYP and local directory sites have the strongest rankings. In his IYP SEO Rankings Report 2009 post, Andrew [...]

Clean Up Your Local Data!

Local search is a huge opportunity for many businesses, particularly those with hundreds (or more) of locations. In this article, we are going to cover one of the most difficult aspects of that - getting your data to show correctly in the search engines. This turns out to be an extremely important thing to do. In David Mihm's recent Local Search Ranking Factors report the top two items listed where: Local address in City of search (e.g. a user search on "boston rental cars" will favor rental car companies located in Boston) Citations from major data providers, IYPs, and other local in [...]

Does Including A Physical Address On Your Website Help Rankings?

As businesses become more virtual in organization and structure, and more workers become digital nomads, the question of  whether having a physical, real-world address on your website will have any effect on your rankings becomes more important. In this article I'll take a look how a real world address can have some impact on your sites organic listings. Let's look at the auto repair sector. We'll be looking at national chain/franchises, whether they have a corporate address in the footer or on the site, public or private whois data, does the whois data match and do they have a crawlable/i [...]

SEOs Dissect How To Rank In Local Search

Twenty-seven local search marketers from the U.S., Canada, and Europe have shared their opinions and insights in the second edition of the Local Search Ranking Factors. Organized by David Mihm, it's a project that aims to help local businesses understand how Google and Yahoo rank local businesses. David sent out a questionnaire listing 49 possible factors that affect local search rankings, and invited the participants (disclaimer: I'm one of them) to rank each factor on a scale ranging from "very important for ranking well" to "can hurt your ranking/lead to penalty." According to the panel [...]

Google Showing Local Results On Non-Local Queries

Google is rewriting the local search space. They're now showing local search results -- a map, business listings, and more -- even when searchers use generic terms that don't include a local word. This was spotted in London last week, written about on Saturday by a California florist, and spread widely yesterday when Mike Blumenthal wrote it up on his blog. This has potentially huge implications for searchers, local business owners, big businesses with a local presence, and search marketers, too. As I wrote on my own blog yesterday, Google is changing the game where local search is concerne [...] Aims To Simplify Local Search Marketing

Many small business owners realize the need to market online to local customers, but few know where to begin. A new web site that offers a much-needed launch pad for local businesses launched this week. operates with a simple premise: It should be as easy as possible for small businesses to find and claim their business listings on local search engines. To that end, the process begins with only two demands of the small business owner: enter your business name and enter your zip code. With that information, the site looks for the company's business listings on four local search [...]

Yahoo Adds Local Content To Search Results Via SearchMonkey

Yahoo has announced the addition of more local business content to their web search results thanks to Yahoo's SearchMonkey program. Yahoo has turned on the SearchMonkey applications for both Citysearch and Zagat; users don't have to opt-in to see enhanced content from those sites -- it's now turned on by default for all users. In fact, four of the five on-by-default SearchMonkey applications have local content. In addition to Citysearch and Zagat, Yahoo Local and Yelp are also showing enhanced listings for all users. (The fifth on-by-default app is LinkedIn.) This is big news for local b [...]

A Small Business Marketing Success Story: Avante Gardens

There's a battle going on in the floral industry, and many small, independent florists are losing. Like other small businesses, they don't have the time or knowledge to keep up with the latest marketing trends and tactics. But there are other challenges, too. Way back in 1998, the FTC warned consumers about phony marketers pretending to be local florists: Petal Pushers: Is Your 'Local' Florist Really Long-Distance? That consumer alert refers to offline deception via phone directories; ten years later, the situation is just as bad online. This month's small business online marketing success s [...]

Use Universal Search To Leapfrog Local Rankings

Most locally-oriented sites focus their natural search optimization efforts on the big cities of the world — metros like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Yet there is a lot of traffic to be found in the long tail of search queries involving the many tens of thousands of smaller towns in the world. Only problem is, Google's local ranking methods seem to particularly prefer specific types of local sites for small town name queries. Here's one approach that can jump you past the competition and into the desired first page of results for small town searches. Google has focused a lot [...]

How To Get On Google Maps Without An Address

One of the top issues in delivering up local search results in a map-based format is what to do with businesses which have no street address. During the SMX Local & Mobile conference back in October, Dick Larkin asked Google Earth VP Michael Jones a question about this very thing: "What should we recommend to local businesses which do not have a local street address—how do they get into Google Maps search results?" Michael's answer was surprising. I'll give you his answer in a moment. There are a lot of local businesses out there that have no addresses. These are freque [...]

B2B SEO: Capturing Geo-Specific Search

Local search results are great for B2B if your physical location is in the middle of the city you serve—and your prospects actually use search terms that include the name of your city. But what if you serve a broader region (e.g., Northern California)? Or what if your office is in a smaller town and serves the B2B needs of a larger city nearby (e.g., located in Gary, Indiana, but primarily serving Chicago)? With either, chances are you’re not going to show up in local search results because the geographical search term your prospect enters won’t match the physical location of your b [...]

Search Illustrated: Six Simple Steps For Local Optimization

Optimizing content for local search is similar to, but subtly different from, optimizing for general web search. Many key factors, such as optimizing for specific keywords, securing good backlinks to content and so on all apply. But there are several other steps—simple ones, fortunately—that you can take to really give your local content a better chance at ranking well in local search results. Today's Search Illustrated provides a checklist of these six simple steps for optimizing local content: Graphic by Elliance, an eMarketing firm specializing in results-driven search en [...]

Local SEO For Retail Store Locators

Many companies have brick-and-mortar locations spread out across the country or around the world, and most have some type of store locator utility on their websites. Restaurant chains, hotels, retailers, service providers, and more will frequently have a substantial web presence coupled with the desire to make it easy for consumers to find their local outlets. But most of these companies haven't thought their store locator strategies through very well, treating the site feature as just a necessary item to include like a "contact us" page, or copyright notice—and they haven't really thou [...]

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