420 Dilemma? Marijuana Emerges In Local Search

marijuana-map-600 Today marks the first time that April 20th -- known amongst pot smokers as "420" and frequently celebrated with smoking parties -- is a legally observable event in the United States (in some places, at least, since the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized recreational use of the drug for adults). So, what does this mean for local businesses and marketers? In 2010, I conducted a limited audit to see if 420 party locations, as well as marijuana dispensaries, appeared in Google Maps. I found little more than a user-generated map back then -- but fast-forward to 2014, and we be [...]


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. [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


For SMBs, The Time Is Now To Embrace Search Advertising

paid-search-ppc-featured As a recently as a few years ago, the owner of a small or local business could legitimately ask, "Why should I buy search ads?" After all, he or she first faced the hassle of setting up an ad campaign in a relatively foreign platform -- then, assuming they got ads served, maybe people clicked. But at the cost, what benefit was the advertiser really receiving? If you are not an online business, how do you translate a click into something an SMB can understand -- and place value on? It was simply impossible to know. And who can blame them? According to our research, proving ROI is the top nee [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


How To Leave Anonymous Business Reviews In Google+

CreateaPage For a long time, I've had some doctor friends complaining to me that once Google Places changed over to the new Google+ format, all their patients lost the ability to leave anonymous reviews (thus hurting their business and their rankings). They asked me what to do; and I, in turn, asked my fellow SEO friends what to do. No one really had a good answer, except to start leaving reviews on doctor-specific sites like healthgrades.com and vitals.com. That never seemed like a good answer to me, so I kept searching. Even answers from Google staff (in Google Groups) don't shed much light on th [...]


Google AdWords Third-Party “Review Extensions” Start Rolling Out To All Accounts

adwords-quality-score-featured In June, Google announced the beta release of Review Extensions which allow advertisers to append a quote of endorsement from a reputable publication in their AdWords ads. Today, these Review Extensions will begin to roll out to all AdWords accounts. You should see the Review Extensions option under the Ad extensions tab in your account within the next few days. The blurb you include in your ads can be a paraphrased review or an exact quote from the publication. Review Extensions can take a few days to be approved. Google recommends setting one Review Extension at the campaign level fo [...]


Bing Ads Launches Call Extensions With Skype On All Devices

bing-ads-featured Long anticipated, Bing Ads has rolled out call extensions powered by fellow Microsoft entity, Skype. The use of Skype uniquely allows Bing Ads call extensions to be delivered across all devices, including desktops. Call extensions can be set up using the web UI, Bing Ads Editor or the new Bing Ads APIs.  They will also import directly from Google AdWords campaigns into Bing Ads. The set up options are very similar to AdWords, though there is the option to use a local or toll-free forwarding number. As with the "directions" link that rolled out in Bing Ads location extensions last m [...]


Hot Tactics For Geo-Targeted Ads On Google & Bing

Geographic Segmentation Map for PPC Ads At SMX East this morning, I sat in on the Improving Your Geographic Targeting Tactics On Google & Bing session, in large part because I'm far more familiar with SEO than with paid search, so I like to stretch myself and learn more about the advertising side of the local search equation. The session was moderated by Matt Van Wagner (President of Find Me Faster), and featured speakers Kevin Lee (CEO of Didit.com), Sam Owen (PPC & CRO Account Manager of Hanapin Marketing), and Paul Corkery (Senior Operations Program Manager at Microsoft). I actually have quite a lot of familiari [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


Google AdWords Geo-Targeting: Have We All Been Doing It Wrong?

google-geo-target-featured It's rare that a true challenge to a best practice (and a seemingly straightforward one at that) arises. But, when Marta Turek, Group Manager, Performance Media at Mediative presented case studies showing what happened when they tested an opt-out versus the traditional opt-in approach to geo-targeting in AdWords at SMX Advanced this year, jaws dropped. Eyes bulged. (Editor's Note: Turek's complete presentation is now embedded at the end of this piece, the author highlights key points throughout the article.)  I recently caught up with her to talk more about their findings. As often happ [...]


Does Weather Affect Site Traffic & SEM Performance?

SEL_July2013_3 Omni-channel retail marketers with online sites and offline stores have often wondered about the effect that weather might have on their site traffic (which in turn would affect their paid search bidding strategies). There appear to be three competing hypotheses about weather affecting site traffic: Hypothesis #1: Site traffic is negatively correlated with weather quality -- the better the weather, the lower the site traffic as people like to get out and buy products in store (substitution effect). Hypothesis #2: Weather has little to no effect on site traffic because surfing online [...]


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 [...]


You’re Dead… If You Don’t Integrate Social Media & PR Into Your Local SEO Strategy

The peppered moth (Biston betularia), once white with black spots, faced a strange challenge in London during the Industrial Revolution. Buildings and trees, stained with soot, turned black. The light colored moths could no longer hide against this backdrop, and were eaten up by birds. But some peppered moths survived -- by turning black themselves! To survive, you must adapt and change with your environment. Otherwise, you're dead. That's the powerful lesson business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs can learn from a humble moth. The Times, They Are A-Changin' A major shift has tak [...]


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