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 [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


Local SEO Industry Survey Reveals Most Customers Want On-Site SEO & Google+ Optimization Services

local-search-map A local SEO industry survey, managed by SEO software company Brightlocal, revealed that the most in-demand SEO services are on-site SEO and Google+ optimization. Conducted between January 20 and February 20 of this year, the survey evaluated the health and nature of the local SEO industry by focusing on five key areas: agency size and turnover, clients and industries, marketing and sales, services and tasks, and future outlooks. The majority of survey respondents included freelancers, small digital agencies and web designers, with a total of 1,409 respondents. On-site SEO and Google+ opt [...]


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 [...]


Conversational Marketing Benefits Local SEO

I began working for a particular type of traditional business industry recently, and I noticed that a great many of the small businesses operating within it were still proceeding as though it were pre-Internet days. They did promotions as though they were a one-way transmission instead of a dialogue. Unfortunately, that's not the only industry where this mindset persists. In order to achieve better sales, attract more potential customers, and, yes, improve your search engine rankings, you need to incorporate "Conversational Marketing" as a primary tactic. The Cluetrain Manifesto came out [...]


Mobile Growth Highlights Importance Of Comprehensive Local Strategy

This week, the Local Search Association is releasing our “Local Mobile Search Study,” which overviews the evolving mobile environment in the U.S. and the growing role of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices in the local search experience. The 2013 study, which features 2012 data compiled from several comScore digital and mobile metrics databases, demonstrates a significant shift in how consumers are accessing the Internet and emphasizes the importance of local businesses embracing mobile platforms as yet another venue to reach consumers. Rise Of Connected Devices Provides [...]


Enhanced Campaigns: Offer Extensions & Location Targeting Explained

google-adwords-local-map-featured Google released more details on its Mobile Ads Blog today about offer extensions and location targeting tools available in the new enhanced campaigns. Location Targeting With Better Reporting One of the main features of enhanced campaigns is that advertisers can target multiple locations within one campaign and adjust bids based on a multiple of the default location bid. The reporting tools now make it easier to see what location targets triggered your ads and where your users were when they saw your ads. This is handy. Say you've set your campaign Location Options to the def [...]


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