Local SEO for digital agencies

As all successful agency owners know, a consistent local SEO strategy is vital for increasing search visibility. At Advice Local, we have long promoted the benefits of local listing management software, citation building and other proven SEO methods. But as you are probably aware, SEO takes time – and the more complex the strategy, the less profit an agency typically retains. Today we’re offering an alternative way to create an SEO strategy that requires minimal maintenance, yet delivers client satisfaction and profitable returns.

The Critical Elements of a Local SEO Strategy

The best local SEO strategies integrate personalized methods (content creation and social media strategies tailored for each client) with streamlined services (real-time data distribution and hands-off citation building). Here are the main elements of a local SEO strategy for small business clients.

Optimize Business Listings

In the past, agencies could rely on a set-and-forget approach to business listings. Today however, with Google and others aiming to deliver up-to-the-minute information to searchers, the GBP (Google Business Profile), Bing Places, as well as similar platforms need more direct involvement. While each directory does vary, here are some recommendations for a GBP listing.

  • Add NAP, opening hours, a description and attributes.
  • Maintain consistent data using our GBP Sync tool.
  • Add high-quality images that showcase the business.
  • Create Google Posts featuring offers, events and updates.
  • Respond to every customer review, positive and negative.
  • Monitor profile quality with our Google Authority Score.

Take Advantage of Data Aggregators

When it comes to understanding local SEO, it’s critical to truly grasp the concept that Google, Bing and others strongly want to avoid conflicting business data. When search engines can’t determine the exact location of a business, they are quite reluctant to give it prominence. Fortunately, you can avoid instances of bad data by syndicating consistent information to every significant listing platform.

To help accomplish this, Advice Local uses data aggregators to distribute your clients’ information to every important search engine, directory and mobile app. And if that data needs to be changed, our real-time solution gets the job done.

Use GPS and Mapping Apps

From smartphones to in-dash navigation, it has never been easier for people to reach local businesses while on the move. When consumers look up a local store they could easily be making a purchase – within minutes. Consequently, any serious local SEO strategy must incorporate GPS and mapping apps. You can submit your clients’ data manually or use our GPS accelerators for straightforward syndication.

Simplified Reporting

As an agency reporting back to clients, you must not overlook the reporting aspect of local SEO. Companies want to know what you’ve done and how the strategy is working. Thankfully, by partnering with the right local SEO software company you will benefit from automated reporting. Clients receive a detailed monthly SEO report – complete with your agency branding.

Get Found With Voice Search

We’ve intentionally left this critical component of a local SEO strategy until last. But just because voice search doesn’t get enough attention, you certainly should not be among those ignoring it. As part of a collection of listing management services, voice search optimization reaches Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google Home and other uses in your clients’ local areas. And while you might not know it yet, at Advice Local we let you create voice apps in moments – directly through our dashboard solution.

Create a Local #SEO Strategy for Your Small Business Clients by @BernieColeman #Marketing
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Simple Local SEO for Marketers and Digital Agencies

Advice Local helps agency clients streamline their SEO and local marketing strategies with high-quality tools. Our listing management software offers simple solutions for local presence management. To see for yourself, request a demo now or call (214) 310-1356.

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5 New Year’s Tips to Help Agencies Have a Profitable Year

As 2022 came to an end we looked back at Advice Local’s most popular local search topics of the year. With 2023 officially up and running, we’d like to offer some recommendations on how to ensure a profitable year. From our listing management services to our Enhanced GBP Tool, we always like to give our agency partners an edge over the competition. So with that in mind, here are our five tips for the year ahead.

5 New Year’s Tips for a Profitable 2023 for Your Agency

The prime goal for agencies and local marketers is to help their clients succeed. Here are five ways to achieve this aim.

1. Remember, Offering Better Tools to Your Clients Means Better Results

The online demands of local businesses have grown dramatically in recent years. Of course, local clients want to be found in Google – but they also want visibility on voice apps, popular review platforms, alternative search engines and more. Because a wide-reaching local presence demands the use of tools, integrating these into your agency operations is more important than ever.

2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Communication is at the heart of a good client-agency relationship. From brand identity and project goals to new milestones and unexpected challenges, talking to your clients ensures that both parties understand the direction of travel. For example, our reporting solutions make it easy to deliver white-label reports to clients with minimal effort.

3. Happy Clients Equals Repeat Clients

In last year’s Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Digital Marketers, over-delivering for clients was a key theme. We’ve found that focusing on local visibility and brand reputation is a path to pleasing customers consistently. We built our listings management tool to boost Google visibility for your local business clients, while allowing us to monitor and quickly respond to changes in a business’ NAP data.

4. Move Quickly Without Sacrificing Quality

In online business, speed of implementation can make all the difference. For an agency or local marketer, clients expect changes to be made quickly and for issues to be resolved without fail. At Advice Local, we like to facilitate this need for fast action using integration tools. From syncing Google Business Profile (GBP) client data to monitoring reputation, influence and engagement, agencies can make smart changes without delay.

5. Partnerships Fuel Your Growth

Scaling your operations is a crucial way to be more profitable this year. And the simplest method for low-risk growth is through strategic partnerships. Our Data Amplifier Network is an excellent example of working with a distribution network of quality partners that helps us distribute data far and wide.

There are many types of service providers you can partner with to offer quality services to your clients. Determine what their needs are – then find the solutions you can resell to them. This will help your clients while also making your own business more profitable.

Take Your Local Agency to the Next Level With Advice Local

If you like the sound of our 2023 tips and want to start implementing them, Advice Local has the tools to help. From our innovative GBP tools to client-friendly reporting, we can help you deliver a first-class local marketing service. Request a demo to try our local presence management tools for yourself, or call us at (214) 310-1356.

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2022 local marketing blog posts

2022 was another big year for local marketing, with plenty of new updates, insights and strategies to discuss. As always, a lot was happening within the Google ecosystem, but we also saw innovations across the wider local search marketing sphere. Each year at Advice Local we highlight the most popular blog posts and draw attention to some content you may have missed. So, let’s start our roundup of the year with the post that gained the most traffic in 2022.

10 Most Popular Local Search Posts of 2022

1. Google Business Profile Features You Can’t Get Elsewhere

You probably won’t be too surprised by the topic of our most popular blog post of the year – the Google Business Profile (GBP). An optimized GBP remains one of the most effective ways to improve search visibility and grab an all-important local pack position. In 2022 Google made some significant updates to the service, and Advice Local was on the scene with the product features you need to succeed.

2. Best Practices for Writing Business Listing Descriptions

Business listing descriptions can be one of the most challenging parts of creating a profile – and this point was highlighted by our runner-up for the most popular article. In this post, we offered some best practices for crafting engaging business descriptions, from building a keyword list to demonstrating credibility.

3. The Value of Near Me Search Optimization in 2023

2022 saw a lot of discussion around the topic of “near me” searches in Google. The late 2021 Google Vicinity update led to some sites losing local pack placements after a crackdown on business name spam. But was this the end of “near me” search optimization? In this article, we looked at why hyperlocal optimization still matters.

4. Google Maps Is Now Featuring Updates From Customers

During the early part of the year, agencies and local marketers began to pay attention to a Maps update from Google. An “Updates from customers” feature allowed users to submit their own business photos along with a message. This post focused on the need for close business listing management, as Google looked to roll out additional user-generated content features.

5. Mapping Apps & Navigation Solutions You Can’t Ignore

This blog post looked at one of the core aspects of search visibility for local businesses – mapping apps and in-dash navigation solutions. Along with outlining the importance of a mapping and GPS navigation strategy, we listed our top picks for the best mapping apps your clients should be listed on.

6. Is “Near Me” Search Optimization Effective in 2022?

A second “near me” search optimization article in our top 10 highlights the interest in hyperlocal search in 2022. This blog post offered a strategy for your business clients who lost search visibility from Google’s updates, and showed why relevance, proximity and prominence are so important.

7. A Refresher on Data Aggregators & Why Businesses Need Them

Citations are still a cornerstone of local search marketing, and this doesn’t look likely to change. However, any approach to citation building needs to focus on data accuracy and distribution to quality listings platforms. In this post from February 2022 we looked at data aggregators – platforms that distribute business data to hundreds of relevant sites.

8. A Google Business Profile Roundup, Including Dispelling a GBP Myth

Straightforward GBP errors consistently prevent quality businesses from achieving significant local pack visibility. We used this particular post to address a couple of GBP myths and mistakes that we have noticed, including a common link-building mistake that keeps reappearing.

9. Justifications Are Appearing in Google Maps, Images & More

In this article from June, we covered two GBP topics to improve search visibility. The first update was Google’s addition of justifications for Maps mobile, which included business categories and review snippets. The second key update demonstrated the importance of adding images to a GBP.

10. These Key Factors Can Influence the Local Pack in Many Ways

The big three ranking factors made up a key local search theme of 2022. These factors are relevance, proximity and prominence, and in this blog post we detailed how they influence local presence – and why they matter to local businesses.

Honorable Mentions Go to These Local Search Articles

These additional popular articles that our readers loved deserve an honorable mention!

How to Improve a Website’s Placement With the Right Content

This article was published back in 2019, but it’s just as relevant today. The post shows the right way to create content to improve a website’s placement.

Why Business Listings Are Essential for Local Businesses

Why do we keep returning to the subject of business listings? To be brief, their importance should never be underestimated. This post demonstrated why business listings are so essential – and which platforms are most crucial.

How to Run a Google Business Profile Audit & Why It Matters

Auditing a Google Business Profile usually highlights opportunities to enhance a listing. Back in November of 2022 we outlined an auditing method for agencies and local marketers to use with their clients’ profiles.

Our Most Popular Local Search Post (Published in 2015)

How to Submit a Business Listing to Foursquare

This post deserves a mention because it was published in 2015 – yet still managed to win over the most visited article of 2022. Follow the step-by-step guide to submitting a business listing to Foursquare.

A Popular Local Search Post Published in 2021

2021 Local Search Ranking Factors – Applying Them in 2022

This local search ranking post (published at the end of 2021) is second runner-up in 2022 over all the other topics for traffic. Interestingly, an article on the Local Ranking Factors made the top 10 last year, receiving the most traffic in 2021.

Most Visited Product Page

Enhanced GBP Tool for Agencies

Our Enhanced GBP Tool was a big success in 2022, with agencies loving the GBP Sync, GBP Auto-Rejection, Google Authority Score and Profile Insights features. Try it for yourself and see how easy it is to optimize a GBP listing.

Most Visited Resource

Applying E-A-T to a Google My Business Listing

Google EAT was as relevant as ever in 2022, and we were pleased to provide a leading resource on the subject. Our downloadable content showed how to apply Google EAT to a GBP listing for an improved Google authority score.

That brings our most popular local search content of 2022 to a close. If you’re looking for our prediction on the big theme for 2023, the safest bet is with the Google Business Profile. Continuing the theme of 2022, the GBP will surely be at the forefront of local search marketing for the upcoming year.

The Top 10 Local #Search Topics of 2022 by @BernieColeman #GBP #SEO
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Level Up Your Local Marketing Strategies in 2023

2023 will be another busy year at Advice Local with new digital marketing insights and strategies. If you want to offer the best services to your local business clients, make sure to stay tuned to our local marketing blog.

We also operate the industry’s leading local presence management tool, providing real-time listings management and data distribution. Request a demo today or call (214) 310-1356 to learn more.

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Near me local search optimization

In recent years, one of the most common questions in the local marketing space relates to the value of “near me” search optimization. As developers of Enhanced Google Business Profile tools and listing management services, it is something we are deeply engaged with. Do “near me” searches still matter, or has the search landscape evolved beyond the trend? For a closer look at this subject we’ll start by considering what Google has to say.

The Importance of Near Me Search Optimization

A perhaps surprising statistic released by Google this year was that searches for “open now near me” grew globally by over 400% year over year. While we may have grown accustomed to hyperlocal searches in the digital marketing world, only recently have many consumers shifted their behavior to conducting searches on the go – or with an immediate buying intent.

We can also see similar patterns on the Maps service. Google Maps searches for “shopping near me” grew globally by over 100% year over year. Online shopping may have seen dramatic rises over the last decade, but consumers still want to visit local stores, restaurants, doctors, dentists, car dealerships and a host of other business types.

Today, consumers are consistently turning to search engines to research local businesses. A recent survey, BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2022, highlighted this fact, indicating that 81% of participants used Google to evaluate a business compared to 63% the previous year.

And with “near me” searches taking place on desktop, mobile and voice search – and with varying intent – it’s more important than ever before for businesses to be optimized across diversified platforms, from Google and Bing to hyperlocal directories – sites like Bubblelife, NextDoor and MapQuest.

Google Is Focused on Hyperlocal

A reason some are skeptical about “near me” search optimization comes from Google’s Vicinity update. One aspect of the update was the push to tackle Google Business Profile (GBP) spam in business names. With some companies adding “near me” to their name, Google took measures to penalize this attempt to hack the popularity of the search term.

The Vicinity update meant that under some circumstances, Google treated “near me” searches as an indicator of proximity instead of a keyword-matching phrase. And some businesses have suffered from this adjustment, but many others have continued to gain visibility in the local pack and maps.

Why? This is because a “near me” search indicates hyperlocal interest. Therefore, Google wants to show GBPs, listings and websites are the closest, most relevant and prominent results.

Taking a Comprehensive Approach to Near Me Search Optimization

You may remember we discussed dominating Google search results using local business listings. The concept involved getting multiple local pack and organic search results for the same keyword. With an optimized GBP, widely distributed listings and a quality website, this approach is highly achievable.

A well-optimized GBP will appear in the local pack when, along with proximity, it also demonstrates quality and relevance. To achieve this you can follow our GBP optimization tips, including name, address and phone number (NAP) details and opening hours. Advice Local partners can use GBP Sync to guarantee data consistency, and use the available auto-reject public edits feature to ensure unwanted changes are not implemented. These are just a few of the GBP features available within our partner dashboard.

However, understand that focusing solely on a GBP is essentially an oversight. Listings sites frequently appear in organic search for locally-relevant searches, increasing the visibility of a business. For example, a study by Fresh Chalk found that for every Google query containing a city and business category, Yelp appears in the top five search results 92% of the time.

Listings platforms are designed to help businesses hit the metrics of proximity (NAP details, integrated maps and local categorization), relevance (business categories, product details and keyword-rich descriptions), plus prominence (reviews and accolades). Consequently, as long as an agency develops and maintains accurate data for a business, with the help of listing management services such as ours, the business is highly likely to be rewarded in “near me” search.

Of course, a business website also provides opportunities to reach local searchers. Citations from business listings still play a role in search visibility, along with locally-relevant content. In fact, data from Sterling Sky indicates that adding “near me” onto a website had positive results for “near me” searches. If a business has multiple locations, developing targeted location pages will also help.

The Value of Near Me Search Optimization in 2023 by @BernieColeman #SEO
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Contact Us for the Best Local Presence Management Solutions

Advice Local helps agencies increase their clients’ visibility with our leading business listing management solution. Get fast results with our listing management service and deeper insights with our Voice Search Readiness Test, Google Authority Score and much more. To get started, request a demo now or call (214) 310-1356.

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Google Business Profile Features You Can’t Get Elsewhere

Last time we were here we talked with you about how to complete a business listing audit. Today we’d like to switch gears and discuss the Google Business Profile.

The Value of the Google Business Profile Is Undeniable

We talk about the Google Business Profile quite often at Advice Local, and yes, there’s a sound reason for that. With the Google Business Profile (GBP) being one of the most important Local Ranking Factors according to the latest study, it’s important to us that our agency and local marketing partners are provided with the best information and resources.

The Google Business Profile needs constant attention, and that’s just a fact. From monitoring changes to publishing GBP posts and getting the best results from it, the GBP can put demands on your time. As you know, the smallest changes to a business’ GBP can significantly impact the local pack and/or Google Maps visibility – so let’s take a look at how we help with this.

You Need These Four Google Business Profile Features Available in Our Partner Dashboard

At Advice Local, we have a few very specific features available within our platform to help you maintain your clients’ Google Business Profiles more easily.

1. GBP Sync

Are you finding subtle changes that appear on your clients’ profiles? With our GBP Sync feature, we can continuously ensure the data on your clients’ GBPs matches our database. You can either sync the GBP to our dashboard, or sync our dashboard to match the GBP.

gbp selective sync image

For all our clients, to turn off the GBP Sync feature you’ll need to adjust your dashboard settings at the partner level. You can select to schedule a sync within your partner dashboard at the client level. You’ll need access to the client’s GBP, then connect the account in your partner dashboard to use this feature.

2. GBP Auto-Rejection

How many times have you visited one of your client’s GBPs to discover that services they don’t offer were added to their GBP? Or even that a change to the primary category has been made without your knowledge? These types of changes happen to businesses on a regular basis, and if you are not watching a GBP closely they might go unnoticed for quite a while.

While we cannot stop Google from adding more services (services they may detect from the client’s website) onto your client’s Google Business Profile, we can auto-reject public edits for you.

gbp auto-rejection image

These public edits consist of changes to the business categories, address, phone number, website URL and much more.

To use this feature you must turn it on at the partner level in your dashboard. You’ll need access to the GBP, and you’ll need to ensure it is linked in the Google Business Profile tab in your partner dashboard.

3. Google Authority Score

The Google Authority Score (GAS) created exclusively by Advice Local was designed to help you better understand how a business’ GBP is performing.

gas score overview image

GAS looks at Brand Influence, Engagement Visibility, Influence Velocity, Q/A Quality and Reputation Health.

google authority score turn on image

To access this information you’ll need access to the client’s GBP – and ensure the feature is enabled in your partner dashboard.

4. Google Profile Insights Data

With the most recent change to managing the GBP from search, the data you count on to understand how well the actions you’re taking on a client’s GBP perform – the traditional insights data – may have seemed to disappear. But when you turn to your Advice Local partner dashboard, you’ll find this data available in the Google Business Profile tab.

Post views, photo views and combined customer actions taken are just a few examples of the data accessible in your partner dashboard.

post views image

photo views image

Customer actions taken image

As mentioned above, you’ll need direct access to manage the GBP and have it connected in your partner dashboard at the client level.

We can’t close without sharing a few more Google Business Profile resources with you.

And that’s it for the special Google Business Profile edition! We’ve had quite a few partners frustrated with the recent changes to the GBP, and limited access to free GBP tools. Know that all of the features mentioned here are included in the Advice Local partner dashboard at no additional cost.

Google Business Profile Features You Can’t Get Elsewhere by @BernieColeman #GBP #SEO
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Find Out Why Listing Management Partners Choose Us Now

We can help you distribute business listing data to the top directories, data aggregators, mapping apps and much more. Request a demo today to learn about all these features, plus the free GBP tools available in our partner dashboard. Call (214) 310-1356 for help today.

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Local Marketing Strategies for the Upcoming Holidays

Last week we looked at how to boost local search presence with data amplifiers. This week we’re switching focus to the local marketing strategies that are perfect for securing seasonal buyers.

Local Marketing Strategies for Boosting Holiday Sales

Last year (at around this same time) we spoke with you about how to use a business’ Google Business Profile for holiday marketing campaigns.

And while you’ve seen it, have you ever really considered why stores start putting out their holiday merchandise so early? And yes, we’ve all noticed that this timing seems to be well before the start of each season.

Let’s look at Home Depot. Have you been in a Home Depot in the last two weeks? If so, then you were most likely greeted with Christmas trees – at least this is the case in Texas.

So, just why do stores start their sales earlier and earlier each year? Will the one who starts their holiday marketing first be the biggest winner? The answer to that is… maybe! However, it all starts with a plan – and we’ve actually outlined a seasonal local marketing plan before.

In an article on Street Fight there’s a quote that really sticks out. Paul Brenner said: “Advertisers don’t have to wait until someone is in the right aisle to engage with them. The customer doesn’t need to be anywhere near the seasonal candy section but the message can help guide them there.”

5 Untapped Holiday Local Marketing Techniques

Now apply this to the local marketing strategies for your clients. Where can you engage your clients’ prospective customers to get the results your clients are looking for? Hint: you might not normally engage them there. Let’s explore….

1. The Google Business Profile

Offer posts are not being used to their fullest potential. Consider creating bundled deals, free consultations, downloadable guides and limited-time seasonal coupons. Also, make use of photos or videos to enhance offers.

Event posts for open houses, seasonal sales, product launches and seminars. Be sure to include the benefits of attendance to get the best deals – and include eye-catching imagery.

2. Premium Features on Business Listings

For example, businesses listed in Judy’s Book through Advice Local get a premium Judy’s Book listing at no additional cost. This premium listing includes ad impressions on the free listings. You’ll need to log into the Judy’s Book listing through your partner dashboard to take advantage of this feature.

3. Advertising on Websites That Are Not Chock-Full of Competition

Advice Local’s BubbleLife is just one example here. This hyperlocal online newspaper offers ad space to reach consumers in a very specific geographic area. Take a glimpse at the ads displayed in the Park Cities BubbleLife to get a visual of what we’re talking about.

BubbleLife’s subscribers also opt in to get this online newspaper email delivered to them each day. This is an audience that most definitely wants to hear from local businesses in their area. You should suggest/consider submitting an article to these hyperlocal sites. It’s yet another way to support the business’ local community – and introduce consumers to the business.

Nextdoor is another hyperlocal site to consider. Listing your clients on Nextdoor is easy with Advice Local. Also examine any additional hyperlocal advertising opportunities available in the area in which your clients are located.

4. Supporting Community Events and Organizations

When the kids head back to school, the fundraising and advertising opportunities start up as well. By sponsoring various athletic teams, businesses can get listed as sponsors on banners, t-shirts, team Facebook pages and much more.

And if athletic events aren’t a fit for your clients, look to other local events such as advertising opportunities at the downtown festivals. Quite often these are starting now – and on through to the end of the year. Also, fundraisers like CASA or Boys & Girls Club of America are always an excellent way to support the local community – especially when you can donate items (services) for a raffle or silent auction. Lots of people will see your client’s business name when buying raffle tickets or bidding in the auction.

Consumers want to do business with other businesses that show they care. Supporting the community will go a long way towards this.

5. Don’t Forget the Traditional Methods

While focusing on new ways to reach consumers, don’t skip over the traditional ones.

  • Social media is great for building an engaged audience and increasing brand awareness.
  • The website blog is important for demonstrating credibility with readers.
  • Display banners and downloadable coupons on the business’ website to drive up engagement.
  • Email campaigns that include exclusive deals and offers for those who’ve opted in is always a winning idea.

Local #Marketing Strategies for the Upcoming Holidays by @BernieColeman #SEO
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Trusted Local Presence Management Software for Agencies and Marketers

At Advice Local, we want to simplify the local marketing process for our agency partners. Our business listings dashboard solution makes it simple for you to understand your clients’ online visibility, improve their local presence with business listings and more. To get started, request a demo now or call (214) 310-1356 to learn more.

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Why Businesses Need to Embrace Hyperlocal Search

Last week we looked at the closing down of the Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). Today we’re focusing on social media platforms and their impact on local search.

Social Media Platforms Are Attracting More Local Searches

Over this past week we’ve been seeing a trend in local marketing – and that is social media and local search. It’s become increasingly clear that platforms like Instagram and TikTok are capturing the attention of younger local consumers. And with consumers faced with more choices than ever, it’s important to stay on top of these changing trends.

First up – the announcement from Instagram that they’re introducing a new map experience. Users can now search the map, move it around to find popular locations and businesses, and have a more immersive experience. This update certainly increases the discoverability of businesses, with hyperlocal search making it possible to capture consumers’ attention when they are close by. We’ve talked about hyperlocal search and its importance before.

Understand that this change is not something for the future – it’s happening right now. Google confirmed that Instagram and TikTok are the go-to sites for many young people looking to discover local businesses. (It’s also shocking when Google admits something like this, as you can imagine.)

Their visually-rich design is one reason pushing the appeal of these social platforms. We’ve talked previously about the importance of adding many high-quality images to your Google Business Profile (GBP). And as younger generations grow up this need is certainly likely to increase. So if your local business clients want to appeal to these younger people, images across all the channels – social and otherwise – will be very important.

As highlighted by Fast Company, when Gen Z consumers want a place to shop or eat, they are just as likely to browse TikTok and Instagram as Google Search and Maps. Consequently, if you want to reach the most consumers, hyperlocal SEO should not be restricted to Google alone.

Naturally, when it comes to promoting on hyperlocal social media platforms, Nextdoor simply can’t be ignored. One example is the annual Neighborhood Favorites Awards, allowing consumers to vote for local businesses that offer excellent customer service. Based on a community’s social proof, this increased awareness can translate to real-world customer visits. As a reminder, you can create listings on Nextdoor for your clients through our listing management platform with ease. Simply place the order through your partner dashboard and we’ll get the listing created for you.

User-Generated Content Drives the Local Search Experience

There’s one common theme running through the stories highlighted above – user-generated content (UGC).

User-generated content is more than just images, videos and posts. Reviews are another type of UGC, and believe it or not, some companies are actually getting extorted by way of reviews! A story like this exemplifies the importance of reviews for local businesses, showing exactly why they need to be encouraged, monitored and responded to.

So, what can you do since the demand for UGC is on the rise and gaining popularity? First, make it easy for users to create UGC – and monitor the results. Make sure you’re creating content that users want to engage with… especially on the Google Business Profile.

While the younger generations prefer TikTok and Instagram, plenty of people use Google Search and Google Maps to decide where they’re going next. And currently, a GBP remains one of the best uses of time and resources for building a strong local presence.

Why Businesses Need to Embrace Hyperlocal #Search by @BernieColeman #SEO
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How to Improve Business Listings With the Google Authority Score

At Advice Local, we developed the Google Authority Score (GAS) to help you understand how a business’ Google Business Profile is performing in search results. GAS calculates brand mentions, engagement, influence velocity and more. To learn more about GAS and our other tools from Advice Local, request a demo today.

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Why Every Local Business Needs a Voice Search Strategy

Last week we looked at recession-proof local marketing strategies during a difficult economic period. This week we’ll examine the topic of voice search.

Voice Search Is as Important as Ever for Marketers and Agencies

We kicked off 2022 with a discussion of why voice search optimization is so important for the coming year. And now that half the year is already past, it’s a great time to revisit this topic.

Have you noticed that voice search isn’t the big talking point it once was? While it may not be a frequent trending topic among digital marketers, today it’s actually more significant than ever.

Data published by Marketing Charts from Comscore indicates that 48% of U.S. internet users own at least one smart speaker device. When you compare this number to the 37% ownership rate in August 2020 and the 28% in August 2019, its rapid growth is abundantly clear.

Of course, you probably don’t need any data to know that voice search is everywhere now. From voice assistants and navigation apps to smart TVs and streaming services, voice recognition and voice-activated products are ever-present fixtures in our homes.

Getting Found on Voice Search Platforms

While the technology may have caught on, many local businesses have been a bit slow in taking advantage of the growing opportunities. Here at Advice Local, we actually developed the first-of-its-kind Voice Search Readiness Test to help local marketers and agencies identify whether a brand is “ready” for voice assistants. The tool uses a unique algorithm to identify voice search presence on the directories and data sources that voice assistants trust.

The Comscore data also highlighted that smart speaker ownership reached 151.7 million in December 2021. Therefore, if a business cannot be found in a voice search on voice assistants, a lot of traffic will be finding its way to a competitor instead.

This is also worth noting – voice search readiness and “a voice app” are two distinct things. The voice search readiness tool determines if a listing can be found on the data sources that voice assistants (such as the Google Assistant) trust. A voice app is an application that’s created for a business and submitted to app stores.

It works like this – a consumer will ask a question through their preferred voice assistant (again, like the Google Assistant). The answer provided to the voice assistant may come from the voice app itself, or even from content taken from the business’ website.

The Advice Local Voice App lets local marketers and agencies create a voice experience by answering questions customers are asking. You can offer your local business clients sophisticated voice app content directly from your partner dashboard – with no coding necessary.

Voice Search Optimization Steps

So, what additional steps can you take to ensure a local business is the go-to listing for relevant search queries?

  • Use natural, conversational language that replicates how real people speak.
  • Identify common questions to target with a rich snippet.
  • Build a list of voice search long-tail keywords and create content on the theme.
  • Ensure mobile loading times are fast.
  • Add schema markup to product, service, location and other pages.
  • Create a comprehensive Google Business Profile listing.

With some minor adjustments to an existing website, you can access the untapped potential of voice search. And with voice assistants still growing in popularity, building a foundation now will almost certainly pay off in the future.

Why Every Local #Business Needs a #Voice Search Strategy by @BernieColeman #SEO
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Access the Advice Local Partner Dashboard

If you’re ready to take voice search to the next level, why not try the Advice Local partner dashboard? Business listing management, voice search readiness and voice app creation technology are just a few of the services we offer. Request a demo now by calling (214) 310-1356.

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Recession-Proof Local Marketing Strategies for Businesses

Last week we talked about the growing number of local search queries and what that means for local businesses. This week we’re focusing on some key local marketing strategies for agencies in the current economic climate.

Recession-Proofing Your Local Marketing Clients as Much as Possible

It seems everyone is talking about recession, especially in the last few weeks. Just today we quickly found multiple articles on SEO sites discussing this topic. As an agency and local marketer, recession will almost certainly impact your business.

You will have clients who cancel services, put services on hold, or reduce the monthly budget. These clients are planning for a decline in business and want to ensure they have enough bucks in the bank to get them through the downturn.

You’ll have other clients who keep pushing forward – and they will most likely push your agency even more. They’ll want to ensure that every penny they spend on local marketing pays off for them – and there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, they should always do this whether the economy is booming or in decline.

So what can you do to keep all your clients happy during this time?

Ensuring the Local Marketing Budget Is Allocated Correctly

1. Google Business Profile

With the Google Business Profile (GBP) making up 36% of the 2021 Local Ranking Factors survey, you cannot afford to ignore this.

Make sure you go beyond the basics with high-quality images, updated product information and special offers, along with completing the questions and answers section of the GBP. And don’t forget to stay relevant with frequent GBP Posts that show up in the knowledge panel.

BTW…. they just added a new LGBTQ+ attribute to the GBP. Now is a great time to audit your clients’ GBPs to see what other attributes you can add.

2. Location Pages for Local Businesses

Location pages, Local Business Schema and reviews are important for a business’ visibility in the local pack and organic search.

Audit your clients and make sure they include name, address and phone number (NAP) data, a map, key products and services, location information – and a clear call to action. Remember, proximity, relevance and prominence are the factors determining where the business appears in search results.

3. Local Business Listings

Because bad data can undo all your hard work, make sure you have consistent NAP data across all listings. So, what’s the easiest way to do this? To make sure the business gets the most bang for the buck, use a business listing management solution that reaches a lot of directories. At Advice Local, we distribute business information to directories that are also data amplifiers. Our listing management solution includes the most important directories, data aggregators, mapping apps and more.

This is quite crucial, for when credible sources distribute the data, countless other platforms trust that the information is accurate. In turn, additional directories grab the data and use it on their own platforms. This is the nature of amplification. It means that a small amount of upfront work can really pay off for your local business clients.

4. Don’t Forget Hyperlocal Sites Like Nextdoor

Reading this article on Streetfight written about the recession got us thinking about hyperlocal, and how leveraging sites like Nextdoor, Judy’s Book and BubbleLife can help a business reach a new audience.

You may recall that during the peak times of COVID everyone was all about shopping local. While this momentum has diminished a bit it will most likely see new life once again, depending on how deep this recession cuts.

Incidentally, at Advice Local we can help you with Nextdoor, Judy’s Book and BubbleLife.

5. Tracking Results Is Imperative

It’s important to make sure your clients know the exact value you bring to the table, from ensuring the business’ website has Google Analytics in place, to setting up goals and reporting with tools available in your partner dashboard, such as the Progress Report.

If you only provide one component of their marketing, ensure you use UTMs. These small snippets of code let you pinpoint traffic sources so you can precisely detail the results your efforts are achieving. Don’t let your results get lumped in with the efforts of other marketing companies working for the client.

If you don’t have direct access to their Google Analytics, get it. If you don’t know how to navigate and understand Google Analytics, get someone who does know – or get some training.

Surviving the Economic Slowdown

A recession will naturally bring about challenges for businesses, agencies and local marketers alike. But just as some will struggle in changing economic circumstances, others will thrive. As always, work with clients to deliver the best results, on time and within budget. A recession isn’t a signal to panic, but an indicator to make adjustments – and find ways to deliver more with the tools at your disposal.

Recession-Proof #LocalMarketing Strategies for Businesses by @BernieColeman via @Advice_Local
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Increase Productivity With Our Local Presence Management Tools

Making the most of available resources is key during an economic downturn. At Advice Local, we have been helping local marketers and agencies streamline their marketing operations for years. Why not try our business listings management solution, GBP Sync, Google Authority Score and our other powerful tools for yourself – request a demo now. Call (214) 310-1356 to learn more now.

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Justifications Are Appearing in Google Maps, Images & More

Last week we discussed important research regarding “near me” search queries. Today we’ve got a Google update, along with some digital marketing insights you may have missed.

Google Maps Sees Justifications Rolled Out for Local Businesses

We’re starting with justifications this week. Over on Search Engine Roundtable, Barry Schwartz reported on the addition of justifications to the Google Maps mobile interface and app.

A quick reminder – justifications are snippets of text included within a business listing to justify why that business is showing for a particular keyword.

To make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for, Google overlays review snippets, mentions, menu items and other elements onto the local pack listings. And now they’ve expanded the feature, as it seems many are seeing these overlays in Google Maps.

We did some testing ourselves and can validate that we’re seeing this in maps as well. While what was reported on Search Engine Roundtable was referred to as service justifications, we are seeing review justifications and “their website mentions” justifications also.

As you can see above, a search for “personal injury lawyer mckinney” returns a number of businesses with review snippets. Similarly, the term “probate litigation attorney mckinney” includes website mentions for related attorney services. Ultimately, the inclusion of these justifications creates a richer experience – one that can lead a searcher toward their preferred service.

If you’re not familiar with justifications or mentions, we’ve covered it before in several different posts:

Surfacing in the local pack or Google Maps for justifications comes down to providing comprehensive and accurate business data that satisfies Google – and the needs of searchers.

Optimizing both a Google Business Profile (GBP) and the business’ website is fundamental to the process. An optimized website and GBP work together to improve a business’ appearance in the local pack, Google Maps and organic search.

Are You Adding Images to Google Business Profiles?

Speaking of optimizing your clients’ GBPs, Claire Carlile shared some valuable tips on taking advantage of Google’s visual search push, including encouraging user-generated content (UGC).

You’ve probably noticed that we have been strong advocates of adding images to your clients’ Google Business Profiles for a while now.

Images are one type of user-generated content that can be extremely helpful in improving the visibility of a GBP.


Shown above are two examples of how adding photos on a GBP can bring a lot more views for your local business clients in comparison to other similar businesses.

It’s worth noting that both of these businesses are doctor’s offices. It can be difficult to locate quality images appropriate for a GBP for this type of business. But this Advice Local partner got creative about getting relevant images designed to add on the GBP – and it has been paying off with lots of views.

In fact, Google itself recommends adding photos to a GBP for better interaction with customers.

According to Google, businesses that add photos to a GBP get 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks to a business’ website when compared to profiles without photos. Simply put, with Google continuously improving its visual analysis tools, including images is a smart move right now (and it will continue to be).

Justifications Are Appearing in #Google #Maps, Images & More by @BernieColeman via @Advice_Local #SEO
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Local Business Marketing Made Easy With Advice Local

Next time you need help with business listings management, Google Business Profile claiming or data aggregator submissions, look no further than Advice Local. Request a demo today to see why our agency and local marketing partners choose us by calling (214) 310-1356.

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