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Learn Why Businesses and Brands Need to Claim and Monitor Their Google My Business Listing

Businesses and brands of all shapes and sizes must claim, create and monitor their Google My Business listing. It’s about more than the name, address and phone number (NAP), but I’ll get into that in a bit. First, here’s a little story for you…

Google My Business Can Build a Brand or Damage One

Is Hell on Earth closer than we think? According to a student at the Hornsea School and Language College, it’s located in East Yorkshire. Just this week, it was discovered that a student at this school played a prank by naming the school’s Google My Business listing “Hornsea Prison & Hell on Earth.”

I spotted this while scrolling Facebook and knew immediately that I needed to share the details with you. (Thanks Joe for making it even easier to prove my point.)

Monitoring Google My Business Listings Is a Must – Here’s Why

Businesses create a Google My Business (GMB) listing because they want to get found online, display the right address, and have up-to-date business hours – but it goes beyond that.

Monitoring Google My Business Listings Is a Must – Here’s Why

If this school had claimed their listing, this naming incident wouldn’t have happened (at least not easily). As you may know, anyone can suggest a business name for a place, but on claimed GMB listings, the business owner has to accept the change.

Are you aware that you can submit a public edit to any business listing on Google My Business, claimed or otherwise? If the business doesn’t monitor these suggested edits, some can and will go public.

We’ve actually talked to you before about the importance of monitoring listings. Photos need to be monitored, too. Several years back, a customer at a Bed, Bath and Beyond uploaded a photo taken at a local store to their GMB listing. While this photo could be considered quite funny, is this best first impression for a brand?

Google My Business Photo Mishap

Brand-damaging items like these can happen to both claimed and unclaimed listings. People can even create a listing for a business they don’t own and include their own website URL and contact information on the listing. Companies do this underhanded work periodically to get their competitors’ leads. A business will sometimes create a listing for a business that isn’t legitimate in order to sell the leads to other businesses for a fee.

Spam listings are a really big issue on Google My Business, and they are taking up prime real estate in the local pack. Here’s how to report a Google My Business spam listing.

Steps to Take to Avoid Google My Business Listing Issues

  1. Claim each GMB listing for the business or brand and each location. Don’t forget to get duplicates removed, and mark closed locations as “closed.”
  2. Optimize each listing, including accurate NAP, product and service descriptions and even the photos. Each component is important and should be completed.
  3. Regularly monitor each listing for public suggestions, photos uploaded by customers and changes such as business hours during holidays, etc.

Building Out a Google My Business Listing That Converts

Creating, claiming and optimizing a Google My Business listing is only the first step to having a Google My Business listing that converts consumers to customers. Businesses should leverage each feature available to them within the listing.

  1. Utilize Google My Business posts
  2. Understand Google My Business insights
  3. Use the Google My Business App

Remember, it’s not a “build it and they will come” world. Build it, update it, monitor it and refine it – then they will come!


Why Businesses and #Brands Need to Monitor Their #Google My Business Listing by @BernieColeman #GMB
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Help Is Always Available

Our Google My Business expertise is just one of the many reasons our partners love us here at Advice Local – request a demo to get a tour of our local presence management solution.

The post Why Businesses and Brands Need to Monitor Their Google My Business Listing appeared first on Advice Local.

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Bing Places helps local businesses enhance their online presence.

Business owners today must prioritize getting their businesses found online. Bing Places is one of the best tools to help them accomplish this. The Bing-powered listing helps local businesses attract new clients by easily and conveniently displaying their information when a potential customer searches online for any goods or services the business provides.

While claiming, creating and optimizing a listing on Bing Places might sound easy, the process comes with its own set of challenges. Fortunately, we have an experienced team of specialists at Advice Local that help businesses get found online every day – not only on Bing Places but on many other listings and data aggregators on our Data Amplifier Network. If you’d like to see just how they do it, request a demo today!

We’ve put together a little how-to guide to help you help local businesses get found on Bing Places. Let’s start with the basics.

Creating and Claiming a Bing Places Listing

The first step in getting businesses found online is to check for any existing listings. Bing most likely already has a listing for the business, in which case the listing needs to be claimed.

If for any reason the business you’re looking for doesn’t have a listing yet, then you can easily make one by creating an account. Don’t worry: you don’t have to be the business owner. You can just be a verified representative. Multiple locations are covered by Bing’s bulk upload tool.

Learn How to Create a Bing Places Listing

When you create a new user, Bing allows you to import your information directly from Google My Business – very convenient! If the business you’re trying to get listed doesn’t have a Google My Business listing, you can also add the information manually.

For the purposes of this guide, let’s assume that this particular business doesn’t have a GMB listing, so we’ll start from scratch.

Step 1. Select business type. Here you’ll be asked to choose a business size depending on the number of locations it has. The options are small or medium business, chain business or online business. You can also choose the option “I manage business listings on my client’s behalf,” which is what an agency working with multiple clients would select.

Selecting the last option immediately prompts a pop-up for the Bing Places API. Bing Places has its own API and lets you check if your agency is eligible for their trusted partner program. To be eligible, your agency needs to manage more than 10,000 listings for clients and have strict data quality checks.

If your agency is not eligible for Bing’s program, you can still create a regular agency account. We are part of Bing’s trusted partner program and submit to Bing Places via API, so don’t worry, we have you covered if you partner with us.

Step 2. Create an account. You can do this with your Google, Facebook or Microsoft account. If you want to create a specific account for just for this process, you can do that, too.

Step 3. Create a profile. Fill out your contact information and select your notification options.

How to Setup a Profile on Bing Places

Step 4. Search for the business. You can hunt for the business by using a phone number or a business name and location.

If the business you searched for already has a Bing Places listing, you can claim it and edit the details.

How to Claim a Business on Bing Places

Step 5. If the business is not already on Bing, you can create the listing from scratch. To create a listing, enter basic information like the business’ name, phone number, address and website. As you type, you will see a preview of the listing on the right side of the screen.

Create a Bing Listing

The next section asks questions about the nature of the business. It will let you choose a segment, add up to ten categories and enter a description. Be as descriptive as possible, but not too wordy. If you select more than one category, it will ask you to pick your main business type.

Afterward, you’ll be asked to enter service areas, if there are any. In this section, you can choose to hide the address of the business, in case it’s a home address. Following the service areas, you will be prompted to enter contact details, like an email address, as well as social media profiles (all of which are optional).

Step 6. Add images. Bing Places allows up to 100 different photos, so make sure you utilize the opportunity! To have an outstanding listing, take the following tips into consideration when uploading photos.

  • Use high quality and high-resolution images.
  • Show different aspects of the business – the exterior and the interior.
  • Display the exterior from different angles so potential customers can find it easily.
  • Highlight team members. People like to see who they will potentially deal with when going into a business.
  • Upload professional product images. Lure customers in with a great shot of the products you offer.

According to Bing’s image guidelines, images must be at least 480×360 pixels and up to 10MB.

Step 7. Set business hours. Bing Places gives you an option to provide working hours for special days, like weekends and holidays. Make sure you fill it out correctly!

Step 8. Verify the listing. Take the time to verify the listing to protect it from unauthorized changes. The verification process can be done via postal mail, an email, a text message or a phone call.

If you have optimized a Google My Business listing before, you most likely can accomplish creating a Bing Places listing easily. If you haven’t or want even more insights into business listing optimization, here’s a helpful how-to.


How to Enhance a Local #Business’ Online Presence With #Bing Places via @Advice_Local #SEO
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Leave It to the Experts

Managing multiple listings can be overwhelming, but don’t worry. Our award-winning listing management solution is exactly what you need to provide stress-free high-quality local SEO services to your clients. Request a demo today to see how we help businesses like your clients get found online every day.

The post How to Enhance a Local Business’ Online Presence With Bing Places appeared first on Advice Local.

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Learn How to Use the Google My Business App

Google My Business (GMB) is a frequent topic here at Advice Local. A fully optimized GMB listing is the key to a brand or business’ success on the web, and the experts at Google have made it even easier to update a listing, post content and interact with customers through the Google My Business app. 

Navigating the Google My Business App

There are many features to utilize, so we’re taking the opportunity to showcase the GMB app. Now that businesses have it at their fingertips to respond to messages, reviews and even put up GMB posts, there’s no excuse to not have the ultimate listing!  Let’s get into this Google My Business app how-to. 

The Home Screen

After a user downloads the Google My Business app, they log in to their listing and reach a home screen just like this. At the top of the screen, they can see the business’ name and address. Underneath, the views, searches and actions are displayed. This is data that directly relates to visitor interaction with the listing! Further down the screen, the user will see the latest Google My Business Post, which we’ll delve into later.

Understanding the Google My Business Mobile App - Home Screen

Link YouTube and Create Ads

Scroll down a little further on that same screen, and the listing administrator can even link their multimedia channels. When linked, users can view their new subscriber increase or decrease percentage, the channel’s current number of views, and the total number of minutes watched of the brand’s content. For local businesses, creating new mediums to disperse information is a great strategy for SEO and marketing campaigns.

Next, a user will see Google Ads. What does that mean? Well, it’s yet another in-listing platform to promote offers, advertise products and display other forms of content for a brand or business. Google sure knows how to utilize space!

GMB Mobile App - YouTube

Talk to Customers!

 In the Google My Business app, business owners and listing managers have more interactional capability than ever before – in fact, they can reply directly to people who post a review on their GMB listing. Responding to negative reviews is a must for local businesses; it’s crucial to be timely and ensure the problem is rectified in the best way possible. Stay calm, cool and collected – it’s possible to regain a customer’s business and trust if a brand owns their mistake and actively works to resolve it. This page can be found by tapping on the “Customers” tab at the bottom of the screen.

How to Respond to Google My Business Mobile App Reviews

The app also allows for direct messaging from the consumer to the business. The business can respond to a potential customer from their smartphone, which is appreciated on the customer’s end. Ideally, this will make potential customers more inclined to bring their business to a company they feel is conscious of consumers.

Using Google My Business app messaging

Edit a Business’ Profile

A person on the app can look at the bottom of their screen and see “Profile” next to the “Customers” button. When “Profile” is tapped, the user is taken to this screen:

Updating a Business GMB Listing through the mobile app

This is the business’ exact Google My Business listing as it appears live on the web! The app offers the ability to edit this fundamental information – in real-time, from anywhere. Who doesn’t love the 21st century?

Next, we’re going to move into an all-inclusive list of recent Google Posts. See the “Posts” button close to the top, next to “Overview.”

Google Posts

 These are Google Posts! Google Posts provide one of the best ways to capture a consumer’s attention and draw them in; a brand can do more with less! Google Posts are shorter than blogs – there is a 1,500-character limit, which means that the writer has to get to the point quickly!

Keep in mind that Google Posts are not intended to be articles, but rather a way to catch a searcher’s eye mid-query. The user has options for the type of content they can share, and posts are typically displayed for a week. If a user chooses to promote an event via Google Posts, the post will remain live until the event date has passed. Google posts are simple – add an image and link, and a post is up! Each post can be written, viewed and edited within the app.

Insights

 At the bottom of the screen, the app user will see a tab that says “More.” After they tap, they will see several other settings-related buttons. Now, I wanted to direct special attention to the incredible amount of information a business can discover within the GMB app. Tap the button that says “Insights.”

Navigating the Google My Business Insights via the Mobile App

This is a scroll-through of all of the data a business has in the palm of their hand with Google My Business Insights. This information ranges from how people searched for a particular business and found the listing, whether directly or indirectly, to the quantity of photos and the number of views. A user can also see how customers interact with the listing, with data showcasing visits to a linked website, direction requests and more. This is invaluable data!

Phone call data can offer insight about what times and days of the week are the most popular for the business, and users can also learn how frequently visitors requested directions to the location in a given amount of time.

Businesses that are not leveraging this data to their advantage are only hurting themselves! We have a detailed how-to guide to understand GMB insights. Check it out.

The GMB App – Easy to Use and a No-Brainer to Download

 Today, we walked you through how to use the Google My Business app. As you can see, it’s user-friendly, free to download and allows businesses to get to know their customers better than ever.

We cover even more Google My Business tips and tools in our free “5 Strategies to Win in Search Results With a Google My Business Listing” handout. Start reading and get optimized with our tips to master GMB!


How to Use the #Google My Business #App by @GetPlacedLocal #GMB #SEO
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Help Is Always a Click Away

At Advice Local, we’re all about Google My Business – actually, about business listings in general. Our partners love us for this. Request a demo today and find out why!

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Zero-Click Searches are taken over. Here's how to win more searches.

It’s time to talk zero-click searches and their prominence, especially in mobile searching. If you think you have no idea what a “zero-click” search is, you do, and you have probably utilized it many times! Think about when you were in the kitchen cooking and you couldn’t remember a measurement, or when you thought about calling a friend but couldn’t remember what time it was in their time zone.

Featured Snippet Timezone example

If you searched by mobile, you probably got the answer you needed instantly; it was likely right at the top of your screen. Boom – finding the information was that simple.

You just performed a zero-click search. They’re blessings in a pinch, but they can prove harmful to local businesses that need the traffic lost by a zero-click search. SparkToro reported that in September of 2018, of every 100 mobile searches, 61.5 percent of them were zero-click.

Does the Zero-Click Search Have You Concerned?

While a takeover of zero-click searching won’t happen tomorrow, it’s time to start planning how to keep visibility high and set businesses up to remain on top. How do you do this? Well, let’s dive into it.

Examples of Common Zero-Click Searches

The examples I just gave on kitchen measurements and time zone queries are two of the most common zero-click searches, according to Search Engine Journal. These types of searches are what is referred to as “database-style.” They are questions that can be answered concisely and will not deviate, and include dates, distances, ages, names and more. Dictionary- and encyclopedia-style searches are similar because they get to the point and do not differ in their answer. 

The Click-Through Rate – It Matters

The click-through rate (CTR) in search is a telling piece of information. In the world of pay-per-click (PPC), the CTR is achieved based on a formula of the amount clicks divided by the amount of impressions an ad garners. By discovering this number, a business can restructure their PPC approaches by learning what most appeals to their audience and discovering which keywords are performing best. This knowledge can also be put to good use in your plan to stand out in the world of zero-click search.

The click-through rate that many businesses need is in danger as zero-click searching continues to increase. This affects individual websites because the click-through rate is essentially the start of a user’s interaction with a site; the length of time spent on a business’ website, the number of pages visited, and additional actions are compromised if they never “click through” to the website in the first place.

In a zero-click environment, sites are visited less frequently because searchers are able to receive the answers they need in seconds, and the opportunity for website traffic is lost. It’s time to make a plan to move forward.

The Featured Snippet

Since the featured snippet was rolled out by Google, it has been the coveted place for SEOs and website owners to reach. The featured snippet is taken from the highest-ranking web page that answers the searcher’s query. It links to the original source, and with simple placement, it receives the top space for the searcher to find their answer.

Google finds the information programmatically, which means that in order to have a chance to reach the featured snippet, steps have to be taken. Just recently, it was reported that Google is even scanning PDF pages for content in the featured snippet!

Fortunately, the proper preparation will not only help get the snippet, but can also work to get a business listed on the first page of search results. This feat will positively impact their click-through if the answer to a searcher’s question wasn’t fully covered.

How to Improve Click-Through and Get the Snippet

The more real estate a business’ content takes up on the first page of search for it’s keywords, the more likely that business will be to get a click through to their website and with the customer. Let’s explore ways to make this possible.

Feature Snipped Example - Publishing content in different mediums

1. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

 They were important then, and they’re important now in the world of SEO. SparkToro noted that by using tools to get the click-through rate we discussed above, a brand can identify the keywords that will do the most for them and optimize content from there. High CTR keywords can help a business make the featured snippet, get more content on the first page of a search, and more.

2. FAQ Pages

Frequently Asked Question pages can prove to be awesome featured snippet material. When utilized with the right keywords, it’s a great idea to either incorporate a FAQ list on a webpage or in a blog post. FAQs are usually very direct, so it works in a business’ favor to have this type of content on their site.

3. Leverage Different Mediums

A way to improve click-through and catch Google’s eye is to leverage different mediums to promote content. Even if a web page doesn’t make the snippet, content can still find its way somewhere else on the first page of search results. These mediums could include guest blogging, LinkedIn posts, YouTube videos, Slideshare or even Google Slide decks.


How to Get More Click-Through and Win With Zero-Click #Searches by @BernieColeman #SEO
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Play to Win in the Growing Zero-Click SERP Environment

While the majority of zero-click searching is performed on mobile, SparkToro confirmed that 34.3 percent of zero-click searches still occur on desktop per every 100 searches. While the progression of a zero-click search takeover is moving slowly, start strategizing now to combat the zero-click SERPs on the horizon.

If zero-click searches are causing the businesses and brands you represent to lose traffic, request a demo to learn how our solutions help partners overcome these challenges.

The post How to Get More Click-Through and Win With Zero-Click Searches appeared first on Advice Local.

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Learn How to Improve a Website's Placement With the Right Content

We don’t intend to sound like a broken record, but yet again, content has proven itself crucial to the success of a brand in the digital atmosphere – from the local business to the corporate empire!

Content Is Still King and Key to Improving a Website’s Placement

A business can and should leverage content on their website to improve placement and convert browsers into buyers. Through the utilization of information available at our disposal right now and through some smart marketing strategies – or as Hubspot’s Dan Tyre says, “smarketing,” – we can drive real results. Let’s start with what Google’s John Mueller has to say.

The Word from Google

Just recently, Mueller hosted a Google Webmaster Central hangout. In the hangout, a participant posed a question regarding concerns that though their website is technically flawless, they’re struggling with how to garner higher placement overall in search.

To this, Mueller responded that even the most technically perfect website can lack in relevance without the right – you guessed it – content. Content uses keywords, engages audiences, answers questions and creates the opportunity for continuous growth, which will undoubtedly factor into higher placement.

On Optimizing a Website’s Content

Mueller offered two suggestions right off the bat in relation to crafting content with a mission:

  • Whether it’s data from FAQ pages, online forums regarding a brand, or social media reviews, take the opportunity to learn about the issues or problems people are regularly experiencing, and address them through content. There couldn’t be a more relevant subject for your audience!
  • Secondly, be open to feedback on a website from fellow site owners and other experts. Getting a second set of eyes will only benefit a site moving forward.

This is one of our favorite topics to explore at Advice Local, especially as more and more professionals are realizing the SEO impact of well-written, relevant content. It’s all about strategy, which will lead to higher placement in search results, translate to increased visibility, and help create the SEO success story businesses dream about. Let’s explore some additional strategies for creating optimized content.

1. Start With the Trends

For the most up-to-date content, a brand needs to start with the trends. There are plenty of resources out there today that can point marketers in the right direction. From Google Trends, which allows users to, in their own words, “explore what the world is searching,” to SEMRush, which can determine the impact of a keyword for marketers, there are endless sources available. Trends translate to relevance, so start there.

2. Remember Keywords and Title Tags

Keywords are often used in SEO strategies because they’re essential in more ways than one. But, in order to utilize them well, they need proper research to back them up. They tie in seamlessly with trends, and content will either shoot for higher- or lower-volume keywords depending on the content being written. Additionally, the title tag is one of the most important components of content; title tags spark the curiosity that draws an audience to read, establish authority, and explain the idea of “why” in relation to a brand or business.

3. Implement Conversational Language

When writing content, one should always ask themselves whether or not they would actually read what’s being written. If the answer is no, it generally points to the content’s tone or language. The content could be off-putting, causing a loss of interest quickly because it’s too dry. A nitty gritty piece will, of course, appeal to a specific niche of people, but in general, all content needs to take a conversational tone that’s easy for anyone to read and digest. Keep the average person in mind when considering the audience for your content.

4. Establish E-A-T

Google coined a term referred to as E-A-T: expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. We apply this in relation to a local business or brand’s total positioning online. Content is a huge part of that positioning; there is quite literally a digital blank canvas where you can use content to display the knowledge, expertise and authority that wins clients over and allows them to trust in the information that a brand is offering. When E-A-T is applied to the specific questions that searchers are asking about, like John Mueller suggested, it’s an SEO home run that will result in higher placement online.


How to Improve a #Website’s Placement With the Right #Content via @Advice_Local #SEO
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Help is Around the Corner

 At Advice Local, we’re experts in local SEO. To see how we help agencies help their clients get found online, request a demo today!

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Understanding how to use owned, earned and paid media to create a local marketing strategy.

When it comes to local marketing endeavors of any kind, a brand or business must have a comprehensive strategy that incorporates owned, earned and paid media. Together, these work to create an enviable, successful campaign that will catch the eye of a business or brand’s customers.

Defining Owned, Earned and Paid Media

Before we dive in-depth into what each type of media is, how they differ, and how they can benefit businesses and brands, let’s begin with a few quick definitions:

  • Owned Media – Any mentions of the business by the business, e.g. their website, marketing collateral, print and web content.
  • Earned Media – Mentions of the business or brand, either online or in print, by a third party, e.g. an article in a magazine, a quote on another business’ website, etc.
  • Paid Media – Advertising to promote the business, online or in print with the goal to generate sales and increase brand awareness, e.g. Google Adwords, paid ad placement on a media website or in print.

At Advice Local, we utilize earned, owned and paid media (also referred to as POEM) on the regular, so we know their value. So, we’re here to provide a refresher course on how to best implement these strategies if they have fallen by the wayside in a digital marketing plan.

Understanding Paid, Earned and Owned Media to Create a Local Business Marketing Plan infographic

Owned Media – The Starting Point

First things first – owned media. Owned media is relatively easy to define: it’s content and other forms of media that are totally managed by a business or brand. It also encompasses any created or commissioned content, which includes social media accounts, infographics, websites, blog posts and eBooks – any kind of content created and controlled by the business or brand.

According to Brandpoint, any form of owned media will serve as the foundation for a business or brand’s marketing game plan, which makes sense. If a brand doesn’t establish its mission or reason for going into business, how can it attract others to jump on board? A businesses does this by establishing a target audience; once the mark is missed on this one, it can be hard to recover.

Next, a business or brand must hone in on the right keywords to target, the type of content that should be generated, and the appropriate topics. They must also learn how to measure what works and what doesn’t.

Owned media is arguably the most important of the three types of media, so a business should plan on devoting the majority of their time and allocated budget to it.

Earned Media – Just as It Sounds!

Earned media is something to be proud of for any brand or business. Does this sound silly? Believe me, it’s not! According to Medium, earned media is the hardest to plan around due to the fact that there is little to no control on the business owner or brand manager’s end – earned media is primarily driven by the customer or other media outlets. Earned media can take many forms; for example, a mention in a blog post by an industry colleague, publication in an article that has the potential to reach others in a given field, and content derived from press releases announcing the latest happenings and promotions with the brand are all earned media moves.

On the customer-reliant side, earned media can be a word-of-mouth recommendation to a friend or to the general public via social media channels, or reviews posted online or on public forums. Daunting, right? Thankfully, positive earned media is not only a reflection of a brand, but is often also the result of successful owned and paid media strategies. But, the pressure is always on to keep the business in a positive light! Negative earned media can prove detrimental if it’s not quickly and adequately rectified. Unfortunately, it can be a waiting game to see how well a brand can recover following a negative exposure.

To help achieve positive earned media, it boils down to high-quality content that’s enticing enough to compel an audience member to share it. Earned media can mean the difference between profitability and the need for damage control, so businesses need to be as attentive and observant as possible on all media forms associated with their company.

Paid Media – Tried and True

Lastly, we’ve arrived at paid media. At Advice Local, we think that any marketing strategy is sorely lacking if paid media efforts are not included in the plans. Paid media includes pay-per-click advertising, ads on Facebook or through Google, promoted tweets on Twitter, and many other forms. Paid media is obviously budget-based, but according to BigCommerce, it offers the highest amount of instant gratification – which everyone can appreciate.

Paid media can drive traffic quickly, but most importantly, a simple ad can be just enough to get noticed by a new consumer and create more opportunities for expansion. Because paid media works and is easy to track, it will never go out of style as a tried and true marketing strategy for businesses or brands of any size.


Using the Big Three: Owned, Earned and Paid Media for Local #Business #Marketing by @BernieColeman #SEO
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The Powerhouse Trio for Local Marketing Success

When it comes to these three types of media, there is really no room to pick and choose; combined, they lead to the most cohesive local marketing strategy for any venture. I say this with confidence, as I’ve seen it in action a million times over! The last thing any brand or business wants to see is their digital footprint diminish.

Wondering how to best utilize owned, earned and paid media for a comprehensive local marketing strategy? Find out now how partnering with us can help you better serve your clients – request a demo.

 

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Learn about the 2018 ranking factors and how to leverage them in 2019.

Google’s ranking factors have long been a mystery – they probably keep their list in a secret vault right next to KFC’s secret recipe and the secret ingredient in Coca Cola. But digital marketers don’t give up easily. We weren’t going to sit around, waiting for the day when Google finally decides to share the list with us. We’ve been taking action year after year to find out how to optimize a local business’ online presence – if you want to see how, just request a demo today.

2019 is no different than years before. We’re hard at work to get businesses found online, which means trial and error. We’re investigating what works for us and what’s worked for others – basically acting as the online version of Sherlock Holmes. Of course, since most keep what works for them extremely private, I can only provide what our years of experience at Advice Local have revealed.

What We Know About Ranking Factors

We all know that Google is smart. How smart, you ask? At least as smart as a 5th grader – and getting smarter by the minute. This means the techniques that worked a gazillion years ago – like adding targeted keywords left and right – are no longer working.

In 2018, some of the local search ranking factors we focused on included:

  • A claimed and optimized Google My Business listing, complete with Posts, Events, Deals and Photos.
  • Number of quality citations, including vertical-specific local directories.
  • NAP (name, address and phone number) that is consistent throughout directory listings.
  • Real customer reviews and ratings on authoritative sites like Yelp, Amazon or Google, and how the business interacts with them.
  • Strong social signals on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Backlinks from authoritative sites – quality trumps quantity.

These didn’t work just for us. The 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors backed us up.

Infographic representing the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors

Local Ranking Factors for 2019

A lot happened in 2018 that helped us understand how Google works – at least a little bit! On top of everything that was already a ranking factor in 2018 and before, there is a lot more that needs to be made priority in 2019. Let’s explore some of these now.

Secured Sites

Back in summer of 2018, consumers reported seeing a “not secure” warning when trying to access a HTTP website on Chrome. Did you miss the earlier HTTPS memos? Google announced that they wanted websites to add encryption to their connections by using HTTPS. We got the memo way back in 2017 and started fixing client sites then. If HTTPS is still a mystery to you, read up on it here.

According to Emily Schechter, Chrome security product manager, “this makes it easier to know whether your personal information is safe as it travels across the web, whether you’re checking your bank account or buying concert tickets.” Users are given a warning so they can decide if they want to continue to the unsecure website, or go back and try another site.

Of course, having a security certificate or SSL is more important than ever for local businesses, as the warning brings distrust to potential customers who won’t think twice before going to the competition.

Even before Google’s announcements in earlier years, the online world saw a rise in HTTPS connections – particularly from big sites like Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and, of course, Google. But today, encryption is still not as common with local businesses. If these businesses don’t want to miss out on potential clients, they need to think about getting a SSL right now.

Mobile-friendly Websites

2018 was an important year for mobile devices. Not only did Google finally start rolling out their mobile-first indexing, but Kleiner Perkins’ Internet Trends Report 2018 showed that mobile usage is at an all-time high, with consumers spending an average of 6 hours per day on a mobile device.

It’s clear that mobile devices are not going anywhere. Google knows this, which is why having a mobile-friendly website that is responsive and easy to use will be one of the ranking factors for 2019. And, if you are debating if a business should go with a mobile app, mobile website or responsive web design, we’ve covered that topic, too.

Content Length and Quality

Content will always be king – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it as many times as necessary. There’s no way around it. If a local business wants to place high in search engine results pages (SERPs), they have to tell Google that they’re experts in the subject, and that they have authority and trustworthiness. The main way of showing Google that they can trust a particular business is by having content with E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness).

It’s not just about putting content out there to keep a website feeling fresh as opposed to outdated. Content needs to be valuable to the reader and provide something that they would otherwise be lacking. In short, if a consumer finishes reading a blog post or an article and their feedback is “I didn’t know that, thank you,” the business has done a great job with E-A-T.

Another important aspect is length. Once upon a time, 300 words was all a page needed to rank, but the competition is so tough that 300 words are simply not cutting it anymore. We’ve seen an increase in websites with pages that have between 500 to 1,000 words, with some publishing even more words per page and more often. But be careful with fluff.

Finding a happy place between too little and too much is the best advice I can give you.

Long-Tail Keywords

I was all about voice search in 2018 – and with good reason! Voice search is now part of local SEO and we, as marketers, need to embrace it. Optimizing for voice search will be essential to get businesses found online, which is why I wrote this roadmap to get them there and why we added the Voice Search Readiness Score to our Online Visibility report.

One of the main changes that local businesses need to make comes in the form of keywords. People use a more natural way to search via voice – instead of searching for “plumber near me,” they’d probably ask their digital assistant to “find the best plumber in my area.”

Local businesses need to adapt their content to this type of search – the business that includes complete phrases and answers questions like “which is the best Mexican food restaurant in the area?” will win the customer.

So, what are long-tail keywords?

  • Long-tail keywords are usually phrases consisting of four or five words that make up a thought.
  • They are very specific to a particular type of business, product or service.
  • Depending on the type of search, they can be a question.

While too much fluff is a bad thing, some filler words will help a page surface in voice search results. Answer questions how a person would talk, not a robot.

Long-tail keywords attract the attention of search engines when people use them to search for exactly what they need. It’s not the same to simply search for a plumber in McKinney, Texas as it is to search for a plumber who can unclog a toilet today.

Optimized Images

We wrote an article on the best image sizes for Google My Business, but Google My Business is not the only thing that needs optimized images. Images that haven’t been optimized for the web take time to load, which results in a diminished page speed and a bad user experience. Search engines don’t like this and neither do consumers.

In addition to the above, images with no descriptions or with titles full of random letters and numbers will never get found online – meaning a missed opportunity for a local business to earn potential customers. In fact, Google Images produces one fourth of all search traffic. Yes, all search traffic. Can you even picture how many potential customers that is?

Optimized images need to:

  • Have a proper file name – one that is related to the content on the image and the page.
  • Have a compressed size between 75k to 100k, except for images meant to be printed or used as wallpapers.
  • Include image metadata. This is as important as any other metadata included on a local business’ website. They need to include a description, an alt text and a caption.
  • Be engaging. Businesses should go for good-quality images that will captivate consumers’ eyes.

Businesses Should Focus on Being the Best

Forget about any type of black hat SEO tactics – trying to cheat Google simply won’t work anymore. Gaming the system to build links or getting fake reviews and followers is not a help, but a hindrance.


Local #Search #RankingFactors – What’s Hot for 2019 by @BernieColeman #SEO
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Get the answer to what is local SEO and how important it is

Local SEO is a digital marketing strategy that consists of targeting the local market through search engine optimization tactics. It’s perfect for service-based businesses, or for businesses located in a certain area that don’t want to target a nationwide audience. Before we start diving into the specifics of local SEO and the wonders it does for local or multi-location businesses, let’s talk about what search engine optimization is.

What Is SEO?

SEO – or search engine optimization – is a series of digital strategies that bring online visibility to brands and businesses. These strategies include creating a website that is user-friendly and keyword-optimized, as well as constantly crafting content that is valuable and interesting to readers. A website that always has fresh content will give potential customers the idea that business is booming and that the company takes good care of their clients, while at the same time telling Google that they have E-A-T.

Google’s E-A-T means “expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.” It is one of the top three considerations for Page Quality. When a business consistently puts out content showcasing that they are experts, have authority and are trustworthy in a particular subject, Google ranks them higher. Higher rankings equal greater online visibility.

SEO is extremely important for brands, online publications and magazines that target a nationwide – or even a worldwide – audience. They want to get traffic to their websites; it doesn’t matter where that traffic comes from. For local businesses – a plumber, for example – it’s not just about getting traffic to their website. It’s about getting conversions, which only come from high quality traffic. To get conversions, a plumber would need to create content that is optimized to attract local searches in the areas they serve.

The Importance of Local SEO

As we mentioned before, local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that targets local customers. In order to reach that desired audience – the one that will turn traffic into high quality traffic that actually converts – it’s essential that a local business is visible in the right places.

If a local business is not visible online, are they even visible at all?

There is only a limited number of potential customers looking for a local business offline – by walking or driving around the neighborhood, or maybe by getting a direct referral from a friend. When a business’ online presence is not duly optimized, they are missing out on the potential customers that are finding their competitor instead of them.

Did you know that 46 percent of all searches on Google are seeking local information? People in the online world are not joking around. They’re spending their time searching for things they actuallywant or need – as opposed to mindlessly walking around a shopping center, for example. Online consumers are purposefully looking for a service in their area, and once they find what they’re looking for, 76 percent of them will visit a local business within 24 hours.

Local businesses that are not visible online are definitely losing potential customers to the competition.

What Constitutes Local SEO?

Local SEO is not just one thing. Local SEO is a big strategy comprised of a group of smaller tactics. Some of these tactics include online business directories, local citations, reviews, social signals and link building, among others. Let’s explore the most important of them.

Online Business Directories

Online business directories make up one of the best local SEO tactics for local businesses; this is also one of our specialties, so make sure you request a demo today to see how we help local businesses get found online through listing management. Having an optimized website is only a start – local businesses need to have that website seen by the right people. Business listings do just that. They showcase a local business’ information to their local audience, instantly increasing the reach and online visibility of the business.

One of the most important listings for local businesses – if not themost important – is Google My Business (GMB). This powerful listing lets businesses share posts, photos, events and special deals & offers. It also provides a way for businesses to communicate with potential customers through Google Messaging and gives the business’ customers a platform to leave reviews. Here’s a little something we wrote to help you master Google My Business in 2019.

According to David Mihm, 90 percent of a business’ leads are coming from Google, and a large portion of that 90 percent can be attributed to Google My Business. This is reason enough to focus on creating a GMB listing.

In addition to GMB, Bing, Yelp and smaller niche directories are just as important. Each allows for the business’ NAP (name, address and phone number), and many will also include a link to the business’ website, which helps to build trust among search engines and consumers. When submitting a business to online directories, it is important to submit to the best of the best. Quality listings are just as important as quantity. Here lies the list of best directories for 2019.

Another plus of having well-optimized listings on GMB, Bing and Yelp is that they allow voice-enabled devices to spotlight the business in voice searches. This voice search readiness infographic tells you all about it.

Local Citations

Citations are mentions of a business. Online citations, one of our areas of expertise, usually include the name, address, phone number and URL of a business – think of an online version of the Yellow Pages. Local citations are found in local directories and can help a local business receive exponential reach, helping them to get found online by potential customers who may not have found it otherwise. All of this, of course, applies only if the business data included in the citation is accurate.

Inaccurate – or bad – data can have the opposite effect on a local business. It can result in a lack of trust from potential buyers who have trouble identifying a business’ actual phone number or current address. Wouldn’t you lose trust in a plumber in McKinney, TX if your call is answered by an accountant all the way in Southlake, TX instead? The answer is most likely yes.

The best way to deal with bad data is to get it cleaned up. Our free Online Visibility Report can help with that. You can run the report for any local business, then follow these steps to get rid of that bad data.

Once a business’ data has been cleaned up, they can then focus on building consistent citations across the web. Submitting a local business’ information to data aggregators, local directories, review sites, social media platforms and niche directories is the best way to build citations. These citations must be constantly monitored to ensure their accuracy.

Reviews

Would you hire a roofer that has a rating of 2 stars on Google with claims of the roof leaking one week after the job is complete? Probably not. The online world and the increase in access to information have resulted in the need to trust what other people say about the products or services you – as a consumer – want to purchase.

Reviews are so important because 97 percent of consumers say that reviews influence their buying decisions. Even further, 88 percent of consumers have also said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

These mind-blowing stats only show that reviews can make or break a local business. Reviews are not only important to attract customers, they are also essential to send signals to search engines. These signals tell search engines, like Google, important information about a website – they impact the website’s placement in search results. This doesn’t mean that a business with bad reviews is automatically sent to the digital dungeons, but the business should be doing everything in their power to encourage positive reviews and respond to them – even those that are bad.


What Is Local #SEO? @BernieColeman explores here!
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Local SEO is the way to go for any local business that wants to receive the right kind of traffic from the right kind of consumer – and we know exactly how to achieve this. Request a demo today to see how our local SEO technology and services help local businesses get found online each and every day.

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Get the list of best directories for 2019

When a business is looking to get found online, the best technique is to submit their NAP (name, address, phone number) and other important information to online business directories. Not just any directory or every directory, but the best of the best online directories.

We’ve talked before about how to choose the best directories, but in this ever-changing online world, it’s important to know the real facts before entrusting a brand’s information to an online directory.

The Best Directories for 2019

We’ve compiled a thorough list of online directories that we consider the best for 2019 based on a number of conditions, including domain age, traffic, and everything that makes them a reliable directory. Take a look below!

Directory Name Domain Age G!idx Domain Authority Traffic KwDomain
A Greater Town 11 yrs 0 mon 412,000 63 10,836 133,747
A Greater Town offers worldwide recommendations, and it’s domain authority score only exemplifies this, along with its G!idx.
Alignable 6 yrs 8 mon 3,410,000 63 243,223 1,431,573
Alignable is only six years old and already supplies 3,000,000+ pages of data to Google. Get on board with them!
AmericanTowns 18 yrs 10 mon 242,000 68 18,274 61,711
AmericanTowns is great due to their ability to connect right into local communities. Their domain authority score, their keyword usage, and their G!idx helps them stand out.
Apple 31 years, 8 mo. 99,500,000 97 150,456,019 16,123,079
Not only is Apple a trustworthy, 31-year-old domain, but it also has a domain authority score of 97– what all sites should strive to achieve. With over 150,400,000 visitors, it’s the place to be.
Bing 22 years, 9 mo. 2,290,000 94 8,584,291 1,774,260
Bing is a reliable search engine that is also highly ranked in terms of a superior domain authority score of 94. Having been around for almost 23 years with a loyal following, Bing is a great directory.
Brownbook 11 yrs 3 mon 33 73 1,057 343
Brownbook’s domain has achieved a high authority score, meaning it is trustworthy, legitimate, and a solid directory.
BubbleLife 16 years, 3 mo. 124,000 52 3,594 23,054
BubbleLife has been a trusted geographically-based blog for 16 years and counting, with substantial potential for more traffic locally.
Chamber
of Commerce
21 years, 2 mo. 1,010,000 70< 20,122 276,148
Utilizing Chamber of Commerce is in the best interest of all local businesses. With Google indexing over 1,000,000 of their pages, it’s best to get listed there as soon as possible.
CityOf 21 yrs 10 mon 65,800 50 12,313 64,545
CityOf is knocking keyword domain out of the park with over 64,000 keywords in just the first 10 pages of their site.
Citysearch 22 yrs 11 mon 1,690,000 87 161,883 1,416,760
Citysearch has almost 23 years experience as a domain, a supreme score of 87, and keywords to boot.
CitySquares 13 yrs 3 mon 243,000 66 12,755 80,428
CitySquares has over 12,700 visitors each month, and a solid domain authority score of 66.
Company 24 years, 4 mo. 2,710 61 2,985 1,458
Based in San Francisco, Company offers comprehensive tools to get local businesses running from the ground up. Their domain is over 24 years old.
Cylex 25 yrs 10 mon 474,000 60 22,816 0
After 25+ years of exemplifying their presence as a successful directory, Cylex achieves, on average, 22,816 site users monthly.
Dun &
Bradstreet
24 years, 8 mo. 14,000 71 206,531 36,194
Dun & Bradstreet know how to utilize keywords, with over 36,000 listed on the first 10 pages of their site alone. This is vital for both rank and visibility.
DexKnows 14 years, 11 mo. 2,600,000 70 345,144 1,420,311
DexKnows has a solid domain authority score of 70, 2,600,000 pages currently indexed by Google, and over 1,400,000 keywords.
eBusinessPages 17 yrs 11 mon 44,300 67 2,045 18,564
eBusinessPages has solidified their domain authority score at 67 and has provided Google with over 44,000 pages of data.
eLocal 21 years, 0 mo. 41,100 63 20,453 19,171
eLocal has two decades of experience as a domain, a solid domain authority score, and other qualities.
EnrollBusiness 9 yrs 8 mon 24,300 63 1,180 26,142
EnrollBusinesss is doing fantastically in terms of their Google Index and keyword usage to drive traffic.
Express
Business
Directory
7 yrs 11 mon 120,000 65 N/A 10,418
ExpressBusinessDirectory is only almost 8 years old, yet they have gained Google’s attention tenfold in terms of the data it provides.
EZlocal 14 yrs 7 mon 281,000 69 28,847 219,782
EZlocal’s domain authority score is firm, and with over 28,000 visitors each month and a high use of keywords, they are achieving real visibility.
Foursquare 16 yrs 7 mon 44,500,000 92 13,262,253 10,899,452
With a whopping 44,000,000+ pages being indexed by Google, and a 92 DA score, Foursquare is a listing directory force to be reckoned with.
Factual 18 yrs 1 mon 2,160 57 N/A 3,454
As one of the fundamental data aggregators, Factual has been trusted for 18 years and counting with businesses’ data.
FedBiz
Directory
1 yrs 1 mon 3 14 2 11
The FedBiz Directory is still a fledgling but on the rise with their keyword domain and authority score.
Google 21 yrs 2 mon 2,230,000,000 94 589,306,977 282,125,365
Without a doubt, Google is where all businesses need to be listed. With almost 600,000,000 as their traffic metric, 94 as their domain authority score, and their establishment as a trusted name, Google is king.
Here 23 years, 5 mo. 5,160,000 83 204,008 398,490
Based in the Netherlands, Here has a sizable domain authority score of 83 and over 300,000 keywords being utilized.
Hotfrog 15 yrs 6 mon 342,000 77 33,088 223,640
Every month, over 30,000 go to Hotfrog for listings and recommendations.
Hubbiz 18 yrs 7 mon 132,000 61 4,567 51,172
Hubbiz has been around for almost 20 years, offers 132,000 pages of usable data to Google, and has over 50,000 visitors each month.
iBegin 20 yrs 2 mon 1,540,000 63 25,770 297,085
iBegin has submitted 1,540,000 pages of data to Google thus far and has a trustworthy domain authority score.
Infobel 21 yrs 2 mon 6,770,000 65 8,363 70,870
Infobel is an impressive company out of Belgium that has provided Google with 6,770,000 pages of data and more information for people and places worldwide.
Judy’s Book 15 yrs 3 mon 153,000 63 24,064 179,321
Judy’s Book is another local directory that has an incredible 153,000 pages being indexed by Google to get business information out there to the consumer.
Localmint 8 yrs 10 mon 416,000 43 238,746 746,080
Localmint has a sleek site, 416,000 pages with data going right to Google, and is only almost 9 years old. They are also keyword savvy, with almost 750,000 in their first 10 pages.
LocalStack 11 yrs 2 mon 967,000 55 35,895 579,991
With 967,000 pages being Google indexed and almost 600,000 keywords being used in the first 10 pages, Local Stack has solidified authority.
Localtunity 5 yrs 5 mon 887 30 7 643
Localtunity is only 5 years old and has already hit a domain authority score of 30. It is a promising site and has almost 900 pages of data being utilized by Google.
MakeItLocal 13 yrs 6 mon 11,800 44 1,687 14,009
MakeItLocal is a great directory for the local business community and will only expand as times goes on.
Merchant
Circle
14 years, 1 mo. 552,000 87 8,556 74,003
Merchant Circle’s domain authority score of 87 is excellent, and so is their 74,000+ keyword domain.
My Local
Services
17 yrs 2 mon 31,200 52 1,594 24,780
My Local Services has developed a sizable reach and has impressed Google, with over 31,000 pages with data being indexed.
N49 18 yrs 9 mon 357,000 60 4,119 83,807
N49 uses over 83,000 keywords in only a fraction of their pages to help generate traffic to their site.
Navmii 10 yrs 6 mon 1,440 44 986 326
Navmii is a decade-old mapping and navigation service that provides Google with 1,440 pages of unique data, primarily about location.
Opendi 17 yrs 11 mon 1,070,000 59 95,220 911,933
Opendi is ideal for local and large-scale businesses to be listed on due to its reach– over 95,000 new, potential consumers.
showmelocal 12 yrs 3 mon 887,000 71 22,327 272,395
showmelocal attracts over 22,000 users each month and utilizes over 270,000 keywords to get their site ranking.
Superpages 22 yrs 9 mon 12,700,000 86 753,411 4,101,509
Superpages is 23 years young, is at the top of it’s game with a domain authority score of 86, and has almost 13,000,000 pages currently being indexed by Google for data.
TomTom 22 yrs 8 mon 277,000 81 219,841 75,094
Many people utilize TomTom’s navigation technology. The domain has over 200,000 monthly users worldwide.
Top
Rated
Local
7 yrs 9 mon 9,540 49 7,840 9,417
Top-Rated Local works out of Virginia and has an apt score of 49 for their domain authority, which is sizable and growing.
Tupalo 12 yrs 2 mon 167,000 74 510 3,333
While lower in terms of traffic, Tupalo is a high supplier of data to Google that makes it something for businesses to optimize.
Uber 23 yrs 4 mon 220,000 91 7,219,266 464,416
Believe it or not, Uber has been an established domain for over 23 years. With over 7,000,000 people using it every month, it’s important that a brand’s information is listed correctly.
USCity 20 yrs 2 mon 11,600 58 906 3,767
USCity has a domain authority score of 58. 60 is an ideal score for directories, so this indicates that the domain has great potential.
Waze 18 yrs 7 mon 5,380,000 81 819,334 1,282,626
Waze is the choice for real-time location data, and with a G!idx of over 5,000,000 pages, businesses make sure they can be found.
WherezIt 13 yrs 5 mon 45,800 56 833 10,214
WherezIt is based in Vermont and offers 45,800 pages of local business information and community happenings to Google.
WhoDoYou 16 yrs 9 mon 626,000 56 10,524 240,375
WhoDoYou has a good amount of time under their belt as a domain, as well as a satisfactory domain authority score.
Yalwa 12 yrs 3 mon 62,900 53 4,869 44,048
Yalwa has been a domain for over 12 years and also uses a high keyword count of 44,000+ in only the first 10 pages, meaning they are committed to getting businesses seen.
YaSabe 12 yrs 0 mon 303,000 63 1,785 23,824
YaSabe is based in Georgia and is a Spanish directory for listing businesses, building careers, and more. Their keyword usage is superb in terms of traffic generation.
YelloYello 12 yrs 4 mon 59,900 69 939 3,382
YelloYello is a worldwide directory that provides visibility and large amounts of data to get businesses, large and small, noticed.
YellowBot 13 yrs 6 mon 1,050,000 81 21,206 536,033
YellowBot supplies Google with over 1,000,000 pages of data on businesses, and is a highly rated domain authority.
411 Listings 2 yrs 11 mon 7 16 21 6
411 Listings is still up and coming, but has the potential to become a highly performing directory for local and large-scale brands.

Now that you know which directories are the best to submit local businesses to in 2019, you are on your way to success!


Best #Directories for 2019: The List That Local Marketers Love by @GetPlacedLocal #SEO
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Submitting to each of these manually can be quite tedious. Request a demo today and explore how we can submit business information to these directories in real time.

 

* Note: Data points as of November 16, 2018

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What's in the Cards for Local SEO in 2019? Experts Weigh In

2018 is finally gone. It was a fun and exciting year for the local SEO industry! We got voice search-ready, we compared citation services, we got familiar with Google’s plus codes, and we made sure we were optimizing Google My Business images according to their latest guidelines. Now, it’s time to ring in the new year and see what 2019 will bring for local businesses.

Will voice search play an even bigger role for local SEO and local businesses in 2019? What about machine learning? I asked some industry experts to weigh in, and I even got them to share a secret or two with you.

On Voice Search

You’ve seen and heard me talk about voice search a lot lately, but it’s only because I’m really passionate about it. I believe that voice search is revolutionizing local SEO and the digital marketing industry. Before you know it, more and more brands and businesses will be found via voice search and will jump on the trend. Local businesses cannot afford to be behind and should be looking at ways to get voice search-ready. A good way of doing this, according to LSA’s Greg Sterling, is to complete information and claim profiles in Google My Business and Yelp.

Michelle Stinson Ross from Apogee Results said that voice search is already critical for local home service businesses. “[A] close second is navigational voice searches for directions to your business or recommendations for your type of business,” she added. Beanstalk Internet Marketing’s Dave Davies had similar thoughts. “Self-driving cars and ‘near me’ terms are going to massively shake up how we find things and how we interact with the world,” he shared.

As for challenges that come with voice search, Brandon Schmidt from YDOP said, “No longer can you be satisfied with ranking second or third for a search; the top spot will get all the attention, traffic and business over the competition.”

I’ve talked before about everything local businesses can do to get found on voice search, but Michelle had some good thoughts on that as well. She said that local businesses need to consider optimizing for voice queries that get customers to their door. Not all keyword rankings are made the same, so it’s not just about optimizing content – it’s about optimizing the right content.

On Machine Learning

Machine learning is basically what makes computers smarter. More intelligent computers naturally lead to an intrinsic change in local SEO – in all SEO, really – because of the way search engines crawl a page. Redundant, thin content that doesn’t give the reader a valuable experience will not help a local business rank better, even when it includes all the right keywords. In fact, it might even hurt the business’ rankings.

Joe Youngblood at Winner Winner Chicken Dinner hopes that “machine learning will help us do more heavy lifting of data and understand what to optimize on a page-by-page basis, enabling us to keep up with algorithmic changes at a more granular level.” Grant Simmons from Homes said that machine learning should make local SEO easier if local businesses can fully provide the structured data to search engines. He continued to direct local businesses to Google My Business, as that’s the perfect way for them to provide the structured data Google is craving. It’s all about “how relevant” you are to the consumer, according to Denise Casagrande from PCG Digital.

In the end, local SEO is all about stellar content. For Bill Hartzer of Hartzer Consulting, optimizing content for machine learning “still comes down to keyword research.”

On Their SEO Secrets

Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to the secret for a successful local SEO strategy. For Garrett Sussman at Grade.us, reviews are key, while for Bill Hartzer, it’s all about content and consumer education. Low-cost advertising on the Google Display Network plays a big role for David Szetela at FMB Media. User experience is a must to get conversions, per Michelle Stinson Ross.

For us at Advice Local, it’s about finding the right balance. You must have great content, accurate citations and listings – preferably submitted in real time to avoid discrepancies – and you have to partner with the right people.


What’s in the Cards for Local #SEO in 2019? Experts Weigh In by @BernieColeman #DigitalMarketing
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