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Last time we discussed a real-world example of bad data affecting a Google Business Profile. While we provided the solution to that particular problem, it did raise another issue – getting in contact with Google. Speaking to Google directly is a challenge (to put it mildly) but these tips will help if you ever need GBP support.

We Are Joining Greg Gifford to End This Local SEO Myth Once and for All

SEO is a topic certain to spark intense debate, but linking to a Google Business Profile (GBP) is an issue that was settled long ago. Recently, Greg Gifford at SearchLab discussed how the myth of link building to a GBP won’t seem to go away. As Greg advises, linking to your GBP won’t help you rank in Google, and you’ll be better off earning links directly to your website.

This myth immediately reminded us of the partner who had a prospective client that was using their GBP posts to link to their own GBP profile. Since this business didn’t have their own website (they were using a Google website), they were linking one GBP post to another one.

The partner shared with us how the business’ current SEO company was selling this to the business as link building, even though the entire strategy was fatally flawed. This highlights the importance of educating clients and prospective clients on the services you offer. When clients understand Google and industry best practices, your proven SEO strategies will stand out – and you can close more deals.

Avoiding Optimization Errors With a Google Business Profile

On a similar note, you may remember that we discussed a partner who picked up the pieces for a new client dealing with the consequences of bad data. The business in question had a poorly optimized GBP after a previous SEO professional had made some adjustments.

Unfortunately, the changes they made included expired offer posts, spelling errors, poor formatting, attributes that contradicted each other and so on. Errors of this kind had drastically reduced the business’ visibility and not surprisingly, the phone stopped ringing. This business paid for poor optimization.

A Quick Look at Google Business Messages

While we’re on the topic of the Google Business Profile we want to briefly cover Google Business Messages. This feature has plenty of pros and cons, and you’ll need to weigh up the value for your clients before setting it up.

At this point, the biggest con is the addition of a request a quote button on a business’ profile, which may (or may not) be an option. This is all determined automatically by Google based on the business’ primary category. After the prospective customer submits a request for a quote to the business through GBP, Google then encourages the prospect to request a quote from other similar businesses – in essence, their competitors. As an additional channel to communicate with customers, the service certainly has potential, but there are definitely some drawbacks.

We recommend that if your customers do want the messaging feature turned on, test if the request a quote button appears or not. If it appears, you definitely want to cover the negatives of having the messaging feature turned on with your client.


A Google Business Profile Roundup, Including a #GBP Myth by @BernieColeman via @Advice_Local #SEO
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Bad Data Is Affecting the Google Business Profile

Last week we talked about the Google update that lets consumers add updates to a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). This week we’ve got a story from an Advice Local partner who witnessed first-hand the frustrations of bad data impacting a Google Business Profile.

Does Listing Management Still Matter?

We’ve discussed the importance of business listings beyond a Google Business Profile (GBP) quite a bit, and there’s a good reason for that.

You may remember the 2021 Local Search Ranking Factors study that estimated how much weight Google placed on the important ranking factors. With citations making up 7% and a business’ GBP taking 36% of Google’s prioritization, you could be thinking that listing management is on the decline. But here at Advice Local we disagree – strongly. And yes, we have supporting proof.

We’ve discussed time and again about consumers’ trust of business listings, and today we have a real-world example to share with you on just how much Google itself trusts these listings.

Bad Data Is Impacting This Business in Google Maps and the Local Pack

Experiencing ongoing frustration with a Google Business Profile that they manage, one of our Advice Local partners reached out to us for help. The business they represent moved locations in April 2021. Our partner subsequently completed an address change with Google (including the postcard verification) and everything appeared to be on track.

Unfortunately, within days of verifying the business’ new address, Google changed the business’ address back to the old location. The partner quickly contacted Google support, who instructed them to first accept the changes for the business in the Google Business Profile. Step two would be to change the old location address to the new one again, then repeat the postcard verification process for the new address.

With no alternative in sight the partner completed these steps. The postcard verification went through once more, and the address in the Google Business Profile was then correct for approximately the past nine months.

Well, hold on. Last week, Google changed the business address back to the old one. And yes, the business’ website most definitely has the correct address, so just what triggered Google to determine this was not the correct address for the business?

Our research revealed that the partner did not have the listing management active for this business in our solution – the business had opted not to renew the service. The last time the business had active listing management was for the old address.

What Was Happening With This Business’ Google Business Profile?

  1. Google would accept the postcard verification and change the address to the business’ new location.
  2. Google algorithms would then detect that the business’ address in fact differed from other trusted data sources.
  3. Google automatically changed the business’ address back to the old address.

Both Yelp and Bing, in addition to numerous other directories and data sources, showed this business at their old address. Changing the address with Google might have seemed a logical approach, but it was leaving this business with conflicting data online.

So how do you resolve this? To begin, the business needs their NAP data to be accurate on the most important directories, data aggregators, plus Bing and Yelp. And while it is possible to update many of these directories manually, it’s time-consuming in the extreme.

Just how important is listing management for a business? Back to our example, bad data was impacting this business’ visibility in the local pack and Google Maps. This agency partner is solving this business’ Google Business Profile problem by fixing their bad data online in other trusted sources.

Partners trust Advice Local for listing management services because we deliver. Is your listing management partner delivering for you?


How Bad Data Is Affecting the Google Business Profile by @BernieColeman via @Advice_Local #SEO #GMB #GBP
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Google Maps Is Now Featuring “Updates From Customers”

Last week we detailed how to manage multiple Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business) from a single dashboard. Today we’ll look at monitoring these listings and, in particular, a user-generated content update that is getting featured in search.

Customers Can Get Content Featured on a Google Business Profile in Maps

This week we want to highlight a feature of the Google Business Profile (GBP) that’s been stirring up some discussion. This is the ability for customers to add updates to a Google Business Profile in the form of photos, along with a message.

As Google announced it in March of 2021, this isn’t a new feature. What seems to be new is Google featuring these updates in Google Maps with a message saying “Updates from customers.”

Traditionally, updates featured in maps have been reserved for the business alone, but with Google spotlighting updates from customers more, this is absolutely something to watch closely.

gbp-updates-by-customer-example

In Google Maps on mobile, within a business’ GBP there’s a tab under Updates that says “By owner,” then next to that, “By visitors.” While most local guides and others don’t seem to be using the option of adding these updates as of yet, as it becomes more popular you can expect it to occur more often on your clients’ Google Business Profiles.

Remember when we discussed user-generated content (UGC) in relation to the Google Business Profile? These photo updates are another type of UGC. Please note, these are not the photos a customer uploads when they review a business, this means adding an actual update to the GBP.

We have always been strong advocates of ongoing management, optimization and monitoring for a business’ Google Business Profile. Features like this demonstrate why local businesses need to hire agencies and local marketers just like you. We’ll keep you updated as more information on this feature becomes available.

Other Related GBP Updates to Consider

Over at Sterling Sky, Joy Hawkins took a closer look at the Google Business Profile Manager Agency Dashboard. Recent changes to the Google Business Profile have led to some unfortunate issues, prompting agencies to consider this new interface for their agency dashboard.

If you choose to use this dashboard you’ll need to make some adjustments to organize your clients’ businesses correctly, and to continue receiving notifications. Joy highlights how to migrate for you.

Last week, BrightLocal released their Local Consumer Review Survey for 2022. Not surprisingly, the survey emphasized many of the points we discuss with you each week, focusing on the importance of positive reviews – and what can be expected to happen when you don’t have a solid review process in place.

For example, 89% of people said they were “highly” or “fairly” likely to shop at a business that responds to all its reviews. Also worth noting, increasing numbers of consumers are using Google to evaluate local businesses – up to 81% from 63% in 2021.

And BrightLocal had more to add, touching on why GBP is not something you can simply set and forget. Most agency owners recognize that listings need to be continuously monitored, and essentially the process never ends.

Consequently, you need tools and processes in place to track search visibility across all platforms, stay on top of reviews, plus get deep insights. This is where our Enhanced Google Business Profile Tool comes into its own, with the ability to complete much of this monitoring, responding and uploading from a user-friendly dashboard. Our tool includes the ability to respond to reviews, schedule GBP posts and photos, add and answer the questions and answers – and more.

A Brief Look at SEO Signals

Search Engine Journal has been looking at the case for inbound links as a search ranking factor. You may remember we recently laid out the case for citations as a key SEO signal. And while some blogs have been downplaying the need for developing inbound links, Matt Southern at SEJ is firmly on the side of relevant, quality links as an SEO factor.

Now might also be a good time to revisit the Local Search Rankings Report and refresh your memory on the important ranking factors for 2022. GBP signals topped the list, but there were some other factors you might have missed.


#GoogleMaps Is Now Featuring Updates From Customers by @BernieColeman via @Advice_Local #SEO
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How to Manage Multiple Google Business Profiles Easily

Last week we looked at the importance of creating business listings for the local business clients you represent. We want to go a step further this week to give you a practical, highly effective way of managing multiple Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business).

Why Do Local Businesses Need a Google Business Profile?

Why would you create a Google Business Profile for a local business client? Because as a local marketer, you understand that ultimately, it’s all about visibility in the local pack, maps and search.

We’ve covered in great detail how applying expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness to a Google Business Profile (GBP) can help improve the business’ local visibility. We even created a score – the Google Authority Score – that allows you to easily see how well a business’ Google Business Profile is performing from within your partner dashboard.

Managing Multiple Google Business Profiles Can Be Made Easy

As a local marketer you know that managing a GBP takes time, patience and strategy – and this is exactly why we created our Enhanced Google Business Profile Tool. Our agency partners who have been using this tool can attest to its value. Here’s a quick look at what you can do with our Google Business Profile tool:

  • Monitor reviews and respond to them
  • Add questions & answers
  • Schedule & publish EXIF-data optimized images
  • Schedule & publish Google Business Profile posts
  • Get access to 18 months of historical insights data

Essentially, the tool is designed for agencies and local marketers to manage Google Business Profiles for a single entity, a brand, or a franchise without any obstacles. Everything you need to deliver a winning GBP is included – for as many clients as you work with.

Of course, your clients expect to see the value you deliver each and every month. This isn’t always easy with a Google Business Profile, but our tool will help. The Enhanced GBP Tool integrates UTM tracking – you’ll be able to demonstrate the amount of traffic you are delivering to a business’ website within Google Analytics. This makes it easy to demonstrate the value you bring to managing your clients’ Google Business Profiles.


How to Manage Multiple Google Business Profiles Easily by @BernieColeman via @Advice_Local #GMB #SEO #GBP
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Why Business Listings Are Essential for Local Businesses

Last week we covered voice search and its relevance in 2022. We always like to kick off each year with landing a solid foundation for location businesses, and that’s why we want to talk about the importance of creating business listings for the local businesses you represent this week.

Business Listings Are Essential

Yes, we are back on the bandwagon about local business listings. Why, you ask? Well, they are important – pay attention and we’ll outline just how important.

While surveys like the 2021 Local Search Ranking Factors indicate that citations are not as influential as other SEO factors, they play an essential role in the Local Search Ecosystem.

We’ve discussed business listings – also referred to often as citations – on the regular. Our results, along with the results of our clients, only back up the importance of citations as an SEO signal.

While Google isn’t as dependent on citations to establish a business’ trust and authority, search engines Bing, DuckDuckGo, Brave and other data sources depend on them.

Data Sources Search Engines Trust

Damian Rollison explores this topic in detail on Street Fight and outlines some of the data sources these search engines count on.

Bing

For Bing, the data source for business listings is Bing Places – makes total sense. Bing uses TomTom for maps, and for reviews and photos they rely on TripAdvisor, Facebook, Foursquare and others.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo uses Apple MapKit to display their local results. They use Apple Maps for mapping and navigation. While much of their data comes from Yelp and TripAdvisor, this is sourced via Apple Maps.

Brave

Brave uses Leaflet, Stadia Maps, OpenMapTiles and OpenStreetMap for their map listings. Local business data is obtained from sources including Yelp, The Infatuation, TripAdvisor, plus the listed business website.

What Data Sources Do Others in the Local Ecosystem Trust?

Have you considered where Apple Maps, Yelp, TomTom and BingPlaces get their data? These places get business data from listing management companies like Advice Local. Businesses can also go directly to these citation sources, but most of the data is received from listing management companies, data aggregators and similar sources.

For another example, picture this…

  • Directory A trusts Directory B, therefore Directory A uses Directory B’s data to populate their directory.
  • Directory B trusts Directory C, so they use Directory C’s data to populate their directory, and so on.
  • The cycle repeats…

Just imagine the data sources out there, and who is using the data from the sources. These data sources (oftentimes trusted directories) are known as data amplifiers. Data amplifiers are extremely important – it’s clear why businesses need to be listed with a consistent NAP (name, address and phone number).

Data Amplification Is Inevitable – Why Not Make It Work for You?

At Advice Local, we prioritize distributing local business data to data sources that are also data amplifiers. And since we distribute to them in real time, once a business is entered into our listing management solution, the business’ local visibility starts improving almost immediately.

We include distribution to many of these data sources within our solution for free. Here are a few of those:

Yelp

Yelp is one of the listing platforms, and Advice Local includes Yelp public edits for free for our platform partners. This means we will add important business data to a listing such as address, phone number and opening hours.

Apple Maps

With Siri and iPhone searches delivering results from Apple Maps, it’s crucial for businesses to be listed here as well. We include submitting to mapping apps for free – Apple Maps is one that’s included.

Bing Places

While Bing delivers a significant portion of daily U.S. searches, it is consistently overlooked. Make sure your clients are up-to-date with Bing Places – and we include creating listings in Bing Places for free.

Data Aggregators

Listing businesses on Foursquare is easy for Advice Local platform partners, as we include submitting to all the data aggregators for free.


Why Business Listings Are Essential for Local Businesses by @BernieColeman via @Advice_Local #SEO
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Voice Search Is as Relevant as Ever in 2022

Last time we gave you our top 10 New Year’s resolutions that local marketers should apply for a prosperous 2022. Now, with the year in full swing, it’s time to check back in with voice search and see how much it still matters.

The Importance of Voice Search Optimization in 2022

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked about voice search. You might conclude that it isn’t too important anymore, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, as local marketers, we’ve grown more comfortable with voice search, so it’s not the hot news topic it once was.

To illustrate how voice search is not only still relevant but is actually growing exponentially, Algolia compiled a host of statistics on the topic.

The first stat of note is that voice-driven shopping is expected to hit $40 billion by 2022, compared to $2 billion in 2017. This substantial increase forecast by a market research report from OC&C Strategy Consultants shows how much more comfortable users are with the technology. Consumers aren’t just using voice search for directions or to ask simple questions, but also to discover and buy products.

Second, a survey into voice assistant consumer adoption conducted by Voicebot.ai found that half of American drivers have used voice search while on a journey. Not only are these drivers getting familiar with voice search in general, they are also using it as they travel. For your clients – restaurants, stores and more – this could be an opportunity to reach a customer nearby.

And finally, according to Narvar, around half of online consumers use voice search to research products, while more than half use the technology to shop for groceries and other products. This shows that voice search is firmly embedded in the online shopping experience, from discovering brands and products to making regular purchases. And what’s more, the trajectory for voice search is only going up.

Voice Search Is Changing User Behavior

Voice search has already changed the nature of search, and this will only increase over the coming years as adoption rates continue to rise. Just as mobile browsing saw a fast ascent and could no longer be ignored, voice search is here to stay—and your clients need to be prepared. In response, here at Advice Local we created the Voice Search Readiness Test to help you out. It’s simple… take the test and see how well a business is getting found on voice assistants.

Create a Personalized Voice App

Whether on desktop, mobile, or voice search, accurate business data is vital. Of course, getting found is a primary concern, but businesses and brands also want to control the information they deliver to consumers. And this is exactly where the Advice Local Voice App comes in.

We have developed a tool that makes creating a voice app quick and straightforward. Through our user-friendly dashboard, you can create a welcome message, add questions and answers—and develop a personalized experience for each of your clients. In no time, your clients will have a dedicated app that increases visibility on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Google Home.

Grab a Free Judy’s Book Listing

As you may know, we own Judy’s Book, the directory. This directory is a trusted directory for businesses, and it’s also used as a data source to populate a wide range of other directories and review sites. Plus, Judy’s Book has voice search integration for each listing, ensuring data like business information, reviews and FAQs can be found in voice searches.

As a perk of listing distribution with Advice Local, you get a free premium Judy’s Book listing for your clients. This includes 1,000 ad impressions per month on the free business listings on the directory (those that do not have a premium listing).


#VoiceSearch Is as Relevant as Ever in 2022 by @BernieColeman via @Advice_Local #SEO
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Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Digital Marketers

We ended 2021 by sharing the most popular local search blogs published on Advice Local during the year. We like to jumpstart the new year with tips to help you, our agency partners, local marketers and friends achieve their business goals for the coming year. Join us in starting 2022 with 10 resolutions for digital marketers.

10 New Year’s Resolutions to Get Behind for a Prosperous 2022

Let’s examine these well-known sayings and how they can help you successfully grow a digital marketing agency. Whether it’s your business or a business you work for, consider how these points can help you reach ultimate success in 2022.

1. Time Is Money

This can apply to many areas of your business. As a leader in the company, each moment spent doing something that someone else could do is costing you. Ask yourself how you can maximize results with the limited time available each day. You may be reluctant to give up certain tasks, but you’ll be thankful when you can dedicate time to the things that help the agency grow.

2. You Get What You Pay For

Depending on the size of the business, keeping costs low can mean doing things manually instead of using a tool or paying less to team members, paying less for services, etc. When making decisions on how to spend money it’s important to consider time, quality and training. Short-term savings can turn out to be a false economy if the business ends up suffering.

3. Quality Over Quantity

In business, it’s better to do a few things really well rather than to do many things just halfway – this will bring you more success in the long run. Many entrepreneurs dream big and are full of ideas, but trying to do too much can end up confusing clients, particularly when results are lackluster. Remember, quality work will always win over the long term.

4. A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned

Examine ways to save money within your business to get the most value out of any funds that are spent. For example, periodically audit the services you pay for, the tools you have signed up for and so on – it’s an excellent way to save money. And of course, the start of the year is a great time for a fresh start.

5. People Before Profit

While business owners always need to focus on the bottom line, don’t let this need come at the expense of people. First and foremost, clients are people – the time dedicated to building relationships can pay you back many times over. Being courteous, respectful and understanding can make the difference between a long-term relationship and an abrupt ending.

6. Manage Your Time or It Will Manage You

It’s a well-known observation that work expands to fit the time available for its completion. Sadly, business owners and their teams will understand this concept all too well. Managing time isn’t easy, but planning ahead, prioritizing the most important tasks – and including breaks to recharge yourself – will help you manage your time more effectively.

7. Make Your Passion Your Profession

When your profession is something you are passionate about, drive and creativity will naturally follow. Unfortunately, when your work fails to inspire you the opposite is true. The world of digital marketing is fast-moving and encompasses technology, communication and strategy. This means there is plenty to get excited about as you work to deliver for your clients.

8. Actions Speak Louder Than Words

This saying is simple yet eternally true. Amidst the noise of agencies and marketers competing for business, the ability to follow through on your promises should never be underestimated. While hype may get a lot of attention, your actions will ultimately determine your long-term success.

9. Think Before You Speak

Whether you’re speaking with team members or clients, taking a moment to think about what you are trying to communicate is vital. In business, saying the wrong thing could lose valuable time through miscommunication or even lose a sale. Simple and clear communication ensures everyone is on the same page.

10. Under-Promise and Over-Deliver

In business, we often think that results are the only things that matter. In reality, expectations determine how we feel about results. When an agency over-delivers for clients, this resonates far more than if you had made grand promises that are just not possible. Set clear expectations, and when it’s appropriate deliver just a little bit more. Going the extra mile (and letting them know you did) will bring the customer back to you time and time again.


Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Digital Marketers by @BernieColeman #SEO #DigitalMarketing
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Does the Need for These Resolutions Ring True for Your Business?

At Advice Local, we challenge you and each member of your team to consider these ideas and implement those that make sense for your business this year.

If you are not already an Advice Local partner, request a demo to see how we can help you better serve your local business clients, bring new business in the door – and grow your agency in 2022 and beyond. Call (214) 310-1356 to get started today.

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The Top 10 Local Search Topics of 2021

As we approach the end of 2021, it’s time to once again highlight the most popular content published on Advice Local throughout the year. You might not be too surprised to find that many of this year’s popular blog posts are tied to Google EAT (expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness) and the Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business).

As the 2021 Local Search Ranking Factors article from earlier this month revealed, these topics are indeed more important than ever. So, let’s take a look at the topics that got the most attention in 2021… we’ll start with the most popular.

Most Popular Local Search Blog Posts From 2021

1. Local Search Ranking Factors – What’s Important in 2021

When you want to know what local search experts think, the annual Local Search Ranking Factors survey is a must-read. And it’s not surprising that our article published in early 2021 made the cut. From the most important search signals to the value of reviews, this report gives a crucial insight into the world of local search. Take a look back at what was considered to be most important for 2021 – and compare it to what is recommended for 2022.

2. How to Apply Google EAT to a Google My Business Listing [#Infographic]

We’ve been pointing out the importance of Google EAT for a while now, and our handy infographic has proven to be a popular post this year, quite understandably. In this article and graphic, we outlined how to apply EAT to a GMB listing to improve discoverability. Google has since rebranded the familiar Google My Business (GMB) – now called Google Business Profile (GBP) – but you’ll be glad to know the same tips and tricks still apply.

3. A Case Study Into EAT and Google My Business

In this article, we provided a real-world case study from one of our Advice Local partners. The study detailed what happened when the partner used our Enhanced Google My Business Tool to apply the principles of EAT for their client. With some simple changes to their GMB strategy, search and maps results saw a significant change. We followed up on this post with more data that demonstrates the value of optimizing a GMB listing.

4. Why Every Local Business Needs an Apple Maps Listing

Businesses are increasingly seeing the benefits of getting listed on Apple Maps. An incomplete or poorly optimized listing will deliver a terrible user experience to the many iPhone and Siri users out there. This article outlines how to claim and optimize an Apple Maps listing, including the benefits of using an automated service to check that the data is intact. And yes, for our Advice Local partners we include the creation of Apple Maps listings.

5. Zero-Click Search & What It Has to Do With Google My Business

For businesses that need visibility but also want searchers to visit their website, zero-click searches can feel like a mixed blessing. In this post, we outlined how to make the most of zero-click searches by conducting audits into GMB listings, website content and product pages. By comprehensively optimizing content, consumers can find relevant business details across multiple locations.

6. Why Is Google My Business so Important?

With increasing numbers of consumers heading to Google to research products and services, GMB has the power to transform the fortunes of a local business. We looked at why GMB is so important in this blog post, with a focus on simple optimization changes and the results they could have. Of course, GMB has since rebranded to GBP, though the same principles work as well as ever.

7. Near Me Goes Hyperlocal – This Search Qualifier Isn’t Going Away

To deliver the most relevant and accurate results to searchers, platforms including Google, Facebook and Nextdoor opted to pursue hyperlocal search. Mobile searchers in particular want businesses close by, and the near me search qualifier grew in popularity. This blog post highlights the importance of near me searches – and how to help your clients get hyperlocal.

8. Google My Business & the Business’ Website Works Together

This article gave a detailed and data-driven look at the impact of monitoring and updating a GMB listing. Thanks to an agency partner, we were able to examine the results derived from optimizing a listing with regular GMB posts. In addition, we saw the benefits of aligning services listed on both a GMB listing and a business website – and the potential pitfalls that can occur when this is not done.

9. Google My Business Is Now Google Business Profile

As we headed towards the end of 2021, Google announced a rebrand to their business listing service. Overnight, Google My Business became Google Business Profile. As we discussed in this post, at Advice Local we weren’t too surprised by the move. We had been discussing the shift towards social networking and user-generated content with GMB, and the rebrand solidified their plans.

10. Getting the Basics of Yelp, Bing & Google My Business Right

Listing management is at the heart of everything we do at Advice Local. With this in mind we created a refresher on optimizing listings for Yelp, Bing and GMB. In this article, we covered some key areas where local marketers can go wrong when it comes to delivering an optimized listing for their clients – and how to get it right.

Honorable Mentions Go to These Popular Local Search Resources

We had to give an honorable mention to some valuable resources from the Advice Local website. These resources are not blog posts and they weren’t published in 2021, but they keep earning praise from our readers, holding the title for the most popular resources to date.

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

This comprehensive download, Applying E-A-T in a Google My Business Listing, helps businesses improve their Google Authority Score by implementing Google EAT strategies. Expertise, authority and trustworthiness (EAT) are clearly important factors in local search, yet most people don’t know how to demonstrate these to Google. Download the resource today and we’ll show you the techniques you need to know.

Winning With Voice Search

With increasing numbers of voice searches, agencies need to have a strategy for helping their clients get more voice search traffic. In this Winning With Voice Search download from Advice Local, readers will learn why content matters, how voice search users act – and the way to appear in featured snippets. Download your copy now.

Epic Guide to Local SEO

Coming in a close third in our popular resources that deserve special praise is the Epic Guide to Local SEO. This comprehensive interactive guide contains 15 chapters of detailed SEO instruction. After consuming this information you will understand the key aspects of local search, including citation building, Mobile SEO, the importance of reviews, plus the best tools to help local businesses. If you’d prefer to download the resource rather than viewing it on our website, that’s available too.


The Top 10 Local #Search Topics of 2021 by @BernieColeman #SEO
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Take Local Search Marketing to the Next Level in 2022

We’ve got plenty more insight on the Advice Local blog, and we’re busy developing new strategies and technology to help your local business clients reach even greater success in 2022.

Request a demo and see for yourself how we can help you list, manage and optimize your clients’ businesses where it counts. Call (214) 310-1356 to get started today.

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2021 Local Search Ranking Factors – Applying Them in 2022

Last week, we looked at the disastrous effects of a poorly optimized Google Business Profile. This week, we’re switching focus to the 2021 Local Search Ranking Factors report – an industry survey developed by David Mihm originally in 2008.

2021 Local Search Ranking Factors

If you’re unfamiliar with the Local Search Ranking Factors report, each year local search experts are surveyed for their thoughts on SEO rankings and conversions. We discussed the 2020 survey results on the Advice Local blog and now it’s time to see what, if anything, has changed.

And remember, results won’t always mirror your own findings – we certainly don’t agree with everything in this report – but they are a good gauge for what the industry is thinking and the local marketing strategies that are working for others. Apply these findings to the businesses you represent in 2022 and you can expect to see improvements to local marketing results.

2021 Local Search Ranking Factors

What Local Ranking Factors Will Be Important in 2022?

The report starts by looking at the important ranking factors for the local pack/finder results. Participants were asked how much weight Google placed on each factor. The results were as follows:

  • Google Business Profile Signals 36%
  • Reviews 17%
  • On-Page 16%
  • Links 13%
  • Behavioral 7%
  • Citations 7%
  • Personalization 4%

Google Business Profile (GBP) signals have been on an upward trajectory as Google continues to update the platform. By a significant margin, an optimized GBP is considered the most important factor for gaining visibility in local search.

In particular, the signals that stood out to the contributors were the primary GBP category, keywords in the GBP business name, proximity of the address to the searcher, and additional categories on the listing.

It’s important that we clarify that this doesn’t mean we recommend putting keywords within the business’ name that are not part of the actual name. However, if you were to do this, this could cause the listing to get suspended at worst. The lightest penalty would be Google automatically renaming the business name to what they believe it to be.

Businesses often have added keywords within their business’ name on a Google Business Profile.  And in some instances, have actually renamed their businesses, filing a new DBA, etc.

As a reminder, Google My Business recently rebranded to Google Business Profile. References to GMB throughout the ranking factors report are in fact referencing GBP. This survey was completed prior to the renaming.

1. Google Business Profile Ranks No. 1

Results indicate that much of the focus for 2022 should be the development of the business’ Google Business Profile. This includes categories, titles, reviews and photos. If your local marketing strategy for business clients has been marginalizing Google listings, now might be the time for a different approach.

As we have discussed before and in our free Google Business Profile guide, there are many other GBP factors to consider like E-A-T (expertise, authority and trustworthiness).

Here are the top 20 local pack/local finder factors you’ll want to use when evaluating your local business clients’ Google Business Profiles.

2. Google Business Profile Reviews Are Next

The local experts were asked to give their top GBP conversion factors and four of the top five results highlighted the importance of reviews. A high numerical Google rating and positive sentiment in review text led the list, with quantity and recency of reviews at four and five respectively. The third position – completeness of the Google Business Profile – is another factor we frequently recommend.

At Advice Local, we have long been recommending making reviews a key strategy for clients. The addition of positive, recent and keyword-driven reviews provides clear benefits for local search visibility and conversions, with the survey backing this up. It is important to note that keywords should originate from the reviewer, not the business owner.

Did you know that our Enhanced Google Business Profile Tool offers a review-management component that makes it easier for agencies to respond to reviews. While responding to reviews is not one of the top factors according to this study, it is extremely important, which is why we included this as part of the Google Authority Score we created.

Top 20 Local Pack Finder Factor

Image Credit: Whitespark

3. The Business’ Website On-Page SEO Comes in Third

It’s worth noting that the business’ website optimization, specifically on-page SEO went up significantly in importance in the 2021 Local Ranking Factors’ analysis. For those who are in the website SEO game, they know how important this is, but for those offering other local marketing services (not specifically website SEO),  they do not always prioritize it.

In fact, one of our Advice Local agency partners has clearly demonstrated how optimizing a business’ website content, along with the Google Business Profile, has greatly improved the appearances in the local pack and maps.

Where Does Citation Building – Listing Management Fall?

There are many other signals in between building citations within this survey, but we are going straight to it. While citations are not as important as they were in the past, listing management is a very important key factor in a comprehensive local marketing strategy. And we are not the only ones who feel this way. Whitespark has addressed this topic in the past and Moz recently did with its survey of more than 6,000 enterprises.

Results revealed significant increases in local pack visibility when these businesses had their data pushed to more than 10 directories, compared to only the big four platforms. We discuss this further in our Advice Local blog.

So now we ask, have you tried our listing management solution yet?


2021 Local Search Ranking Factors – Applying Them in 2022 by @BernieColeman #SEO
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It’s Time to Help Your Clients Take Control of Their Citations

A consistent business name, address and phone number (NAP) data is important. Not only does this impact the business’ visibility in the local pack, but also elsewhere on the web including mapping apps.

Customers do not like getting lost en route to a business and this means making sure your local business clients are easily found in mapping apps. And when the business is found online or in an app, make sure it is the correct information about the business.

Our listing management solution enables you to quickly distribute a local business’ data in real time and real fast, to the top directories, data aggregators and mapping apps. Request a demo today. Call (214) 310-1356 to get started.

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Poorly Optimized Google Business Profile

Last week, we discussed a recent Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) error affecting medical categories. This week we have a horror story about the dangers of becoming a little too reliant on Google.

The Dangers of Bad Google Business Profile Optimization

Last week, one of our Advice Local partners received a phone call from a business owner requesting a Google Business Profile (GBP) evaluation. The business owner said the phone hadn’t rung in more than 12 days and GBP is their only source for new customers – even down to only using a Google website. We have talked with you about the importance of marketing diversification many times. So it was quite a coincidence when a real-world business came calling on one of our partners.

The business owner explained they couldn’t afford a website. But if the alternative is placing their fate in the hands of Google, can one afford not to have a website? Their decision to rely solely on Google proved catastrophic. However, many other businesses regularly make this same mistake. We have discussed how GBP and business websites work together and this is one of the first things our partner told the business.

This business had hired a person to optimize their GBP and continually manage it. They thought they were doing everything right.

The Negative Impact of a Poorly Optimized Google Business Profile

At first glance, the business’ Google Business Profile looked good. But when we looked deeper (the partner shared the link with us) we discovered some real optimization issues.

Attributes – on the surface, adding attributes is exactly right. Unfortunately, the person hired to manage the profile listed the business as “Not LGBTQ+ friendly,” followed by “Transgender safespace.” Both of these were highly visible in search and maps. Talk about sending mixed messages!

Services & descriptions – even products, images & descriptions were included too. Sadly, poor grammar, weak images, incomplete sentences and other errors undid all their good work.

Offer posts – five expired Black Friday posts that were identical. These were the most visible posts on the GBP and their website. So consumers were immediately confronted with buy, buy, buy! The listing looked like it was spam.

Grammar and formatting – updated posts were plagued with grammar and spacing issues that would deter most consumers. “Learn-more” buttons sent people in a loop from post to post. This business needed conversion-friendly Call Now or Book buttons instead.

These are only a few of the problems that exist with this Google Business Profile.

We have talked with you about the importance of an optimized GBP listing, but we have never covered how the optimization of a listing this poor could negatively impact a business.

Clearly, any system relying exclusively on Google is a fragile one and you never know when the phone may stop ringing. So once again, after sharing this business’ nightmare, we ask: Are you diversifying your local business clients’ marketing efforts?

The Results an Optimized Google Business Profile Can Received

An optimized GBP can achieve amazing results for a business. Here is the data we have shared before showing how an optimized listing can improve map and search views.

  • March 9 – 2.76K (before optimization)
  • April 13 – 6.18K (after)
  • June 8 – 12.2K
  • August 9 – 20.0K
  • November 8 – 22.8K

google search views data november 2021


What Damage Can a Bad Google Business Profile Cause? by @BernieColeman #SEO #GBP #GMB
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Have You Tried Our Local Listing Management Solution?

At Advice Local, we make it easy for our clients to manage local business profiles the right way. From listings management and data aggregator submissions to voice search readiness and vertical directory syndication, we’ve got you covered. We even have tools to manage and monitor a business’ Google Business Profile. To try out our user-friendly dashboard, request a demo today. Call (214) 310-1356 with any questions on how to get started.

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