Tag Archives: Local Search

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Google My Business Lets Restaurants Add Menus to Listings by @MattGSouthern

Google My Business is giving restaurants the ability to add and edit menus directly in their GMB listing.

The post Google My Business Lets Restaurants Add Menus to Listings by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Post Hyperlocal News Stories to Google With New ‘Bulletin’ App by @MattGSouthern

Google is in the initial testing stages of a new app called Bulletin, which allows users to publish hyperlocal news.

The post Post Hyperlocal News Stories to Google With New ‘Bulletin’ App by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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How creating relevant experiences can boost your clicks on local search ads

We all know by now that mobile has had a tremendous impact on our lives as consumers and as marketers.

What we are still getting our collective heads around is what this change means for us as marketers.

Consumers have different expectations of the information they want when they search for “running shoes” at 9am from their desktop at work, versus “running shoes” at 6pm on their iPhone two miles away from a store. We as marketers needs to consider these expectations and deliver uniquely for them.

I wanted to take a look at some of the data across various AdWords accounts and understand how search campaigns are performing by desktop and mobile and different distances from the physical store location the search is coming from.

The insights align with what you might expect, but probably don’t align with how you are managing your campaigns – yet.

How distance impacts CTR, CPC and click percentage in local search advertising

Let’s first start with click-through rate (CTR) by distance. This metric might be the biggest variance and potentially most obvious when you stop and think about it. It stands to reason that CTR would be higher the closer a consumer is to the physical location.

However, what I didn’t expect was how much higher and how much larger the variance is for mobile compared with desktop. Our data shows that within one mile of a store, mobile CTRs are 2.5 times higher than desktop CTRs. The implications of this are logical, but really indicate a desire to go in-store. Once you get outside the first mile, the CTRs drop to be just one percentage point higher than desktop.

Next, let’s take a look at cost per click (CPC) by device.

Here we see a very interesting trend that aligns with the concept behind quality score. We see that CPCs are their lowest for mobile within one mile of a store. After understanding that the CTRs were 2.5 times higher on mobile versus desktop, one can assume that the relevancy rate is helping to earn these lower CPCs.

The trend here is the opposite based on device. CPCs are going up for mobile each distance further from the location vs. desktop which is seeing a steady decrease the further away. I think the desktop reduction speaks to the geo-targeting that occurs and reduces competition since fewer brands would enter the auction.

How creating relevant experiences can boost your clicks on local search ads

Lastly, I thought that the trends surrounding percentage of clicks by device and distance were very interesting.

Although cumulative, the amount of traffic that Google is able to gather less than one mile from a physical location is still much smaller than the traffic more than 15 miles away. So it make sense that there is still a larger percentage for mobile devices versus desktop at a close range, given the relevancy factor for those consumers as well as the advertisers themselves.

How creating relevant experiences can boost your clicks on local search ads

Relevancy: The name of the game

Ultimately, that is what I think this game is all about – relevancy. Here are three tips that you can take away from these findings, and use to create more relevant marketing for your consumers.

Relevant experiences

We know as consumers ourselves that we expect relevant experiences. We expect the opening hours of the store to be correct, we expect landing pages on mobile to be mobile responsive, and so on.

As advertisers, given the tools that we have available including customer match (now available with phone number and address as well), and various extensions, we have a lot more opportunities to increase relevancy for consumers.

This data just validates those relevancy expectations. Now it is on us as marketers to ensure we take advantage of these tools to give customers what they want, when they want it, and how they want it.

Understand your customers’ interactions with your business

What does this data look like for your business? What are the specific insights for you? Should you be bidding higher for consumers closer to your location?

Should your landing page focus on calls to action bringing consumers in-store, if that search is during store hours and they are less than one mile from your location? What is your specific data saying?

What CRM data can be used to augment this data?

The more you know about your customer base, the more you can use that information to create a better experience and a more loyal customer. How are you using your CRM data to understand where specific consumers interact, target them or cross-sell?

There are so many pieces of data that can be cut up to give an advantage to your search program. What needs to be a focus for many is to better understand how that data relates to your customers’ expectations and not yours.

For example, many paid search managers want a conversion to occur online, so the measurement and ROI story can be as strong as possible. However, the downside to that is it serves your own interests and potentially not the customer’s.

I think this data is a great indicator of how to tie consumer behavior to experience, and I firmly believe that the more we can do this as an industry, the better off we’ll be.

Google on Structured Data for Local SEO by @martinibuster

Google's John Mueller offers an unexpected answer to a Webmaster Hangout question about whether a specific kind of structured data is essential to Local Search SEO.

The post Google on Structured Data for Local SEO by @martinibuster appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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How to get started with local SEO

Local SEO proved to be one of the biggest trends throughout 2016 and 2017, and is expected to continue doing so throughout 2018.

Businesses that have been able to optimize their on-page and off-page SEO strategies are already reaping the supreme benefits of local SEO. For others, there are undeniable opportunities to begin their local SEO journeys.

Google suggests that 80% users conduct online searches for local businesses, while 50% of users who do a local search on mobile for a business visit its store within a day. Yet businesses continue to miss the opportunities that local SEO provides.

Don’t be that business. Instead, use the tips and tricks mentioned in this guide to get started with local SEO.

Claim your Google My Business page and optimize it

Google+ might have mostly fizzled out, but Google My Business continues to be a cornerstone for implementing local SEO. If you’ve not claimed a Google My Business listing for your business yet, this is the time to do so. The chances of your business featuring on the front page in a local relevant search improve manifold purely by having a well optimized and filled out My Business Listing.

Go to google.com/business, start the registration and verification process, and wait for Google to send you a postcard to your physical store location.

Make sure you understand that Google only allows real business owners to have their My Business pages; so you need to work out an arrangement with your digital marketing consultants so that you continue to own the My Business listing even if they depart.

Your business name, address, and phone number (abbreviated as NAP) must match what you have been using for digital marketing till now. Also, lay special emphasis on selecting categories, business hours, types of payment accepted, etc.

Then, have top quality photographs of the office front and insides uploaded on to the profile. Digital businesses without a location can hide the address to still be able to claim their My Business listing.

Here’s what a well maintained and optimized Google My Business profile could look like on a search page.

Understand and master the art of citations

Here’s it, put simply – every mention of your business online is a citation. More citations are good for your business’ local SEO. How does Google consider a mention as a citation? Well, your business NAP has to be mentioned for it to be counted as a citation.

Too many businesses have already lost several months of efforts in getting themselves mentioned online, purely because of inconsistent NAP. Though increasingly there’s consensus among digital marketers that Google actually triangulates data and identifies slightly different business names as belonging to the same business using NAP, we’d recommend you play it safe.

Keep on optimizing your website for mobile

Though this is something every website owner must do, local business website owners need to speed up their game particularly well. That’s because a majority of local searches are done on mobile devices, and are intent-backed.

Responsive layouts, intuitive user experience and interface design, etc. are the basics; you need to step past them! Google’s Mobile Friendly testing tool is a great starting point. I did a test on a post I was reading recently, and was impressed with the tool’s validation.

How to get started with local SEO

How to get started with local SEO

Add business directories to your to do lists

Apart from giving you a valuable citation online, business directory pages for your business also garner more visibility for your business. Here are some action points for you.

  • Start with the most notable business review directory websites such as Yelp and CitySearch
  • Next, use this list of business directories and create your business profiles on each (target at least 7 complete profiles per week)
  • Look for niche specific business directories and create your profiles there
  • Look for local business community websites, and grab your listing there
  • Check if the state government has a Chamber of Commerce or equivalent website, and look for a way to get a mention there
  • Use the services of citation aggregators like Infogroup, Acxiom, and Factual
  • Look for an opportunity for a citation via local newspaper websites
  • Of course, remember to get your NAP spot on every time.

‘Localize’ your website’s content

You can do a lot to help search engines understand your business’ local appeal by optimizing your website for the same. Local content, for instance, can help search engines contextualize your website’s niche to its local service. Then, you could include an interactive map widget to further enhance the local SEO appeal of your website.

Also, consider creating a separate local news section on your website, wherein you could post content about niche-related local events. This will serve you well in terms of allowing the usage of local SEO relevant keywords.

Businesses such as restaurants, lawyer services, house repairs and interior décor, etc. have a lot to gain by using these basic tactics.

Be very hungry for online reviews

A Moz report attributes 8.4% of ranking value to online reviews. It doesn’t sound much, but considering how 88% users depend on online reviews to form opinions on quality of businesses, brands, and products, the eventual impact of reviews is significant.

Google My Business reviews are the primary source of SEO juice; you need at least 5 reviews for Google to start showing your reviews. Facebook Business reviews must be the next on your radar, because of the trust they inspire among online users.

There are several other review websites you need to take care of, to maximize the local SEO benefit from the same. To get more reviews, try out these tactics:

  • Motivate store managers and field sales personnel to get reviews from customers on handy mobile devices, asking them log in to, for instance, Zomato or Yelp, and doing it on the spot (consider giving them a little discount for the same)
  • Use email marketing, with a single link that takes users to the reviews page
  • Consider using a social listening tool such as HootSuite to be alerted of your business and brand mentions, which you can transform into reviews
  • It’s worthwhile seeking services of online reputation management agencies for this.

Invest effort in local SEO relevant rich schema

Schema markup can be added to your website’s code to enhance its readability for search engines. There are several scheme markup tags that specifically focus on local attributes of your website.

Local schema markup tags assists local SEO in two ways:

  • First, it allows search engines to understand your business’ local relevance
  • Second, it means search engines can show your business page result along with rich snippet info such as phone number, address, business working hours, ratings, reviews, etc.

Here’s an example of how web results with local SEO schema markup appear on SERPs.

How to get started with local SEO

Local schema markup is beyond the scope of this guide, but here’s a good tutorial from Schema App.

Don’t forget to run your website through Google Structured Data Testing Tool to understand if the schema markup is done correctly.

Concluding remarks

As you read this, there are hundreds of potential customers searching for businesses in your neighborhood. Your website could be staring at them through their desktops and mobile phones, as soon as you get started on local SEO with the tips, tricks, tools, and methods described in this guide.

Google Assistant Update: Set Your Preferred Method of Travel by @MattGSouthern

Google Assistant has rolled out an update that allows users to set their preferred method of travel.

The post Google Assistant Update: Set Your Preferred Method of Travel by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Where & How to Get the Right Reviews for Your Business by @DholakiyaPratik

Here are the top review platforms you should use and some tips on how to best leverage them.

The post Where & How to Get the Right Reviews for Your Business by @DholakiyaPratik appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Google Local Search: 5 Things You Need to Do to Rank Now by @ProRanktracker

Here's what you need to do in order to keep up with Google's constantly changing local search algorithms.

The post Google Local Search: 5 Things You Need to Do to Rank Now by @ProRanktracker appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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How the Google Pigeon Update Changed Local Search Results by @searchmastergen

The Google Pigeon Update, one of the biggest local search algorithm changes ever, changed the way local businesses ranked.

The post How the Google Pigeon Update Changed Local Search Results by @searchmastergen appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Google Assistant Can Now Find Local Home Services by @MattGSouthern

Google Assistant is now capable of helping people find local home services that are relevant to their needs.

The post Google Assistant Can Now Find Local Home Services by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.