Category Archives: Local SEO

The Local University Experience

David Mihm Local UIf you’ve never attended a Local University Seminar– you are missing something unique. The world’s top experts in Local search and digital marketing—who usually only speak at major conferences in places like New York, San Francisco and London—come together and travel to towns and cities that typically don’t get to see this level of talent.  And Local University isn’t just about watching-  the intimate setting lets local businesses have a once in a lifetime opportunity to ask questions and have one-on-one conversations with the top minds on Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and every important digital marketing platform.

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Local Digital Marketing Basics: A Quick Primer on Priorities

Basics of digital marketing start with searchAt the BlueglassX conference several weeks ago, I was having a conversation with fellow panelist David Mihm prior to our Local Search Session about a fact related to local businesses digital marketing priorities that amazed both of us.  Far more local businesses have set up a Facebook page then have claimed a Google Place page, by what David has estimated in the past to be a factor of 3 to 1. And as BIA Kelsey recently announced (as reported by Search Engine Land as well as local search expert Mike Blumenthal)- “An astounding 41.7% of SMBs surveyed by BIA/Kelsey say they see Facebook most importantly as a (customer) acquisition tool”.

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The BlueglassX View: Why Local Search Hypergrowth Is Here

BlueglassX Local Mobile Search Panel John DennyI had a great experience this week at BlueGlassX Tampa Moderating the “Local Mobile Domination” session the morning of day two at the conference.  On my panel were two of the current Rock Stars of the local search world- David Mihm (formerly President of and just now joining SEOMoz) and Dr. Michael Dorausch of Planet Chiropractic (who has been featured in USA Today and Investors Business Daily for his skills in local). To set up the session I shared a bunch of industry data on how and why the “market” for local search– meaning the number of searches as well as the opportunity for local businesses to drive results through organic search rankings– is exploding right now.  Since I pulled a lot of data during my research and had only a limited amount of time to present during the session, I’m adding some super special bonus info here for all of you local search propeller heads.

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Understanding Local Search Ranking Factors

Just in the last week, the 2012 Local Search Ranking Factors survey was released by David Mihm- the 5th edition of his study. While the release didn’t make headlines in the search industry, I would argue that if you are trying to understand the basics of local search, this is the place where you want to start.  So what exactly is the Local Search Ranking Factors Study and why should you pay attention?

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Businesses Used To Want “Advertising”, Now They Want Results

Businesses today are looking for results from digital advertising

Borrell Associates recently released their Annual Benchmarking Online Media report detailing shifts in local media spend.  Overall Borrell predicts that spending in local markets will jump 21% this year to nearly $20 billion, but one of the key trends they outline as part of this growth is the increase in “non-advertising” spend: comprising services like paid search, SEO, social media marketing and reputation management.  As Gordon Borrell recently commented:

“This transformation that we’ve begun to see, is that it is getting harder and harder to determine what’s advertising and what’s services…..Most forecasts call for a gradual slowdown of traditional advertising expenditures and growth in ‘non-advertising’ marketing and promotions spending. This change is based on the idea that advertisers actually want results more than they want advertising.”

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The SMX East Local Panel View: NAP is Fundamental To Rankings

Yesterday in New York City I was invited to join the SMX East Conference Panel “Hardcore Local Search Tactics” for the Q&A discussion of local ranking factors along with three of the people I respect most as true experts on local search: Matt McGee, Will Scott and Mike Ramsey. There were some great local ranking tips discussed during the session, yet probably the most fundamental single concept that everyone on the panel talked about was how vital it is to have a consistent name, address and phone number (“NAP”) across all the places your business data can be found on the web.  The reality is that among all the cool,  highly technical factors that impact search visibility (concepts that only the “guru’s” of SEO can understand—from canonicalization issues to strategies for microformats) the idea that something as basic as whether your phone number or your name appears exactly the same way across the web —just doesn’t sound sexy.  It’s an incredibly simple concept, and I find that once you explain it to a local business- the bell goes off.  You don’t need 10 years of enterprise SEO experience to get it.  The challenge of course (which all of us on the panel talked about yesterday) is in the execution of this simple concept.

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Review Management: Going On Offense With A Proactive Plan

Yesterday I recapped a great Webmaster Radio  interview John Carcutt and Ross Dunn did with Google Places expert Mike Blumenthal, where he specifically talked about his philosophy about reviews.  It’s worth calling out one specific point he made during that interview that’s significant:

To me, a review is effective when a customer see’s it-  and the impact on the algorithm is secondary.  The value of a review is in the credibility it provides and the call to action on the part of  somebody seeing your  listing.

The key idea is that you shouldn’t be chasing reviews to increase your rank in the search engines, or have a knee-jerk reaction to every change in Google’s algorithm.

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John Carcutt and Ross Dunn Interview Google Expert Mike Blumenthal (“Professor Maps”) About Local Search

This week on Webmaster Radio’s SEO 101,  John Carcutt and Ross Dunn did a great job interviewing Google Places and local search expert Mike Blumenthal, who talked all about recent changes in local SEO as well some of the top things local businesses need to know about local online visibility.  I definitely recommend you listen to the full interview here, but if you’re time challenged, below are some key nuggets taken from Mike’s comments…..

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Local Visibility 101: Getlisted University Teaches Michigan All About Online Marketing

Over 200 people attended the Local University event in Grand Rapids this past week and were given a firehose dousing of valuable information on increasing their online visibility.  Top National SEO experts David Mihm, Mike Blumenthal, Aaron Weiche, John Carcutt and Will Scott downloaded to the audience with the latest info on Local SEO, Social Media, Google Places and a whole host of valuable topics.

Here  are some highlight photos and videos from the event:

Getlisted University Michigan: David Mihm presents common site pitfalls

David Mihm takes the crowd through common website pitfalls

Getlisted University panel

L to R: John Denny, Mike Blumenthal, Will Scott, David Mihm, John Carcutt, Aaron Weiche

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Signs The Google Place Page Is Becoming Your Second Site

I talk to local businesses every day about their visibility in search results.  And what amazes me is how many have no idea what their Google Place page is.  I’ll pull it up in front of them, show them the information that Google, in one tidy page, has compiled on their business. And there is this kind of amazed reaction- “Hey- will you look at that!”  Kind of like magic. 

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