Pubcon Vegas 2015 – Local Search – By Mike Stewart

There was certainly an emphasis on local SEO at Pubcon Vegas 2015. One of the presentations I sat in on was by Mike Stewart, who shared some great tips on local search optimization. Here are some of the notes I took …

There was certainly an emphasis on local SEO at Pubcon Vegas 2015. One of the presentations I sat in on was by Mike Stewart, who shared some great tips on local search optimization. Here are some of the notes I took …

  • Local search is not black magic – don’t over-think it
  • Most people just “spin the wheel” and hope something good happens [never a good idea]
  • Local search is a lead generation strategy aimed at increasing foot traffic and phone calls to a physical location
  • Local SEO is a content strategy aimed at increasing website ranking to get the leads
  • Basic Training
    • NAP (name, address and phone information)
    • Content development
    • Content ideation
    • Social media amplification
  • Local media short cuts rarely work
  • Make sure you have access to your data
  • Yext (and other data aggregators) have some good tools to help with local search data gathering – but it does have a cost
  • Watch your categories – it’s very important to match what you do with the proper category
  • For Google My Business:
    • Consolidate locations under 1 account
    • Claim unclaimed locations
    • Verify
    • Optimize
  • Yahoo local is easiest to work via Yext
  • Bing Optimization
    • Agencies need to get written verification from the owner of the business
    • Very important to target Bing maps data as well as Apple Maps
  • It’s important that a human verify listings
    • There are no shortcuts that really work
    • Avoid spammy directories
  • Paid search is important to enhance local SEO
  • Reviews are key

Pubcon Vegas 2015 – Local Search 2015 by Kristopher Jones

There were several sessions on local search at the recent Pubcon event in Las Vegas. I sat in on a session in which Kristopher Jones shared some information on how to optimize your website for local SEO. Here are the notes I took during his presentation …

There were several sessions on local search at the recent Pubcon event in Las Vegas. I sat in on a session in which Kristopher Jones shared some information on how to optimize your website for local SEO. Here are the notes I took during his presentation …

  • Local has changed
    • New layout – change from Map Pack to Local Pack
    • Decoupling of Google+
    • Google testing “Pay to Play?” Others are moving this way, may be something Google will do for more revenue
    • Moving more to “traditional” links back to the brand’s website
  • What matters less?
    • Quantity of links and
    • Quantity of reviews
    • Quality is better for both of those
  • What Matters Most?
    • Links and Anchor text
      • Quality over quantity
      • Location info in anchor text is important
      • Industry-specific links are also important
      • Links to your Google My Business data appears to be helpful
    • Geographical cues
      • Include city and state in title tags, H1 tags and in Google My Business page
      • Generate relevant content about the local area
      • Geographic keywords in domain/URL
    • Citations/NAP Consistency
      • Inconsistent NAP across different directories can hurt SEO
      • Secure directory listings on locally relevant sites
      • Make sure your website NAP is consistent with Google My Business NAP
    • Title Tags
      • Titles need to be unique and include city and state info in them
      • Google ranks pages, not sites – pay attention to each page
    • Domain Authority
      • History and age of domain is important
      • Brand new domains may not rank very well until it builds some history and authority
    • Optimized Google My Business Listing
      • Claim and verify data!
      • Maintain consistent NAP
      • Select appropriate business categories
      • Include relevant location information in the description
    • Reviews and Ratings
      • Totally agree – see the writeup of my presentation on reviews and local search
      • Positive reviews drive clicks and calls
      • Be proactive about getting reviews
      • Reviews with geographic information and descriptive terms about the business are important
    • Mobile is key to local search
      • They go together
      • Focus on click-to-call functionality

Kristopher reiterated many of the same tactics that Brian Combs did during the session I shared with him. With local search playing such an important role in helping brick and mortar business succeed, it’s good to get these things right.

I’m not sure about the “decoupling from Google+” part, though. I think he may have been referring to the connection with Google Maps. If that’s the case, then I do agree. I also agree that quality reviews on Google+ are very important for placement in local search results, especially in the local stack. Reviews are something that businesses will need to watch very closely.

Pubcon Vegas 2015 – Showing The Value Of SEO by Erin Everhart

Another presentation during Pubcon Vegas 2015 on showing the value of SEO was shared by Erin Everhart. She made a great case for teaching SEO to business leaders and gave some great tips on how to accomplish that. Here are the notes I took during her presentation …

Another presentation during Pubcon Vegas 2015 on showing the value of SEO was shared by Erin Everhart. She made a great case for teaching SEO to business leaders and gave some great tips on how to accomplish that. Here are the notes I took during her presentation …

  • Sometimes people think we can just “call Google” to get better rankings
    • SEO is sometimes confused with paid search
    • SEO is easy to understand, but it’s hard to explain the details and what goes into the work
  • People say that organic search and SEO are important, but the budget doesn’t show it. The vast majority of money goes to paid search
  • Explaining the constant changes in Google is also a challenge
  • It’s important to set good expectations – and explain that SEO efforts don’t happen instantly like in paid search
    • There is an incubation period
    • Search improvements are more of a long-term investment
  • Speak the language of your audience – don’t use a lot of industry jargon
  • Instead of hitting huge wins that cost a lot of money, share the information a little bit at a time.
    • Break things down into short-term and long-term wins
    • Hitting quick wins helps build the case for bigger efforts
  • Show competitors beating you or doing things that you want to do that are best practices
  • Use data responsibly – too much data can fall on deaf ears
    • May not seem relevant
    • May overwhelm them
    • Make your analysis actionable
    • You need to be “in the weeds” but they don’t
    • Tell them in plain English what’s going on and what they need to do
    • Give them actions, not just a laundry list of tactics
  • Show the impact on the overall business – not just SEO
  • Remember, you can’t always trust attribution and segmentation. Sometimes analytics are wrong
  • Remember to tie website traffic back to revenue
  • Try to tie online metrics back to offline metrics

She reiterated some of the points Anthony made during his talk on the same topic. I like Erin’s take on teaching some of the nuances of SEO in order to set realistic expectation. I have found that having the heart of a teacher and explaining things often gets better results than just “geeking out” on the topic.

Pubcon Vegas 2015 – How To Show Your Value To The CFO by Anthony Robinson

One of the biggest challenges to those working in the SEO business is proving the value of the work done. This is a difficult challenge, and one that always gets a session at Pubcons. Anthony Robinson shared some great ideas on how to tie SEO work to improvements in the company’s bottom line. Here are the notes I took during his presentation …

One of the biggest challenges to those working in the SEO business is proving the value of the work done. This is a difficult challenge, and one that always gets a session at Pubcons. Anthony Robinson shared some great ideas on how to tie SEO work to improvements in the company’s bottom line. Here are the notes I took during his presentation …

  • We need to play the political game – Understand the rules of the game and use that knowledge to set up a strategy to reach the audience.
  • Figure out what winning looks like – this is the first step
  • Remember that C-Suite execs don’t understand what we do
  • Show the SEO revenue stream and how the loss of that will affect the bottom line
    • Show the “What Is SEO” education … break it down into small bites and show how important it is for the business
      • Not technical – practical
      • Go over best practices, show SEO as investment, there is a risk to losing the traffic
      • Show the strategy in a 1-page infographic
    • Reporting should be about money
      • Show estimated revenue
      • Tie metrics back to strategy
      • Keep this simple and down to 1 page
    • Work with a mid-level finance officer to help calculate and verify the annual revenue per landing page
  • Show the website as a business asset that they need to protect
  • “Fear of Loss” helps motivate protecting landing page revenue
  • Get the CFO to ensure that important changes to the website are signed off by the SEO team – this can be very powerful to help protect SEO efforts

One thing Anthony mentioned that I often do is showing the website as a business asset. Just as a business needs to maintain plant and equipment or buildings or they fall apart, so the website is also in need of maintenance.

Pubcon Vegas 2015 – Google My Business Optimization by Brian Combs

The session in which I presented during Pubcon Vegas 2015 was “Local Search & Reviews.” My co-presenter was Brian Combs who gave an excellent presentation on local search optimization. Here are the notes I took …

The session in which I presented during Pubcon Vegas 2015 was “Local Search & Reviews.” My co-presenter was Brian Combs who gave an excellent presentation on local search optimization. Here are the notes I took …

  • Things are changing every day. Keep in mind that things are changing and that you have to keep on top of changes
  • Make sure your Name, Address, Phone (NAP) information are correct and consistent across the board
  • Don’t use tracking phone numbers, they can cause issues with Google matching information in different data sources
  • Google My Business
    • If the location doesn’t exist, add it
    • Verify the data for accuracy
    • Consider creating a brand new Google account just for this so you don’t get your personal information mixed up with business
  • Make sure to optimize your web pages well
    • NAP info on each page
    • Contact info
    • Include a Google Map showing how to get to your location
    • Semantic Markup – Schema or hCard
  • PlaceRank – works much like PageRank
    • References
    • Reviews
    • Other data from around the web page into this
  • Reviews are very important to local search
    • Impact conversions
    • Can also be useful for keywords
  • Localized content on your own site is also very important
    • Blog about your community
    • Reviews of other local businesses
    • Local resource directory (not link exchange – related or complimentary businesses and groups)
  • Citations are important
    • Business listings on other services
      • Yelp
      • Yahoo Local
      • Etc.
    • UBL.org
    • Moz.com/local/
    • WhiteSpark.ca
  • Get the entire team involved
  • Always think local!

Brian’s advice was very good overall. Local search optimization is rather a specialty unto itself and it pays to understand how it works and do it properly.