Date: April 11th, 2013 | Author: Steve Longoria | Tags: Angieslist, Google+ Local, Local Citations, Local Marketing, Local SEO, Small Business, Yelp | No Comments »
When it comes to local SEO and local marketing in general, it’s important to add as many local citations as possible. It’s a very tedious process, but it’s necessary, and not just to rank in Google.
Some of these local business directories have a bunch of traffic themselves, like Yelp and Angieslist, so it’s important to include your listing in as many places as possible in order to maximize your online presence.
SEOmoz does a great job laying out the fastest way to build your local citations without shelling out a bunch of money for services like Yext:
“I always like to start by creating a quick Google Doc with the client’s NAP information at the top. This allows me to easily copy and paste the fields if I need them while I’m building citations. It also allows me to keep the data consistent across the board. Typically, I ensure my Google Plus page is 100% accurate with my business information, and then copy and paste the information from Google Places. I will also use this same Google Doc for tracking my citation sources in one easy to use place.
Feel free to download this free Local Citation Building Template.
In case you decide not to use the spreadsheet I created, you will see I have fields for some of the most common information that citation sources ask for- including…” [Continue Reading]
Date: April 8th, 2013 | Author: Steve Longoria | Tags: Google Places, Google Search, Google+, Local SEO, SEO, Small Business | No Comments »
This can be a very confusing issue for small business owners, and it doesn’t help the fact that Google has been taking it’s sweet time with the Google Places/Google+ Local merger.
As of right now, you shouldn’t have any issues merging your Google Places page with your Google+ Local page if..
1. You’re a local business with an actual storefront. Service area businesses that don’t have a physical storefront are out of luck still.
2. You only have a single location. Multi-location support hasn’t rolled out quite yet for Google+ Local.
3. You select “Local Business or Place” when creating a Google+ Page. If you select any of the other options, your Google Places page won’t merge with your Google+ Page.
So why should a small business merge the two?
When it comes to Local SEO, Google+ is the way forward. Google Places probably won’t even exist within a year or two. Also, you get to start engaging with potential customers on Google+ and start benefiting from all the social features Google+ has to offer.
In short, Google+ is going to be a game changer for SEO, so it’s best to get a head start right now!
Here’s how to do it:
1. Create a Google+ page for your business. Remember make sure to select “Local Business or Place” when creating your page. If you already have a Google Places page, Google will recognize this from the phone number you used. It will then ask you if this is your business. Simply select your business and finish filling out the rest of the information.
If you don’t have a Google Places page, then don’t worry about it. You won’t need one since you’re creating a Google+ Local page.
2. Verify your Google+ page. After you’ve created your page, you’ll be asked to verify the business address. They’ll do this by sending you a postcard containing a special pin code. It can take 2-3 weeks for you to receive the postcard in the mail, but usually it arrives within a week.
3. Optimize your Google+ page. Adding pictures and video is a huge part of optimizing your page, but so is user engagement and review collection, which are both ongoing tasks.
You’ll want to put in place a system for collecting Google+ reviews for your business. This will ensure you have a fresh supply of positive reviews coming in. Google+ pages that have a lot of good reviews generally rank higher than other Google+ pages. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that 72% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.
Engaging with users on Google+ is pretty straight-forward. Simply start adding fellow Google+ users to your “circle” and a percentage of them will follow back. The better you target your “following campaign” the better your results will be. For example, if you’re a software company selling software to small business owners, you’re better off “following” small business owners than you are “following” a teenage kid that listens to ICP.
Once you start to build up a following, the next step is to reach out to your following. Ask them questions, share useful informational with them, reply to them if they message you. That’s about it! Pretty simple right?
Update: What if my Google Places and Google+ Local page don’t merge?
In some cases, the two will have trouble merging, leaving valuable reviews on your Google Places page, which sucks because we want those reviews on our new Google+ Local page. If your pages aren’t merging, all you have to do is visit your Google Places page and click “report a problem”. Let Google know that it’s a duplicate listing and needs to be merged with your new Google+ Local page.
This happened with a client of mine, and it only took a few days to merge after I reported the issue.
Am I leaving something out? Leave a comment and let me know!
Date: March 29th, 2013 | Author: Steve Longoria | Tags: Case Study, Google+, Local Marketing, Local Search Marketing, Local SEO, Small Business | No Comments »
I helped a local Phoenix courier rank for a keyword earlier this month. The keyword it ranks for is “scottsdale courier delivery service” and here’s how I did it.
Step 1. I created a simple WordPress site using a responsive theme, and added some content. I optimized the title tags to include our targeted keywords and I embedded a Google Map showing the physical address.
Step 2. I created a Google+ local business page.
Step 3. I added Google+ “publisher” tag to the website.
Step 4. I added multiple local citations. (Yelp, Angieslist, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Yellowpages, Foursquare etc.)
Step 5. I optimized the Google+ page with video. We got this done on the cheap obviously, but you can really go all out on the video commercial. The more creative you get with the video, the more likely it is to go viral and rank high in Google.
I believe once Sun State Delivery collects some positive reviews on their Google+ page they’ll easily rank for more competitive keywords like “Scottsdale Courier”. Only time will tell!
Date: February 13th, 2013 | Author: Steve Longoria | Tags: Local Business, Outsourcing, Small Business | No Comments »
Outsourcing is all the rage these days but here are some good reasons you should consider keeping your money local by hiring local. Just because we find ourselves in an increasingly digital world, doesn’t mean we should abandon those in our community.
Mark Maynard explains:
“3. Local businesses recirculate dollars in their communities. An analysis of bookstores in Austin showed that, of every $100 spent in a locally-owned store (Book People), $45 were circulated back into the community, whereas only $13 made its way back into the community when $100 was spent at the nearby corporate chain store (Borders). Local companies, as Shuman was quick to point out, hire local accountants, advertise in local papers, pay dividends to local owners, and give more to local charities, among other things. You would be hard pressed, said Shuman, to find an example of a non-local business making a more significant impact than its locally-owned competitor. And there are now dozens of academic papers that prove this to be the case…” [Continue Reading]
Date: January 29th, 2013 | Author: Steve Longoria | Tags: Local Marketing, Local SEO, SEO, Small Business, Yelp | No Comments »
It’s easy to overlook Yelp when putting together your local marketing strategy. Most small businesses are concerned only with Google and Facebook, but they fail to realize just how big Yelp is these days, especially now that Siri is pulling results from Yelp.
Here are 5 steps to getting your business ranked on yelp:
“Fill out your profile completely: Like many of the engines we’ve covered in this alternative search series, Yelp values businesses that have filled out their profiles to the greatest extent possible. So, take advantage of this easy-to-achieve ranking factor and fill out as many of the business information fields as you can, including your company’s hours of operation, website address, pictures and more.
Ask for reviews: It’s against Yelp’s terms of service to pay reviewers or to engage in review trading scams. That said, there’s nothing wrong with asking customers to take a few minutes to leave their thoughts on your company’s Yelp profile, as long as you’re not pushy about it. Of course, requesting reviews is only a good idea if you’re confident that the feedback will be positive.
Try to prevent good reviews from being filtered out: Perhaps the biggest complaint about Yelp’s service is that positive reviews left by actual customers are often hidden behind the company’s review filter. That’s because Yelp’s algorithmic filter tries to prevent review scams by weeding out comments from people…” [Continue Reading]
Have you included Yelp in your or your client’s marketing plans? Leave a comment and let us know!