Infographic – The Stars of Search Marketing via SEO.com

This is a really cool graphic that we just published over at SEO.com. It’s got some interesting facts about the brightest stars of search marketing… Hope you enjoy!
History of Search Infographic

Local Search Marketing with David Mihm

Guest: @davidmihm – a local search guru and his local search ranking factors project is among the most important studies of local seo. Here’s a link to the Local Search Ranking Factors project that @davidmihm puts together http://bit.ly/LzJ2. @davidmihm is also the co-founder of getlisted.org – a tool used to assist many search marketers with their local optimizations. New releases coming on getlisted.org + Local U Portland, Local U Spokane, #searchfest @sempdx.

What are the three most important things you must do to rank well in the local results?

Flippant response: ‘location, location, location’. Google would say ‘distance, relevance, prominence’ http://bit.ly/gTWDEL. On a practical level:

  1. Consistent NAP+W (Name Address Phone Web) http://selnd.com/ejD0sd across http://bit.ly/h1XQgD.
  2. Strong location signal from your own website (Title Tags w City, State / HTML address, phone). By HTML address i mean your physical address in HTML (as opposed to Flash or image) ie 123 main st, portland or 97209.
  3. Inbound links from geographically-relevant websites. Anchor text less imptortant, IMHO.

Q: @lyena Is the proximity to city’s downtown still a factor or not that much anymore?

A: Proximity to centroid is less important now. Mobile phones = multiple centroids + organic plays larger role.

Q: @shuey03 Links to your website? or place page? or both?

A: Links to your website. Organic matters more than it used to with new Place Search UI (http://bit.ly/96P4rr).

Q: @garyjmag Is hCard ideal?

A: Yes, hcard microformat ideal for putting address on your own website http://microformats.org/wiki/hcard

Q: @RobynStorms: Any tips when the client doesn’t want there address to show? How can I further optimize their local listing?

A: Google allows businesses to hide address but it is impossible to gain citations elsewhere without publishing. Google really designed places around in-person meetings between customer and business owner. It is baked into its DNA.

@zacpalmer: option to hide address …city will still show.

What are your favorite KPI’s you analyze to track the success of your Google Places Page?

Best KPI is OFFLINE tracking of number of calls to business. Have SMBs ask callers how they found their business. @mvanwagner cites great example of local bakery client that keeps track of phone call sources with different color post-its. @seoverflow published great tracking mechanism back in days of pure 7-pack. O-pack has made that less relevant.

Q: @garyjmag: We use Voicestar/Marchex call tracking as the main KPI for local search. @igobydoc: Voicestart/Marchex works awesome! Love that service!

A: I advise against any call tracking system currently. I’m not the only one (cc @si1very). It messes with your NAP http://bit.ly/igPHR7. In my experience business owners are savvy about call sources. Tracking is more important for marketers to justify services. What happens to the phone number when business owner wants to cancel contract with provider?

@kmullett: We have used singular numbers with call tracking, stays consistent, serves metrics.

@aknecht: I like using a call tracking solution if its a retail outlet that lends itself to calls. People claiming Google offers also good. Call tracking is fine as long as it is one consistent number for Places & the default for your website.

Q: @lmgilson: Can you still show up in local search, if you don’t have a website?

A: @iNeils: Yes. Plenty of businesses in Places with no website.
@ashbuckles: I think ranking locally without a site will continue to become more difficult for many companies.

Q: @AnnieCushing: What recommendations do you have for mobile businesses that just list a service area?

A: They need a physical home base SOMEwhere. Even if certain engines don’t require physical address, google can’t spider if not published; hurts with prominence.
@Reesale: Yelp doesn’t require a physical location. I haven’t tried it but a rep told me that in person.

@matt_storms: Sometimes a client is so rural they can’t have a mailing address so they have to have a physical.

How can you integrate call tracking (different phone numbers) to track place page activity? Is there any danger in this?

Some background on why I feel call tracking is bad in Local http://selnd.com/i9Z6jZ and http://bit.ly/hDdUHm. @mblumenthal speaks on ‘digital equity’; Facebook presence vs website presence. Phone number works same way. It is your permanent thumbprint. As an SMB you do not want to be beholden to any sole provider for that thumbprint. Call-tracking is fine as long as numbers are unindexable (javascript, un-alt’ed image). Most placements not that smart. Tracking numbers are OK on your own website where you can implement them yourself, not in directories.

Q: @aknecht: Would you recommend service business register a physical address such as a UPS mail box?

A: I would not recommend UPS or PO Boxes. Google is adamant about physical locations where you can meet someone. I think Matt Cutts actually did a video a couple weeks ago.

@aknecht: Google Places doesn’t like PO Boxes, so use Suite instead – host site, knows what it means if mail were to arrive. Just be sure if you used Mailbox Etc or UPS etc. that it is as certain as possible that no one will use Place to come and visit you. Other alternative (just more $$) is shared office space. Pay for a name on the door & a meeting room when needed.

@matt_storms: You cannot use PO boxes. It violates Google Places Terms and Conditions.

Are there any secrets or tools you use to find good citation opportunities?

If u haven’t read this VERY old post http://bit.ly/e7hg1v, you can mine your competitors’ place pages for citations. Google is obfuscating ‘more about this place’ though. Pure organic results for geo-relevant phrases now yield best possibilities, IMHO.

whitespark.ca – For citations in particular that is best i’ve seen. People might check out @seoverflow Localsearchtoolkit.com but it is in beta.

@Reesale: Have any of you tried yext rep? It’s free and useful. Finds your listings and monitors reviews. http://www.yext.com/rep.

@kmullett: You can use Google operators to find competitors listings as well.

What significant changes to local search do you predict will surface in 2011?

I see vertical sites being more and more important. Carter Maslan @kelseygroup ILM in Dec: major role for vetted niche directories. Google is clearly throwing lots into Hotpot. @mblumenthal has compelling data on results in PDX. TWT places, FB Places, Hotpot. @4sq @gowalla etc checkins have had potential as ranking signals but userbase too niche. Hotpot FB TWT much broader. Geo-social overlay is clearly where this space is headed. For near-term, critical for SMBs to have comprehensive review acquisition program. Important to ENCOURAGE conversations by customers, not fear them. (got that line from @mattmcgee).

@garyjmag: Local search impact in 2011: Check-ins on Latitude!

Q: @lyena: @davidmihm Do you see HotPot being a factor in local search soon or is it already?

A: Google is now showing Hotpot records to logged in users. http://bit.ly/gtcC6Y will surely be testing clickthrus. Too early to tell right now.

Q: @garyjmag: Are number of reviews a downgraded ranking factor in local search lately?

A: If anything I would say opposite.

Lyena Solomon is an internet consultant who helps businesses make money through effective websites and profitable online marketing and advertising. Lyena is a website analyst and strategist with extensive development and website usability experience. When helping companies, her main focus is on return on investment, profitability, goals, targets and visitor engagement. She has been in internet business for 15 years.
Website:
http://www.netspritner.com

Local Search Marketing with David Mihm #seochat

On Thursday, February 3, 2011 Search Marketing Weekly will be hosting an #seochat on Twitter. David Mihm (@davidmihm) will be our guest answering questions about Local Search Marketing.

Details:

Starts at 7:00 pm Mountain Time
About 1 hour long
Use hashtag #seochat
Host: Greg Shuey

Transcript

Questions answered:

  1. What are the three most important things you must do to rank well in the local results?
  2. What are your favorite KPI’s you analyze to track the success of your Google Places Page?
  3. How can you integrate call tracking (different phone numbers) to track place page activity? Is there any danger in this?
  4. Are there any secrets or tools you use to find good citation opportunities?
  5. What significant changes to local search do you predict will surface in 2011?

About David Mihm

David Mihm is an online marketing consultant who creates and promotes search-friendly websites for clients throughout the United States. He serves as the SearchFest Chair for SEMpdx, Portland’s search marketing trade organization.

David writes frequently about Local Search at his own blog, Mihmorandum, and was a former contributor at Search Engine Land. His Local Search Ranking Factors project is among the most important studies of Local SEO.

David has been invited to present at multiple SMX and SES events, including SMX Local / Mobile, the most respected conference in the Local Search industry, and is the co-founder of GetListed.org.