Best Practices For Success In Local Marketing With Michael Dorausch

On Thursday, May 19, 2011 Search Marketing Weekly will be hosting an #seochat on Twitter. The featured guest will be Michael Dorausch (@Chiropractic) and he is going to answer questions about how to leverage local search for your business and your clients.

Details:

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

About Michael Dorausch

Michael DorauschMichael Dorausch is President and Founder of Planet Chiropractic, an online resource developed to serve both chiropractors and those interested in the chiropractic field. Michael’s reputation in the online search community is not for his chiropractic skills, but rather for his ability to drive traffic to websites by means of social media, organic SEO rankings, and consistent article creation. His unique approach to acquiring web traffic has been highlighted in full-page articles in both Investor’s Business Daily and USA Today.

Michael’s extensive knowledge in the area local search has developed from years of active engagement both online and off-line. Tools like lead generation call services, eye tracking, local business landing pages, organic local SEO, online review services, and many more have been utilized to provide the results he sees daily. He is looking forward to sharing the best of those discoveries with you.

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.

Will Scott on Local SEO #seochat

On Thursday, December 9, 2010 Search Marketing Weekly will be hosting an #seochat on Twitter. Will Scott (@w2scott) will be our guest answering questions about Local SEO.

Details:

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

About Will Scott

Will Scott has been helping small businesses get online since 1994 – that’s right, 1994 – before most people even knew there was an Internet. Since then, Will has been focused on making information more accessible online. In the classroom teaching technology to professionals or in the boardroom presenting the value of online business to fortune 1000 companies, Will is passionate about the impact of the Internet on business.

As technical and production lead for eWebBoss.com, Will oversaw the production of 10′s of thousands of small business web sites. With WebBoss will worked collaboratively with small business owners helping them realize their vision online.

At YPsolutions, now Local Matters Inc., Will was responsible for creating systems which enabled the production of thousands of online phone directories. While at YPsolutions Will also got to demonstrate the importance of small business success to yellow pages publishers as they sought to provide leads to local businesses.

At Search Influence, Will leads a team of 20+ dedicated professionals who put customer enthusiasm first. We believe that the Internet, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Social Media need to become accessible to small business for their success.

Fueling Your Local SEO With Citations

Ranking well in the seven and ten pack takes more than just claiming your Google, Yahoo, and Bing map listings. There are actually many different factors to ranking well, but one of the biggest and most important, according to David Mihm’s local search ranking factors report, is generating citations to supplement your map listings.

What Is A Citation & Why Do You Want Them?

A citation is a reference to your local business. This reference includes your business name, address, phone number, and other relevant information to your business. Often times, citations will also include links back to your website, thus fueling your link building efforts and higher rankings in the SERPs.

The beautiful thing about citations are is the fact that even if it doesn’t have a link back to your website, just the mention of your business, including exact matching data (address and phone number) will help you improve your local search marketing results. In other words, these citations help you rank better for local search queries.

Citations can be references from big local directories all the way down to smaller more niche directories. There are many different places to get citations, but here are some of the more popular ones that you can and should start with…

There are some additional tactics to assist you in finding other citation opportunities. One of which is analyzing the competitions citations and spending time getting the same ones as your main competitors. To see where the competition is getting their citations from you must first enter the localized search query that you want to show up for. For example, I have done a search on Wedding Florists In Utah.

The first competitor listed in Flowers On Main. Upon entering their Google Places page, you scroll to the bottom of the profile to the “more about this place” section. Each of these are citations that are helping them rank number 1 for this local search query.

Going through one by one and getting these citations will help you level the playing field a bit. It will also associate you with your competitors as you go through and get them for all of those businesses listed in the “pack”.

Another great way to find loads of great citation opportunities is by using a tool that I have recently become familiar with, the Whitespark Local Citation Finder. All you need to do is enter a local keyphrase and the tool will compile a list of citation sources for you to start tackling. The only downside I have found with this tool is that it limits accounts to one per IP address. For those who work at agencies, you are going to need to register your multiple accounts from other locations such as your home or the local coffee shop. Other than that… this tool kicks some serious butt and saves a ton of time!

I’m sure that there are other ways to find great citations, so if I have missed some, I would appreciate some comments with other tips and tricks to finding citations and ranking better for local SEO.

Mobile SEO Is Just An Extension Of Local SEO

When most companies think about localized SEO, their first thoughts are turned to optimizing their map listings in the major search engines. The truth is optimizing and ranking well in the 7 and 10 pack map listings is not only great for local seo and driving traffic to websites, but great for mobile search and generating phone calls and driving foot traffic to your storefront.

When you really take a moment to think about it… most people these days  are opting for smart phones such as a Blackberry, an iPhone, or an Android phone to help keep them connected. In addition to staying connected, they are often times performing quick information searches while on the go. These searches are most often localized search queries to help them find quick information such as a phone number to a business or a good place to eat. If you don’t have your business set up in Google, Yahoo, and Bing maps, you might be losing many thousands of dollars of business that you might otherwise be attracting through mobile search.

For example, last weekend, I was in Park City, UT for my anniversary. When trying to find a place to get dinner, I did a quick search while driving around for Mexican restaurants in Park City, Utah.

After calling the first two restaurants and finding that they each had at least a thirty minute wait, Baja Cantina (the third result) had no wait at all… and boy was their food amazing! Had they not been 7 pack, they wouldn’t have gotten my business. Sad, but true!

Another way that people are using mobile search is by using their smart phones as a phone book. I mean, who uses the yellow pages anymore? It is often times faster to whip out your mobile and do a quick search for the local Home Depot than to go to the desk and pull out the phone book. Can you imagine what would happen if the local Home Depot didn’t have a map listing in one of the major engines? Chances are that the searcher would end up doing another quick search for the local Lowes instead of trying to navigate HomeDepot.com to find a number for their nearest location.

The truth is… mobile and localized SEO is getting too important to overlook anymore. These days, you have to be everywhere in search or risk losing loads of revenue to even the smallest competitors. It is advised that every business with a store front, regardless of if they have a website or not, should have their map listings set up and optimized properly. Doing so will help you be everywhere so when your potential customers come a knockin’ that they have the greatest chance of finding you and giving you their money.

SMX East – Register By Friday To Get The Early Bird Rate

If you are planning on attending SMX East in New York City this October, you need to register by this Friday, July 30th to get the early bird rate. For $1,195 you will receive three days of amazing content, make great connections, and come away with the latest search marketing weapons.

The multi track program includes advanced, intermediate, and beginner level sessions. Each session is focused on some aspect of search marketing, such as paid search, SEO, social media, local, mobile, and conversion optimization. This is not a conference you will want to miss.

For those who are waiting to fill out a speaking pitch form, I guess we will just have to wait awhile longer. Although their website says that their speaking pitch form will open up the week of July 19th, it still hasn’t shown up and there have been no updates as to when it will.

To fill out a speaking pitch form (when it becomes live) you can do so here.

To register for SMX East, you can do it here.