It is time, people of the Internet, to recap another fine MnSearch Marquee Event.
Digital marketing event Emcee extraordinaire Scott “Won’t Catch me Driving a” Dodge led off with some major MnSearch Summit 2015 news: this year there will be fifteen speakers in three tracks, with those big keynotes from Wil Reynolds and Duane Forrester, two pre-eminent search marketing minds.
Now back to the recap. The topic this month was local search, and the presenter was Phil “Czar of the Seven Pack” Rozek, who gave the euphoric crowd all the actionable, tactical knowledge they could handle down in the Syder Trap Thunderdome.
Situational tactics to help improve your local search visibility
Phil offered up the goods in a wonderful presentation with a lot of excellent takeaways. He gave some really on-point situational guidance along with quality actionable tactics to improve your results in local search.
He also reminded the audience at the start that your digital marketing strategy should be focused on the highest-payoff activities of your business, and that the work you do in that regard should decrease in volume over time as you’re able to move from the build-out to monitoring and adjusting. Remember what we learned from Manos last time: without goals and a strategy to achieve those goals, tactics really just amount to doing stuff.
Situation 1: No visibility
When you’re no where to be found for your keyword targets, either in the 7 pack of local results or in the organic SERPs, you should focus your efforts on building your reviews (local) and links (organic).
PRO TIP: Pare down your list of local citation sources. Phil says that after the top 30-50 business/niche directories, there’s a real point of diminishing returns. As anyone who has ever built citations will tell you, filling that information out is no joke in terms of time.
Situation 2: Good local rankings, but not in the city you want
If you’re ranking for the wrong town, or at least not the town you’re looking to sell into, you need to “stretch the map,” meaning you want to become the outlier who is 20 miles out of town in the local map results (we’ve all seen that guy, right?).
Phil says the best way to do this is through competitive analysis of businesses that are able to pull this off, and through producing content that targets specific cities (but beware of Panda, people).
Situation 3: You’ve done everything right: produced some content, shared it out to your audience, and generated enough backlinks to rank for your targeted keywords. Unfortunately, nobody is buying what you’re selling; even if you get the click, you’re not closing the deal.
The solution? Look to your reviews, which are really the best way to generate a rich snippet at the current moment in Google time [link to search snippet on rich snippets?]. You want to get reviews from as many places as possible, not just Google, but also Apple maps, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau and more. The more reviews you have, the better your results will look to prospective customers.
PRO TIP: In addition to reviews, use testing tools like Qualaroo and CrazyEgg to ensure your conversion-focused content is resonating with the traffic you’re driving to your site.
Situation 4: You’ve gone all in on paid search and display advertising, but you’re bleeding money.
Two actionable solutions from Phil were to use wildcards for your keyword research — using “*” and “_” can help you target long tail keyword searches that may have flown under the radar. The second tactic is to test your AdWords strategy in Bing’s paid ecosystem, which costs 1/6 to 1/8 of Google’s.
Situation 5: You’re having trouble getting your satisfied customers to speak up about their great experience with your business. As Phil mentioned previously, those positive reviews are going to set you apart in the SERPs, and can also provide fickle buyers with a reason to put their trust in your products or services.
As someone who never leaves reviews unless I’m irate, I understand the need for a prompt to give props when you’ve had a good experience as well as a poor one. To do that, Phil suggested giving them more options than Google and Yelp to select from, and also to give instructions on how to complete reviews and send out a reminder via email or snail mail.
SUPER PRO TIP: While Google+ may be on the way out, it is still the best place to stack your reviews as you build out. By adding “?hl=en&review=1” to the end of your Google+ business page URL, you’ll send visitors directly to the star/review box.
TL;DR: There are tactical solutions to everything that ails you in terms of local search. Focus on quick wins, like improving your keyword research with wildcards and creating content specifically for the individual towns and cities where you provide goods and services. Also mind your reviews: the more reviews you get from more diverse sources, the better off your local search visibility will be.
NEXT TIME: Search Snippet #19: Up Your Mobile Game – Everything You Ever Needed To Know about Mobile Search. We’re going to get everything you ever needed to know about…well…mobile search.The presenters will be mobile search luminaries Aaron “Sultan of the StarTAC” Weiche, COO at Spyder Trap, and Angie “Flip-Phone Fabulous” Schottmueller, Director of Optimization at Three Deep Marketing. Register now, and we hope to see you on April 29, 2015!
That’s a lot of stuff, and is pretty typical of what we offer to our members month in and month out. But if you’re not a member, why not just drink the Kool-Aid and sign up, it’s only $125 and you get into Search Snippet events for free. We even have a membership + Summit discount running right now!