Make organic and local search work together to get found faster We recently considered whether Google has become the new homepage for local businesses. Today, we’re going to take a look at organic and local search and consider how they’re related and highlight ways that they can work in harmony to help you get found faster. It’s not surprising that 65% of marketers* agree that there’s strong correlation between local and organic rankings. The biggest similarity, of course, is that both start with a search. But both also focus on content, backlinks, keywords and website activity. What sets LOCAL SEO apart is the geographic component. With organic search, you want people to know what you do, but to get found locally, you also want to highlight where you do it. That’s where the power and value of your website comes into play, influencing not just organic rankings, but LOCAL SEO. In fact, a majority of marketers believe that companies with good visibility in local Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) have high organic placement, too. At the heart of it all is user intent. Simply put, search engines want to give users what they’re looking for. For instance, when a person conducts a search that includes both a business type and location, the search engine knows that the user has local intent. So, if that person wants to find a good pizzeria that delivers, they may search “Pizza delivery” along with their location. What happens next can make or break discovery: The three closest pizza places – also known as the “local 3-pack,” show up under the ads on the first search results page. Having the strongest LOCAL SEO presence gives you the very best chance at getting your business to display in this free local 3-pack. Why? Because all these local SEO criteria provide the authority to support local rank. Better together There are a few simple practices that help you get LOCAL SEO and organic search to work in harmony. Local business citations: A full 46% of all Google searches seek local information! Google places a lot of weight on having that information accurate and correct. Having a consistent business name, address and phone number (NAP) is quite important, helping LOCAL SEO by providing search engines with your correct location and creating consistent links back to your website and to all your mentions online. Local citations also help your organic search efforts since search engines consider the number of backlinks when they rank websites. The more backlinks you have, the better your chances of meeting your customers right where they are, when they need to find you. Good content: Content is king, especially when it’s structured to meet your business goals and customer needs. What’s more, search engines like fresh content. Adding rich, relevant content, including a locally focused blog post, or simply updating a page, is a great one-two punch because it helps establish your LOCAL SEO relevance and can also boost your organic search rankings. Other strategic synergies between local and organic search [...]
Consumers search, a lot and fast! In this age of fleeting attention and fierce competition, savvy local marketers are looking for new ways to engage with consumers at the very first opportunity. And, most often, that opportunity is presented through Google’s Knowledge Panel. Most importantly, Google’s Knowledge Panel allows local business to engage with consumers directly within search and without any additional clicks. Even though Google presents this first, best opportunity to engage with consumers, a new Moz survey revealed that just over 50% of marketers haven’t yet taken advantage of the opportunities that the Knowledge Panel offers! We’ve touched upon the value of the Knowledge Panel in our previous post, but it’s worth digging deeper to explore the benefits it can unlock for local business. Google Knowledge Panel. What it Is. Why it Matters. The knowledge panel is the box to the right of search results where Google displays information on a relevant business, including the company name, business hours, address and phone number. Today the panel shows up in roughly 40% of searches, and the more localized a search gets, the more likely it is that a local Knowledge Panel will appear. This means that for LOCAL SEO, you need to get smart about using the knowledge panel to help searchers discover and reach your business without any additional clicks. A knowledge panel also includes these actionable features: Q&A: This consumer-facing, crowdsourced feature is similar to the Ask the Community feature on TripAdvisor and Yelp. It allows consumers to ask questions and businesses can provide answers directly within search and without any additional clicks. Users can also give a thumbs-up vote to questions and answers, which influences where the questions and answers might appear on the panel and in search results. Posts: This feature enables businesses to create short 300-words or less blog-style posts that appear directly in the knowledge panel, providing an additional avenue for customer communication directly within search and without any additional clicks. Like Q&A, Posts also appear in search results and are especially visible in Maps search results. Posts are a great way to let prospects and customers know about new products, company news, special offers and events. Posts can include an appropriate call to action (buy now, contact us, etc.) along with a link. Note that each Post expires after seven days so it important to develop the process of posting regularly. Getting Started. If you want your business to appear in a Knowledge Panel, and also gain control over the information displayed by Google, the first and most important step is to (1) claim, (2) verify and (3) complete your Google My Business listing. Here's how we can help: Subscribe to our free HOT!Content service that delivers a daily dose of content for you to post to your Knowledge Panel, Facebook and other sites. HOT!Content also includes an automatic posting wizard – so your online content is always up-to-date – as well as other handy functions to help you build online success. Enroll here. [...]
Consumers are searching online more than ever before. But local businesses may actually be seeing less web traffic. How is this possible? “Local search” often starts with Google and there are now numerous ways for consumers to find all the information they need right on Google’s first search results page. Google even allows consumers to interact with a local business – all without ever going to a website! This is all enabled by Google My Business listings that are becoming an increasingly vital component in creating online marketing success and attracting new customers. In fact, a new MOZ report found that 64% of local business marketers agree that Google is becoming the new “homepage” for local businesses. Search used to be all about getting a click to your website. Now, it’s also about getting a click to a Google My Business listing. Websites are still important, but keeping your Google My Business and Knowledge Panel up to date is no longer just nice, it’s absolutely necessary. If you don’t, you’re missing a huge opportunity to promote your business. What is the Knowledge Panel? When a consumer conducts a search for a particular business, Google provide the most relevant results as well a box on the right side of the page that is called the Knowledge Panel. The Knowledge Panel for that business includes directions, phone numbers, hours of operation, and more. Knowledge Panels show up in roughly 40% of searches and are especially crucial for providing consumers actionable results not requiring any additional clicks. You can keep your Knowledge Panel information relevant and up-to-date by first claiming, then verifying, your Google My Business profile. Google My Business is a free, easy to use listing that determines what appears on the Knowledge Panel. This will ensure that your customers can find and contact you, in addition to providing an overview of your products or services. Perhaps most importantly, the Knowledge Panel aggregates consumer reviews, making your online reputation readily available to all consumes. Managing your Google My Business listing, and Knowledge Panel, has become indispensable to online marketing success, as well as putting your business in the best position to get found. Claiming and verifying your Google My Business listing requires a bit of know-how, and we’re here to help -- contact us for more information on how to get started. INSIDE TIP: Subscribers to Engage121’s free HOT!Content service can access our 1-click Google My Business claiming app. Enroll here to get started. Good local marketing in the age of Google is no easy task. But doing it right can deliver some of the best returns for your local business. Interested in learning about how we can help manage your local Google My Business listings, and more? We’d love to talk. Learn more Related Services HOT!Content – a no-cost Daily Email with content and DIY tools. Digital Marketing Assistant, (DMA) – a managed subscription service.
Increase Visibility, Get Found and Drive Sales When people are in the market for a product or service, they search. They're already in the mood to buy; all you need to do is stand out. And you will stand out – if you add six simple but powerful local search strategies to your small business marketing mix. It's a fact: 46% of all Google searches seek local information. What's more, "near me" searches have grown 130% year-over-year since 2015, translating into a whopping 34-fold increase* in single local search queries. That's a big deal! These stats mean that now, more than ever before, local search engine optimization (LOCAL SEO) presents significant growth opportunities for every small business. Not only is LOCAL SEO an especially effective way to generate visibility, it also helps you boost site traffic, increase engagement and drive sales. What is LOCAL SEO? Like traditional SEO, LOCAL SEO focuses on content, backlinks, keywords and website activity. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. What sets LOCAL SEO apart is the way it leverages the geographical component. While traditional SEO concentrates on the "What" of your business (your product or service) LOCAL SEO also prioritizes the "Where" – further refining search to meet the demands of today's connected consumers. By combining What + Where, LOCAL SEO optimizes your online presence and puts your business in a position to show up in local searches and meet potential customers right when they're looking for you. The next step is to understand and implement the six key components that help you power LOCAL SEO: Google My Business: This free, easy to use listing helps you manage what appears on the right side of the page when customers search for your business on Google, including your business name, address, phone number and reviews. Website Backlinks: When other web pages -- including review sites and social business pages – include links back to your website, it strengthens your value and relevance. Search engines take the number of backlinks into account when they rank websites in search results; the more backlinks you have, the more positive the impact on your site's rankings. Good Online Content: Engaging content brings your products and services to life. Informative posts, images and video created and optimized to resonate with consumers help you reach your business goals. Most of all, good, relevant content captures early stage awareness queries and helps your business get found. Directory Listings: These online entries contain a local citation: the name address and phone number (NAP) of your business along with other information to help consumers in the discovery process. Citations also help your search rankings by telling search engines where you're located and validating your business. These listings can appear on other business pages, review sites, or social media platforms. Reviews: The influence of reviews on purchase decisions is strong, clear and measurable. A full 84 percent** of consumers trust consumer online reviews as much more than a personal recommendation. Furthermore, every one star [...]
Claiming and Verifying your Google My Business location is the first step to ensuring customers can find your business in Google Search and Google Maps. Now let’s ensure your customers see the best digital storefront possible! Business Info When you Created and Claimed your business, you provided the basics, but there’s more to a business than the address and phone number. Making sure your customers find accurate – and helpful - information is key to starting off on the right foot. Confirm your business category. Check to make sure you have the correct category or categories selected for your business. This will ensure you're showing up in the right search results. Enter your business hours. No one wants to show up to a store to find it closed. Let your customers know when they can expect to find your doors open. You’ll also be able to enter special hours for holidays so no one is left guessing. Confirm your phone number(s). If you have toll-free and local numbers, you can add both here. Confirm your Website. Your Google listing will include a link to your website so make sure it’s sending customers to the right place. Depending on your business, you may also be able to add links for appointment booking, online ordering, or menu. Add your list of services. If you have a list of standard services, you can list them here along with prices. Add a description. Add a paragraph or two to let prospects know what you’re all about. Add an opening date. Let your prospects know how long you’ve been in business. Photos & Videos Your customers (and prospects!) want to learn about your business. Adding pictures and videos provides your customers and prospects a preview of your business before they hop in the car. Exterior Photos. Adding a good exterior photo or two of your storefront will help prospective customers know they’re in the right place. Interior Photos. Add interior photos to showcase the look and feel of your business. Videos If you have a video that tells the story of your business, this a great place to put it on display. At Work Photos. Add pictures to the “At Work” section to show off your friendly staff helping customers. Team Photos. Add pictures to the “Team” section to introduce prospective customers to your team before they even step foot in the store. Messaging Not all customers want to make a phone call. These days, more and more customers would rather text or message you than talk on the phone. Google’s Messaging integration allows customers to text message you without making your mobile phone number public. Reviews Being responsive to customer reviews is pivotal to Local SEO success. Whether it’s a simple “Thank You” when a customer leaves a positive review or jumping on a complaint to make it right, you need to be responsive. Connecting your Google My Business page to HOT!Content and enabling “Reputation Monitor” will help you stay [...]
30 years ago, you would have made sure your business was included in the local Yellow Pages. These days consumers don’t turn to a printed Yellow Pages book when they need something. They turn to a computer, tablet, or smartphone to find local businesses. More often than not Google is the data source behind a consumer’s search, so shouldn’t you be equally sure to create and claim an accurate Google listing for your business? The good news is Google allows you to create and claim your business listing for free through “Google My Business.” All you need to get started is an active Google account. If you don’t yet have a Google account, it’s easy to set one up here. And, don’t forget that we are here to help. Contact us if you would like us to help you through the process. Claiming Your Business Go to https://business.google.com/create and log into your Google account. Enter your business name in the search box. If your business is returned in the search results, click on it to claim it. If your business hasn’t already been claimed, you’ll be able to confirm the business information and claim it under your Google account. If your business has been claimed and verified by another Google account, you will need to request ownership which will automatically send an email to the current owner requesting that ownership be transferred to you. If your ownership request is approved, you’ll be notified by email and will then be able to manage the listing. If your ownership request is denied, you’ll be notified by email and may be eligible to appeal. If there is no response after 7 days, log back into your Google My Business account and look for the Claim or Verify option to claim the business under your account. If your business isn’t listed in the search results, click the “Create a business with this name” option and click “Next” Enter the official address for your business If your business serves a territory, select “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” Selecting this option will enable the option to “Hide my address” if your business doesn’t serve customers at a storefront. Click “Next” If you selected the delivery option, you’ll define your service area before proceeding to the next step. Now select a category for your business Click “Next” Now provide the phone number and website for your business Click “Next” to confirm your business information and finish the claiming process. Verifying Your Business Once your business is Created and Claimed, you’ll need to verify your business before it will appear in Google search & maps. Log into Google My Business with the Google account you used to claim your business. Click “Verify Now” for the location you’d like to verify. Depending on the type of business and information provided, you’ll have different verification options All businesses will have the verify by mail (postcard) option. To use this option, confirm your business address and request the [...]