It’s painful to not show up at the top of Google when you search for your business in your local area. As fantastic as you may be at making your customers happy, that doesn’t always lead to SEO success against your nearby competition.
But where to start? There are thousands of articles on every detail of Local SEO. You’re busy running a company, after all. So we’ve broken it down to the basics for you in this webinar in under an hour.
In this webinar, you’ll learn:
- Contributing factors to ranking
- Easy actions on each factor
- How to get more results
- How to rank in multiple locations
- How to get more 4-5 star Google reviews
ARON: Hello everyone and welcome. This is Aron Schuhmann here at Pronto Marketing.
ADAM: This is Adam Porteous at Pronto Marketing.
ARON: Today we’re going to be talking to you about SEO and doing it at a 101 level. So covering the basics of what helps you get ranked and then how do you convert those rankings into results. So just a little bit about what we’ll cover, first I’m Aron, I’m the American guy speaking. Adam will be the British guy speaking so you can tell us apart.
So what we’ll be covering today in 101 is what are the factors that contribute to your ranking There are a number. So we’re going to be going through each, breaking them down and then telling you a few actions that you can be taking each of these factors.
Next, we’re going to be talking about each of these factors, what can you do to then get results? People coming to your website ideally filling out a lead form or calling you.
Next, we’re going to be talking about two of the most common use cases that we come across with our clients with regard to Local SEO. First is, how do you rank in multiple locations. And secondly, how do you get more four and five-star Google reviews. And we’ll go into why that’s important to ranking results.
All right, let’s get started.
So first let’s talk about the local pack. And really what this means is. Let’s take a moment and talk about from a user’s perspective, what are we solving for. There’s a lot of mechanics and before we jump into all of the minutiae there, this is what the user experience is and this is what we’re really trying to optimize for.
So the local pack is sort of Google insider shorthand for these three slots that you see here, as well as, the map. There are a couple of other ways that your local listings will show, one is just purely a map view. And the other is if you click More Businesses, you’ll see it as a list of eight. But one thing you pay attention to here is that there’s quite a bit more information than your normal Google search listings. And also there’s less at least initially so it’s quite competitive.
So moving into the factors this colorful pie chart that you’re looking at here is created by a company called Moz or also otherwise known as SEO Moz. So it’s an SEO software and every year what they do is survey thousands of SEO specialists, and they get feedback about what are the factors that go into their search rankings.
So what we’re going to be talking about today is each one of these rankings, at least as it counts for 10% or more of your factors that go into your rankings, and breaking down each one of these and what you can be doing. And at least the takeaway here from this slide is despite many marketing pitches that you’re probably getting in your inbox and across the internet each day, there’s no one silver bullet. There’s no one weird trick that SEO insiders use. There’s a lot of things in it. It’s a discipline.
So we’re trying to break it down today and make it easy for you all to understand.
ADAM: Yeah, Google used to have many sorts of manipulation tactics it would sort of succumb to. And since it’s algorithms and the complexities of the way each user develops, how they understand how websites interact, how it actually uses artificial intelligence, how it looks at content, that there is no real black hat, old SEO tactics to get in the system and start using a holistic range of methods. And most importantly focusing on content and authority.
ARON: Yeah. I think, on that note, one of the things that Google does above all else is they want to give the most relevant result to a customer because they think it’s the best experience. And they want to be the most helpful. So we will get into a lot of minor details. But if you can always level up to what is the best possible thing for the customer that keeps them using Google. That’s what Google wants.
So let’s dive in.
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So as you saw, that big blue chunk of that pie chart is about 25%. And that accounts for your Google My Business profile. So first and foremost, it should be complete and also active. If you noticed a couple of slides before when we were looking at the local pack, your Google My Business profile actually populates the majority of what is shown to a customer. So really you need to make sure that as much information is there so Google can present it.
To beyond having it just be complete, you want to match your search terms, so this is your business and your location, to the title and description, and the multitude of attributes that Google allows you to add. So in this situation, more data is better, because when Google is matching searches to your business profile, you’re giving it more pieces of data to latch on to. And then the more relevant that you can take that information to your business, the better.
So there are a couple of bonus points. In addition to having it be both complete and relevant, is that Google wants to push certain aspects of its product. And it will reward you in terms of the strength of your rankings as a result. So the one thing that’s come up quite a bit is this Q and A. So basically what it wants you to do is to have people start engaging with your business through this question and answer feature, as part of you Google My Business profile. And one of the ways that you can get that started is to take some of the frequently asked questions that your customers will generally ask, and seed the Q and A as a way to kind of get that flywheel started.
And then they also want you to moderate any reviews or questions that come in thereafter.
And then lastly, this is more of a style point, you want to add some photos that make your business look good. So you’ll kind of notice, if you keep your eyes open, that when you go to different business profiles, many of them are low-quality photos that are taken by random passers-by or customers that aren’t necessarily incentivized to want to make your business look great. So to make your business give your best foot forward, add some pictures that look really nice.
OK, so moving on.
So backlinks, or third party links, that come from other websites that link to your website define this thing called domain authority. Domain authority is shorthand for how relevant your website is for the subject matter that your website is about. And it goes on a scale from zero to 100. So one thing to keep in mind is that your goal should not be to have 100. Only a few websites in the world have that. I think Facebook is one of the few.
ARON: Yeah, Facebook and Google.
Really what you want is your domain authority to outrank your competitors. So your DA signals your site’s value relative to your competitors, and it’s defined by third parties linking to your website. Now, if the third party linking to your website has a higher DA, let’s say that the domain authority of your website is, say, 15, and the Wall Street Journal, or even your local news publication, has a DA of 35, their 35 confers authority onto your business that has 15, and then will raise your domain authority.
So examples of this, that you can go out and do this on your own, would be local news sites or your local chamber of commerce, or any industry publications. Anywhere where they could either do an interview in which you’re the subject, or they could do an interview in which case you’re sort of a contributing expert, and they provide a link to your website. Or this is just you being part of industry publications where they’re listing partners and people who practice in that area.
ADAM: Clients and customers, if you’re in the B2B space, there is always an opportunity as well. And sort of like the IT clients specifically that I work with, some of these may work with a not-for-profit website or a large site that has lots of traffic. So sometimes the domain ranking of your potential client sites, you could have a nice case study piece that’s done on their website or even just a decent dofollow link will still have an impact on your website. Especially because it’s local relevance as well.
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ARON: All right, moving on.
Positive Google reviews. So this accounts for about roughly 14, 15% of your total ranking factor. And positive Google reviews do two things for you. One, having more and more positive Google reviews ranks you higher than your competitors. But it also contributes to the click-through rate to your website.
So this chart that we’re looking at here is done by a local search company called BrightLocal. And they put together a really clever test where they were looking at different search results and they assigned different star rankings in Google reviews to these different search results. And they were testing what is the likelihood that a user is going to click on a one, two, three, four, or five-star review versus another, versus one that has no stars at all, that doesn’t have reviews enabled.
So one of the interesting things that they found was that pretty much it only really starts benefiting you at about a three-star rating. That’s almost kind of a wash at 4%. It’s not until you get a four or five-star review that it really makes an impact on people looking at that ranking saying, “Oh, hey. They have four or five stars. I really do trust their business.” If it’s anything less than three stars it’s actually worse than having none at all.
So it’s a bit of a trick. You want to enable reviews. You want to allow reviews to come in. You really want good reviews. So one important thing to think about reviews is that the importance has gone up. And it was probably about 10, it was about 10% in 2015. It’s jumped up quite a bit since then. So we anticipate that this trend will continue, that the reviews will continue to play a strong factor. It impacts your site visits, so ranking is great, but inevitably you want to get people to your website. Reviews certainly contribute to that. And you want to be getting after those four and five-star reviews.
ADAM: I think on mobile as well, tends to be a lot of Google business searches you’ll get will be coming through mobile or potential map searches. Obviously, with less ability to navigate easily you can find that users will default to some of the top listings based on review quality or frequency or volume.
ARON: Next, this accounts for about 14% of your site’s ranking, and this is on-site SEO. There’s a lot packed in here. But the most simple way to understand it is your site’s content and the way that the content is structured that makes it most relevant to local searches. It really makes it easy for Google to take the search that is put into the search bar, crawl all of the pages that are out there, and connect it to the best result to give the best user experience.
So that consists of the keywords, the page title and description, its headline, otherwise known as an H1, as well as the subheadings within the page, and images. And we’ll break that down for you here in an example.
So let’s say that you do HVAC in Toronto and you have a service specifically for boiler repair. So here in this situation, we are optimizing for a boiler repair in Toronto. So quite literally you put that in a sentence in the page title. Boiler service and repair in Toronto.
The page description, this actually doesn’t contribute to your ranking unlike everything else that we’re describing here, but what it does is it contributes to the click-through rate. Because the page description is going to tell the visitor, “Hey, this is relevant to your search. This is what this company offers. You should go ahead and click through.”
Your headline should be catchy and also descriptive of what you offer. Speedy, affordable boiler repair. And then you have subheadings that help sort of cover the numerous types of searches for different combinations of people searching for a boiler repair in Toronto, so the free estimate for Toronto residents.
And then lastly, even though Google can’t– at least they say– that they cannot read your images, what they can read is the file names in the alt text. So if you have an image of boiler repair, it’s quite easy to actually name it Boiler Repair Toronto as opposed to screenshot or some random combination of numbers. So being intelligent here about what you name your image files will go a little bit the extra mile for you here.
ADAM: And then to give you an idea of what page title and page description are within the search, or the search results, you would see in this column.
Imagine when you type in a few select different keywords, and you see them pop up in the dark black bold text that’s in the small paragraph beneath the core keywords, that’s the meta description. And you obviously see well-worded meta descriptions usually have variations of the keywords or locations that may pop up in a user search result that you’re trying to target. A user who obviously sees more of these keywords black bolded within your meta description probably has more likely to click through, and improved click-through rate, obviously, is good in Google’s eyes.
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ARON: Moving on.
I believe NAP, which is an acronym for your name, address, and phone number contributes about 11% of your total ranking. And what’s important here is that your name, address, and phone number is consistent. Certainly across your website and also in citations.
And citations is just saying that there are instances of your name, address, and phone number, your NAP data on other websites. So an example would be Yelp, Yellow Pages, any of your social media profiles like Facebook or LinkedIn, or any business directories. Consistency is challenging here. If your business has been around for a while it’s probably either there are multiple people who have most likely set up these profiles.
Like for example, the person who’s in charge of your sales probably set up your LinkedIn, but maybe somebody who is doing your marketing at one time set up your Facebook. And they could just by the nature of their business, maybe your salesperson uses your main sales line on LinkedIn, but your marketing person put your business’s name, phone number on Facebook. Or you didn’t exactly format your address the same way. Or your address might have changed. Even times there are third-party sites that will scrape data off the internet and then populate a directory that you might not have even signed up for at all.
So consistency can be hard. And that’s a challenge because Google, they like consistency. Because if they’re seeing that there are two different addresses for a particular search but they found another one that is consistent, they’re going to favor the one that is consistent. Because they feel like they don’t want to send the user to the wrong place, or have them call the wrong phone number.
So how do you tackle this?
So you have all these different profiles and all these different platforms, and you’re not 100% sure what data is out there and if it’s all right. There’s a couple of vendors that do a pretty good job of this. One is called Yext and another one is called Whitespark. What you can do is put in your business information, they’ll crawl the internet, and give you a list of everywhere you show up. You can go and chase those sites down yourself, or they have a service where they’ll actually go ahead and do that consistency check and fix for you.
Have you got anything to add on this one?
ADAM: No, Whitespark is a pretty good service. They also offer citation building, so that beyond just the consistency, like an audit check on what’s currently out there, they offer you industry and local, hyper-local sort of listings that can be beneficial to your local ranking, or organic ranking in general.
ARON: Got it. So if there are any opportunities for you to get more citations they can help fill that out.
ARON: Cool. All right.
Lastly is behavior data.
And this is about 10% of what goes into your ranking. And behavior data is an amalgamation of data that Google collects that signals that when people are engaging with your business on all the places that Google can measure this, that they’re having a good experience. Google collects a frightening amount of data on a lot of different engagements that a user can do through mobile and desktop and otherwise.
And what they do with that data is they can sort of take a look at all of it and say, “Hey, from start to finish is engaging with your business, does it look like it’s good? And can we sort of tell that through every step of the way? So if you look at somebody’s engagement with your business from when they very first search to when they show up to your business or the purchase, Google tracks each one. So think of somebody who searches your brand name, then they engage with your listing.
So do you have reviews, do you have photos, do you have Q and A? Do they engage with your website? Is your website mobile responsive? Is the content good? Do they click to call your business?
So this is click-to-calling, either through the listing or on your website. Since a lot of searches and becoming more so over time happen through mobile, it’s really important that the phone numbers on your website are also able to be click-to-called. Once they call your business, it could be natural that they want to request driving directions and potentially show up. Google can track that person with their location service on, did they actually walk into your business? And did they do a credit card transaction? So Google is looking back through each of these steps saying “Yeah, this is great. This person’s done a really good job at each of these steps. Users are going through and not breaking down at any particular point. This behavioral data means you’re good.”
If your competitors are breaking down on any one of these stages they would get dinged and would get ranked below you for this factor.
Adam, anything to add here?
ADAM: No, pretty much on the money there.
ARON: All right. So what we’re going to jump into next are two common challenges that we run into with Local SEO. So first is ranking in multiple markets. And so we’ll kind of go back to using our HVAC example in Toronto. So one thing to think about is that, if you serve multiple markets, imagine there are regional markets. These are like your primary markets.
So if you service Toronto, there’s a good choice you probably also service Buffalo, New York. And then there’s the secondary markets, sort of look at Hamilton or Niagara Falls, there’s a number in between. It’s important that you’re sort of taking your markets and you’re applying them to your local search strategy, that you’re doing it based on the search potential in each given market. Like you may service a particular market, but there may not be a whole lot of search opportunity there, meaning it’s not really worth your time.
So what you want to do is use something along the lines of Google Keyword Planner. And Google Keyword Planner will tell you for any given area how many searches are there and how many of those are relevant to your business. So in this situation, maybe there are some smaller towns but in reality, they’re probably not going to have as much as these large towns, like for example Hamilton or Niagara Falls. In this general region, they have the third and fourth most searches next to Toronto and Buffalo, which have one and two.
So once you know your primary and secondary local submarkets, the first thing you want to do is update your Google My Business profile for multiple locations. So this is just telling Google, “Hey, Google, I service this general area. So if people are searching, make sure to keep me included.”
And the next– and Adam you can touch on this– is if it’s possible to have a — So maybe you have a physical location in one of these other areas. What that would actually enable you to do is to have a secondary NAP. So that goes a really long way to having additional citations. So, Adam, you want to talk a little bit about that?
ADAM: Yeah, so especially if, imagine trying to rank for, let’s say you’re a consumer business and you’re fixing laptops. So it’s like laptop repair near me or Chinese restaurant near me. Having a physical location within the proximity of where that signals sent from, 4G or IP, or if they type in an actual name, like in Hamilton, as you can see on the screen. Having a physical location there is going to highly increase your chances of appearing in Google search results.
Like for the Google Maps and potentially organically, Google is not only going to look, it also will look at the strength of your site and other things like that we’ve touched upon, but having a physical location is going to far increase your chances. And again, if you have reviews and activity on that website, so on that particular NAP listing, then again that’s another positive for click-through rate and the rest.
ARON: Yeah, the searching for something “near me” is very popular. And Google basically has to pull any number of different data other than the actual location that you are searching from in order to produce the results. So NAP is something that fits right in there, in that near me search. So one of the bigger solutions you can take to ranking in multiple markets is location pages.
So earlier we showed you this Toronto HVAC boiler repair service page. So you can imagine that this, obviously, fits Toronto. This one is going after boiler repair Hamilton. So one way to think about this is that you want to take your main pages for your primary markets, so in this case, the Toronto HVAC boiler repair would cover, let’s say, Toronto and Buffalo. So you’d want to add Toronto and Buffalo into your titles and tags and meta descriptions.
And then you would create the secondary page, boiler repair Hamilton, for Hamilton. The reason why your primary market is going to go to your main page. Your main page is going to have a little bit more relevance. It’s going to most likely be in your navigation, and because it’s closest to your root domain or your main domain, it’s going to have the most juice. But you’re creating the secondary page to give it a little bit more relevance to the secondary market.
So it’s important as you’re creating these location pages, that the content is unique. So one mistake that people will make is, let’s say you service 12 markets, is that you create one page and that you sort of find and replace the location. And we’re saying, OK, well city one, city two, city three. Google is going to realize what you’re doing, and they’re going to see that the page content is actually duplicated, and the one thing you’re changing is the name. And they’re not going to be giving any credit to those multiple pages. So it’s important that each of those location pages is unique.
So one thing you can do to increase that uniqueness is to first put your physical location or that region on that page, and also the Google map for that area. And another great way to do it is to get testimonials. So these are quotes from customers, and extra points if they use their business name and the location name to be able to give that page more relevance.
ADAM: And also you can actually, Google also recognizes linking out to pages. So usually when you consider getting a backlink, it’s a benefit. And obviously getting backlinks is good for your site. But linking out to anything that is relevant is also seen as a signal of contextuality from Google. So say, if you are doing boiler repair in Hamilton, and you had an advert or a press release in a local Hamilton newspaper, that had your brand and a bit of coverage about you opening a new office there, or planning to offer new services. And you linked from your Hamilton page to that, Google will still recognize those signals back and forth, so anything that can contextualize a page is also good to include.
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ARON: All right, next.
So reviews in general, like you said, they’re very important. They’re becoming more important. But it is a bit of a challenge. If you have the idea of just getting more reviews, how do you make sure that those reviews are also good ones? That you do not sort of coming across a troubled customer who wants to sound off.
So we have tackled this ourselves, and we’ll walk you through how Pronto Marketing does it, how we get more reviews and better reviews at the same time.
So we use a customer satisfaction tool called SimpleSat.
SimpleSat just happens to be a subsidiary company of Pronto, but there are others like it. I think probably the next biggest competitor’s called SmileBack. You might be familiar with them as well. But we’ll go through the example for SimpleSat.
So what we do is, after anytime we engage with the customer, we send them a survey. And ask them, just in general, whether it be a quarterly review or whether it be at the end of a ticket resolution, and we ask them, “Hey, are you happy? Are you not happy?”
Happy customers, we ask them to leave a review. We point them towards Google. We could also point them to any other platform. You can see in this gif animation on the right exactly how that works. If a customer indicates that they are anything other than happy, we push that person and have them get a response from customer service.
Because one, it’s important for us to know if you’re not happy. We certainly would like to make you happy. And if you are happy, we’d like you to share your experience.
So the effect that’s had for us has been pretty dramatic. We enabled Google reviews and filled out our initial Google My Business profile, which at the time was quite sparse as far as what you had to provide. When we started getting reviews, probably every six months we would get two or three. No more than five. And then once we enabled SimpleSat, which we did through an integration with our customer management tool, Zendesk. It works with any number of tools. You don’t necessarily have to have a customer management tool. You can just email these surveys out to your customer lists.
But once we enabled SimpleSat it was pretty dramatic, to the point where now we get probably one positive review each week, which has been pretty great. I think we have almost a five-star review — a five-star average review, it’s between four and five. And I think we have about 80 reviews overall.
So that’s been really great for us.
ADAM: And also one of the questions that actually popped up, which someone asked, Sarah did, recommendations for requesting Google reviews from clients in the B2B sector. So another point to touch on that is, along with potentially using things like SimpleSat as we said, there are also simple things you can do, like the Pronto newsletter. We can add an image with a Google link to your beautiful business page or item that you have, depending on which clients you service, or which one you’re sending a newsletter to. And that can also drag reviews from your existing customers, who may not go to that Google business listing and leave a review, you can just take them directly there.
Another way to bring your offline and online activities in that sense is you can use a QR code generator. You can generate a QR code of your Google business listing, put it on the back of a business card. And that next time you go to do a site visit, and you deliver some good customer satisfaction, it’s a good time to try and press someone for a good review, and again, a good way to leverage SEO to your site using your clients and contacts.
ARON: Great. So, Sarah, hopefully, that was helpful for you. So to wrap it up, key takeaways that will move the needle. There’s four.
One is, Google My Businesses has got to be your new best friend. If you do this, it will account for 25% of the work and will at least make it possible to populate the local pack. So this is a great place to start, and as we mentioned earlier with the seeding the Q and A, there’s a certain aspect of Google My Business as they continue to roll out new features, that they will reward you for using. So Google My Business should not just be something you do once, but something that you maintain as part of your regular marketing activities.
Next is building links. So as Adam mentioned, there are external links, but particularly inbound links from third party sites.
And also button up your NAP, particularly either using Yext or Whitespark, to go through and just get everything consistent, and then go ahead and building additional citations after.
Next is aligning markets to your site. So figuring out what’s your primary market, what’s your secondary market, and then making sure that each of your relevant pages is optimized for the on-site SEO factors that we mentioned.
And lastly, make a plan to get reviews. So whether it’s some of those online to offline techniques, or just putting it in your email newsletter that Adam was talking about, or whether it’s something a little bit more integrated and purpose-built like a SimpleSat, make a plan to get reviews. Right now it accounts for 14 to 15% of your total factor, but that could easily go up. And it’s one of the opportunities that you know that one, it does give you more rankings, but two, it will absolutely drive more traffic to your site if you have better rankings than the person next to you.
ADAM: If anyone wants to get in touch with some more specific SEO questions or general advice, or they want to expand upon ideas to do some sort of their own DIY stuff and they’re looking for the guidance, feel free to send me an email at [email protected], and then I can send you my call link. And I think the webinar will be recorded and uploaded soon, so if you ever want to just drop in and get some extra information, or retouch on anything, we’ll be sending that via email as well.
ARON: Right. Yeah, one of the things that Adam does a really good job at, is he can quickly go through and he’s an expert at using these tools to go through and find out, you know, if you might not know this, you can tell him all the markets that you serve, he can quickly figure out where’s the search opportunity in each market. So you can identify what are your primary and secondary markets.
And then take a look at your website and figure out how are those markets aligning with your main pages or your service pages, or give you some recommendations on location pages. And then, if you’re a Pronto customer, he can summarize this action plan and get our team started on it.
If you’re not a Pronto customer, he can go ahead and summarize an action plan for you for DIY. So whether you are or aren’t a Pronto customer, he can make sure that you can get that information and make it useful for you.
ADAM: So I’ll go through some of the questions that have popped up.
I’ve obviously answered Sarah’s first one before.
One of the questions that have come in from Andrew is, “What is the difference between short tail and long-tail keywords?”
So in summary, a short tail is, like, just short. So the kind of, what’s the most likely keyword if I was in a rush, or looking for, like, a generic type keyword that’s not very specific or niche, what would I be most likely to type? So something around, say, if I’m looking for IT support I might type in IT support. I might type in an IT company. I might type in a network security company. These are kind of like short, short tail. They’ve only got one or two keywords within.
Something that’s more long-tail, it usually comes down to more like questions. So it might be like, what is the price of XYZ, or how do I find out about this? And some of these keywords might not always have purchase intent behind them, but they may be looking for information or education, and sometimes that usually comes through the form of blogs, and then you can leverage things like retargeting.
So long-tail keywords may not always drive higher conversion that you see people that tend to target them on AdWords, but they can help get you extra traffic to your site, extra visitors who may not convert the first time, but will add traffic to your site, which is positive, in case you have blogs, and may become a sales opportunity further down the line.
Next question: “How does boiler repair near me work?”
So the near me search is something that’s become more and more prevalent as mobile search has increased, and the kind of power that you have with the new mobile device, and know how much prevalence Google places on mobile user experience as well.
There’s actually a lot of different things– people have done tons of different studies. So do I write a keyword page that has just near me listed throughout the text, and the answer is no. It comes back to, again, things about Google reviews. How many NAP locations do you have? Do you have a location page that has a NAP on it? Do you have testimonials from clients? Do you have links from either local sites or sites that maybe have a location that [INAUDIBLE]. Perhaps it’s in the anchor text, which is the actual blue hyperlink that you see. With adding locations into anchor text, it can be seen as spammy, it’s all about doing it in small percentages. But generally, you’ll see that Google, the photos, the descriptions, everything on your NAP, being consistent across the web, having solid reviews, having links from local sites, testimonials from local clients, and then some anchor text that ideally has a location plus keyword in occasionally as well.
ARON: Right, so the way that I think about the shorthand is “near me” is oftentimes used on a mobile device. And a mobile device is going to have their location turned on. So Google is going to know what near me means for that person.
So we’ll use Toronto again. So that person’s in Toronto, so they’re going to then go out and look at all the signals coming from your website that would potentially signal Toronto. So like you mentioned, it’s the Google My Business service areas, it’s your NAP. All those other factors.
ADAM: And then obviously having your website optimized correctly for those locations and relevant service pages obviously, all works in tandem.
So another question here.
“How to get into Google Maps?”
Just go to Google My Business, or if you’re an actual Pronto client you should have it already set up, or feel free to shoot me an email and I can help you get that set up with the team. But you’ll actually find that Google will actually create business listings for businesses that it knows that are in existence. So you’ll find some companies actually have Google business listings that they’re not aware of, and what you have to do is claim an unverified listing. And then what they’ll do is they’ll send a pin code to your address, and once you confirm that, then you have access to the account. But like I said, if you’re a Pronto client, we manage all that for you as part of our on-page SEO package, so feel free to reach out to the team if you feel like you either have missing pages that you need to create because you have locations that you don’t have pages, ones where you think you might have a business that you need to claim or one that you’ve not been able to claim, or like I said, if you see one that you’ve just noticed, then we can help with that, certainly.
“Do you have any recommendations for correcting old directory listings for businesses with multiple divisions, brands at one location? Is this doable internally, or would you always suggest using a service like Yext?”
This is from Sarah. If it comes down to a brand change, then yes, I would recommend using Yext or Whitespark. I’d have to understand, I probably need to have an email discussion with you or at least a call to know, is it because you’ve had one location and the business has changed hands and then you’ve had a merger, and therefore the business address is correct, but you’ve gone through different company formations, I guess. Again, probably best to reach out to me with a ticket or an email, and then either the team and I can look into it.
But yes, I would always recommend that Whitespark or Yext is best, because they have auditing tools, and they’ve got staff around the clock that specifically is dedicated to this type of service.
ARON: And I don’t know the price off the top of my head, I don’t believe it’s wildly expensive for their basic service.
ADAM: No, it’s very affordable.
ARON: We have no relationship with them whatsoever. So this is just our opinion, but they can do it quite fast in a way that seems like it could be a lot of manual searching and updating. They can update that stuff programmatically, where you would have to reach out individually to each of those directory listings and engage them in the change process.
ADAM: Yeah. And they’ll help optimize it for SEO as well.
Last question, which is from Andrew.
“Does linking local pages to my main page have SEO value? Should I create a dozen of them?”
Now, I would recommend creating a dozen of them if you have a business that does have a dozen physical addresses, and you do service a lot of clients in there and it’s very competitive. So having this dominance, especially in the B2C consumer space, where there might be a lot of mobile stuff coming through, then some of those location pages might be worthwhile.
From a linking perspective, you will usually find that the strongest page is, well, really much always, is the root domain, because a domain will always have more links pointing to its core domain, like its index page, its .com, .net, .org. So usually linking out from your main page to a location page would have more impact and more value, because you’re going to have more juice within the actual page.
And that’s just a form of internal linking. I would always err on the side of caution with creating dozens of pages and using boilerplate filler content that Aron alluded to. It’s much better to, say if you have three towns that are really in a close area, there’s no reason why, from an SEO standpoint, you couldn’t get all those locations within your title tags and descriptions and have content that’s relevant, if they’re in a very close nucleus. If they were separated far and wide, geographically you have to make the kind of right assessment based on that. And like I said, I can always give some assistance.
ARON: Does that cover our Q and A?
ADAM: Yeah, I think that’s all the questions, nothing else.
Oh, a couple more.
“How important is your star rating on Yelp to your local SEO ranking?”
That’s from Clyde.
Yelp isn’t actually one of Google’s trusted review partners. I was doing some research on this the other day. So when I worked with clients in the UK, we used to use Trustpilot, some people may have heard of them. It’s very big, I think they work with lots of big energy providers, comms providers for broadband in the UK, airlines, in particular, you’ll see us use Trustpilot. So there are a handful of ones that are certified. I think Feefo was another one.
That certified trust partners in terms of the star rating and the aggregation of reviews like almost in real-time, it’s going to have impacted the way it indexes. It’s used as a live signal. But yes, having activity on your Yelp, and having that Yelp linked to your website is important. I think Google does index that kind of stuff, but it’s always going to place preference on either, its own services, so YouTube and Google and such, and then second of all it’s trusted, partners.
So always focus on getting positive reviews but Google is going to have more weight than Yelp.
Richard Young: “Does video help SEO in general?”
So, yeah, it definitely does. And again, it all depends on your business, or niche, or industry, and what type. You see people advertise on YouTube who sells online courses. And they get, you know, it’s like self-help learning and then they get millions of hits. And they may have done promotional adverts. But they’ve got something that’s very transactional, and that allows someone to click and buy a product within their YouTube video potentially. And so again, it’s about what product you’re selling, what is the actual search volume.
I believe in, when it comes to marketing, having as many mediums and touchpoints are beneficial. Google owns YouTube. If you have a YouTube video that links to a page on your website, or you have it embedded on your website, and then you direct people to it via your newsletter, via a retargeting banner, whatever it would be. If it’s blogging, whether it’s you’re doing an event or something, and you kind of push people to it. Having activity on your YouTube channel that’s either embedded on your site or off-site, and is SEO friendly and tagged correctly, it’s going to have an impact. But always think about what’s the broader search term that I’m looking for to market this product. So certainly, if you’re doing B2B and client type services, you’re not going to get an opportunity to sell something from the video.
So you might want to do something that’s more educational, that has a wider scope, and can potentially bring in more eyeballs and more engagement and more people viewing. And then Google’s more likely to send users to that video because people have had previous engagement with it.
ARON: Yeah, the way I think about this one is, first, you want to make sure it’s not a video for video’s sake, but that it’s relevant to the user for starters. But secondly, assuming the answer is yes if you have some piece of media that’s relevant to the user that can populate each one of Google’s channels.
So in this case, imagine someone searched for you and there popped up your main website, your blog, a relevant image like an infographic, and then a video, that’s all helpful for you, because anywhere where you could click within the search results there’s going to be something that Google can show. So you could kind of look at it that way.
ADAM: Yeah, definitely, like a holistic approach. Always trying to use as many marketing avenues as possible.
We get a lot of calls– this is from Kylie, we got a lot of calls for other businesses, saying they were trying to contact the said business, but they got a hold of us instead. It is all right to update your phone number or disconnect a number from showing up with other companies?
ARON: So if I’m reading this correctly it could be that there is some kind of mislabeled —
ADAM: Like NAP somewhere.
ARON: NAP somewhere. So whether it’s your information getting crossed up with somebody else, vice versa.
ADAM: Or, like an old business that had your phone number and they’ve recycled it. I can’t really say.
ARON: Yeah. I think that I mean, that could be an interesting edge case. It’s generally good to go through the Yext or Whitespark process to sort of see if you might somehow be associated with some other business somewhere else, or if there’s some erroneous phone number attached to your business listing on some website somewhere.
ADAM: And it could also be their business listing is erroneous, and they — for some reason they got, like your number’s one digit off theirs, and, you know, they’ve copied in the number into somewhere that’s listed it across four different directories, and it’s one number short. So it could be from your side or from their side. So again, it might be an edge case as Aron said where you use either Yext or Whitespark, or email me with a bit more background info and I can try and help you.
Richard, it’s not Whitespots, it’s probably my accent killing that there. It’s Whitespark, like electricity. And there are a few different services. One of them is called, I think it’s citation building service, which is the one I said you can get local and niche citations for $5. So I think one of the examples is they’ve got like Los Angeles lawyers or something, which is obviously great if you’re a law firm on the west coast. And then if you ever need advice on any of that, as I said, shoot me an email.
But they also have the auditing service on there as well, if you want to check what your NAP is like across the web. And I highly recommend them rather than trying to do it all yourself, because like I said, they’ve got dedicated personnel. But I think that’s all the questions that have been answered. Like I said, the final note is if you ever need to reach out to me, just with some guidance, some extra DIY things, questions, or how to kind of implement a strategy that could help get you guys some more traffic and leads, reach out to me at [email protected]
Yeah, expect the email to come out with the webinar soon, so you guys can also check out anything that you might have missed.
ARON: Well, thanks so much for spending the last hour or so with us. Like Adam said, we’ll be sending out the recording shortly as well as the slides. So if you have any questions, definitely reach out to him.
ADAM: Sounds good.Thank you.
ARON: Thanks, everyone.
ADAM: Have a good day.
ARON: Have a great day. Bye!