In this episode of In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris talk about local SEO and the four key sets of local SEO basics – technical SEO, on-site local SEO, content, and off-site local SEO. Learn the basics and what companies local SEO benefits most.
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.
Christopher Penn 0:17
In this week’s In-Ear Insights, it is it we’re back.
It’s a brand new year, new you new new marketing, whatever the case may be.
And so it looks so thrilled.
Katie Robbert 0:30
I mean, New Year.
So I thought I will say the one meme that I saw that made me laugh with the new year new you, but you were spelled e w e.
And I was like, okay, I can get down with that.
Christopher Penn 0:45
And we thought we’d start off this year talking about SEO.
So Katie, what did you have in mind talking about local SEO.
Katie Robbert 0:54
You know, local SEO is one of those things when I, when I hear that term, I think of the very small businesses.
And so and I know that that’s not, you know, all encompassing of local SEO, but that’s the first place my brain goes to.
So the example I’ll give you is, there’s a organic market that has been soft opening for the past six months in the next town over from me.
And they’ve been struggling a little bit to let people know who they are what they do, because they are not, you know, digitally marketing savvy, that’s not what they do.
They’re opening, organic market, that’s what they do.
And so without having any kind of SEO for their small business, they’re not necessarily going to be found.
So making sure that they show up on things like Google My Business, making sure that there’s pages on their website that have specific keywords for the different towns that they serve of, you know, this is where we’re getting our products from, because one of their offerings is that everything coming into their market is coming from a local farm.
And so making sure that people know, if I’m in this town, this product that I’m getting came from just three miles away.
And so I think there’s that version of local SEO.
And then the other version of local SEO, is if you have a bunch of different stores, like say you have a franchise and making sure people can find the one that’s near them, because the search of you know, McDonald’s, open near me or CVS near me, that’s another version of local SEO.
So I see it two different ways.
Christopher Penn 2:44
And the third way I would add to is, if you have a business, you should have local SEO listings like for Trust Insights.
For example, we have Google My Business setup, even though we don’t have a physical office, we do have a mailing address, obviously, because Gmail, but just having our business available in local search listings, it’s extra traffic, right? It will take whatever we can get, we’re not making.
And so one of the things that’s tricky about local SEO is it is actually in some ways a bit of a step backwards in time to like the early 20 2000s, up to about 2010, where there’s a lot of places, you have to go and register yourself, your company, your website, your business, as opposed to, you know, sort of modern, regular SEO, where you publish and you and sort of crawlers and spiders have come find you.
And one of the things that people forget about local SEO is that unlike the regular search market, for local, it is not just Google’s game, you have things like having your Facebook business page, if you’re still doing business on Facebook, you have Yelp, you have Apple Maps, you have Google and Google Maps, of course, you have all these local directories.
And as well as having the information on your website.
So local SEO, like regular SEO has four big parts, right? There’s the technical part.
There’s on site, there’s content, and then there’s off site.
So those are sort of the the four big parts and makes us like briefly touch on each of those four.
Katie Robbert 4:22
Okay, um, so do you want to start with the technical,
Christopher Penn 4:26
technical is much less of a big deal with with local, except obviously, making sure your website works, right, making sure it’s it, you know, the from a server perspective, it’s mobile friendly and accessible, and things like that.
Local SEO is almost entirely synonymous with mobile SEO.
So again, if you have not done your mobile usability and mobile speed tests and things, you got to do that because it’s it’s essential.
Katie Robbert 4:54
Okay, so Well, you know, and I think that that’s something that as businesses are getting set up, but something that’s not done enough, thoughtfully is making sure that you have a good mobile experience, especially the smaller businesses that I’m that I was referencing.
And so the number of, you know, restaurants, for example, who their menu isn’t accessible online, or don’t have anything and are reliant on, you know, Google Business ratings for other people to post pictures of their food, you know, that right there, that user experience starts to turn people away from wanting to even step into the restaurant, because they might have the most amazing food.
But the initial reaction is, well, I can’t even see what it is.
So I’m probably not going to have a great experience.
So I’m never gonna go there.
Christopher Penn 5:48
Now for on site on site is where there’s a lot of technology involved.
So this is where you’re using things like rich deck data markup, structured data markup, and things like that JSON LD, all these tools and technologies that designate and tell search engines.
Here’s the local information, you need the mailing address, the phone number, the directions, having your your Google Maps listing on your website.
Again, this is not this stuff is really rocket surgery, per se.
But you got to do it.
And where we see a lot of people go wrong is, in particular, not using markup language that makes the most sense for the organization.
So if you have not taken the time to do your schema.org, registration, and tutorial, and JSON LD, again, you kind of have to do that.
Katie Robbert 6:40
Well, and that sounds like one of those things where if you have a website, you have a business, and these are terms that you’ve never heard of, it’s probably best to reach out to, you know, a contractor or a consultant who does understand these things.
Because it could, I wouldn’t say it would make or break your business.
But it definitely is going to be the difference between you being able to easily reach your goals and you struggling and not knowing why.
Christopher Penn 7:06
The third area is the content.
And this is, again, this is where things are a little different.
A lot of local business listings like Google My Business and Apple Maps and stuff, except content.
Same for Facebook and things like that.
They accept posts, you can put posts, a content, meal specials, whatever the thing is, and like all forms of SEO, you need to be publishing regularly.
If it is, if you’re a restaurant, if your cafe, you know, you should be putting up hey, we’re open today.
And here’s today’s special, right, you know, take a picture of your your bacon and eggs or whatever.
But that cadence of regular frequent content tells these local search engines, hey, this business is active.
It’s still in business.
And it can help provide signals that say like, yeah, this business is is a frequent contributor.
So if someone’s looking for a restaurant open now, hold this one.
This, you know, they’ve updated today.
Katie Robbert 8:04
And I think that that, again, those are steps that I don’t see a lot of businesses necessarily taking, because they don’t know that that something even if you’re a hardware store, or a pet supply store, or you know, whatever the thing is making sure that you are creating something regularly, like here’s today’s special, here’s our, you know, hammer of the week.
I don’t know what but make it but you know, finding a way to keep their content relevant, even if it’s, you’re posting something to your social media page.
But then you’re pulling that information back onto your website.
So that your social media feed is present on your website, there’s ways to keep the site in this constant cycle of updating.
Christopher Penn 8:57
That is right there one of most important pieces of advice.
If you think about it carefully, you can multipurpose a piece of content, right, you should 60 seconds of video with your friend, you know, your coworker in the in the hardware aisle, who just can say like, Hey, if you’ve got you know, it’s it’s January here in New England, if you want to keep your locks from freezing, you know, this little spray cannas of lock, anti freezes is the thing to do.
And that goes to your Tiktok page that goes to your Facebook page, it goes to YouTube, it goes to your local business page.
So you don’t have to create content for everything.
You can create one piece of content and as long as it’s valuable to share it around.
So yeah, making sure that we repurpose is is so essential.
Katie Robbert 9:40
I agree with that.
And I think that getting past this idea that everything has to be perfect and pristine and the you know, the quality has to be amazing.
Like it needs to be something that people can view and understand and that the audio is good enough that people can hear what you’re saying.
You know, but it doesn’t have to be professionally shot, you don’t have to bring in a camera crew and a production team.
Every time you want to create a social post?
Christopher Penn 10:08
I mean, there’s some really good apps that are free, like Adobe Premiere Rush is a Apple version for the smartphone of the editing software.
It’s really good.
And it’s free, right? You’re right, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
It doesn’t have to be, well, your content should reflect your business, right? If you are an audio video company, yeah, it actually doesn’t have to be perfect.
Katie Robbert 10:33
Right, but you would theoretically have the resources already.
Whereas, you know, go back to the example of the hardware store, right, you don’t have, you know, a videographer and an AV team on standby, but you likely have a bunch of people with smartphones, who can take a decent video.
Christopher Penn 10:53
And then the fourth aspect of, of local SEO is off site.
Now in traditional SEO, there’s a lot of going out pitching link building all this stuff.
And there’s less of that, in local instead, it is you going out and registering your business with as many of these different directories and services as possible.
You know, Yelp, Apple Maps, Google Maps, Google My Business, you have local review sites, they may even be like your local newspaper may have like a small business publishing section, do the local business can go and get registered networking and inter networking with other businesses that are non competitive, right.
So if you are on the local pizza shop, you may want to talk to the tire shop down the street, say like, Hey, let’s exchange links on our websites and you know, promote our businesses to each other’s customers, because you’re non competitive, right? Like the tire shops not going to be selling pizza anytime soon.
And that, it can be very, very powerful, because there is local search, and local search is important.
Obviously, you set it yourself, you know, for example, restaurant near me that’s opened now.
But there’s also the aspect of every everybody in your service radius probably has some familiarity with the area, right, so the customers who have who are customers of the tire shop, may also be customers of your pizza shop, right, there’s probably some overlap, but there’s also some net new audience that the tire shop has, that you may not have access to.
And if you can promote and work together, you know, maybe you trade the tire shop at some fliers on your local on your pizza boxes.
There are ways to to sort of build that network, that inter network of of local non competitive businesses to benefit your SEO, benefit your local business listings, and, and and build some, some credibility.
The other thing that we have seen a ton of in data is that reviews drive listing prominence.
So the more reviews that you can garner, ideally positive, the better your search listings will do for local.
Katie Robbert 13:06
So, um, you know, and I think that there’s an easy way to automate some of that.
So, for example, the automotive shop that I bring my car to, regardless of what it’s for, it automatically kicks out about, you know, three or five days after my service, it automatically kicks on email to me and said, How do we do please leave us a review on one of the following.
You know, websites.
Now granted, it still lists Google plus, so perhaps it needs to be updated a little bit.
But the point being is that you don’t necessarily have to pick up the phone and call people and say, Hey, can you leave me a review? What did you think there’s ways, you know, to automate it a little bit? Now, if you’re a restaurant, you know, maybe if you’re using one of those electronic payment services, for example, you know, with, you know, the receipt that you email to the person, you can also say, did you like what you had, please leave us a review? You know, with that, Chris, to your point, ideally, they’re all positive, but you have to expect that there are gonna be some not so positive reviews.
And, you know, it’s up to you and your business, whether or not you show those reviews.
That’s a that’s a whole other conversation.
You know, but it is helpful for people to sort of understand sort of what they’re getting into what they can expect, but also for you to get that kind of feedback from your customers.
Christopher Penn 14:37
And for folks who are interested in like really digging into this, there are companies that provide software that can automate a lot of this to your point, one of the probably better known ones, there’s a company called Yext, where they have their pricing is roughly I believe it’s around like 20 bucks a week for for maintaining your listings.
And what that does is you submit stuff All these directories, you know, you fill out a template, and then it does a submission.
And then it monitors reviews and says, Hey, you know, you got this review, you know, approve it contested, etc.
and things like that.
So it’s not something you have to do manually per se, there is software out there, we don’t have any affiliate program yet.
So, but there’s, that helps manage that fourth part of local SEO, which is in it, you can do some of the content as well.
And so it’s sort of parts three and four of local SEO can be managed with software.
But the critical part is doing it and making time to do it.
Because it isn’t, it isn’t overly onerous to do, but it’s like gardening, it does require some regular frequent care.
Katie Robbert 15:46
And depending on the nature of your business, it just may not be a skill set that exists, you know, within your core team.
So looking at outsourcing some of that it doesn’t have to be overly expensive.
Now, we’ve been focusing a lot on, you know, small businesses, and primarily B2C businesses.
So we’re talking about a lot of consumer facing businesses like restaurants, hardware stores, service industries, those kinds of things.
For a business like ours, Chris, which is completely remote, which, yes, we have a home base, but we serve other areas, should we be considering? satellite offices, for example, just you know, as a, you know, to sort of beef up our local SEO in the B2B industry? Is that something that we should be thinking about, you know, marketing consulting agency near me? Well, if you’re in Austin, Texas, we’re not going to show up.
Is that a consideration that we would need to think about?
Christopher Penn 16:51
You just want that mountaintop fortress in Canada?
Katie Robbert 16:54
I mean, that’s gonna happen regardless.
Christopher Penn 16:59
So it, it is a consideration, but it is it is not it.
If your business has a lot of walking, then yeah, I would say it’s a it’s a pretty important thing.
For a business like ours, where we’re entirely virtual, there isn’t substantial benefit.
There is some but there’s there’s a substantial benefit, we’re, our efforts would be better focused on on normal SEO on attracting people know, regardless, particularly around things where for what we do in the type of business we have, we need to be in front of people at the awareness stage of the customer journey rather than sort of the consideration stage when when someone’s doing like restaurant near me, or even marketing agency near me, they’re much more in the consideration stage.
And for what we do and and how we do it.
Honestly, we’ve got to focus on the awareness stage, what the heck do we even do and that’s not a local SEO problem.
That’s, that’s a content marketing slash marketing strategy problem.
That said, we do have a Google My Business listing, right, we do have a Facebook page, that despite our best wishes, otherwise, we do have, we have submitted to things like you know, Bing Webmaster Tools, we have location data, in edit in our website, because those are basics, those are the things that there’s no reason not to do them, there’s no cost to do them.
And there is potential upside.
Again, we’re we are a physically a Massachusetts based company, we pick up clients in the city of Boston, it doesn’t matter to us, we don’t really leave our offices all that much.
But it’s it’s a nice extra.
Katie Robbert 18:33
So we don’t necessarily need to be worrying about, you know, marketing agency near me.
You know, that’s yes, people search for that people want maybe something that’s within their own city kind of thing, but we don’t necessarily need to be focusing on that.
Um, you know, it’s, it just is interesting, because when I think of that local SEO, I always think of something centralized into that one, you know, area.
Now, where those come you community fit into this, where does the community ask or does it? So the example I’m thinking of is a couple of things.
One is, you know, we are building or we felt a pretty robust Slack community.
Does that factor into any of our local SEO efforts? And then, you know, Facebook still offers a lot of those groups.
So you have, you know, your local town group who might feature a small business, you have marketing communities in Facebook, which might feature a business, where does that fit into this local SEO? If at all,
Christopher Penn 19:49
community can definitely factor into the review part, right, getting people who are who are friendly to you to leave positive reviews, honestly, you know, don’t don’t tell people rely.
But if there’s an opportunity for them to leave reviews, you definitely want them to do that.
And to some degree, it depending on how the community is structured, if you can get people to do regular SEO stuff for you, you know, inbound links to your site, there is benefit is there local benefit, not necessarily beyond the reviews part.
But definitely for inbound links is a best practice, no matter what kind of SEO you’re doing.
Katie Robbert 20:29
Okay, that makes sense.
And so it sounds like overall, regardless of whether or not you’re doing local SEO, or just general SEO, the structure is pretty much the same, you want to make sure that the technical pieces are all put together, you want to make sure that the on site, your content, your off site, all of those things are, you know, in place, and that you’re creating regular new content, regardless of what that looks like, it could literally be a picture of a plate of French fries, like here’s what we’re serving today.
And that’s your content, it doesn’t need to be a 500 word blog every single day, because that might not serve your business.
And so making sure that all of those pieces are in place.
And then for us, it’s getting testimonials from clients who were happy with our services.
For a consumer based business, it may be getting those Yelp reviews, those Google reviews, those kinds of things.
And so, really, SEO, you’re approaching it the same way, it’s just a matter of what context.
Christopher Penn 21:34
Exactly right? Exactly right.
And it’s in the end, it’s just getting into the habit of it, right, getting into a routine.
That is that is the number one thing you can do just it’s like farming, you’ve just got to keep at it.
And it’s one of those things where you can’t expect, again, like farming, you can’t expect immediate results, right? You can’t plant seeds today and expect a full crop of something to be fully grown tomorrow is not how that works.
Katie Robbert 22:02
And with that, you can still use the same kinds of tools and techniques that we offer for our clients.
So if you’re looking for support for local SEO, you know, we offer that in depth Keyword Analysis, and predictive forecasting, and technical SEO audits, those are all things that are still applicable, even if you’re a very small business or emphasize size business, the the application would still be the same, you’d still get the same kind of result, it would just be more tailored toward what your goals are.
Christopher Penn 22:36
And you know, for larger companies, like we have one client where we did a meta analysis of their of their certain local search listings, and to see what impact like things like reviews had on their listings and stuff.
And it turned out, you know, that was the driver for them.
was, it was it, it wasn’t, it wasn’t the number of positive reviews, it was just the number of reviews period that drove that the prominence for the local search appearances and stuff.
So this, obviously will vary from business to business.
So you want to do that analysis, regardless.
And the other thing to keep in mind is do your attribution analysis so that you can figure out where your marketing operations funnel is weakest.
And, and that will guide with where you put the priority of local SEO, like local SEO is very much about consideration.
You know, there’s a thing you now want to know where you can get the thing.
If you have an awareness problem, local SEO is not going to fix that.
Right? If if people don’t even know they have a problem.
Telling people that you’re in the area to solve a problem they don’t know they have is not going to help.
So you do want to do your attribution analysis first.
Katie Robbert 23:46
Right? And if if your local SEO is, you know, in that phase, then really focusing on that content marketing of here’s who we are, here’s what we do.
Here’s the problems we solve and optimizing for those keywords will then bring people into that next stage of like, oh, okay, now I know what problem I have.
Who can fix the problem for me?
Christopher Penn 24:07
And are they nearby? So, if you’ve got comments or questions about anything we’ve talked about in today’s episode, you want to share your own local SEO tips and stories pop on over to our free slack group go to trust insights.ai/analytics For markers where you have over 2200 other marketers are asking and answering questions for each other all day long.
And wherever it is, you watch or listen to this episode.
If there’s someplace else you’d rather get it go to trust insights.ai/ti podcast where you can find most other channels that we we share our content on.
Thanks for tuning in.
We’ll talk to you soon.
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