Local SEO is no longer just about your rankings. If you look at a search engine results page (SERP), the No. 1 organic result is now really the No. 8 clickable result on the page. The No. 1 organic spot is now beneath four search ads, three map results, and often Yelp, which is at the top.
In today’s market place, it is critical that you take an all encompassing approach to positioning yourself throughout your target customer’s journey as a buyer. We will be looking at how you can leverage Google Adwords, Map Results, Paid Listings (Yelp, directory sites, etc.), and organic results to drive leads for your business. The game has changed and we need to broaden our approach and focus on taking the most local SERP market share regardless of medium. Frankly, quick wins and cheeky tactics suck! This post is about doing the hard work…the thorough work. If you follow these approaches consistently, you will win every week. Simple.
Monday: Thorough Tactics for Improving Your Paid Search
Improving your paid search is at the top of the list because, well…it’s at the top of Google. When paid search is run well and hits your cost per acquisition (that still allows you to be profitable), it’s a healthy channel with lots of benefits. Here are some tactics that you can implement on your account each week to drastically improve overall performance. 1. Create Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) One of the greatest issues we see in how Adwords accounts are set up is that they allow a variety of ads to show for a variety of keywords…none of which go to a dedicated landing page. As a rule of thumb, if you are a local business, you should at least mine your search term report each week. Look at your keywords that are performing the best: have the lowest cost per acquisition, or highest conversion rate, etc. Once you have identified these keywords, the next step is to build an adgroup around this keyword. In this adgroup, you can test four unique ads that highlight what makes you better than the competition. Don’t keyword stuff your ads. Include your keyword, but focus on disrupting the searcher so that you have a higher click-through rate (CTR) than those also advertising. Unbounce provides more great info on this topic here: http://unbounce.com/ppc/doing-adwords-wrong-make-it-right/ 2. Build Dedicated Landing Pages with Unique Offers, Copy and Images If you are still sending your local PPC ads to your homepage, please stop! You are only hurting yourself. Here’s a sample of what happened when we moved a local exterminator from sending traffic to their homepage to a dedicated landing page.
As you can see, their cost per acquisition was driven down enormously and a previously disastrous marketing channel became profitable. Here’s a complete guide for building a landing page. The key takeaways to focus on when building a local landing page are:
- Make sure your number is in the top menu and stays stuck at the top when you scroll. This is easy to do with Unbounce (we build all of our landing pages with them). Here’s a link to their scripts.
- If you have a fixed price include it in your headline.
- If you service a specific location, show that off as well.
- Got great reviews? Show them off. Yelp, Google+, all of it.
- Use a call to action on your form button that’s specific to what you do. Think “Get Rid of The Rats” instead of “Submit”
- Record a video if you can! Users love videos and it makes you seem more personal. A bad video of yourself is better than an average motion graphic you get from Fiverr.
Tuesday: Thorough Tactics for Improving Your Map Results
While search ads rest at the top of Google’s results page, map results lie directly below. These placements are critical for local success. Unfortunately, ranking in the map can be a fickle beast. Here are some things that you can do each week to help guarantee success. 1.Hand out a Review PDF to Each Happy Customer. Whether you are a restaurant owner or a plumber, simply handing your top customers a piece of paper to guide them to leave you a great review on Google is an easy task you can do each day. With a little consistency, you can quickly outpace your competition. Here is Whitespark’s awesome tool. The key is consistency. 2. Build out Your Entire Profile…duh. It seems like an obvious thing to do, but a lot of businesses don’t actually add photos, videos, categories and the rest of the obvious materials. 3. Call Your Top Customers. Check on Their Experience. Ask for a Review. Sounds time consuming and impractical, no? Well it is, but guess what…no one else is doing it. Like I said, none of these tactics are quick wins. These are ways to be more thorough, run a better business and do better marketing. Forget about all the awesome reviews you’ll earn from simply calling your best customers. Think about all the operational feedback you can get to improve your overall service! If only for an hour a week, it’s well worth it. There’s no surefire way to dominate the maps, but having the most reviews has never hurt anyone. Here’s another great tool to help “scale” this out: http://whitespark.ca/reputation-builder/ As a little trick, you can also have a re-targeting campaign set up for all the customers that go to your confirmation page. These can then be sent to the reputation landing page to screen bad reviews.
Wednesday: Thorough Tactics for Improving Your Paid Lists
While I am not the biggest fan of Yelp, it’s hard to argue against the impact it can have for local businesses. 1.Get Reviews. Test Ads. I am not saying this as a Yelp fanboy, but instead someone who looks at any channel that can drive new leads at the correct cost per acquisition. Notice what a lot of our accounts’ conversion rates look like from Yelp (and even Facebook).
If you’ve set up event tracking (we recommend, for phone calls and form submissions), you can see how Yelp and Facebook are performing for your own business by clicking on Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Social. If you like their performance already, think about pushing hard for Yelp reviews and launching ads. You do not need to sign up for a year plan. Instead, haggle the sales guy for a three-month trial. Limit your risk and test a new channel at their smallest possible plan. If it works, double down. The last reason we like this tactic so much is because of how well Yelp ranks. Look at the overall organic market share we’re able to take for our client around Jeff Shaffer Plumbing’s primary keyword: “Dana Point Plumber”
As you can see, Yelp not only has its own user base, but it also ranks incredibly well with four of the top five positions for “city + plumber”. 2. Find Active Yelpers via Facebook Search To find active Yelpers whose reviews will not go to the dreaded “not recommended” section, look at personal friends and those who liked your business page who are active on Yelp by searching: “people who like ‘your business’ and use Yelp.”
Here’s a crazy way to do this in bulk! 3. Launch Google Ads on Yelp Yes, you heard that right. If you do not want to become permanently indebted, you can create a display campaign solely for Yelp. From here, you can optimize specifically for the keywords you want to show up for within Yelp, as well as the ad copy. Here’s an example of people advertising on Yelp via Google:
Notice that they are using their: “keyword + location – offer”. If you are driving any leads from Yelp, this is an easy hack to take more market share quickly.
Thursday: Thorough Approaches for Optimizing for Organic Search Each Week.
Organic traffic is the holy grail of local search. It’s free (except for the countless hours of time it takes to earn it) and allows you to grow your profit margins once earned. With that being said, here are some tactics you can do each week to help improve your organic rankings. 1.Write Content for Businesses in Your Network From the Chamber of Commerce to LeTip, your own referral network is one of the best places to write for and build links from. You are not the only one who struggles to create awesome content on a consistent basis. Your friends struggle and would love to have some great content written for them too. It’s an obvious tip, but stay within your vertical. If you do plumbing, it makes sense to write for a home builder. Topics such as drywall, water damage, maybe even interior design would be highly relevant, but maybe don’t try to write as if you are catering your content for a local gym. Here’s a template to help you get started: Hi ___, Hope you’re off to a great week! We’ve been working really hard over here at ____ to get our name out. One way we’ve been doing it is by creating content for people in our network. Here’s some of our latest content: (Sample link) (Sample link) (Sample link) Any chance we can write for your blog? Here’s some topic ideas: (Sample Topic) (Sample Topic) (Sample Topic) Hope this works out for you, we can get on it right away. Talk soon! Try it out! I think you’ll love it. Then, you can link back to service pages and more with some great anchor text. 2. Improve Your Titles and Meta Descriptions It might seem basic, but no one is treating their page titles for SEO like they treat their PPC titles. This is a big problem. Here’s what happened when we optimized our own titles at Directive Consulting (plus built links and countless other things).
Here is what our titles look like!
As a local business, highlight:
- Special Offers
- Years in Business
- Family Owned
- And more!
Friday: Creative Ideas to Mix In
The last day of the week is our flex day. This is a time to get the creative juices flowing and pursue new tactics to increase brand awareness and leads in your area! 1.Create Local Guides and Promote via Facebook Your audience loves local content. Instead of creating content that’s generic or about your services all the time, mix it up and create content about your area. For example…
- The 15 Best Hiking Trails in (your city) to Take Your Lab
- Target people who match your household income or whatever targeting you use to screen them and then target:
- Lab Owners
- Target people who match your household income or whatever targeting you use to screen them and then target:
Here’s some local content samples and numbers for recent campaigns we’ve done:
Not bad for paid social budgets under $100! 2. Launch Local Awareness Ads via Facebook with an Offer For only a Starbucks latte a day (ewwww), you can be telling your local audience about your business. Take a picture of your team, feature a client testimonial or design an ad. Then, simply build a local awareness ad in Facebook. Once you have the ad made, you can target people in the area. Imagine if you are a shop in a busy center. With these ads, you can drive foot traffic to your store and keep people aware of your business for cheap. 3. Test ‘Call-Only’ Ads via Google Calls are often your most valuable lead. Setup and test specific call-only ads in Google search to drive phone calls quickly. With mobile search leading the way for local, what better way to drive calls quickly?
Your ad needs to sell the visitor, so make sure that you craft an amazing headline.
Wrapping It Up
Each week is an opportunity to drive new business. The key is identifying new opportunities and asking yourself what’s next. If you have great Yelp reviews, focus on Google My Business and vice versa. Got both of those down? Try Facebook Ads. Got all three of those? Start guest posting for other local businesses and link back to your site. There’s always a new opportunity out there. Hopefully, this post helps get your creativity flowing.