How to Find Your True Local Competitors

Posted by MiriamEllis

Who are your clients’ true competitors?

It’s a question that’s become harder to answer. What felt like a fairly simple triangulation between Google, brand, and searcher in the early days of the local web has multiplied into a geodesic dome of localization, personalization, intent matching, and other facets.

This evolution from a simple shape to a more complex shape has the local SEO industry starting to understand the need to talk about trends and patterns vs. empirical rankings.

For instance, you might notice that you just can’t deliver client reports that say, “Congratulations, you’re #1” anymore. And that’s because the new reality is that there is no #1 for all searchers. A user on the north side of town may see a completely different local pack of results if they go south, or if they modify their search language. An SEO may get a whole different SERP if they search on one rank checking tool vs. another — or even on the same tool, just five minutes later.

Despite all this, you still need to analyze and report — it remains a core task to audit a client’s competitive landscape.

 Today, let’s talk about how we can distill this dynamic, complex environment down to the simplest shapes to understand who your client’s true competitors are. I’ll be sharing a spreadsheet to help you and your clients see the trends and patterns that can create the basis for competitive strategy.

Why are competitive audits necessary…and challenging?

Before we dive into a demo, let’s sync up on what the basic point is of auditing local competitors. Essentially, you’re seeking contrast — you stack up two brands side-by-side to discover the metrics that appear to be making one of them dominant in the local or localized organic SERPs.

From there, you can develop a strategy to emulate the successes of the current winner with the goal of meeting and then surpassing them with superior efforts.

But before you start comparing your brand A to their brand B, you’ve got to know who brand B actually is. What obstacles do you face?

1. SERPs are incredibly diversified

    A recent STAT whitepaper that looked at 1.2 million keywords says it all: every SERP is a local SERP. And since both local packs and organic results are both subject to the whims of geo-location and geo-modification, incorporating them into your tracking strategy is a must.

    To explain, imagine two searchers are sitting on the same couch. One searches for “Mexican restaurant” and the other searches for “Mexican restaurant near me”. Then, they divvy up searching “Mexican restaurant near me” vs. “Mexican restaurant in San Jose”. And, so on. What they see are local packs that are only about 80 percent similar based on Google recognizing different intents. That’s significant variability.

    The scenario gets even more interesting when one of the searchers gets up and travels across town to a different zip code. At that point, the two people making identical queries can see local packs that range from only about 26–65 percent similar. In other words, quite different.

    Now, let’s say your client wants to rank for seven key phrases — like “Mexican restaurant,” “Mexican restaurant near me,” “Mexican restaurant San Jose,” “best Mexican restaurant,” “cheap Mexican restaurant,” etc. Your client doesn’t have just three businesses to compete against in the local pack; they now have multiple multiples of three!

    2) Even good rank tracking tools can be inconsistent

    There are many useful local rank tracking tools out there, and one of the most popular comes to us from BrightLocal. I really like the super easy interface of this tool, but there is a consistency issue with this and other tools I’ve tried, which I’ve captured in a screenshot, below.

    Here I’m performing the same search at 5-minute intervals, showing how the reported localized organic ranking of a single business vary widely across time.

    The business above appears to move from position 5 to position 12. This illustrates the difficulty of answering the question of who is actually the top competitor when using a tool. My understanding is that this type of variability may result from the use of proxies. If you know of a local rank checker that doesn’t do this, please let our community know in the comments.

    In the meantime, what I’ve discovered in my own work is that it’s really hard to find a strong and consistent substitute for manually checking which competitors rank where, on the ground. So, let’s try something out together.

    The simplest solution for finding true competitors

    Your client owns a Mexican restaurant and has seven main keyword phrases they want to compete for. Follow these five easy steps:

    Step 1: Give the client a local pack crash course

    If the client doesn’t already know, teach them how to perform a search on Google and recognize what a local pack is. Show them how businesses in the pack rank 1, 2, and 3. If they have more questions about local packs, how they show up in results, and how Google ranks content, they can check out our updated Beginners Guide to SEO.

    Step 2: Give the client a spreadsheet and a tiny bit of homework

    Give the client a copy of this free spreadsheet, filled out with their most desired keyword phrases. Have them conduct seven searches from a computer located at their place of business* and then fill out the spreadsheet with the names of the three competitors they see for each of the seven phrases. Tell them not to pay attention to any of the other fields of the spreadsheet.

    *Be sure the client does this task from their business’ physical location as this is the best way to see what searchers in their area will see in the local results. Why are we doing this? Because Google weights proximity of the searcher-to-the-business so heavily, we have to pretend we’re a searcher at or near the business to emulate Google’s “thought process”.

    Step 3: Roll up your sleeves for your part of the work

    Now it’s your turn. Look up “directions Google” in Google.

    Enter your client’s business address and the address of their first competitor. Write down the distance in the spreadsheet. Repeat for every entry in each of the seven local packs. This will take you approximately 10–15 minutes to cover all 21 locations, so make sure you’re doing it on company time to ensure you’re on the clock.

    Step 4: Get measuring

    Now, in the 2nd column of the spreadsheet, note down the greatest distance Google appears to be going to fill out the results for each pack.

    Step 5: Identify competitors by strength

    Finally, rate the competitors by the number of times each one appears across all seven local packs. Your spreadsheet should now look something like this:

    Looking at the example sheet above, we’ve learned that:

    • Mi Casa and El Juan’s are the dominant competitors in your client’s market, ranking in 4/7 packs. Plaza Azul is also a strong competitor, with a place in 3/7 packs.
    • Don Pedro’s and Rubio’s are noteworthy with 2/7 pack appearances.
    • All the others make just one pack appearance, making them basic competitors.
    • The radius to which Google is willing to expand to find relevant businesses varies significantly, depending on the search term. While they’re having to go just a couple of miles to find competitors for “Mexican restaurant”, they’re forced to go more than 15 miles for a long tail term like “organic Mexican restaurant”.

    You now know who the client’s direct competitors are for their most desired searches, and how far Google is willing to go to make up a local pack for each term. You have discovered a pattern of most dominant competition across your client’s top phrases, signaling which players need to be audited to yield clues about which elements are making them so strong.

    The pros and cons of the simple search shape

    The old song says that it’s a gift to be simple, but there are some drawbacks to my methodology, namely:

    • You’ll have to depend on the client to help you out for a few minutes, and some clients are not very good at participation, so you’ll need to convince them of the value of their doing the initial searches for you.
    • Manual work is sometimes tedious.
    • Scaling this for a multi-location enterprise would be time-consuming.
    • Some of your clients are going to be located in large cities and will want to know what competitors are showing up for users across town and in different zip codes. Sometimes, it will be possible to compete with these differently-located competitors, but not always. At any rate, our approach doesn’t cover this scenario and you will be stuck with either using tools (with their known inconsistencies), or sending the client across town to search from that locale. This could quickly become a large chore.

    Negatives aside, the positives of this very basic exercise are:

    • Instead of tying yourself to the limited vision of a single local pack and a single set of competitors, you are seeing a trend, a pattern of dominant market-wide competitors.
    • You will have swiftly arrived at a base set of dominant, strong, and noteworthy competitors to audit, with the above-stated goal of figuring out what’s helping them to win so that you can create a client strategy for emulating and surpassing them.
    • Your agency will have created a useful view of your client’s market, understanding the difference between businesses that seem very embedded (like Mi Casa) across multiple packs, vs. those (like Taco Bell) that are only one-offs and could possibly be easier to outpace.
    • You may discover some extremely valuable competitive intel for your client. For example, if Google is having to cast a 15-mile net to find an organic Mexican restaurant, what if your client started offering more organic items on their menu, writing more about this and getting more reviews that mention it? This will give Google a new option, right in town, to consider for local pack inclusion.
    • It’s really quite fast to do for a single-location business.
    • Client buy-in should be a snap for any research they’ve personally helped on, and the spreadsheet should be something they can intuitively and immediately understand.

    My questions for you

    I’d like to close by asking you some questions about your work doing competitive audits for local businesses. I’d be truly interested in your replies as we all work together to navigate the complex shape of Google’s SERPs:

    1. What percentage of your clients “get” that Google’s results have become so dynamic, with different competitors being shown for different queries and different packs being based on searcher location? What percentage of your clients are “there yet” with this concept vs. the old idea of just being #1, period?
    2. I’ve offered you a manual process for getting at trustworthy data on competitors, but as I’ve said, it does take some work. If something could automate this process for you, especially for multi-location clients, would you be interested in hearing more about it?
    3. How often do you do competitive audits for clients? Monthly? Every six months? Annually?

    Thanks for responding, and allow me to wish you and your clients a happy and empowering audit!

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    Reblogged 1 week ago from tracking.feedpress.it

    How to Design an SEO Quiz for Your Prospective SEO Manager

    Posted by KameronJenkins

    Use this guide to create an SEO skills test and hire the most qualified SEO Manager for your team!

    I was a new team lead. I knew the ins and outs of being a good SEO and a good content creator, but within my first month as a manager I faced a challenge I had never had to tackle before…

    Someone left and I had to find a backfill.

    I started desperately Googling things like “interview questions” and “what to look for in a new employee” but quickly realized that was too generic for what I needed. There was really no guidance available on what makes a good SEO manager. I had to wing it.

    What I wish I would have thought of back then was creating an SEO assessment. My organization had test projects for content developers based on writing prompts, but there was really nothing comparable to gauge a prospective SEO’s skillset.

    An assessment like this might be good for a second stage interview after your candidate has passed a basic round one interview. If you already know you like this person, the next step is to make sure they can walk the talk.

    What to cover in an SEO skills test

    There are so many things you could cover in an SEO quiz for your prospective new hire.

    Generally though, there are three main pillars that I think represent SEO well on the whole: technical (the foundation), content (the house), and links (authority — yeah, yeah… I couldn’t keep up with the house analogy).

    A good test of your prospective SEO manager’s skills should hit somewhere in the middle.

    Just keep in mind that, while I think this is a good representation of SEO on the whole, it’s not comprehensive. For example, local SEO isn’t addressed here, so if you run a local SEO agency then you could choose to focus on GMB optimization, NAP, etc. Cater your assessment to your unique needs.

    How to structure your SEO skills test

    There are three main types of SEO assessments that I’ve seen:

    1. The multiple choice test: These are the types of tests that ask things like “what’s a robots.txt file”? These tests gauge someone’s head knowledge (or their Googling prowess), but don’t gauge their practical, rubber-meets-the-road skills.
    2. The checklist: These types of tests give someone a list of tasks to see how well they’re able to perform them. For example, “change this title tag.” These tests stop short of gauging someone’s problem-solving abilities.
    3. The ambiguous audit: This might involve handing someone a website and saying “see what you can find.” These can be highly subjective: your candidate might focus on the “wrong” things (things you don’t care about your new hire knowing), and the candidate could just end up relying on tools to do a lot of the work for them.

    While all have their merits, none of them felt 100% appropriate for gauging a potential new hire’s SEO chops. That’s why I landed on a hybrid.

    You’re not just handing your prospect a website and saying “see what you find,” but you’re not just having them color-by-number either. What you’re doing is asking them guiding questions about a specific website, such as “what’s wrong with this?” “Why?” and “How would you fix it?”

    Setting them up for the test

    There are a few considerations you need to make before handing them the test and wishing them good luck. For example:

    • How much time do they have? Decide whether you want to bring your candidate in for a 3-hour window (good if you’re watching out for the Costanzas of the bunch) or whether they can take the assessment home and email it back by a certain date.
    • What website will they be evaluating? You’ll have to decide whether you’ll be giving them a website you control or picking a random website. If it’s a website you control, try not to choose an immaculate website — give them something to find.
    • What tools can they use? You might want to let them use their preferred auditing tools or you can suggest they use your team’s preferred tools (if you have any).
    • Will you pay them for their time? There are differing opinions on this, but if you’re giving them a project that you know will take more than a few hours (especially if you might end up using their findings to improve the website) I would consider paying them for their time.

    Content: Can your candidate discern high quality?

    This section will focus on gauging how well your candidate understands what type of content it takes to perform well in the search engines for particular queries.

    Here’s what I might suggest asking:

    1. Find the low-quality content on example.com and list some examples here. Why are they low quality?
    2. How would you recommend fixing the low-quality content? Why would that method work?

    This will show you if they have a good grasp of what search engines like Google consider low quality content, and what viable courses of action exist for remedying it.

    For example, you might expect to get back something like this:

    Example.com/page-two/ is low quality because it is a near-duplicate of example.com/page-one/. It’s also getting little-to-no organic traffic. If it’s necessary to keep /page-two/ on the website, you could add a rel=canonical to indicate which version of the pages is the primary/original. If /page-two/ needs to remain in the index, consider modifying the content so it’s unique. If it’s not necessary to keep /page-two/ on the website, consider 301 redirecting it to /page-one/.

    Again, you’re just looking for whether they understand what low-quality content is, how to find it, and how to address it.

    Other content-related questions you might want to consider asking:

    1. What topical gaps (if any) exist in this website’s content?
    2. What are some reasons their competitor’s content might be performing better?

    Links: Does your candidate know how to build authority & avoid penalties?

    This section would focus on gauging how well your prospective SEO Manager understands inbound links (backlinks) and their effect on a domain/page’s performance in search results. Again, without giving too much away, I would instruct them to:

    1. Find any inbound links that might be harming example.com’s performance. Why are they harmful?
    2. What action would you recommend taking to address the harmful inbound links? Why?

    For these types of questions, you might expect to get something back like this:

    Example.com has a number of inbound links utilizing exact-match anchor text that are not nofollow and appear to match Google’s definition of a link scheme, specifically “low-quality directory or bookmark site links.” They do not appear to be harming the site’s performance in search results, but you could add these links to their disavow file preemptively.

    Other link-related questions you could consider asking:

    1. What’s one strategy you would recommend using to help this site get more links? Why?
    2. Benchmark this site’s links against its competitors and list out any key insights you find.

    Technical: Does your candidate know what makes a strong website foundation?

    “Technical” is broad and not everyone agrees where the lines are drawn between technical and non-technical activities, but here, I’m using “technical” to refer to uncovering your prospective SEO Manager’s competence at diagnosing and fixing any barriers to crawling, issues with the indexing of a site’s content, areas for improving how a search engine understands the website, and areas for improving the user experience.

    1. Are there any crawl inefficiencies/problems with this website? If so, please describe what they are and how you would fix them.
    2. Are there any issues with how the pages appear in the index? If so, please describe what they are and how you would fix them.

    In response, you might expect to get an answer such as:

    As is common with many e-commerce websites, this one uses a faceted navigation. However, because these filters are open to crawlers, crawl budget is being wasted on non-unique, thin pages. Disallow crawlers from crawling non-valuable facets in robots.txt to save crawl budget.

    Other questions you might consider asking to gauge their technical chops:

    1. How does this site utilize (or fail to utilize) structured data? Why is that significant?
    2. What (if anything) is harming visitor experience on this website? How would you fix?

    The work doesn’t stop there…

    I hope these tips on developing an SEO assessment help not only make the hiring process easier, but help you get the best SEO talent you can — your team deserves it!

    But we also know that adding a new member to your SEO team involves so much more than this. You’ll need to work with your organization’s hiring manager to put together the job posting and you’ll also need to invest in training this new employee so they can hit the ground running quickly to start making an impact for your team.

    We hear ya — that’s why we also put together “The Agency’s Guide to Finding & Onboarding New SEO Managers” white paper.

    Download your free copy!

    If you’ve ever been tasked with finding, assessing, hiring, and training a new SEO manager, we’d love to hear from you! What methods have been successful for you in the past? What mistakes can you help others avoid? Share them in the comments.

    Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

    Reblogged 3 weeks ago from tracking.feedpress.it

    The One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 2: Keyword Research – Whiteboard Friday

    Posted by randfish

    Before doing any SEO work, it’s important to get a handle on your keyword research. Aside from helping to inform your strategy and structure your content, you’ll get to know the needs of your searchers, the search demand landscape of the SERPs, and what kind of competition you’re up against.

    In the second part of the One-Hour Guide to SEO, the inimitable Rand Fishkin covers what you need to know about the keyword research process, from understanding its goals to building your own keyword universe map. Enjoy!

    Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

    Video Transcription

    Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another portion of our special edition of Whiteboard Friday, the One-Hour Guide to SEO. This is Part II – Keyword Research. Hopefully you’ve already seen our SEO strategy session from last week. What we want to do in keyword research is talk about why keyword research is required. Why do I have to do this task prior to doing any SEO work?

    The answer is fairly simple. If you don’t know which words and phrases people type into Google or YouTube or Amazon or Bing, whatever search engine you’re optimizing for, you’re not going to be able to know how to structure your content. You won’t be able to get into the searcher’s brain, into their head to imagine and empathize with them what they actually want from your content. You probably won’t do correct targeting, which will mean your competitors, who are doing keyword research, are choosing wise search phrases, wise words and terms and phrases that searchers are actually looking for, and you might be unfortunately optimizing for words and phrases that no one is actually looking for or not as many people are looking for or that are much more difficult than what you can actually rank for.

    The goals of keyword research

    So let’s talk about some of the big-picture goals of keyword research. 

    Understand the search demand landscape so you can craft more optimal SEO strategies

    First off, we are trying to understand the search demand landscape so we can craft better SEO strategies. Let me just paint a picture for you.

    I was helping a startup here in Seattle, Washington, a number of years ago — this was probably a couple of years ago — called Crowd Cow. Crowd Cow is an awesome company. They basically will deliver beef from small ranchers and small farms straight to your doorstep. I personally am a big fan of steak, and I don’t really love the quality of the stuff that I can get from the store. I don’t love the mass-produced sort of industry around beef. I think there are a lot of Americans who feel that way. So working with small ranchers directly, where they’re sending it straight from their farms, is kind of an awesome thing.

    But when we looked at the SEO picture for Crowd Cow, for this company, what we saw was that there was more search demand for competitors of theirs, people like Omaha Steaks, which you might have heard of. There was more search demand for them than there was for “buy steak online,” “buy beef online,” and “buy rib eye online.” Even things like just “shop for steak” or “steak online,” these broad keyword phrases, the branded terms of their competition had more search demand than all of the specific keywords, the unbranded generic keywords put together.

    That is a very different picture from a world like “soccer jerseys,” where I spent a little bit of keyword research time today looking, and basically the brand names in that field do not have nearly as much search volume as the generic terms for soccer jerseys and custom soccer jerseys and football clubs’ particular jerseys. Those generic terms have much more volume, which is a totally different kind of SEO that you’re doing. One is very, “Oh, we need to build our brand. We need to go out into this marketplace and create demand.” The other one is, “Hey, we need to serve existing demand already.”

    So you’ve got to understand your search demand landscape so that you can present to your executive team and your marketing team or your client or whoever it is, hey, this is what the search demand landscape looks like, and here’s what we can actually do for you. Here’s how much demand there is. Here’s what we can serve today versus we need to grow our brand.

    Create a list of terms and phrases that match your marketing goals and are achievable in rankings

    The next goal of keyword research, we want to create a list of terms and phrases that we can then use to match our marketing goals and achieve rankings. We want to make sure that the rankings that we promise, the keywords that we say we’re going to try and rank for actually have real demand and we can actually optimize for them and potentially rank for them. Or in the case where that’s not true, they’re too difficult or they’re too hard to rank for. Or organic results don’t really show up in those types of searches, and we should go after paid or maps or images or videos or some other type of search result.

    Prioritize keyword investments so you do the most important, high-ROI work first

    We also want to prioritize those keyword investments so we’re doing the most important work, the highest ROI work in our SEO universe first. There’s no point spending hours and months going after a bunch of keywords that if we had just chosen these other ones, we could have achieved much better results in a shorter period of time.

    Match keywords to pages on your site to find the gaps

    Finally, we want to take all the keywords that matter to us and match them to the pages on our site. If we don’t have matches, we need to create that content. If we do have matches but they are suboptimal, not doing a great job of answering that searcher’s query, well, we need to do that work as well. If we have a page that matches but we haven’t done our keyword optimization, which we’ll talk a little bit more about in a future video, we’ve got to do that too.

    Understand the different varieties of search results

    So an important part of understanding how search engines work — we’re going to start down here and then we’ll come back up — is to have this understanding that when you perform a query on a mobile device or a desktop device, Google shows you a vast variety of results. Ten or fifteen years ago this was not the case. We searched 15 years ago for “soccer jerseys,” what did we get? Ten blue links. I think, unfortunately, in the minds of many search marketers and many people who are unfamiliar with SEO, they still think of it that way. How do I rank number one? The answer is, well, there are a lot of things “number one” can mean today, and we need to be careful about what we’re optimizing for.

    So if I search for “soccer jersey,” I get these shopping results from Macy’s and soccer.com and all these other places. Google sort has this sliding box of sponsored shopping results. Then they’ve got advertisements below that, notated with this tiny green ad box. Then below that, there are couple of organic results, what we would call classic SEO, 10 blue links-style organic results. There are two of those. Then there’s a box of maps results that show me local soccer stores in my region, which is a totally different kind of optimization, local SEO. So you need to make sure that you understand and that you can convey that understanding to everyone on your team that these different kinds of results mean different types of SEO.

    Now I’ve done some work recently over the last few years with a company called Jumpshot. They collect clickstream data from millions of browsers around the world and millions of browsers here in the United States. So they are able to provide some broad overview numbers collectively across the billions of searches that are performed on Google every day in the United States.

    Click-through rates differ between mobile and desktop

    The click-through rates look something like this. For mobile devices, on average, paid results get 8.7% of all clicks, organic results get about 40%, a little under 40% of all clicks, and zero-click searches, where a searcher performs a query but doesn’t click anything, Google essentially either answers the results in there or the searcher is so unhappy with the potential results that they don’t bother taking anything, that is 62%. So the vast majority of searches on mobile are no-click searches.

    On desktop, it’s a very different story. It’s sort of inverted. So paid is 5.6%. I think people are a little savvier about which result they should be clicking on desktop. Organic is 65%, so much, much higher than mobile. Zero-click searches is 34%, so considerably lower.

    There are a lot more clicks happening on a desktop device. That being said, right now we think it’s around 60–40, meaning 60% of queries on Google, at least, happen on mobile and 40% happen on desktop, somewhere in those ranges. It might be a little higher or a little lower.

    The search demand curve

    Another important and critical thing to understand about the keyword research universe and how we do keyword research is that there’s a sort of search demand curve. So for any given universe of keywords, there is essentially a small number, maybe a few to a few dozen keywords that have millions or hundreds of thousands of searches every month. Something like “soccer” or “Seattle Sounders,” those have tens or hundreds of thousands, even millions of searches every month in the United States.

    But people searching for “Sounders FC away jersey customizable,” there are very, very few searches per month, but there are millions, even billions of keywords like this. 

    The long-tail: millions of keyword terms and phrases, low number of monthly searches

    When Sundar Pichai, Google’s current CEO, was testifying before Congress just a few months ago, he told Congress that around 20% of all searches that Google receives each day they have never seen before. No one has ever performed them in the history of the search engines. I think maybe that number is closer to 18%. But that is just a remarkable sum, and it tells you about what we call the long tail of search demand, essentially tons and tons of keywords, millions or billions of keywords that are only searched for 1 time per month, 5 times per month, 10 times per month.

    The chunky middle: thousands or tens of thousands of keywords with ~50–100 searches per month

    If you want to get into this next layer, what we call the chunky middle in the SEO world, this is where there are thousands or tens of thousands of keywords potentially in your universe, but they only have between say 50 and a few hundred searches per month.

    The fat head: a very few keywords with hundreds of thousands or millions of searches

    Then this fat head has only a few keywords. There’s only one keyword like “soccer” or “soccer jersey,” which is actually probably more like the chunky middle, but it has hundreds of thousands or millions of searches. The fat head is higher competition and broader intent.

    Searcher intent and keyword competition

    What do I mean by broader intent? That means when someone performs a search for “soccer,” you don’t know what they’re looking for. The likelihood that they want a customizable soccer jersey right that moment is very, very small. They’re probably looking for something much broader, and it’s hard to know exactly their intent.

    However, as you drift down into the chunky middle and into the long tail, where there are more keywords but fewer searches for each keyword, your competition gets much lower. There are fewer people trying to compete and rank for those, because they don’t know to optimize for them, and there’s more specific intent. “Customizable Sounders FC away jersey” is very clear. I know exactly what I want. I want to order a customizable jersey from the Seattle Sounders away, the particular colors that the away jersey has, and I want to be able to put my logo on there or my name on the back of it, what have you. So super specific intent.

    Build a map of your own keyword universe

    As a result, you need to figure out what the map of your universe looks like so that you can present that, and you need to be able to build a list that looks something like this. You should at the end of the keyword research process — we featured a screenshot from Moz’s Keyword Explorer, which is a tool that I really like to use and I find super helpful whenever I’m helping companies, even now that I have left Moz and been gone for a year, I still sort of use Keyword Explorer because the volume data is so good and it puts all the stuff together. However, there are two or three other tools that a lot of people like, one from Ahrefs, which I think also has the name Keyword Explorer, and one from SEMrush, which I like although some of the volume numbers, at least in the United States, are not as good as what I might hope for. There are a number of other tools that you could check out as well. A lot of people like Google Trends, which is totally free and interesting for some of that broad volume data.

    

    So I might have terms like “soccer jersey,” “Sounders FC jersey”, and “custom soccer jersey Seattle Sounders.” Then I’ll have these columns: 

    • Volume, because I want to know how many people search for it; 
    • Difficulty, how hard will it be to rank. If it’s super difficult to rank and I have a brand-new website and I don’t have a lot of authority, well, maybe I should target some of these other ones first that are lower difficulty. 
    • Organic Click-through Rate, just like we talked about back here, there are different levels of click-through rate, and the tools, at least Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool uses Jumpshot data on a per keyword basis to estimate what percent of people are going to click the organic results. Should you optimize for it? Well, if the click-through rate is only 60%, pretend that instead of 100 searches, this only has 60 or 60 available searches for your organic clicks. Ninety-five percent, though, great, awesome. All four of those monthly searches are available to you.
    • Business Value, how useful is this to your business? 
    • Then set some type of priority to determine. So I might look at this list and say, “Hey, for my new soccer jersey website, this is the most important keyword. I want to go after “custom soccer jersey” for each team in the U.S., and then I’ll go after team jersey, and then I’ll go after “customizable away jerseys.” Then maybe I’ll go after “soccer jerseys,” because it’s just so competitive and so difficult to rank for. There’s a lot of volume, but the search intent is not as great. The business value to me is not as good, all those kinds of things.
    • Last, but not least, I want to know the types of searches that appear — organic, paid. Do images show up? Does shopping show up? Does video show up? Do maps results show up? If those other types of search results, like we talked about here, show up in there, I can do SEO to appear in those places too. That could yield, in certain keyword universes, a strategy that is very image centric or very video centric, which means I’ve got to do a lot of work on YouTube, or very map centric, which means I’ve got to do a lot of local SEO, or other kinds like this.

    Once you build a keyword research list like this, you can begin the prioritization process and the true work of creating pages, mapping the pages you already have to the keywords that you’ve got, and optimizing in order to rank. We’ll talk about that in Part III next week. Take care.

    Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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    5 Google Business Profile Tweaks To Improve Foot Traffic

    Posted by MiriamEllis

    Your agency recommends all kinds of useful tactics to help improve the local SEO for your local business clients, but how many of those techniques are leveraging Google Business Profile (GBP) to attract as many walk-ins as possible?

    Today, I’m sharing five GBP tweaks worthy of implementation to help turn digital traffic into foot traffic. I’ve ordered them from easiest to hardest, but as you’ll see, even the more difficult ones aren’t actually very daunting — all the more reason to try them out!

    1) Answer Google Q&A quickly (they might be leads)

    Difficulty level: Easy

    If you have automotive industry clients, chances you’re familiar with Greg Gifford from DealerOn. At a recent local search conference, Greg shared that 40 percent of the Google Q&A questions his clients receive are actually leads

    40 percent!

    Here’s what that looks like in Google’s Q&A:

    It looks like Coast Nissan has a customer who is ready to walk through the door if they receive an answer. But as you can see, the question has gone unanswered. Note, too, that four people have thumbed the question up, which signifies a shared interest in a potential answer, but it’s still not making it onto the radar of this particular dealership.

    Nearly all verticals could have overlooked leads sitting in their GBPs — from questions about dietary options at a restaurant, to whether a retailer stocks a product, to queries about ADA compliance or available parking. Every ask represents a possible lead, and in a competitive retail landscape, who can afford to ignore such an opportunity?

    The easiest way for Google My Business (GMB) listing owners and managers to get notified of new questions is via the Google Maps App, as notifications are not yet part of the main GMB dashboard. This will help you catch questions as they arise. The faster your client responds to incoming queries, the better their chances of winning the foot traffic.

    2) Post about your proximity to nearby major attractions

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Imagine someone has just spent the morning at a museum, a landmark, park, or theatre. After exploring, perhaps they want to go to lunch, go apparel shopping, find a gas station, or a bookstore near them. A well-positioned Google Post, like the one below, can guide them right to your client’s door:

    This could become an especially strong draw for foot traffic if Google expands its experiment of showing Posts’ snippets not just in the Business Profile and Local Finder, but within local packs:

    Posting is so easy — there’s no reason not to give it a try. Need help getting your client started? Here’s Google’s intro and here’s an interview I did last year with Joel Headley on using Google Posts to boost bookings and conversions.

    3) Turn GBPs into storefronts

    Difficulty level: Easy for retailers

    With a little help from SWIS and Pointy, your retail clients’ GBPs can become the storefront window that beckons in highly-converting foot traffic. Your client’s “See What’s In Store inventory” appears within the Business Profile, letting customers know the business has the exact merchandise they’re looking for:

    Pointy is Google’s launch partner for this game-changing GBP feature. I recently interviewed CEO Mark Cummins regarding the ultra-simple Pointy device which makes it a snap for nearly all retailers to instantly bring their inventory online — without the fuss of traditional e-commerce systems and at a truly nominal cost.

    I’ll reiterate my prediction that SWIS is the “next big thing” in local, and when last I spoke with Mark, one percent of all US retailers had already adopted his product. Encourage your retail clients to sign up and give them an amazing competitive edge on driving foot traffic!

    4) Make your profile pic a selfie hotspot

    Difficulty level: Medium (feasible for many storefronts)

    When a client has a physical premise (and community ordinances permit it), an exterior mural can turn through traffic into foot traffic — it also helps to convert Instagram selfie-takers into customers. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, a modest investment in this strategy could appeal to the 43–58 percent of survey respondents who are swayed to shop in locations that are visually appealing.

    If a large outdoor mural isn’t possible, there’s plenty of inspiration for smaller indoor murals, here

    Once the client has made the investment in providing a cultural experience for the community, they can try experimenting with getting the artwork placed as the cover photo on their GBP — anyone looking at a set of competitors in a given area will see this appealing, extra reason to choose their business over others.

    Mark my words, local search marketers: We are on the verge of seeing Americans reject the constricted label of “consumer” in a quest for a more holistic view of themselves as whole persons. Local businesses that integrate art, culture, and community life into their business models will be well-placed to answer what, in my view, is a growing desire for authentic human experiences. As a local search marketer, myself, this is a topic I plan to explore further this year.

    5) Putting time on your side

    Difficulty level: Medium (feasible for willing clients)

    Here’s a pet peeve of mine: businesses that serve working people but are only open 9–5. How can your client’s foot traffic achieve optimum levels if their doors are only open when everybody is at work?

    So, here’s the task: Do a quick audit of the hours posted on the GBPs of your client’s direct competitors. For example, I found three craft shops in one small city with these hours:

    Guess which competitor is getting all of the business after 6 PM every day of the week, when most people are off work and able to shop?

    Now, it may well be that some of your smaller clients are already working as many hours as they can, but have they explored whether their hours are actually ideal for their customers’ needs and whether any time slots aren’t being filled in the community by their competitors? What if, instead of operating under the traditional 9–5, your client switched to 11–7, since no other competitor in town is open after 5 PM? It’s the same number of hours and your client would benefit from getting all the foot traffic of the 9–5-ers.

    Alternatively, instead of closing on Saturdays, the business closed on Mondays — perhaps this is the slowest of their weekdays? Being open on the weekend could mean that the average worker can now access said business and become a customer.

    It will take some openness to change, but if a business agrees to implementation, don’t forget to update the GMB hours and push out the new hours to the major citation platforms via a service like Moz Local

    Your turn to add your best GMB moves

    I hope you’ll take some of these simple GBP tips to an upcoming client meeting. And if they decide to forge ahead with your tips, be sure to monitor the outcomes! How great if a simple audit of hours turned into a foot traffic win for your client? 

     In the meantime, if you have any favorite techniques, hacks, or easy GMB wins to share with our community, I’d love to read your comments!

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    Affordable, Stat-Based Retail Strategy For Your Agency’s Clients

    Posted by MiriamEllis

    Retail clients are battling tough economics offline and tough competitors online. They need every bit of help your agency can give them. 

    I was heartened when 75 percent of the 1,400+ respondents to the Moz State of Local SEO Industry Report 2019 shared that they contribute to offline strategy recommendations either frequently or at least some of the time. I can’t think of a market where good and relatively inexpensive experiments are more needed than in embattled retail. The ripple effect of a single new idea, offered up generously, can spread out to encompass new revenue streams for the client and new levels of retention for your agency.

    And that’s why win-win seemed written all over three statistics from a 2018 Yes Marketing retail survey when I read it because they speak to motivating about one quarter to half of 1,000 polled customers without going to any extreme expense. Take a look:

    I highly recommend downloading Yes Marketing’s complete survey which is chock-full of great data, but today, let’s look at just three valuable stats from it to come up with an actionable strategy you can gift your offline retail clients at your next meeting.

    Getting it right: A little market near me

    For the past 16 years, I’ve been observing the local business scene with a combination of professional scrutiny and personal regard. I’m inspired by businesses that open and thrive and am saddened by those that open and close.

    Right now, I’m especially intrigued by a very small, independently-owned grocery store which set up shop last year in what I’ll lovingly describe as a rural, half-a-horse town not far from me. This locale has a single main street with less than 20 businesses on it, but I’m predicting the shop’s ultimate success based on several factors. A strong one is that the community is flanked by several much larger towns with lots of through traffic and the market is several miles from any competitor. But other factors which match point-for-point with the data in the Yes Marketing survey make me feel especially confident that this small business is going to “get it right”. 

    Encourage your retail clients to explore the following tips.

    1) The store is visually appealing

    43–58 percent of Yes Marketing’s surveyed retail customers say they’d be motivated to shop with a retailer who has cool product displays, murals, etc. Retail shoppers of all ages are seeking appealing experiences.

    At the market near me, there are many things going on in its favor. The building is historic on the outside and full of natural light on this inside, and the staff sets up creative displays, such as all of the ingredients you need to make a hearty winter soup gathered up on a vintage table. The Instagram crowd can have selfie fun here, and more mature customers will appreciate the aesthetic simplicity of this uncluttered, human-scale shopping experience.

    For your retail clients, it won’t break the bank to become more visually appealing. Design cues are everywhere!

    Share these suggestions with a worthy client:

    Basic cleanliness is the starting point

    This is an old survey, but I think we’re safe to say that at least 45 percent of retail customers are still put off by dirty premises — especially restrooms. Janitorial duties are already built into the budget of most businesses and only need to be accomplished properly. I continuously notice how many reviewers proclaim the word “clean” when a business deserves it.

    Inspiration is affordable

    Whatever employees are already being paid is the cost of engaging them to lend their creativity to creating merchandise displays that draw attention and/or solve problems. My hearty winter soup example is one idea (complete with boxed broth, pasta, veggies, bowls, and cookware). 

    For your retail client? It might be everything a consumer needs to recover from a cold (medicine, citrus fruit, electric blanket, herbal tea, tissue, a paperback, a sympathetic stuffed animal, etc.). Or everything one needs to winterize a car, take a trip to a beach, build a beautiful window box, or pamper a pet. Retailers can inexpensively encourage the hidden artistic talents in staff.

    Feeling stuck? The Internet is full of free retail display tips, design magazines cost a few bucks, and your clients’ cable bills already cover a subscription to channels like HGTV and the DIY network that trade on style. A client who knows that interior designers are all using grey-and-white palettes and that one TV ad after another features women wearing denim blue with aspen yellow right now is well on their way to catching customers’ eyes.

    Aspiring artists live near your client and need work

    The national average cost to have a large wall mural professionally painted is about $8,000, with much less expensive options available. Some retailers even hold contests surrounding logo design, and an artist near your client may work quite inexpensively if they are trying to build up their portfolio. I can’t predict how long the Instagram mural trend will last, but wall art has been a crowd-pleaser since Paleolithic times. Any shopper who stops to snap a photo of themselves has been brought in close proximity to your front door.

    I pulled this word cloud out of the reviews of the little grocery store:

    While your clients’ industries and aesthetics will vary, tell them they can aim for a similar, positive response from at least 49 percent of their customers with a little more care put into the shopping environment.

    2) The store offers additional services beyond the sale of products

    19–40 percent of survey respondents are influenced by value-adds. Doubtless, you’ve seen the TV commercials in which banks double as coffee houses to appeal to the young, and small hardware chains emphasize staff expertise over loneliness in a warehouse. That’s what this is all about, and it can be done at a smaller scale, without overly-strapping your retail clients.

    At the market near me, reviews like this are coming in:

    The market has worked out a very economic arrangement with a massage therapist, who can build up their clientele out of the deal, so it’s a win for everybody.

    For your retail clients, sharing these examples could inspire appealing added services:

    The cost of these efforts is either the salary of an employee, nominal or free.

    3) The store hosts local events

    20–36 percent of customers feel the appeal of retailers becoming destinations for things to learn and do. Coincidentally, this corresponds with two of the tasks Google dubbed micro-moments a couple of years back, and while not everyone loves that terminology, we can at least agree that large numbers of people use the Internet to discover local resources.

    At the market near me, they’re doing open-mic readings, and this is a trend in many cities to which Google Calendar attests:

    For your clients, the last two words of that event description are key. When there’s a local wish to build community, retail businesses can lend the space and the stage. This can look like:

    Again, costs here can be quite modest and you’ll be bringing the community together under the banner of your business.

    Putting it in writing

    The last item on the budget for any of these ventures is whatever it costs to publicize it. For sure, your client will want:

    • A homepage announcement and/or one or more blog posts
    • Google Posts, Q&A, photos and related features
    • Social mentions
    • If the concept is large enough (or the community is small) some outreach to local news in hopes of a write-up and inclusion of local/social calendars
    • Link building would be great if the client can afford a reasonable investment in your services, where necessary
    • And, of course, be sure your client’s local business listings are accurate so that newcomers aren’t getting lost on their way to finding the cool new offering

    Getting the word out about events, features, and other desirable attributes don’t have to be exorbitant, but it will put the finishing touch on ensuring a community knows the business is ready to offer the desired experience.

    Seeing opportunity

    Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in a client meeting and things will be a bit flat. Maybe the client has been disengaged from your contract lately, or sales have been leveling out for lack of new ideas. That’s the perfect time to put something fresh on the table, demonstrating that you’re thinking about the client’s whole picture beyond CTR and citations.

    One thing that I find to be an inspiring practice for agencies is to do an audit of competitors’ reviews looking for “holes” In many communities, shopping is really dull and reviews reflect that, with few shoppers feeling genuinely excited by a particular vertical’s local offerings. Your client could be the one to change that, with a little extra attention from you.

    Every possibility won’t be the perfect match for every business, but if you can help the company see a new opportunity, the few minutes spent brainstorming could benefit you both.

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    14 SEO Predictions for 2019 & Beyond, as Told by Mozzers

    Posted by TheMozTeam

    With the new year in full swing and an already busy first quarter, our 2019 predictions for SEO in the new year are hopping onto the scene a little late — but fashionably so, we hope. From an explosion of SERP features to increased monetization to the key drivers of search this year, our SEO experts have consulted their crystal balls (read: access to mountains of data and in-depth analyses) and made their predictions. Read on for an exhaustive list of fourteen things to watch out for in search from our very own Dr. Pete, Britney Muller, Rob Bucci, Russ Jones, and Miriam Ellis!

    1. Answers will drive search

    People Also Ask boxes exploded in 2018, and featured snippets have expanded into both multifaceted and multi-snippet versions. Google wants to answer questions, it wants to answer them across as many devices as possible, and it will reward sites with succinct, well-structured answers. Focus on answers that naturally leave visitors wanting more and establish your brand and credibility. [Dr. Peter J. Meyers]

    Further reading:

    2. Voice search will continue to be utterly useless for optimization

    Optimizing for voice search will still be no more than optimizing for featured snippets, and conversions from voice will remain a dark box. [Russ Jones]

    Further reading:

    3. Mobile is table stakes

    This is barely a prediction. If your 2019 plan is to finally figure out mobile, you’re already too late. Almost all Google features are designed with mobile-first in mind, and the mobile-first index has expanded rapidly in the past few months. Get your mobile house (not to be confused with your mobile home) in order as soon as you can. [Dr. Peter J. Meyers]

    Further reading:

    4. Further SERP feature intrusions in organic search

    Expect Google to find more and more ways to replace organic with solutions that keep users on Google’s property. This includes interactive SERP features that replace, slowly but surely, many website offerings in the same way that live scores, weather, and flights have. [Russ Jones]

    Further reading:

    5. Video will dominate niches

    Featured Videos, Video Carousels, and Suggested Clips (where Google targets specific content in a video) are taking over the how-to spaces. As Google tests search appliances with screens, including Home Hub, expect video to dominate instructional and DIY niches. [Dr. Peter J. Meyers]

    Further reading:

    6. SERPs will become more interactive

    We’ve seen the start of interactive SERPs with People Also Ask Boxes. Depending on which question you expand, two to three new questions will generate below that directly pertain to your expanded question. This real-time engagement keeps people on the SERP longer and helps Google better understand what a user is seeking. [Britney Muller]

    Further reading:

    7. Local SEO: Google will continue getting up in your business — literally

    Google will continue asking more and more intimate questions about your business to your customers. Does this business have gender-neutral bathrooms? Is this business accessible? What is the atmosphere like? How clean is it? What kind of lighting do they have? And so on. If Google can acquire accurate, real-world information about your business (your percentage of repeat customers via geocaching, price via transaction history, etc.) they can rely less heavily on website signals and provide more accurate results to searchers. [Britney Muller]

    Further reading:

    8. Business proximity-to-searcher will remain a top local ranking factor

    In Moz’s recent State of Local SEO report, the majority of respondents agreed that Google’s focus on the proximity of a searcher to local businesses frequently emphasizes distance over quality in the local SERPs. I predict that we’ll continue to see this heavily weighting the results in 2019. On the one hand, hyper-localized results can be positive, as they allow a diversity of businesses to shine for a given search. On the other hand, with the exception of urgent situations, most people would prefer to see best options rather than just closest ones. [Miriam Ellis]

    Further reading:

    9. Local SEO: Google is going to increase monetization

    Look to see more of the local and maps space monetized uniquely by Google both through Adwords and potentially new lead-gen models. This space will become more and more competitive. [Russ Jones]

    Further reading:

    10. Monetization tests for voice

    Google and Amazon have been moving towards voice-supported displays in hopes of better monetizing voice. It will be interesting to see their efforts to get displays in homes and how they integrate the display advertising. Bold prediction: Amazon will provide sleep-mode display ads similar to how Kindle currently displays them today. [Britney Muller]

    11. Marketers will place a greater focus on the SERPs

    I expect we’ll see a greater focus on the analysis of SERPs as Google does more to give people answers without them having to leave the search results. We’re seeing more and more vertical search engines like Google Jobs, Google Flights, Google Hotels, Google Shopping. We’re also seeing more in-depth content make it onto the SERP than ever in the form of featured snippets, People Also Ask boxes, and more. With these new developments, marketers are increasingly going to want to report on their general brand visibility within the SERPs, not just their website ranking. It’s going to be more important than ever for people to be measuring all the elements within a SERP, not just their own ranking. [Rob Bucci]

    Further reading:

    12. Targeting topics will be more productive than targeting queries

    2019 is going to be another year in which we see the emphasis on individual search queries start to decline, as people focus more on clusters of queries around topics. People Also Ask queries have made the importance of topics much more obvious to the SEO industry. With PAAs, Google is clearly illustrating that they think about searcher experience in terms of a searcher’s satisfaction across an entire topic, not just a specific search query. With this in mind, we can expect SEOs to more and more want to see their search queries clustered into topics so they can measure their visibility and the competitive landscape across these clusters. [Rob Bucci]

    Further reading:

    13. Linked unstructured citations will receive increasing focus

    I recently conducted a small study in which there was a 75% correlation between organic and local pack rank. Linked unstructured citations (the mention of partial or complete business information + a link on any type of relevant website) are a means of improving organic rankings which underpin local rankings. They can also serve as a non-Google dependent means of driving traffic and leads. Anything you’re not having to pay Google for will become increasingly precious. Structured citations on key local business listing platforms will remain table stakes, but competitive local businesses will need to focus on unstructured data to move the needle. [Miriam Ellis]

    Further reading:

    14. Reviews will remain a competitive difference-maker

    A Google rep recently stated that about one-third of local searches are made with the intent of reading reviews. This is huge. Local businesses that acquire and maintain a good and interactive reputation on the web will have a critical advantage over brands that ignore reviews as fundamental to customer service. Competitive local businesses will earn, monitor, respond to, and analyze the sentiment of their review corpus. [Miriam Ellis]

    Further reading:

    We’ve heard from Mozzers, and now we want to hear from you. What have you seen so far in 2019 that’s got your SEO Spidey senses tingling? What trends are you capitalizing on and planning for? Let us know in the comments below (and brag to friends and colleagues when your prediction comes true in the next 6–10 months). 😉

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    People Ask Their Most Pressing SEO Questions — Our Experts Answer

    Posted by TheMozTeam

    We teamed up with our friends at Duda, a website design scaling platform service, who asked their agency customers to divulge their most pressing SEO questions, quandaries, and concerns. Our in-house SEO experts, always down for a challenge, hunkered down to collaborate on providing them with answers. From Schema.org to voice search to local targeting, we’re tackling real-world questions about organic search. Read on for digestible insights and further resources!


    How do you optimize for international markets?

    International sites can be multi-regional, multilingual, or both. The website setup will differ depending on that classification.

    • Multi-regional sites are those that target audiences from multiple countries. For example: a site that targets users in the U.S. and the U.K.
    • Multilingual sites are those that target speakers of multiple languages. For example, a site that targets both English and Spanish-speakers.

    To geo-target sections of your site to different countries, you can use a country-specific domain (ccTLD) such as “.de” for Germany or subdomains/subdirectories on generic TLDs such as “example.com/de.”

    For different language versions of your content, Google recommends using different URLs rather than using cookies to change the language of the content on the page. If you do this, make use of the hreflang tag to tell Google about alternate language versions of the page.

    For more information on internationalization, visit Google’s “Managing multi-regional and multilingual sites” or Moz’s guide to international SEO.


    How do we communicate to clients that SEO projects need ongoing maintenance work?

    If your client is having difficulty understanding SEO as a continuous effort, rather than a one-and-done task, it can be helpful to highlight the changing nature of the web.

    Say you created enough quality content and earned enough links to that content to earn yourself a spot at the top of page one. Because organic placement is earned and not paid for, you don’t have to keep paying to maintain that placement on page one. However, what happens when a competitor comes along with better content that has more links than your content? Because Google wants to surface the highest quality content, your page’s rankings will likely suffer in favor of this better page.

    Maybe it’s not a competitor that depreciates your site’s rankings. Maybe new technology comes along and now your page is outdated or even broken in some areas.

    Or how about pages that are ranking highly in search results, only to get crowded out by a featured snippet, a Knowledge Panel, Google Ads, or whatever the latest SERP feature is?

    Set-it-and-forget-it is not an option. Your competitors are always on your heels, technology is always changing, and Google is constantly changing the search experience.

    SEO specialists are here to ensure you stay at the forefront of all these changes because the cost of inaction is often the loss of previously earned organic visibility.


    How do I see what subpages Google delivers on a search? (Such as when the main page shows an assortment of subpages below the result, via an indent.)

    Sometimes, as part of a URL’s result snippet, Google will list additional subpages from that domain beneath the main title-url-description. These are called organic sitelinks. Site owners have no control over when and which URLs Google chooses to show here aside from deleting or NoIndexing the page from the site.

    If you’re tracking keywords in a Moz Pro Campaign, you have the ability to see which SERP features (including sitelinks) your pages appear in.

    The Moz Keyword Explorer research tool also allows you to view SERP features by keyword:


    What are the best techniques for analyzing competitors?

    One of the best ways to begin a competitor analysis is by identifying the URLs on your competitor’s site that you’re directly competing with. The idea of analyzing an entire website against your own can be overwhelming, so start with the areas of direct competition.

    For example, if you’re targeting the keyword “best apple pie recipes,” identify the top ranking URL(s) for that particular query and evaluate them against your apple pie recipe page.

    You should consider comparing qualities such as:

    Moz also created the metrics Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) to help website owners better understand their ranking ability compared to their competitors. For example, if your URL has a PA of 35 and your competitor’s URL has a PA of 40, it’s likely that their URL will rank more favorably in search results.

    Competitor analysis is a great benchmarking tool and can give you great ideas for your own strategies, but remember, if your only strategy is emulation, the best you’ll ever be is the second-best version of your competitors!


    As an SEO agency, can you put a backlink to your website on clients’ pages without getting a Google penalty? (Think the Google Penguin update.)

    Many website design and digital marketing agencies add a link to their website in the footer of all their clients’ websites (usually via their logo or brand name). Google says in their quality guidelines that “creating links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines” and they use the example of “widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites.” This does not mean that all such footer links are a violation of Google’s guidelines. What it does mean is that these links have to be vouched for by the site’s owner. For example, an agency cannot require this type of link on their clients’ websites as part of their terms of service or contract. You must allow your client the choice of using nofollow or removing the link.

    The fourth update of the Google Penguin algorithm was rolled into Google’s core algorithm in September of 2016. This new “gentler” algorithm, described in the Google Algorithm Change History, devalues unnatural links, rather than penalizing sites, but link schemes that violate Google’s quality guidelines should still be avoided.


    We’re working on a new website. How do we communicate the value of SEO to our customers?

    When someone searches a word or phrase related to a business, good SEO ensures that the business’s website shows up prominently in the organic (non-ad) search results, that their result is informative and enticing enough to prompt searchers to click, and that the visitor has a positive experience with the website. In other words, good SEO helps a website get found, get chosen, and convert new business.

    That’s done through activities that fall into three main categories:

    • Content: Website content should be written to address your audience’s needs at all stages of their purchase journey: from top-of-funnel, informational content to bottom-of-funnel, I-want-to-buy content. Search engine optimized content is really just content that is written around the topics your audience wants and in the formats they want it, with the purpose of converting or assisting conversions.
    • Links: Earning links to your web content from high-quality, relevant websites not only helps Google find your content, it signals that your site is trustworthy.
    • Accessibility: Ensuring that your website and its content can be found and understood by both search engines and people. A strong technical foundation also increases the likelihood that visitors to the website have a positive experience on any device.

    Why is SEO valuable? Simply put, it’s one more place to get in front of people who need the products or services you offer. With 40–60 billion Google searches in the US every month, and more than 41% / 62% (mobile / desktop) of clicks going to organic, it’s an investment you can’t afford to ignore.


    How do you optimize for voice search? Where do you find phrases used via tools like Google Analytics?

    Google doesn’t yet separate out voice query data from text query data, but many queries don’t change drastically with the medium (speaking vs. typing the question), so the current keyword data we have can still be a valuable way to target voice searchers. It’s important here to draw the distinction between voice search (“Hey Google, where is the Space Needle?”) and voice commands (ex: “Hey Google, tell me about my day”) — the latter are not queries, but rather spoken tasks that certain voice assistant devices will respond to. These voice commands differ from what we’d type, but they are not the same as a search query.

    Voice assistant devices typically pull their answers to informational queries from their Knowledge Graph or from the top of organic search results, which is often a featured snippet. That’s why one of the best ways to go after voice queries is to capture featured snippets.

    If you’re a local business, it’s also important to have your GMB data completely and accurately filled out, as this can influence the results Google surfaces for voice assistance like, “Hey Google, find me a pizza place near me that’s open now.”


    Should my clients use a service such as Yext? Do they work? Is it worth it?

    Automated listings management can be hugely helpful, but there are some genuine pain points with Yext, in particular. These include pricing (very expensive) and the fact that Yext charges customers to push their data to many directories that see little, if any, human use. Most importantly, local business owners need to understand that Yext is basically putting a paid layer of good data over the top of bad data — sweeping dirt under the carpet, you might say. Once you stop paying Yext, they pull up the carpet and there’s all your dirt again. By contrast, services like Moz Local (automated citation management) and Whitespark (manual citation management) correct your bad data at the source, rather than just putting a temporary paid Band-Aid over it. So, investigate all options and choose wisely.


    How do I best target specific towns and cities my clients want to be found in outside of their physical location?

    If you market a service area business (like a plumber), create a great website landing page with consumer-centric, helpful, unique content for each of your major service cities. Also very interesting for service area businesses is the fact that Google just changed its handling of setting the service radius in your Google My Business dashboard so that it reflects your true service area instead of your physical address. If you market a brick-and-mortar business that customers come to from other areas, it’s typically not useful to create content saying, “People drive to us from X!” Rather, build relationships with neighboring communities in the real world, reflect them on your social outreach, and, if they’re really of interest, reflect them on your website. Both service area businesses and bricks-and-mortar models may need to invest in PPC to increase visibility in all desired locations.


    How often should I change page titles and meta descriptions to help local SEO?

    While it’s good to experiment, don’t change your major tags just for the sake of busy work. Rather, if some societal trend changes the way people talk about something you offer, consider editing your titles and descriptions. For example, an auto dealership could realize that its consumers have started searching for “EVs” more than electric vehicles because society has become comfortable enough with these products to refer to them in shorthand. If keyword research and trend analysis indicate a shift like this, then it may be time to re-optimize elements of your website. Changing any part of your optimization is only going to help you rank better if it reflects how customers are searching.

    Read more about title tags and metas:


    Should you service clients within the same niche, since there can only be one #1?

    If your keywords have no local intent, then taking on two clients competing for the same terms nationally could certainly be unethical. But this is a great question, because it presents the opportunity to absorb the fact that for any keyword for which Google perceives a local intent, there is no longer only one #1. For these search terms, both local and many organic results are personalized to the location of the searcher.

    Your Mexican restaurant client in downtown isn’t really competing with your Mexican restaurant client uptown when a user searches for “best tacos.” Searchers’ results will change depending on where they are in the city when they search. So unless you’ve got two identical businesses within the same couple of blocks in a city, you can serve them both, working hard to find the USP of each client to help them shine bright in their particular setting for searchers in close proximity.


    Is it better to have a one-page format or break it into 3–5 pages for a local service company that does not have lengthy content?

    This question is looking for an easy way out of publishing when you’ve become a publisher. Every business with a website is a publisher, and there’s no good excuse for not having adequate content to create a landing page for each of your services, and a landing page for each of the cities you serve. I believe this question (and it’s a common one!) arises from businesses not being sure what to write about to differentiate their services in one location from their services in another. The services are the same, but what’s different is the location!

    Publish text and video reviews from customers there, showcase your best projects there, offer tips specific to the geography and regulations there, interview service people, interview experts, sponsor teams and events in those service locations, etc. These things require an investment of time, but you’re in the publishing business now, so invest the time and get publishing! All a one-page website shows is a lack of commitment to customer service. For more on this, read Overcoming Your Fear of Local Landing Pages.


    How much content do you need for SEO?

    Intent, intent, intent! Google’s ranking signals are going to vary depending on the intent behind the query, and thank goodness for that! This is why you don’t need a 3,000-word article for your product page to rank, for example.

    The answer to “how much content does my page need?” is “enough content for it to be complete and comprehensive,” which is a subjective factor that is going to differ from query to query.

    Whether you write 300 words or 3,000 words isn’t the issue. It’s whether you completely and thoroughly addressed the page topic.

    Check out these Whiteboard Fridays around content for SEO:

    Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

    Reblogged 2 months ago from tracking.feedpress.it

    Using STAT for Content Strategy – Whiteboard Friday

    Posted by DiTomaso

    Search results are sophisticated enough to show searchers not only the content they want, but in the format they want it. Being able to identify searcher intent and interest based off of ranking results can be a powerful driver of content strategy. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, we warmly welcome Dana DiTomaso as she describes her preferred tools and methods for developing a modern and effective content strategy.

    Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

    Video Transcription

    Hi, everyone. Welcome to Whiteboard Friday. My name is Dana DiTomaso. I’m President and partner of Kick Point, which is a digital marketing agency based way up in Edmonton, Alberta. Come visit sometime.

    What I’m going to be talking about today is using STAT for content strategy. STAT, if you’re not familiar with STAT Search Analytics, which is in my opinion the best ranking tool on the market and Moz is not paying me to say that, although they did pay for STAT, so now STAT is part of the Moz family of products. I really like STAT. I’ve been using it for quite some time. They are also Canadian. That may or may not influence my decision.

    But one of the things that STAT does really well is it doesn’t just show you where you’re ranking, but it breaks down what type of rankings and where you should be thinking about rankings. Typically I find, especially if you’ve been working in this field for a long time, you might think about rankings and you still have in your mind the 10 blue links that we used to have forever ago, and that’s so long gone. One of the things that’s useful about using STAT rankings is you can figure out stuff that you should be pursuing other than, say, the written word, and I think that that’s something really important again for marketers because a lot of us really enjoy reading stuff.

    Consider all the ways searchers like to consume content

    Maybe you’re watching this video. Maybe you’re reading the transcript. You might refer to the transcript later. A lot of us are readers. Not a lot of us are necessarily visual people, so sometimes we can forget stuff like video is really popular, or people really do prefer those places packs or whatever it might be. Thinking outside of yourself and thinking about how Google has decided to set up the search results can help you drive better content to your clients’ and your own websites.

    The biggest thing that I find that comes of this is you’re really thinking about your audience a lot more because you do have to trust that Google maybe knows what it’s doing when it presents certain types of results to people. It knows the intent of the keyword, and therefore it’s presenting results that make sense for that intent. We can argue all day about whether or not answer boxes are awesome or terrible.

    But from a visitor’s perspective and a searcher’s perspective, they like them. I think we need to just make sure that we’re understanding where they might be showing up, and if we’re playing by Google rules, people also ask is not necessarily going anywhere.

    All that being said, how can we use ranking results to figure out our content strategy? The first thing about STAT, if you haven’t used STAT before, again check it out, it’s awesome.

    Grouping keywords with Data Views

    But one of the things that’s really nice is you can do this thing called data views. In data views, you can group together parts of keywords. So you can do something called smart tags and say, “I want to tag everything that has a specific location name together.”

    Opportunities — where are you not showing up?

    Let’s say, for example, that you’re working with a moving company and they are across Canada. So what I want to see here for opportunities are things like where I’m not ranking, where are there places box showing up that I am not in, or where are the people also ask showing up that I am not involved in. This is a nice way to keep an eye on your competitors.

    Locations

    Then we’ll also do locations. So we’ll say everything in Vancouver, group this together. Everything in Winnipeg, group this together. Everything in Edmonton and Calgary and Toronto, group all that stuff together.

    Attributes (best, good, top, free, etc.)

    Then the third thing can be attributes. This is stuff like best, good, top, free, cheap, all those different things that people use to describe your product, because those are definitely intent keywords, and often they will drive very different types of results than things you might consider as your head phrases.

    So, for example, looking at “movers in Calgary” will drive a very different result than “top movers in Calgary.” In that case, you might get say a Yelp top 10 list. Or if you’re looking for “cheapest mover in Calgary,”again a different type of search result. So by grouping your keywords together by attributes, that can really help you as well determine how those types of keywords can be influenced by the type of search results that Google is putting out there.

    Products / services

    Then the last thing is products/services. So we’ll take each product and service and group it together. One of the nice things about STAT is you can do something called smart tags. So we can, say, figure out every keyword that has the word “best” in it and put it together. Then if we ever add more keywords later, that also have the word “best,”they automatically go into that keyword group. It’s really useful, especially if you are adding lots of keywords over time. I recommend starting by setting up some views that make sense.

    You can just import everything your client is ranking for, and you can just take a look at the view of all these different keywords. But the problem is that there’s so much data, when you’re looking at that big set of keywords, that a lot of the useful stuff can really get lost in the noise. By segmenting it down to a really small level, you can start to understand that search for that specific type of term and how you fit in versus your competition.

    A deep dive into SERP features

    So put that stuff into STAT, give it a little while, let it collect some data, and then you get into the good stuff, which is the SERP features. I’m covering just a tiny little bit of what STAT does. Again, they didn’t pay me for this. But there’s lots of other stuff that goes on in here. My personal favorite part is the SERP features.

    Which features are increasing/decreasing both overall and for you?

    So what I like here is that in SERP features it will tell you which features are increasing and decreasing overall and then what features are increasing and decreasing for you.

    This is actually from a real set for one of our clients. For them, what they’re seeing are big increases in places version 3, which is the three pack of places. Twitter box is increasing. I did not see that coming. Then AMP is increasing. So that says to me, okay, so I need to make sure that I’m thinking about places, and maybe this is a client who doesn’t necessarily have a lot of local offices.

    Maybe it’s not someone you would think of as a local client. So why are there a lot more local properties popping up? Then you can dive in and say, “Okay, only show me the keywords that have places boxes.” Then you can look at that and decide: Is it something where we haven’t thought about local SEO before, but it’s something where searchers are thinking about local SEO? So Google is giving them three pack local boxes, and maybe we should start thinking about can we rank in that box, or is that something we care about.

    Again, not necessarily content strategy, but certainly your SEO strategy. The next thing is Twitter box, and this is something where you think Twitter is dead. No one is using Twitter. It’s full of terrible people, and they tweet about politics all day. I never want to use it again, except maybe Google really wants to show more Twitter boxes. So again, looking at it and saying, “Is Twitter something where we need to start thinking about it from a content perspective? Do we need to start focusing our energies on Twitter?”

    Maybe you abandoned it and now it’s back. You have to start thinking, “Does this matter for the keywords?” Then AMP. So this is something where AMP is really tricky obviously. There have been studies where it said, “I implemented AMP, and I lost 70% of my traffic and everything was terrible.” But if that’s the case, why would we necessarily be seeing more AMP show up in search results if it isn’t actually something that people find useful, particularly on mobile search?

    Desktop vs mobile

    One of the things actually that I didn’t mention in the tagging is definitely look at desktop versus mobile, because you are going to see really different feature sets between desktop and mobile for these different types of keywords. Mobile may have a completely different intent for a type of search. If you’re a restaurant, for example, people looking for reservations on a desktop might have different intent from I want a restaurant right now on mobile, for example, and you’re standing next to it and maybe you’re lost.

    What kind of intent is behind the search results?

    You really have to think about what that intent means for the type of search results that Google is going to present. So for AMP, then you have to look at it and say, “Well, is this newsworthy? Why is more AMP being shown?” Should we consider moving our news or blog or whatever you happen call it into AMP so that we can start to show up for these search results in mobile? Is that a thing that Google is presenting now?

    We can get mad about AMP all day, but how about instead if we actually be there? I don’t want the comment section to turn into a whole AMP discussion, but I know there are obviously problems with AMP. But if it’s being shown in the search results that searchers who should be finding you are seeing and you’re not there, that’s definitely something you need to think about for your content strategy and thinking, “Is AMP something that we need to pursue? Do we have to have more newsy content versus evergreen content?”

    Build your content strategy around what searchers are looking for

    Maybe your content strategy is really focused on posts that could be relevant for years, when in reality your searchers are looking for stuff that’s relevant for them right now. So for example, things with movers, there’s some sort of mover scandal. There’s always a mover who ended up taking someone’s stuff and locking it up forever, and they never gave it back to them. There’s always a story like that in the news.

    Maybe that’s why it’s AMP. Definitely investigate before you start to say, “AMP everything.” Maybe it was just like a really bad day for movers, for example. Then you can see the decreases. So the decrease here is organic, which is that traditional 10 blue links. So obviously this new stuff that’s coming in, like AMP, like Twitter, like places is displacing a lot of the organic results that used to be there before.

    So instead you think, well, I can do organic all day, but if the results just aren’t there, then I could be limiting the amount of traffic I could be getting to my website. Videos, for example, now it was really interesting for this particular client that videos is a decreasing SERP for them, because videos is actually a big part of their content strategy. So if we see that videos are decreasing, then we can take a step back and say, “Is it decreasing in the keywords that we care about? Why is it decreasing? Do we think this is a test or a longer-term trend?”

    Historical data

    What’s nice about STAT is you can say “I want to see results for the last 7 days, 30 days, or 60 days.” Once you get a year of data in there, you can look at the whole year and look at that trend and see is it something where we have to maybe rethink our video strategy? Maybe people don’t like video for these phrases. Again, you could say, “But people do like video for these phrases.” But Google, again, has access to more data than you do.

    If Google has decided that for these search phrases video is not a thing they want to show anymore, then maybe people don’t care about video the way that you thought they did. Sorry. So that could be something where you’re thinking, well, maybe we need to change the type of content we create. Then the last one is carousel that showed up for this particular client. Carousel, there are ones where they show lots of different results.

    I’m glad that’s dropping because that actually kind of sucks. It’s really hard to show up well there. So I think that’s something to think about in the carousel as well. Maybe we’re pleased that that’s going away and then we don’t have to fight it as much anymore. Then what you can see in the bottom half are what we call share of voice.

    Share of voice

    Share of voice is calculated based on your ranking and all of your competitors’ ranking and the number of clicks that you’re expected to get based on your ranking position.

    So the number 1 position obviously gets more ranks than the number 100 position. So the share of voice is a percentage calculated based on how many of these types of items, types of SERP features that you own versus your competitors as well as your position in these SERP features. So what I’m looking at here is share of voice and looking at organic, places, answers, and people also ask, for example.

    So what STAT will show you is the percentage of organic, and it’s still, for this client — and obviously this is not an accurate chart, but this is vaguely accurate to what I saw in STAT — organic is still a big, beefy part of this client’s search results. So let’s not panic that it’s decreasing. This is really where this context can come in. But then you can think, all right, so we know that we are doing “eeh” on organic.

    Is it something where we think that we can gain more? So the green shows you your percentage that you own of this, and then the black is everyone else. Thinking realistically, you obviously cannot own 100% of all the search results all the time because Google wouldn’t allow that. So instead thinking, what’s a realistic thing? Are we topping out at the point now where we’re going to have diminishing returns if we keep pushing on this?

    Identify whether your content efforts support what you’re seeing in STAT

    Are we happy with how we’re doing here? Maybe we need to turn our attention to something else, like answers for example. This particular client does really well on places. They own a lot of it. So for places, it’s maintain, watch, don’t worry about it that much anymore. Then that can drop off when we’re thinking about content. We don’t necessarily need to keep writing blog post for things that are going to help us to rank in the places pack because it’s not something that’s going to influence that ranking any further.

    We’re already doing really well. But instead we can look at answers and people also ask, which for this particular client they’re not doing that well. It is something that’s there, and it is something that it may not be one of the top increases, but it’s certainly an increase for this particular client. So what we’re looking at is saying, “Well, you have all these great blog posts, but they’re not really written with people also ask or answers in mind. So how about we go back and rewrite the stuff so that we can get more of these answer boxes?”

    That can be the foundation of that content strategy. When you put your keywords into STAT and look at your specific keyword set, really look at the SERP features and determine what does this mean for me and the type of content I need to create, whether it’s more images for example. Some clients, when you’re looking at e-commerce sites, some of the results are really image heavy, or they can be product shopping or whatever it might be.

    There are really specific different features, and I’ve only shown a tiny subset. STAT captures all of the different types of SERP features. So you can definitely look at anything if it’s specific to your industry. If it’s a feature, they’ve got it in here. So definitely take a look and see where are these opportunities. Remember, you can’t have a 100% share of voice because other people are just going to show up there.

    You just want to make sure that you’re better than everybody else. Thanks.

    Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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    Reblogged 2 months ago from tracking.feedpress.it

    B2B Local Search Marketing: A Guide to Hidden Opportunity

    Posted by MiriamEllis

    Is a local business you’re marketing missing out on a host of B2B opportunities? Do B2B brands even qualify for local SEO?

    If I say “B2B” and you think “tech,” then you’re having the same problem I was finding reliable information about local search marketing for business-to-business models. While it’s true that SaaS companies like Moz, MailChimp, and Hootsuite are businesses which vend to other businesses, their transactions are primarily digital. These may be the types of companies that make best-of B2B lists, but today let’s explore another realm in which a physical business you promote is eligible to be marketed both locally and as a B2B.

    Let’s determine your eligibility, find your B2B opportunities, identify tips specific to your business model, analyze an outreach email, explore your content with a checklist, and find an advantage for you in today’s article.

    Seeing how Google sees you

    First to determine whether Google would view your brand as a local business, answer these two questions:

    1. Does the business I’m marketing have a physical location that’s accessible to the public? This can’t be a PO Box or virtual office. It must be a real-world address.
    2. Does the business I’m marketing interact face-to-face with its customers?

    If you answered “yes” to both questions, continue, because you’ve just met Google’s local business guidelines.

    Seeing your B2B opportunity

    Next, determine if there’s a component of your business that already serves or could be created to serve other businesses.

    Not totally sure? Let’s look at Google’s categories.

    Out of the 2,395 Google My Business Categories listed here, there are at least 1,270 categories applicable to B2B companies. These include companies that are by nature B2B (wholesalers, suppliers) and companies that are B2C but could have a B2B offering (restaurants, event sites). In other words, more than half of Google’s categories signal to B2B-friendly companies that local marketing is an opportunity.

    Let’s look at some major groups of categories and see how they could be fine-tuned to serve executive needs instead of only consumer needs:

    Food establishments (restaurants, cafes, food trucks, caterers, etc.) can create relationships with nearby employers by offering business lunch specials, delivery, corporate catering, banquet rooms, and related B2B services. This can work especially well for restaurants located in large business districts, but almost any food-related business could create a corporate offering that incentivizes loyalty.

    Major attractions (museums, amusements, cultural centers, sports centers, etc.) can create corporate packages for local employers seeking fun group activities. Brands looking to reduce implicit bias may be especially interested in interacting with cultural groups and events.

    Professional services (realty, financial, printing, consulting, tech, etc.) can be geared towards corporate needs as well as individuals. A realtor can sell commercial properties. A printer can create business signage. A computer repair shop can service offices.

    Personal services (counseling, wellness, fitness, skill training, etc.) can become corporate services when employers bring in outside experts to improve company morale, education, or well-being.

    Home services (carpet cleaning, landscaping, plumbing, contracting, security, etc.) can become commercial services when offered to other businesses. Office buildings need design, remodeling, and construction and many have lounges, kitchens, restrooms, and grounds that need janitorial and upkeep services. Many retailers need these services, too.

    Entertainers (comedians, musicians, DJs, performance troupes, etc.) can move beyond private events to corporate ones with special package offerings. Many brands have days where children, family members, and even pets are welcomed to the workplace, and special activities are planned.

    Retailers (clothing, gifts, equipment, furniture, etc.) can find numerous ways to supply businesses with gear, swag, electronics, furnishings, gift baskets, uniforms, and other necessities. For example, a kitchen store could vend breakfast china to a B&B, or an electronics store could offer special pricing for a purchase of new computers for an office.

    Transportation and travel services (auto sales and maintenance, auto rentals, travel agencies, tour guides, charging stations, etc.) can create special packages for businesses. A car dealer could sell a fleet of vehicles to a food delivery service, or a garage could offer special pricing for maintaining food trucks. A travel agency could manage business trips.

    As you can see, the possibilities are substantial, and this is all apart from businesses that are classic B2B models, like manufacturers, suppliers, and wholesalers who also have physical premises and meet face-to-face with their clients. See if you’ve been missing out on a lucrative opportunity by examining the following spreadsheet of every Google My Business Category I could find that is either straight-up B2B or could create a B2B offering:

    See local B2B categories

    The business I’m marketing qualifies. What’s next?

    See which of these two groups you belong to: either a B2B company that hasn’t been doing local SEO, or a local business that hasn’t created a B2B offering yet. Then follow the set of foundational tips specific to your scenario.

    If you’re marketing a B2B company that hasn’t been doing local SEO:

    1. Know that the goal of local SEO is to make you as visible as possible online to any neighbor searching for what you offer so that you can win as many transactions as possible.
    2. Read the Guidelines for Representing your business on Google to be 100% sure your business qualifies and to familiarize yourself with Google’s rules. Google is the dominant player in local search.
    3. Make sure your complete, accurate name, address, and phone number is included in the footer of your website and on the Contact Us page. If you have multiple locations, create a unique page on your website for each location, complete with its full contact information and useful text for website visitors. Make each of these pages as unique and persuasive as possible.
    4. Be sure the content on your website thoroughly describes your goods and services, and makes compelling offers about the value of choosing you.
    5. Make sure your website is friendly to mobile users. If you’re not sure, test it using Google’s free mobile-friendly test.
    6. Create a Google My Business profile for your business if you don’t already have one so that you can work towards ranking well in Google’s local results. If you do have a profile, be sure it is claimed, accurate, guideline-compliant and fully filled out. This cheat sheet guide explains all of the common components that can show up in your Google Business Profile when people search for your company by name.
    7. Do a free check of the health of your other major local business listings on Moz Check Listing. Correct errors and duplicate listings manually, or to save time and enable ongoing monitoring, purchase Moz Local so that it can do the work for you. Accurate local business listings support good local rankings and prevent customers from being misdirected and inconvenience.
    8. Ask for, monitor, and respond to all of your Google reviews to improve customer satisfaction and build a strong, lucrative reputation. Read the guidelines of any other platform (like Yelp or TripAdvisor) to know what is allowed in terms of review management.
    9. Build real-world relationships within the community you serve and explore them for opportunities to earn relevant links to your website. Strong, sensible links can help you increase both your organic and local search engine rankings. Join local business organizations and become a community advocate.
    10. Be as accessible as possible via social media, sharing with your community online in the places they typically socialize. Emphasize communication rather than selling in this environment.

    If you’re marketing a local business that hasn’t created a B2B offering yet:

    1. Research your neighborhood and your community to determine what kinds of businesses are present around you. If you’re not sure, reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce or a local business association like AMIBA to see if they have data they can share with you. Doing searches like “Human Resources Event Seattle” or “People Ops Event Seattle” can bring up results like this one naming some key companies and staffers.
    2. Document your research. Create a spreadsheet with a column for why you feel a specific business might be a good fit for your service, and another column for their contact information.See if you can turn up direct contact info for the HR or People Ops team. Phone the business, if necessary, to acquire this information.
    3. Now, based on what you’ve learned, brainstorm an offering that might be appealing to this audience. Remember, you’re trying to entice other business owners and their staff with something that’s special for them and meets their needs..
    4. Next, write out your offering in as few words at possible, including all salient points (who you are, what you offer, why it solves a problem the business is likely to have, available proof of problem-solving, price range, a nice request to discuss further, and your complete contact info). Keep it short to respect how busy recipients are.
    5. Depending on your resources, plan outreach in manageable batches and keep track of outcomes.
    6. Be sure all of your online local SEO is representing you well, with the understanding that anyone seriously considering your offer is likely to check you out on the web. Be sure you’ve created a page on the site for your B2B offer. Be sure your website is navigable, optimized and persuasive, with clear contact information, and that your local business listings are accurate and thorough — hopefully with an abundance of good reviews to which you’ve gratefully responded.
    7. Now, begin outreach. In many cases this will be via email, using the text you’ve created, but if you’ve determined that an in-person visit is a better approach, invest a little in having your offer printed nicely so that you can give it to the staff at the place of business. Make the best impression you possibly can as a salesperson for your product.
    8. Give a reasonable amount of time for the business to review and decide on your offer. If you don’t hear back, follow up once. Ideally, you’re hoping for a reply with a request for more info. If you hear nothing in response to your follow-up, move on, as silence from the business is a signal of disinterest. Make note of the dates you outreached and try again after some time goes by, as things may have changed at the business by then. Do, however, avoid aggressive outreach as your business will appear to be spamming potential clients instead of helping them.

    As indicated, these are foundational steps for both groups — the beginnings of your strategy rather than the ultimate lengths you may need to go to for your efforts to fully pay off. The amount of work you need to do depends largely on the level of your local competition.

    B2B tips from Moz’s own Team Happy

    Moz’s People Ops team is called Team Happy, and these wonderful folks handle everything from event and travel planning, to gift giving, to making sure people’s parking needs are met. Team Happy is responsible for creating an exceptional, fun, generous environment that functions smoothly for all Mozzers and visitors.

    I asked Team Happy Manager of Operations, Ashlie Daulton, to share some tips for crafting successful B2B outreach when approaching a business like Moz. Ashlie explains:

    • We get lots of inquiry emails. Do some research into our company, help us see what we can benefit from, and how we can fit it in. We don’t accept every offer, but we try to stay open to exploring whether it’s a good fit for the office.
    • The more information we can get up front, the better! We are super busy in our day-to-day and we can get a lot of spam sometimes, so it can be hard to take vague email outreach seriously and not chalk it up to more spam. Be real, be direct in your outreach. Keeping it more person-to-person and less “sales pitchy” is usually key.
    • If we can get most of the information we need first, research the website/offers, and communicate our questions through emails until we feel a call is a good next step, that usually makes a good impression.

    Finally, Ashlie let me know that her team comes to decisions thoughtfully, as will the People Ops folks at any reputable company. If your B2B outreach doesn’t meet with acceptance from a particular company, it would be a waste of your time and theirs to keep contacting them.

    However, as mentioned above, a refusal one year doesn’t mean there couldn’t be opportunity at a later date if the company’s needs or your offer change to be a better fit. You may need to go through some refinements over the years, based on the feedback you receive and analyze, until you’ve got an offer that’s truly irresistible.

    A sample B2B outreach email

    La práctica hace al maestro.”
    – Proverb

    Practice makes perfect. Let’s do an exercise together in which we imagine ourselves running an awesome Oaxacan restaurant in Seattle that wants to grow the B2B side of our business. Let’s hypothesize that we’ve decided Moz would be a perfect client, and we’ve spent some time on the web learning about them. We’ve looked at their website, their blog, and have read some third-party news about the company.

    We found an email address for Team Happy and we’ve crafted our outreach email. What follows is that email + Ashlie’s honest, summarized feedback to me (detailed below) about how our fictitious outreach would strike her team:

    Good morning, Team Happy!

    When was the last time Moz’s hardworking staff was treated to tacos made from grandmother’s own authentic recipe? I’m your neighbor Jose Morales, co-owner with my abuela of Tacos Morales, just down the street from you. Our Oaxacan-style Mexican food is:

    – Locally sourced and prepared with love in our zero-waste kitchen
    – 100% organic (better for Mozzers’ brains and happiness!) with traditional, vegan, and gluten-free options
    – $6–$9 per plate

    We know you have to feed tons of techies sometimes, and we can effortlessly cater meals of up to 500 Mozzers. The folks at another neighboring company, Zillow, say this about our beautiful food:

    “The best handmade tortillas we’ve ever had. Just the right portions to feel full, but not bogged down for the afternoon’s workload. Perfect for corporate lunches and magically scrumptious!”

    May I bring over a complimentary taco basket for a few of your teammates to try? Check out our menu here and please let me know if there would be a good day for you to sample the very best of Taco Morales. Thank you for your kind consideration and I hope I get the chance to personally make Team Happy even happier!

    Your neighbors,
    Jose y Lupita Morales
    Tacos Morales
    www.tacosmorales.com
    222 2nd Street, Seattle – (206) 111-1111

    Why this email works:

    • We’re an inclusive office, so the various dietary options catch our eye. Knowing price helps us decide if it’s a good fit for our budget.
    • The reference to tech feels personalized — they know our team and who we work with.
    • It’s great to know they can handle some larger events!
    • It instills trust to see a quote from a nearby, familiar company.
    • Samples are a nice way to get to know the product/service and how it feels to work with the B2B company.
    • The menu link, website link, and contact info ensure that we can do our own exploring to help us make a decision.

    As the above outreach illustrates, Team Happy was most impressed by the elements of our sample email that provided key information about variety, price and capacity, useful links and contact data, trust signals in the form of a review from a well-known client, and a one-on-one personalized message.

    Your business is unique, and the precise tone of your email will match both your company culture and the sensibilities of your potential clients. Regardless of industry, studying the above communication will give you some cues for creating your own from the viewpoint of speaking personally to another business with their needs in mind. Why not practice writing an email of your own today, then run it past an unbiased acquaintance to ask if it would persuade them to reply?

    A checklist to guide your website content

    Your site content speaks for you when a potential client wants to research you further before communicating one-on-one. Why invest both budget and heart in what you publish? Because 94% of B2B buyers reportedly conduct online investigation before purchasing a business solution. Unfortunately, the same study indicates that only 37% of these buyers are satisfied with the level of information provided by suppliers’ websites. Do you see a disconnect here?

    Let’s look at the key landing pages of your website today and see how many of these boxes you can check off:

    My content tells potential clients…

    ☑ What my business name, addresses, phone numbers, fax number, email addresses, driving directions, mapped locations, social and review profiles are

    ☑ What my products and services are and why they meet clients’ needs

    ☑ The complete details of my special offers for B2B clients, including my capacity for fulfillment

    ☑ What my pricing is like, so that I’m getting leads from qualified clients without wasting anyone’s time

    ☑ What my USP is — what makes my selling proposition unique and a better choice than my local competitors

    ☑ What my role is as a beneficial member of the local business community and the human community, including my professional relationships, philanthropy, sustainable practices, accreditations, awards, and other points of pride

    ☑ What others say about my company, including reviews and testimonials

    ☑ What my clients’ rights and guarantees are

    ☑ What value I place on my clients, via the quality, usefulness, and usability of my website and its content

    If you found your content lacking any of these checklist elements, budget to build them. If writing is not your strong suit and your company isn’t large enough to have an in-house content team, hire help. A really good copywriter will partner up to tell the story of your business while also accurately portraying its unique voice. Expect to be deeply interviewed so that a rich narrative can emerge.

    In sum, you want your website to be doing the talking for you 24 hours a day so that every question a potential B2B client has can be confidently answered, prompting the next step of personal outreach.

    How to find your B2B advantage

    Earlier, we spoke of the research you’ll do to analyze the business community you could be serving with your B2B offerings, and we covered how to be sure you’ve got the local digital marketing basics in place to showcase what you do on the web. Depending on your market, you could find that investment in either direction could represent an opportunity many of your competitors have overlooked.

    For an even greater advantage, though, let’s look directly at your competitors. You can research them by:

    1. Visiting their websites to understand their services, products, pricing, hours, capacity, USP, etc.
    2. Visiting their physical premises, making inquiries by phone, or (if possible) making a purchase of their products/services to see how you like them and if there’s anything that could be done better
    3. Reading their negative reviews to see what their customers complain about
    4. Looking them up on social media, again to see what customers say and how the brand handles complaints
    5. Reading both positive and negative media coverage of the brand

    Do you see any gaps? If you can dare to be different and fill them, you will have identified an important advantage. Perhaps you’ll be the only:

    • Commercial cleaning company in town that specializes in servicing the pet-friendly hospitality market
    • Restaurant offering a particular type of cuisine at scale
    • Major attraction with appealing discounts for large groups
    • Commercial printer open late at night for rush jobs
    • Yoga instructor specializing in reducing work-related stress/injuries

    And if your city is large and highly competitive and there aren’t glaring gaps in available services, try to find a gap in service quality. Maybe there are several computer repair shops, but yours is the only one that works weekends. Maybe there are a multitude of travel agents, but your eco-tourism packages for corporations have won major awards. Maybe yours is just one of 400+ Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, but the only one to throw in a free bag of MeeMee’s sesame and almond cookies (a fortune cookie differentiator!) with every office delivery, giving a little uplift to hardworking staff.

    Find your differentiator, put it in writing, put it to the fore of your sales process. And engineer it into consumer-centric language, so that hard candy buttons with chocolate inside them become the USP that “melts in your mouth, not in your hands,” solving a discovered pain point or need.

    B2B marketing boils down to service

    “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

    – Charles Dickens

    We’re all in business to serve. We’re all helpers. At Moz, we make SEO easier for digital and local companies. At your brand, _________?

    However you fill in that blank, you’re in the business of service. Whether you’re marketing a B2B that’s awakening to the need to invest in local SEO or a B2C on the verge of debuting your new business-to-business offering, your project boils down to the simple question,

    “How can I help?”

    Looking thoughtfully into your brand’s untapped capacities to serve your community, coupled with an authentic desire to help, is the best groundwork you can lay at the starting point for satisfaction at the finish line.

    Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

    Reblogged 2 months ago from tracking.feedpress.it

    Why Local Businesses Will Need Websites More than Ever in 2019

    Posted by MiriamEllis

    64% of 1,411 surveyed local business marketers agree that Google is becoming the new “homepage” for local businesses. Via Moz State of Local SEO Industry Report

    …but please don’t come away with the wrong storyline from this statistic.

    As local brands and their marketers watch Google play Trojan horse, shifting from top benefactor to top competitor by replacing former “free” publicity with paid packs, Local Service Ads, zero-click SERPs, and related structures, it’s no surprise to see forum members asking, “Do I even need a website anymore?”

    Our answer to this question is,“Yes, you’ve never needed a website more than you will in 2019.” In this post, we’ll examine:

    • Why it looks like local businesses don’t need websites
    • Statistical proofs of why local businesses need websites now more than ever
    • The current status of local business websites and most-needed improvements

    How Google stopped bearing so many gifts

    Within recent memory, a Google query with local intent brought up a big pack of ten nearby businesses, with each entry taking the user directly to these brands’ websites for all of their next steps. A modest amount of marketing effort was rewarded with a shower of Google gifts in the form of rankings, traffic, and conversions.

    Then these generous SERPs shrank to seven spots, and then three, with the mobile sea change thrown into the bargain and consisting of layers and layers of Google-owned interfaces instead of direct-to-website links. In 2018, when we rustle through the wrapping paper, the presents we find from Google look cheaper, smaller, and less magnificent.

    Consider these five key developments:

    1) Zero-click mobile SERPs

    This slide from a recent presentation by Rand Fishkin encapsulateshis findings regarding the growth of no-click SERPs between 2016–2018. Mobile users have experienced a 20% increase in delivery of search engine results that don’t require them to go any deeper than Google’s own interface.

    2) The encroachment of paid ads into local packs

    When Dr. Peter J. Myers surveyed 11,000 SERPs in 2018, he found that 35% of competitive local packs feature ads.

    3) Google becoming a lead gen agency

    At last count, Google’s Local Service Ads program via which they interposition themselves as the paid lead gen agent between businesses and consumers has taken over 23 business categories in 77 US cities.

    4) Even your branded SERPs don’t belong to you

    When a user specifically searches for your brand and your Google Knowledge Panel pops up, you can likely cope with the long-standing “People Also Search For” set of competitors at the bottom of it. But that’s not the same as Google allowing Groupon to advertise at the top of your KP, or putting lead gen from Doordash and GrubHub front and center to nickel and dime you on your own customers’ orders.

    5) Google is being called the new “homepage” for local businesses

    As highlighted at the beginning of this post, 64% of marketers agree that Google is becoming the new “homepage” for local businesses. This concept, coined by Mike Blumenthal, signifies that a user looking at a Google Knowledge Panel can get basic business info, make a phone call, get directions, book something, ask a question, take a virtual tour, read microblog posts, see hours of operation, thumb through photos, see busy times, read and leave reviews. Without ever having to click through to a brand’s domain, the user may be fully satisfied.

    “Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.”
    – Epicurus

    There are many more examples we could gather, but they can all be summed up in one way: None of Google’s most recent local initiatives are about driving customers to brands’ own websites. Local SERPs have shrunk and have been re-engineered to keep users within Google’s platforms to generate maximum revenue for Google and their partners.

    You may be as philosophical as Epicurus about this and say that Google has every right to be as profitable as they can with their own product, even if they don’t really need to siphon more revenue off local businesses. But if Google’s recent trajectory causes your brand or agency to conclude that websites have become obsolete in this heavily controlled environment, please keep reading.

    Your website is your bedrock

    “65% of 1,411 surveyed marketers observe strong correlation between organic and local rank.” – Via Moz State of Local SEO Industry Report

    What this means is that businesses which rank highly organically are very likely to have high associated local pack rankings. In the following screenshot, if you take away the directory-type platforms, you will see how the brand websites ranking on page 1 for “deli athens ga” are also the two businesses that have made it into Google’s local pack:

    How often do the top 3 Google local pack results also have a 1st page organic rankings?

    In a small study, we looked at 15 head keywords across 7 US cities and towns. This yielded 315 possible entries in Google’s local pack. Of that 315, 235 of the businesses ranking in the local packs also had page 1 organic rankings. That’s a 75% correlation between organic website rankings and local pack presence.

    *It’s worth noting that where local and organic results did not correlate, it was sometimes due the presence of spam GMB listings, or to mystery SERPs that did not make sense at first glance — perhaps as a result of Google testing, in some cases.

    Additionally, many local businesses are not making it to the first page of Google anymore in some categories because the organic SERPs are inundated with best-of lists and directories. Often, local business websites were pushed down to the second page of the organic results. In other words, if spam, “best-ofs,” and mysteries were removed, the local-organic correlation would likely be much higher than 75%.

    Further, one recent study found that even when Google’s Local Service Ads are present, 43.9% of clicks went to the organic SERPs. Obviously, if you can make it to the top of the organic SERPs, this puts you in very good CTR shape from a purely organic standpoint.

    Your takeaway from this

    The local businesses you market may not be able to stave off the onslaught of Google’s zero-click SERPs, paid SERPs, and lead gen features, but where “free” local 3-packs still exist, your very best bet for being included in them is to have the strongest possible website. Moreover, organic SERPs remain a substantial source of clicks.

    Far from it being the case that websites have become obsolete, they are the firmest bedrock for maintaining free local SERP visibility amidst an increasing scarcity of opportunities.

    This calls for an industry-wide doubling down on organic metrics that matter most.

    Bridging the local-organic gap

    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
    – Aristotle

    A 2017 CNBC survey found that 45% of small businesses have no website, and, while most large enterprises have websites, many local businesses qualify as “small.”

    Moreover, a recent audit of 9,392 Google My Business listings found that 27% have no website link.

    When asked which one task 1,411 marketers want clients to devote more resources to, it’s no coincidence that 66% listed a website-oriented asset. This includes local content development, on-site optimization, local link building, technical analysis of rankings/traffic/conversions, and website design as shown in the following Moz survey graphic:

    In an environment in which websites are table stakes for competitive local pack rankings, virtually all local businesses not only need one, but they need it to be as strong as possible so that it achieves maximum organic rankings.

    What makes a website strong?

    The Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO offers incredibly detailed guidelines for creating the best possible website. While we recommend that everyone marketing a local business read through this in-depth guide, we can sum up its contents here by stating that strong websites combine:

    • Technical basics
    • Excellent usability
    • On-site optimization
    • Relevant content publication
    • Publicity

    For our present purpose, let’s take a special look at those last three elements.

    On-site optimization and relevant content publication

    There was a time when on-site SEO and content development were treated almost independently of one another. And while local businesses will need a make a little extra effort to put their basic contact information in prominent places on their websites (such as the footer and Contact Us page), publication and optimization should be viewed as a single topic. A modern strategy takes all of the following into account:

    • Keyword and real-world research tell a local business what consumers want
    • These consumer desires are then reflected in what the business publishes on its website, including its homepage, location landing pages, about page, blog and other components
    • Full reflection of consumer desires includes ensuring that human language (discovered via keyword and real-world research) is implemented in all elements of each page, including its tags, headings, descriptions, text, and in some cases, markup

    What we’re describing here isn’t a set of disconnected efforts. It’s a single effort that’s integral to researching, writing, and publishing the website. Far from stuffing keywords into a tag or a page’s content, focus has shifted to building topical authority in the eyes of search engines like Google by building an authoritative resource for a particular consumer demographic. The more closely a business is able to reflect customers’ needs (including the language of their needs), in every possible component of its website, the more relevant it becomes.

    A hypothetical example of this would be a large medical clinic in Dallas. Last year, their phone staff was inundated with basic questions about flu shots, like where and when to get them, what they cost, would they cause side effects, what about side effects on people with pre-existing health conditions, etc. This year, the medical center’s marketing team took a look at Moz Keyword Explorer and saw that there’s an enormous volume of questions surrounding flu shots:

    This tiny segment of the findings of the free keyword research tool, Answer the Public, further illustrates how many questions people have about flu shots:

    The medical clinic need not compete nationally for these topics, but at a local level, a page on the website can answer nearly every question a nearby patient could have about this subject. The page, created properly, will reflect human language in its tags, headings, descriptions, text, and markup. It will tell all patients where to come and when to come for this procedure. It has the potential to cut down on time-consuming phone calls.

    And, finally, it will build topical authority in the eyes of Google to strengthen the clinic’s chances of ranking well organically… which can then translate to improved local rankings.

    It’s important to note that keyword research tools typically do not reflect location very accurately, so research is typically done at a national level, and then adjusted to reflect regional or local language differences and geographic terms, after the fact. In other words, a keyword tool may not accurately reflect exactly how many local consumers in Dallas are asking “Where do I get a flu shot?”, but keyword and real-world research signals that this type of question is definitely being asked. The local business website can reflect this question while also adding in the necessary geographic terms.

    Local link building must be brought to the fore of publicity efforts

    Moz’s industry survey found that more than one-third of respondents had no local link building strategy in place. Meanwhile, link building was listed as one of the top three tasks to which marketers want their clients to devote more resources. There’s clearly a disconnect going on here. Given the fundamental role links play in building Domain Authority, organic rankings, and subsequent local rankings, building strong websites means bridging this gap.

    First, it might help to examine old prejudices that could cause local business marketers and their clients to feel dubious about link building. These most likely stem from link spam which has gotten so out of hand in the general world of SEO that Google has had to penalize it and filter it to the best of their ability.

    Not long ago, many digital-only businesses were having a heyday with paid links, link farms, reciprocal links, abusive link anchor text and the like. An online company might accrue thousands of links from completely irrelevant sources, all in hopes of escalating rank. Clearly, these practices aren’t ones an ethical business can feel good about investing in, but they do serve as an interesting object lesson, especially when a local marketer can point out to a client, that best local links are typically going to result from real-world relationship-building.

    Local businesses are truly special because they serve a distinct, physical community made up of their own neighbors. The more involved a local business is in its own community, the more naturally link opportunities arise from things like local:

    • Sponsorships
    • Event participation and hosting
    • Online news
    • Blogs
    • Business associations
    • B2B cross-promotions

    There are so many ways a local business can build genuine topical and domain authority in a given community by dint of the relationships it develops with neighbors.

    An excellent way to get started on this effort is to look at high-ranking local businesses in the same or similar business categories to discover what work they’ve put in to achieve a supportive backlink profile. Moz Link Intersect is an extremely actionable resource for this, enabling a business to input its top competitors to find who is linking to them.

    In the following example, a small B&B in Albuquerque looks up two luxurious Tribal resorts in its city:

    Link Intersect then lists out a blueprint of opportunities, showing which links one or both competitors have earned. Drilling down, the B&B finds that Marriott.com is linking to both Tribal resorts on an Albuquerque things-to-do page:

    The small B&B can then try to earn a spot on that same page, because it hosts lavish tea parties as a thing-to-do. Outreach could depend on the B&B owner knowing someone who works at the local Marriott personally. It could include meeting with them in person, or on the phone, or even via email. If this outreach succeeds, an excellent, relevant link will have been earned to boost organic rank, underpinning local rank.

    Then, repeat the process. Aristotle might well have been speaking of link building when he said we are what we repeatedly do and that excellence is a habit. Good marketers can teach customers to have excellent habits in recognizing a good link opportunity when they see it.

    Taken altogether

    Without a website, a local business lacks the brand-controlled publishing and link-earning platform that so strongly influences organic rankings. In the absence of this, the chances of ranking well in competitive local packs will be significantly less. Taken altogether, the case is clear for local businesses investing substantially in their websites.

    Acting now is actually a strategy for the future

    “There is nothing permanent except change.”
    – Heraclitus

    You’ve now determined that strong websites are fundamental to local rankings in competitive markets. You’ve absorbed numerous reasons to encourage local businesses you market to prioritize care of their domains. But there’s one more thing you’ll need to be able to convey, and that’s a sense of urgency.

    Right now, every single customer you can still earn from a free local pack listing is immensely valuable for the future.

    This isn’t a customer you’ve had to pay Google for, as you very well might six months, a year, or five years from now. Yes, you’ve had to invest plenty in developing the strong website that contributed to the high local ranking, but you haven’t paid a penny directly to Google for this particular lead. Soon, you may be having to fork over commissions to Google for a large portion of your new customers, so acting now is like insurance against future spend.

    For this to work out properly, local businesses must take the leads Google is sending them right now for free, and convert them into long-term, loyal customers, with an ultimate value of multiple future transactions without Google as a the middle man. And if these freely won customers can be inspired to act as word-of-mouth advocates for your brand, you will have done something substantial to develop a stream of non-Google-dependent revenue.

    This offer may well expire as time goes by. When it comes to the capricious local SERPs, marketers resemble the Greek philosophers who knew that change is the only constant. The Trojan horse has rolled into every US city, and it’s a gift with a questionable shelf life. We can’t predict if or when free packs might become obsolete, but we share your concerns about the way the wind is blowing.

    What we can see clearly right now is that websites will be anything but obsolete in 2019. Rather, they are the building blocks of local rankings, precious free leads, and loyal revenue, regardless of how SERPs may alter in future.

    For more insights into where local businesses should focus in 2019, be sure to explore the Moz State of Local SEO industry report:

    Read the State of Local SEO industry report

    Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

    Reblogged 4 months ago from tracking.feedpress.it