Local SEO & Beyond: Ranking Your Local Business in 2017

Local SEO & Beyond: Ranking Your Local Business in 2017

Posted by Casey_Meraz In 2016, I predicted that ranking in the 3-pack was hard and it would continually get more competitive. I maintain that prediction for 2017, but I want to make one thing clear. If you haven’t done so, I believe local businesses should start to look outside of a local-SEO-3-Pack-ONLY focused strategy. While local SEO still presents a tremendous opportunity to grow your business, I’m going to look at some supplementary organic strategies you can take into your local marketing campaign, as well. In this post I’m going to address: How local search has changed since last year Why & how your overall focus may need to change in 2017 Actionable advice on how to rank better to get more local traffic & more business In local search success, one thing is clear The days of getting in the 3-pack and having a one-trick pony strategy are over. Every business wants to get the free traffic from Google’s local results, but the chances are getting harder everyday. Not only are you fighting against all of your competitors trying to get the same rankings, but now you’re also fighting against even more ads. If you thought it was hard to get top placement today in the local pack, just consider that you’re also fighting against 4+ ads before customers even have the possibility of seeing your business. Today’s SERPs are ad-rich with 4 paid ads at the top, and now it’s not uncommon to find paid listings prioritized in local results. Just take a look at this example that Gyi Tsakalakis shared with me, showing one ad in...
Proximity to Searcher is the New #1 Local Search Ranking Factor

Proximity to Searcher is the New #1 Local Search Ranking Factor

Posted by Whitespark Have you noticed that a lot of local pack results don’t seem to make sense these days? Almost every time I search Google for a local search term, the pack results leave me wondering, “Why are these businesses ranking?” For example, take a look at the results I get for “plumbers”: (Searched in an incognito Chrome browser on PC in Edmonton) Here’s a quick summary of the basic local ranking factors for the businesses in this local pack: Notice that: None of the businesses have claimed/verified their Google listing. None of the businesses have any Google reviews. Only one of the businesses even has a website! Surely, Google, there are more prominent businesses in Edmonton that deserve to rank for this term? Here’s the data table again with one additional point added: proximity to the searcher. These business are all so close to me that I could walk to them in about 8 to 15 minutes. Here’s a map of Edmonton with pins for my location and these 3 businesses. Just look at how close they are to my location: After analyzing dozens of queries that my colleagues and I searched for, I am going to make a bold statement: “Proximity to searcher is the new #1 ranking factor in local search results today.” – Darren Shaw For most local searches these days, proximity appears to be weighted more than links, website content, citations, and reviews in the local pack rankings. Google doesn’t seem to value the traditional local search ranking factors when determining which businesses to rank in the local pack. The main consideration seems...
Branding Success: How to Use PPC to Amplify Your Brand

Branding Success: How to Use PPC to Amplify Your Brand

Posted by purna_v Here’s a question for you: Do you think a brand can influence your behavior outside of purchase preference? Put another way, will seeing the North Face logo make you want to take up hiking in the snow? A few years ago, researchers at Duke University conducted an experiment with 341 students. Their goal? Studying what makes a brand powerful and how we’re influenced by brands. As part of this study, the students were asked to complete what they were told was a visual acuity test. During this test, either an Apple logo or IBM logo flashed on the screen for a second, so quickly that the students were unaware they had been exposed to the logo. The participants then completed a task designed to evaluate how creative they were, listing all the uses they could think of for a brick. Are you surprised that students exposed to the Apple logo came up with not just more uses, but more creative uses? The experiment was also done using the Disney Channel logo and the E! logo – and the students were tested on their degree of honesty and dishonesty. Which logo exposure led to more honesty? If you thought Disney, you’re right. This is evidence that subliminal brand exposure can cause people to act in specific ways. Branding matters. For those of us who work in paid search, this whole “branding” thing, with its unintuitive KPIs, can seem nebulous and not something for us to worry about. We PPC-ers have specific goals and KPIs, and it’s easy for us to be seen as only a bottom-funnel channel....

Strategic SEO Decisions to Make Before Website Design and Build

Posted by Maryna_Samokhina The aim: This post highlights SEO areas that need to be addressed and decided on before the website brief is sent to designers and developers. Imagine a scenario: a client asks what they should do to improve their organic rankings. After a diligent tech audit, market analysis, and a conversion funnel review, you have to deliver some tough recommendations: “You have to redesign your site architecture,” or “You have to migrate your site altogether,” or even “You have to rethink your business model, because currently you are not providing any significant value.” This can happen when SEO is only seriously considered after the site and business are up and running. As a marketing grad, I can tell you that SEO has not been on my syllabus amongst other classic components of the marketing mix. It’s not hard to imagine even mentored and supported businesses overlooking this area. This post aims to highlight areas that need to be addressed along with your SWOT analysis and pricing models — the areas before you design and build your digital ‘place‘: Wider strategic areas Technical areas to be discussed with developers. Design areas to be discussed with designers. Note: This post is not meant to be a pre-launch checklist (hence areas like robots.txt, analytics, social, & title tags are completely omitted), but rather a list of SEO-affecting areas that will be hard to change after the website is built. Wider strategic questions that should be answered: 1. How do we communicate our mission statement online? After you identify your classic marketing ‘value proposition,’ next comes working out how you communicate...
How to Prioritize Your Link Building Efforts & Opportunities – Whiteboard Friday

How to Prioritize Your Link Building Efforts & Opportunities – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish We all know how effective link building efforts can be, but it can be an intimidating, frustrating process — and sometimes even a chore. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand builds out a framework you can start using today to streamline and simplify the link building process for you, your teammates, and yes, even your interns. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. As you can see, I’m missing my moustache, but never mind. We’ve got tons of important things to get through, and so we’ll leave the facial hair to the inevitable comments. I want to talk today about how to prioritize your link building efforts and opportunities. I think this comes as a big challenge for many marketers and SEOs because link building can just seem so daunting. So it’s tough to know how to get started, and then it’s tough to know once you’ve gotten into the practice of link building, how do you build up a consistent, useful system to do it? That’s what I want to walk you through today. Step 1: Tie your goals to the link’s potential value So first off, step one. What I’m going to ask you to do is tie your SEO goals to the reasons that you’re building links. So you have some reason that you want links. It is almost certainly to accomplish one of these five things. There might be other things on the list too, but it’s almost always one of these...
How We Increased Our Email Response Rate from ~8% to 34%

How We Increased Our Email Response Rate from ~8% to 34%

Posted by STMartin It’s no secret that reply rate is the golden metric of email campaigns. The reason is obvious. As opposed to open and click rate, reply rate tracks how many recipients were interested (or annoyed) enough to actually write you back. For guest blogging and email outreach, your reply rate will determine your campaign’s success. We still believe that guest blogging is a great opportunity to improve your site’s link profile and brand exposure. However, the time-investment needed in prospecting/email outreach can leave you questioning its ROI. It doesn’t often make sense to spend 3 hours prospecting and emailing different opportunities to get only 3 replies. So how do you make all your prospecting and emailing worth your while? Simple: Boost your reply rate to generate more “opportunities won” in the same timeframe. The pain point: Time At Directive Consulting, we rely on guest posting for our most valuable backlinks. 😉 With that said, four months ago our email outreach was still struggling at around an 8% reply rate. This is actually around the industry standard; guest blogger outreach emails might expect a reply rate in the 5–15% range. With the below template, we were sending out 20–50 emails a week and receiving no more than 2–4 positive replies. Part 1: Part 2: Part 3: To make the system more time-efficient, we had to get our reply rate at least into the double digits. The hypothesis: Value To boost our reply rate, we asked ourselves: What makes the best online content so engaging? The answer: The best online content speaks to the user in terms of value....