When I'm out-and-about (whether it's a meetup, or a conference) this is where you'll find my thoughts.

Local SEO with Chris Ratchford (@prodentite)

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TLDR: There are lots of recent changes in local listings. Don't panic- there will always be changes. Let them settle and take time to figure them out.



The Basics
Local is for: 
  1. Brick and Mortar must have a storefront- customers come to them. 
  2. Service-area businesses are where the storefront doesn't matter- they go to the customers.

Recent Updates
Local Results are now the "snack pack". It's moved from 7 to 3 results for local businesses. This is a visual change, not a algorithmic change. This is probably because of mobile- desktop results look more like mobile results. 

No more Google Plus pages. For branded searches (organic, not just local) you no longer see Google Plus pages, either. 

In the map results, you'll see up to 10 results. 

New Google My Business Dashboard is much more easy to use. It's not been rolled-out to everyone yet, but it's coming.Much more easy to allow other people to manage your account. Pro tip: the business owner should controll the dashboard- don't let your agency create it in their account.

Don't react to every change in local results. Let the "dust settle" for 30 days, before taking action. 

Local Search Strategy
Today local search is more like traditional SEO, than before. Additionally use Schema for business name office hours, reviews, etc. You need a unique page for each location and embed Google maps in eahc page. You also need an XML sitemap with KML data in it (Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress can help you create one). 

Audit Your Existing Citations
Your address and phone number citations need to be consistent. How can you know if they're consistent? Use: whitespark.ca, moz.com/local, NAP HUNTER (a Google Chrome extension).

Build New Citations
DIY vs. Citation Services? You should outsource your citations rather than build them yourself. Yext might be a good solution to outsourced citations. Whitespark can help, too.

Get Reviews
  • Visual Ping- especially good for Yelp
  • ReviewPush
  • Review Trackers
  • Get Five Stars

If you want to see reviews in your company you need to become a reviewer, yourself. This will help you see the hurdles and you'll empathize with the process. 

Get your staff involved, too. Inventivize your staff to create the reviews. You can't incentivize your customers to give you reviews.

You might need to respond to some negative reviews. Don't be defensive- respond contritely and directly. Watch out for the trolls. 

Yelp might remove your reviews if you don't pay for their advertising. Avoid their reps or this might come back to bite you.

Local Link Building
Community outreach, events, etc.

Resources
  • DMACLT
  • Local U
  • Local Search Forum
  • Google MapMaker

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