Local SEO is becoming increasingly more important for business owners who want their websites to be found. Oftentimes consumers on-the-go will look for businesses that are geographically relevant to them, on their mobile device. Businesses must have well-maintained completed profiles on the local directories. Google+ Local and Yelp for starters are very important places to be. But, what drives local search engine placement? Watch the video with internet marketing experts, Chad Hill and Adam Stetzer.


How are you doing this morning?

Good afternoon. We're diving deep into local SEO and local search ranking today. A lot of people out there are asking a lot of questions about how to get their map placement, their Google+ placement, so I want to hear your thoughts on what the factors are that actually drive local search engine placement particularly for small businesses.

Yeah, I think that's a great question and something that as Google offers different opportunities for businesses, whether it's through products or local search ranking results, ways to get into search results that are sort of nontraditional or not the traditional organic rankings, those questions come up because everyone wants to take advantage of Google as much as possible in terms of getting their local search engine placement there.

There's really three things you need to think about with local search ranking. The first one is making sure that you claim and enhance your local listings. And so of course the 800 pound gorilla on that is Google+ local, which used to be called Google Places. And the main thing there is you want to make sure that you verify your listing, which usually requires a phone call to your business or some postcard verification.

Once that's done, you also want to go through and make sure that you've taken advantage of uploading images, and writing business descriptions, picking keywords, even loading videos because all those things go into sort of a completeness score. And of course Google would prefer to show businesses that have gone through the process of completing their profile and enhancing it rather than someone who's going to have an incomplete profile that maybe doesn't have really good information. So that's the first thing you need to do to get good local search engine placement.

Are you actually saying those are sort of onsite factors that actually do drive local search engine placement or the choice they make of who's shown in the local search rankings?

Yeah, I think that the first one is, before you get into anything else, it's sort of necessary but not sufficient, you need to have a complete profile. And of course, part of that for a lot of businesses is that you're near where the person is searching from, so that's a little hard to deal with, because your business may not always be right around the corner from where the person is that you want to service. But that's the first part of it.

And then the next thing it really comes down to, and really it's amazing how even in local SEO, it pretty quickly goes back to some of the traditional SEO factors, and in local SEO people talk a lot about citations. So what is a citation? A citation is-- we know what a link is. A link is when there's HTML code that's "a href" tells the browser were to take you when you click on it. What Google said is that hey, for a lot of small businesses there's directories out, there's articles written about good restaurants or recommended roofing contractors, or different things that people write where they recommend businesses. And those don't always link to the client's website, but they do have their name, address, and phone number. So Google said, hey, we're pretty smart, we can read all this content, and if we see a name, address, and phone number over and over again, that sort of counts as a link.This helps with search engine placement and local search ranking.

And so the second thing that you really need to think about is actually going out and building these citations. The most important citation is your actual website. You want to make sure that on your website you have your name, address, and phone number in the header or the footer and that you do everything you can to link back or create a citation for your local listing and Google. So that's a really important step.

All right, so to recap, you're really saying you want good local search engine placement, in Google or any other search engine, it's really two steps. It's get that-- verify your claim and verify and do all the quote "onsite" pieces, which is your images, your keywords, your video. And then move on to the local version of link building which is citation building, I heard you say your name, address, phone number. And this is not to be confused with co-citation, right? Those are very different concepts?


Right. So that's a whole different thing. We've got another video on co-citation. But citation building becomes, then, the link equivalent that fuels how you'll get your placement in that search engine ranking? Very much so. And then, I think the icing on the cake is things like reviews and offers that you might use. So for example, with reviews, you want to put in place some sort of program where you can get your customers to request that they write reviews about your business. I think the altruistic side of Google says that customers will just willingly go out and write great reviews on your Google+ local page or your Yelp page. But I think we all know the reality of that is that people don't do things unless they're asked or reminded.

So think about it. One of the things we do with a lot of our customers is we have an email go out once a month in their newsletter, or maybe even just an auto-responder for any new customer that says, hey, please write a review about our business, because now word-of-mouth of mouth is king, and, not that it wasn't in the past, but that online word-of-mouth is king. And so if you could write a review about our business on our Google+ local page or on our Yelp Page or any other local directory, that can help us not only from a conversion standpoint, because, hey, people like to see good reviews before they call a business, but also that is another indicator to say this profile, or this business has a very complete profile and is well regarded.

So when we're trying to figure out between two businesses that may be equidistant from the customer searching or that are in the area they're searching for, but one has a couple extra-- has some very good reviews and one has none, that might be the tiebreaker. Not always, but it might be the tiebreaker that allows you to get that one better local search ranking in the search results, which maybe gets them to call you over the competitor. And that's an interesting point when you think about the difference between big business marketing and small business online marketing is in Google's eyes, customers will just want to talk to you. And that's true for big brands, Target or Walmart or American Express or Nike, right? But in the small marketing world, you're right. You have to solicit those, and I hear you saying in addition to the two things we already covered, add a little bit of email marketing on there to nurture those people and remind them, get them out, and those extra votes are the icing on the cake. Cool. Sounds like a plan.

Yeah. So we'll talk to you next time about our next topic.

Thanks. See you.