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Thread: 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

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    JoyHawkins's Avatar
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    Exclamation 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

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    I had the privilege of speaking recently at Local U Advanced in Williamsburg and wanted to summarize the top takeaways as a list of actionable items based on the notes I took that you should be doing for your business or the businesses you work with if you want to succeed with Local SEO in 2016.

    1. Stop listening to the advice of the Google Employees when it comes to ranking. They have absolutely no incentive to tell you how to rank well.
    2. Think of your website as a data source. Google is looking at your website for answers to information users are searching about.
    3. Stop selling a set package that gives people a set # of citations or a set # of blog articles
    4. Start selling content speed & quality
    5. Send clients a SWOT analysis. They need to know where they are weak as well as strong.
    6. Link out (external links) to quality websites
    7. Pay more attention to organic. 75% of ranking local listings also rank on the first page organically.
    8. Link building (and not crappy links) should be a high priority on everyone's list. Studies by Ahrefs & Backlinko show that links still matter - a LOT.
    9. Don't just build citations. This is what lazy & scared SEOs do.
    10. Get links in your local community
    11. Link to the quality citations and raise their authority level!
    12. Instead of spitting out tons of content all the time, focus on publishing less and making the content BETTER and taking 1 piece of content and turning it into multiple campaigns (Look at part 3 of this article)
    13. Use customer reviews for content ideas. Want to know what people care about and are searching? They'll tell you based on the comments in their reviews!
    14. Please stop spamming reviews or customers will start losing faith in them.
    15. Make leaving feedback easy. Donít bury it on your site. When was the last time you saw a feedback option on a restaurant's homepage?
    16. Search Google for [your geo] + [your service] + [reviews] for ideas on where you need to get reviews!
    17. Put your reviews on pages that actually rank
    18. Reviews is a numbers game. Stop asking so little people if you want more.
    19. Create incentives for your employees so they will help you get more reviews.
    20. The content in Yelp reviews actually impacts the 3pack. Stop ignoring Yelp.
    21. BuzzFeed allows for guest authors. Publish a fantastic piece of content there and get more exposure (and a link).
    22. Use Facebook as an outreach tool. Paying to promote stuff on Facebook actually results in more organic/referral traffic too that you don't pay for.
    23. Use "Get Directions" as a call-to-action in Facebook ads for local businesses.
    24. Use Google's moved feature to get rid of those seriously annoying "Permanently Closed" listings.
    25. If Google employees from GMB give you ranking advice - IGNORE it.
    26. Use Twitter support for GMB issues
    27. Give up trying to rank in the 3-pack for "keyword + city" for a city you're not located in.
    28. Check out Google Now on Tap for Android and use it to help see how Google is connecting the different profiles for your business.
    29. Check Google Analytics and see if clients started getting an increase in direct visits from Safari on mobile in the last year. This could be a result of Apple Maps. Itís almost impossible to track traffic from Apple Maps because they all show up as direct visits in Analytics.
    30. Start tracking multiple KPIs for clients, including: phone calls, form fills, ranking increases (overall, not individual keywords), monthly traffic, work completed, the plan for next month, what items you need from the client etc.
    31. Tell your clients how much time you spent on their account and break it down for them.
    32. Don't let spam outrank your business/client. Do something about it.
    33. Something wrong in the knowledge panel? Use the submit feedback button on it to get things fixed.
    34. Check where you rank on Facebook Services
    35. Subscribe to the Whitespark Local Pulse to keep in the loop on what's happening in the Local SEO world.


    This list was created by me listening and taking notes to some of the brilliant minds in Local Search: David Mihm, Mike Ramsey, Mary Bowling, Will Scott, Mike Blumenthal, Aaron Weiche, Joel Headley, & Andrew Shotland. Of course I threw in some notes from my own presentation at Local U as well

    I have yet to find another conference that teaches me more about Local SEO than Local U. It was amazing to meet some of you in person in Williamsburg and for those of you wanting to take your Local SEO knowledge to the next level, I suggest going to Local U Advanced in New Orleans this fall.

    Which items do you plan on doing this year?

    What other tips do you have that I didn't mention?



    About the Author: I have been working in the Local SEO industry since 2006 and am a part of Googleís Top Contributor program & MapMaker Regional Leads program. I currently contribute to many online communities in the Local SEO world and am a Top Contributor here on the Local Search Forum, Search Engine Land author, & Local U Forum moderator. For Moz, I am a contributor to the Local Search Ranking Factors survey and write for their blog.

    I currently work as a product consultant at Imprezzio Marketing in Toronto, ON. My daily responsibilities there include troubleshooting ranking issues on Google for the most complicated and difficult accounts, writing training manuals and training employees on how to use Google products and SEO-related tools and tactics, selling and managing Local SEO, Social Media and AdWords accounts for small business owners, and keeping up with new trends and processes in the Local SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) world and incorporating these into products. In my spare time, I also like to blog about things pertaining to Local SEO.
    Joy Hawkins
    1-866-430-0457 x 301
    Google My Business Top Contributor, Google MapMaker Regional Lead (USA)
    Personal Local SEO Blog

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    Andre Willis (04-05-2016),Andy (07-13-2016),badboybart (04-06-2016),CodyBaird (04-05-2016),deegs20 (05-04-2016),James Watt (04-06-2016),Joe Mink (04-05-2016),JustinB (04-05-2016),Linda Buquet (04-05-2016),Rob Hermann (04-10-2016),rossicone (04-06-2016),seoWest (04-05-2016),Tim Sweeney (04-05-2016),whitespark (04-05-2016)

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    Re: 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

    Great post Joy, talk about a list. In reference to your question,

    Which items do you plan on doing this year? What other tips do you have that I didn't mention?

    I am actually working on a project, I hate to ruin it but I am comparing all the Local SEO guides from the last year up until now (Google gave me around 50+). I drew up a measuring criteria of 27 factors, and will be ranking them and pulling out the best tips from each guide. Should be quite the project!

    I would love to make the Local U in the fall, just made jambalaya the other night and was telling my fiance we should go to New Orleans, if we don't end up buying a house this fall we will see...

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    Re: 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

    Make sure you share this guide with us! Sounds like great stuff.

    Hope you can make the one in the fall - you won't regret it
    Joy Hawkins
    1-866-430-0457 x 301
    Google My Business Top Contributor, Google MapMaker Regional Lead (USA)
    Personal Local SEO Blog

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    Linda Buquet is offline Community Leader - Google Local Specialist
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    Re: 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

    Wow Joy! You knocked it out of the park with this one! Incredibly thorough and well thought out.

    I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say I wish I could've seen your presentation, so I could have heard you elaborate on each point.

    If you're newer to local SEO or even if you're an old pro... I guarantee that if you take the time to read each of the info packed links Joy shared, you'll learn something new and reinforce best practices you may have forgotten about.

    What was your fav stand out tip???

    If I still personally did local SEO and had a team, I would make this required reading!

    Please everyone thank Joy for her time and this information...
    By sharing on social, so others can read this as well.
    Is Our Content HELPFUL? Please pay the community back by sharing!

    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

    Consulting, Troubleshooting & White Label Services for SEOs & Agencies

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon". ;-)

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    Re: 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

    I typically cringe when I see a long list like this because many are filled with fluff, but each of these items are worth very careful consideration and are completely actionable.
    Joy, thanks for taking the time and thought to compile this. Very much appreciated!
    JoyHawkins likes this.

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    Re: 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

    I had the pleasure of watching Joy spit fire in person at Williamsburg. It was awesome. And she dropped the mic when she was done.

    Lots of gold in them there slides.

    whitespark and JustinB like this.

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    Andre Willis is offline Member
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    Re: 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

    Great post, Joy!

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyHawkins View Post
    Check where you rank on
    Facebook Services


    Do we know anything about Facebook Services' ranking factors yet?
    lissaduty likes this.

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    Re: 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

    Love this Joy!

    The one thing I'm adding is my 3 for 3 rule - you get 3 things to focus my work on, and you have to give it 3 months. It's helping a lot of my dealers go from reactive to proactive with their digital marketing/search plan.
    -----
    CDK Global SEO Specialist & Local Listings Guru

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    Re: 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

    Quote Originally Posted by cdawg2610 View Post
    The one thing I'm adding is my 3 for 3 rule - you get 3 things to focus my work on, and you have to give it 3 months. It's helping a lot of my dealers go from reactive to proactive with their digital marketing/search plan.
    Yes! That rule was awesome. I remember reading it and going "Wow that makes so much sense!"

    Cody - I totally should have dropped the mic but thought that might be too bold of a move for my first time speaking there lol. You still need to update your picture btw.

    Andre - I think Will Scott was the one that talked about Facebook Services. Let me check over with him to see if he knows about the ranking factors for it.
    CodyBaird likes this.
    Joy Hawkins
    1-866-430-0457 x 301
    Google My Business Top Contributor, Google MapMaker Regional Lead (USA)
    Personal Local SEO Blog

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    Re: 35 Ways to Succeed with Local SEO in 2016

    I haven't seen anything published yet, but from what little poking I've done it appears pretty keyword / title heavy. In other words, "Pizza" in your name increases likelihood of ranking for Pizza.

    Definitely worth some more digging.

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