SearchFest 2015 Overview: “Office Hours with ‘Professor Maps'”

Why it’s important

Search users, especially those on mobile, rely heavily on search engine maps to find businesses that are nearby. Maps are an integral piece of local search strategies. Unlike regular search options, maps gives a very good indication that a user is looking for a place to visit, and likely buy. If you’re looking for a digital marketing strategy with a clear focus on increasing sales in the short run, you could do a lot worse than a local SEO strategy centered on search engine maps.

What it’s about

Do you know how to earn customer reviews? How does Google choose what businesses to show on maps? How will current trends in local search effect the future of local search?

Who presented? And why should you trust them?

Mike Blumenthal, Founding Partner – GetFiveStars.com

As a local specialist, Mike has carved out a niche for himself in the world of search engine marketing. His tagline “All local, all (the) time.” is a testament to his dedication. Over the last decade Mike has established himself as a go-to for the most pressing local search issues, and by employing the best in local search strategies he has helped countless location based businesses reach their goals with local search.

As a hotspot for local search trends, you can get more from “Professor Maps” by following him on Twitter @mblumenthal, adding him to your circles on Google+, or reading his blog.

What you missed from “Office Hours with ‘Professor Maps'”

Office Hours on Dominating Local Maps with Mike Blumenthal

Office Hours on Dominating Local Maps with Mike Blumenthal

Don’t pay Yelp to help with local as you don’t need them. Google still scans the unpublished reviews on Yelp.

The Penguin algorithm update from Google had a large emphasis on brands around location in a limited geography. Pigeon gave huge organic strides to local businesses with local relevance. The search radius shrunk from 10 miles to six miles, but this provides better relevance and better conversions for businesses. This is very category dependent and reduces the number of pins on the map.

What used to be called the five pack or seven pack is now just the “stack”. The point of this stack is to keep people on Google. Google wants to put authoritative brands in the stack and using things like Yelp and other review/directory sites with relevant and consistent categories will help the authority of a brand.

Google doesn’t care if you claim your Google+ page but they do want you to have one so shows your relevancy with hours and description.

Geo-modified keywords have high authority and relevance, so use them in your content on and off the website. Local onsite optimization = who, what and where. The ideal situation would be these geo-modified keywords in your Yelp and Google+ reviews.

Five star reviews are earned, not bought. The businesses who focus on their brand and not about gaining reviews get exciting people to leave reviews. Try to use a review system on your website to highlight the greatest reviews of your business. If you want better reviews, improve your business. People prefer using Facebook and Google as they are what people are most comfortable with. Yelp is a waste of time for quality reviews as they generally just get denied and hidden.

To remove reviews from your Google+ page, go to the help pages of Google and contact them. Ask them to remove the snip-it. This is the fastest way to get them removed as the “help contact” people are more qualified then just the normal contact page. It needs to a legitimate request for removal though.

If you are create a page that details on your locations and neighborhoods you may service, make sure to create a page for each location and neighborhood and then link to them from that central page. Customized contentĀ for each locationĀ isn’t necessarily important for Google, but it is huge for brand building relevancy to your customer. However, long tail geo-keywords do help ranking so use those in your customized content pages for locations and neighborhoods.

Call tracking numbers make it difficult to rank locally. If you are using a call tracking number for each location make sure to buy a clean number. An unclean number may have bad history associated it by Google.

More from SearchFest 2015

If you liked what you found here, visit our SearchFest hub page to discover more topics to follow from SearchFest 2015.

Meghan Tackett

Digital Marketing is my profession, people management is my responsibility.

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