LocalU Advanced Denver kicked off last week in Denver at The Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver and brought together some of the brightest minds in local search and SEO. In this one-day advanced training, session topics included a comprehensive range of topics, from an in-depth exploration of Google Discover to hottest opportunities currently for content and SEO. Panelists included LocalU Faculty members, such as Greg Gifford, Carrie Hill, Lily Ray, Aaron Weiche, and more.
In this post, we will explore some of the top takeaways from the event, and why you may want to consider attending the next LocalU event.
The Number Of Reviews You Receive Can Impact Ranking
Local reviews have long been a large question mark when determing if they do in fact impact search ranking. Furthermore, there are many facets of reviews to consider when determining if they do in fact influence rank position. During “Truth About How Reviews Impact Ranking on Google” session, Joy Hawkins, Sterling Sky, Inc., shares her own research to see if reviews do in fact impact ranking.
In her research, she finds the number of reviews a business receives does seem to influence ranking position. However, not many other factors seem to contribute to rank position in her study, such as the actual text length and what is actually written in the review. A few recommendations Joy makes include:
- Encourage customers to write longer reviews (100+ words)
- Encourage customers to upvote reviews they find helpful
- Encourage customers to leave photos with their reviews
- Ask customers who’ve left a negative review in the past to update their review if you’ve fixed the issue
Incorporate Text Into Your Local Marketing Strategy
Quick, efficient communication is rapidly becoming the norm in every facet of life. This includes when a customer needs or wants to communicate with abusiness. According to research, 74% of consumers report that they would be more likely to text with a local business if they knew a real person was going to receive and respond to their message. And, 75% of consumers welcome SMS messages.
The opportunity for increased revenue is also tied to SMS marketing efforts. The same research found consumers redeem SMS coupons a staggering 10x more than other types of coupons. This opportunity grows even more with local businesses. Consumers report being 21% more likely to opt in to local businesses’ SMS marketing efforts than larger businesses.
Aaron Weiche, CEO of Leadferno, shares how text messaging can improve a business’ customer experience, while evolving with current expectations and trends. He emphasizes businesses that do implement SMS messaging must be able to reply efficiently, check its messages frequently, and communicate with customers effectively when responding.
What Works for Ranking with Google Discover Doesn’t Translate to Search
Google Discover is yet another tool to surface relevant content for brands to Google users. In September 2018, Google introduced Discover, a search tool “that makes exploring your interests easier than ever.” Discover tailors content based on what it believes you’d like to see, making the platform more personalized than traditional search.
Over 800 million users leverage Google Discover monthly, making this a great discovery tool for all businesses. However, surfacing content in Google Discover differs from typical Google Search methods, though there certainly is some overlap. During LocalU, Lily Ray suggests the following tips for surfacing content for brands in Discover:
- Make your site mobile-friendly
- Use high-quality images in your content
- Publish content around popular topics
- Become a Knowledge Graph entity
- Creat buzz with your content distribution
- Periodically refresh your content
- Embed YouTube videos into your blog posts
- Enhance content visibility with metadata
- Try Web Stories
- Work on your E-A-T
Choose Your Next Location Wisely
As many marketing directors and professionals are aware, relevance, prominance, and distance all significantly impact search ranking. Even if you’ve perfected your inbound marketing efforts, if you’re located 50 miles from a searcher, there’s a very slim chance you’ll appear at the top of their results in Google Maps. When determing where to choose your next location, consider the following factors:
- Location and convenience
- Am I going to rank?
- Is this location near competitors with more reviews?
Location is an often overlooked search ranking factor. In most cases, its an afterthought once a lease is signed. Don’t let it impact your search results the next time you choose a new location.
Content Can (And Should) Be Consolidated Where Applicable
The goal of your content marketing strategy should be to provide relevant and useful information to your readers. However, writing too much content can be detrimental to your search rankings. Instead, Carrie Hill, Local Search Analyst and Community Manager at Sterling Sky, recommends writing about multiple, similar long-tail keyword concepts in one blog post, rather than creating multiple posts covering similar topics.
For your existing pieces of content that may be very similar, you can also consolidate. To consolidate, Carrie recommends:
- Adding sections of content from the page you’re removing that aren’t redundant
- Finding all internal links to pages you’re removing and update them
- Redirecting the page you’re removing to a better page
- Improving the readability and responding
The Scary Truth About Google Business Profile: Not Enough Businesses Are Using Its Features
Here’s the scary thing about Google Business Profile (GBP) (formerly known as Google My Business), not enough businesses take advantage of all its unique features. Your GBP acts as your homepage, or the first digital introduction to your business. This is your time to shine, either make a good impression or risk your customer going elsewhere. Yet, too often, digital marketing agencies, such as SearchLab, see businesses not taking advantage of GBP’s full potential.
In a recent study conducted by Search Lab, when analyzing 3,000 different GBP listings, only 1% of all questions had a primary answer from the owner in Google Q&A. This missed opportunity alone can lead to strangers or other customers answering questions inaccurately on behalf on the business owner.
Additionally, Search Lab found in the last 12 months, 94% of the profiles haven’t published a Google Post. Google Posts are yet another Google Search feature brands can leverage for additional exposure for events, promotions, offers, and more. They’re also highly prominent on a GBP, meaning potential customers are likely to see it when looking for information about your brand. And, best of all, they are free to use.
More Future Marketing Conferences and Events
For more local search discussions, check out our upcoming webinar events. We host monthly webinars covering a large range of topics related to local search, join our next discussion. Check out LocalU for more upcoming in-person and virtual local marketing conferences.