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MullenLowe Client Interview, an enterprise search partner

John Albin is the SEO Manager at Acronym. In this interview-style post, John shares his local marketing tips and insight into the latest trends in local search marketing. 

Rio SEO is fortunate to work with exceptional businesses, one of those being Acronym, a top search agency headquartered in New York City. Together, Rio SEO and Acronym partner to provide local listing support for a global hospitality client. John Albin Headshot

In our latest client conversation, we interviewed John Albin, SEO extraordinaire who is well-versed in all things digital marketing. As the SEO Manager at Acronym, John helps globally recognized brands achieve success in their marketing efforts, with a strong focus on SEO.

Recently we sat down with John, to gain more insight into how Acronym partners with Rio, trends he’s seeing in the local marketing landscape, and hear his local SEO best practices.

Here is what John had to say.

To start things off, let’s talk about Acronym. Can you provide us with some background on the company?

Acronym was first established in 1995 and has since grown into the largest global independent search marketing agency. Over the years Acronym has gained a reputation as pioneers in SEO, PPC, Digital Analytics and Search Technology, having developed proprietary tools and techniques to maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly dynamic industry. 

Headquartered in NYC’s famous Empire State Building, the company now serves a growing international client base with offices in London, Singapore and Toronto.

What is your role at Acronym?

I’m an SEO Manager here at Acronym. My primary responsibilities include executing on-page SEO strategy, diagnosing and resolving technical SEO issues, assessing SEO opportunities, providing knowledge support to key client personnel, supporting the Executive Director of SEO and (last but certainly not least) managing and monitoring local search efforts for a global hospitality client.

How did Acronym become a top 10 search agency for 12 consecutive years?

Acronym has been privileged to earn a variety of awards over the past 25 years from prestigious publications such as AdWeek, Ad Age, Forrester and others. As I see it, this recognition is a testament to the unmatched passion and dedication to premium client service that has become inherent to the brand.

How does Acronym partner with Rio SEO to deliver results for local SEO?

Acronym was seeking a solution to help manage a growing number of local business listings for a global client and found Rio at just the right time. Rio’s technology has enabled us to syndicate key listing data for our clients’ many locations to a wide variety of platforms across the web, dramatically expanding our reach and improving organic visibility. Combined with a best-in-class client services team, our experience with Rio has been uniquely beneficial.

How does Rio’s approach to local marketing benefit your business and what measurable impacts have you seen?

Rio’s solution is unique in that it goes a few steps beyond the competition. A key value-add for us is the international reach of their product which allows us to meet the needs of clients with a global presence. We continue to see improvements in visibility and engagement due to the product’s ability to scale accurate listing data both domestically and abroad.

Let’s shift to discussing local search marketing, what have been some of the biggest shifts you seen recently? 

One of the biggest macro trends I see with not only local but across search is Google’s continued development of the knowledge panel to answer user queries from within the SERP. This is likely to continue over time as Google seeks to keep users actively engaged on their platform. A few other changes include the evolution of voice search as mobile usage continues to outpace desktop, as well as a renewed importance on businesses as brand entities.

What recommendations do you have for your clients on how to adapt to these changes?

Businesses should place the majority of their focus on good, old-fashioned brand building, both online and offline. This means, among other things, producing high quality and informative content written in a conversational tone for optimal voice search compatibility and ensuring that their branded knowledge panel is fully optimized. Businesses should also put efforts toward getting featured on relevant websites, directories and listing platforms, which can be assisted by using a platform such as Rio.

As an SEO Manager, you’re well-versed in all things SEO. How can brands boost their SEO using schema markup?

Schema structured data helps you highlight specific information for search engines and continues to be an important component of the organic marketing mix. Brands should capitalize on the opportunity to offer Google additional context about their products and services through the use of industry-specific markup. In doing so, Google and other search engines will have a better understanding of a business while also increasing eligibility to be seen in prime real estate such as Google’s Answer Box.

Zero-click searches are on the rise. How can brands successfully do SEO for zero-click searches?

Zero-click search results have certainly been a hot topic as of late. Much of Google’s strategy has shifted to becoming a one-stop-shop for searchers with a user experience that delivers the information when and where they need it, without necessarily requiring a click to another website. Brands can compete here by optimizing for results that best represent their business as well as ensuring that the data being presented on their Knowledge Panel (a zero-click element) is accurate and thorough. Other zero-click elements include Featured Snippets and the Answer Box which can be won by developing well-structured content that contains clear answers to common user questions and concerns.

Any parting words or advice on how brands can improve their local search strategy?

Marketers and SEOs tend to place a greater than necessary emphasis on what they believe Google wants rather than on what users say they want. As such, I believe that trying to outsmart Google is a losing tactic in 2020 for both local and national search. Brands should instead focus their efforts on delighting users with high-quality content optimized for each stage of the buying process. Brands should also ensure that their Google My Business account is filled out to completion with the most up-to-date information, as well as ensuring that a proper review (and response) strategy is in place.

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