Take the COVID-19 Local Search Marketing Business Impact Survey

The poet Burns once observed that the best laid plans “gang aft agley.” At Moz, we were about to publish our State of Local SEO industry report, based on our local search marketing survey to which hundreds of you generously replied. Then the public health emergency unexpectedly arose, and we decided to pause in our planning. The findings of the survey, as they currently stand, contain valuable and surprising insights which are as relevant today as they were pre-COVID-19. Yet, in order to reflect the substantial changes the local business community is currently weathering, we are reaching out to you with a timely additional request. If you market local businesses in any capacity, whether in-house or for an agency, please take our quick, supplementary six-question survey. Your answers will help everyone gauge the impacts of the past few weeks on our industry, and hopefully help in planning for the future. We […]

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How Your Local Business Can Be a Helper

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.” — Fred Rogers This quote is one I find myself turning to frequently these days as a local SEO. It calls to mind my irreplaceable neighborhood grocer. On my last essential run to their store, they not only shared a stashed 4-pack of bath tissue with me, but also stocked their market with local distillery-produced hand sanitizer which I was warned will reek of bourbon, but will get the job done. When times are hard, finding helpers comes as such a relief. Even […]

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Operating During COVID-19: Helpful Tips for Local Businesses

Local businesses know better than any other model what it means to fully participate in community life. You are the good neighbors who are there to serve, inspire, and sustain the people and traditions that make your town a unique and enjoyable place to call home. As we explore this topic of what local businesses can do during the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to honor all that you have always done to take care of your community as a local business owner or marketer. Thank you. In this article, you will find local SEO tips that could make a difference for your business in the coming weeks, innovative resources for support, advice from my own tight-knit community of some of the world’s best local SEOs, and some serious thinking about building a better local future. Adhere to all regulations First and foremost, start each day with a review of both […]

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Heart, Ear, Eye, Mind, Mouth: Local SEO Exercises for Your Least Technical Clients

When was the last time you relaxed with a client? As a local business consultant, I know that deeper marketing insights can be discovered when you set aside formality and share experiences: a moment, a laugh, a common bond.  When I’m looking for ways to make life easier for a client, I sometimes reflect on ancient practices like yoga, tai chi, and mindful breathing, which are increasingly understood as beneficial to human health. For a space in time, they reduce the complex world we live in to a simpler one where being, breath, movement, and focus bring the practitioner to a more intuitive state.  Local marketing agencies can empathize with the complex world their clients inhabit. Local business owners must manage everything from rent and employee benefits to customer service, business reviews, web content, and online listings. When you take on a new client, you expect them to onboard a ton of […]

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Google My Business: FAQ for Multiple Businesses at the Same Address

How should I get listed in Google My Business if I’ve got multiple businesses at the same address? How many listings am I eligible for if I’m legitimately running more than one business at my location? What determines eligibility, and what penalties might I incur if I make a mistake? How should I name my businesses at the same address? The FAQs surrounding this single, big topic fill local SEO forums across the web, year after year. The guidelines for representing your business on Google contain most of the answers you’re seeking about co-located businesses, but sometimes they can err on the side of too little detail, leading to confusion. Today, Iet’s quickly tackle the commonest FAQs that local business owners and marketers raise related to this scenario, and if you have further questions, please ask in the comments! Q: I have more than one business at the same address. […]

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2020 Local SEO Success: How to Feed, Fight, and Flip Google

Image credit: Migaspinto If you own or market a business location that makes a real-world community more serviceable, diverse, and strong, I’m on your side. I love interesting towns and cities, with a wide array of useful goods and services. Nothing in my career satisfies me more than advising any brand that’s determined to improve life quality in some spot on the map. It does my heart good to see it, but here’s my completely unsentimental take on the challenges you face: The Internet, and Google’s local platforms in particular, are a complete mess. Google is the biggest house on the local block; you can’t ignore it. Yet, the entries into the platform are poorly lit, the open-source concept is cluttered with spam, and growing litigation makes one wonder if there are bats in the belfry. Google comprises both risk and tremendous opportunity for local businesses and their marketers. Succeeding […]

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6 Local Search Marketing DIY Tips for the Crafting Industry

Think crafting is kids’ stuff? Think again. The owners of quilting, yarn, bead, fabric, woodworking, art supply, stationers, edible arts, and related shops know that: The crafting industry generated $44 billion in 2016 in the US alone. 63% of American households engage in at least one crafting project annually, while more than one in four participate in 5+ per year. The top three craft store chains in the country (Michaels, JOANN, Hobby Lobby) operate nearly 3,000 locations, just among themselves. There are an estimated 3,200 US storefronts devoted to quilting alone. Thousands more vend everything from the stuff of ancient arts (knitting, with a 1,000-year history) to the trendy and new (unicorn slime, which, yes, is really a thing). Our local search marketing industry has devoted abundant time to advising major local business categories over the past couple of decades, but crafting is one substantial retail niche we may have […]

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Simple Spam Fighting: The Easiest Local Rankings You’ll Ever Earn

Image credit: Visit Lakeland Reporting fake and duplicate listings to Google sounds hard. Sometimes it can be. But very often, it’s as easy as falling off a log, takes only a modest session of spam fighting and can yield significant local ranking improvements. If your local business/the local brands your agency markets aren’t using spam fighting as a ranking tactic because you feel you lack the time or skills, please sit down with me for a sec. What if I told you I spent about an hour yesterday doing something that moved a Home Depot location up 3 spots in a competitive market in Google’s local rankings less than 24 hours later? What if, for you, moving up a spot or two would get you out of Google’s local finder limbo and into the actual local pack limelight? Today I’m going to show you exactly what I did to fight […]

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Building a Local Marketing Strategy for Franchises [Guide Sneak Peek]

A roller is a good tool for painting a house in big, broad strokes. But creating a masterpiece of art requires finer brushes. Franchises face a unique challenge here: they know how to market at the national level, but often lack the detailed tools for reaching their local customers at a granular level. Google has stated that localization of search results is the greatest form of personalization they currently engage in. For franchises, where local sensitivity is lacking in the marketing plan, opportunity is being lost. Don’t settle for this. Know that less-motivated competitors are losing this opportunity, too. This creates a large, blank canvas for a franchise you’re marketing to paint a new picture which takes state, regional and community nuances into account. One famous example of localized marketing is McDonald’s offering SPAM in Hawaii and green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico. For your franchise, it could revolve around […]

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Have Your Agency’s Clients Considered a Local Product Kiosk? Google Has.

File this under fresh ideas for stagnant clients. It’s 10:45 at night and I’m out of: Maybe I just got off of work, like millions of other non-nine-to-fivers. Maybe I was running around with my family all day and didn’t get my errands done. Maybe I was feeling too sick to appear in a public grocery store wrapped in the ratty throw from my sofa. And now, most of the local shops are closed for the night and I’m sitting here, taco-less and sad. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if I could search Google and find a kiosk just a couple of blocks away that would vend me solutions, no matter what time of night or day? Something old is becoming new again, just like home delivery. And for your agency’s local business clients, the opportunity could become an amazing competitive advantage. What’s up […]

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The Unique World of Franchise Marketing [Guide Sneak Peek]

Image credit: Dion Gillard Can franchises make good digital marketing agency clients? There are almost 750,000 of them in the US alone, employing some 9 million Americans. Chances are good you’ll have the opportunity to market a business with this specialized model at some point. In this structure: The Franchisor grants permission to others to operate under its trademark, selling approved goods and services supported by an operating system and marketing. The Franchisee is the person or group paying the franchisor for the right to use the trademark and the benefits of the operating system and marketing. Seems simple enough. But it’s this structure that gives franchise marketing its unique complexities. For your agency, the challenge is that you can’t enter these marketing relationships equipped solely with your knowledge of corporate or local search marketing. You need to deeply understand the setup to avoid bewilderment over why implementation bogs down with […]

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Take the 2019 State of the Local SEO Industry Survey

We couldn’t do it without you! In 2018, over 1,400 marketers responded to our State of the Local SEO industry survey. We all learned so much from your responses about the day-to-day realities of marketing local businesses. This year, we can do even better because your answers will give us all valuable comparative data to analyze, YoY. Who can take the survey? Anyone who markets local businesses in any way is eagerly invited. Whether you market a single location, work for an agency with some local business clients, or are an in-house SEO for a brand with thousands of locations, we would love your participation! Whether you do just a little local search marketing or a lot, are a novice or an adept, your insights have value. What is the survey about? Unlike a typical local ranking factors poll, The State of the Local SEO Industry Survey digs deep into […]

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Franchise Marketing: How People Buy Now

This post contains an excerpt from our new primer: The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing. Planet Fitness, Great Clips, Ace Hardware… you can imagine the sense of achievement the leadership of these famous franchises must enjoy in making it to the top of lists like Entrepreneur’s 500. Behind the scenes of success, all competitive franchisors and franchisees have had to manage a major shift — one that centers on customers and their radically altered consumer journeys. Research online, buy offline. Always-on laptops and constant companion smartphones are where fingers do the walking now, before feet cross the franchise threshold. Statistics tell the story of a public that searches online prior to the 90% of purchases they still make in physical stores. And while opportunity abounds, “being there” for the customers wherever they are in their journey has presented unique challenges for franchises. Who manages which stage of the journey? Franchisor or franchisee? […]

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The 2019 Holiday Checklist for Local SEO Heroes

 Right now, the shoppers nearest you are making some pretty long gift lists. US holiday sales are predicted to surpass $1.1 trillion, with 4.5–5% growth between November–January. That’s a lot of gadgets, garments, games, goodies, and gizmos to bought and sold. Winter weather and long lines will be braved, traffic endured, tired feet soaked, and patience tested in the search for the perfect gift for everyone on everyone’s list. Holiday shopping can and should be cheery, but sometimes it can be a bit of an overload. The end of the year can put local businesses back in the black, but it can be kind of stressful, too. And that’s why local business marketers need a list of their own. Your agency can be holiday heroes, both to clients and their customers. An organized approach can ensure that no mom with three kids in tow is inconvenienced by a wrong […]

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An Agency Workflow for Google My Business Dead Ends

There are times when your digital marketing agency will find itself serving a local business with a need for which Google has made no apparent provisions. Unavailable categories for unusual businesses come instantly to mind, but scenarios can be more complex than this. Client workflows can bog down as you worry over what to do, fearful of making a wrong move that could get a client’s listing suspended or adversely affect its rankings or traffic. If your agency has many employees, an entry-level SEO could be silently stuck on an issue, or even doing the wrong thing because they don’t know how or where to ask the right questions. The best solution I know of consists of a combination of: Client contracts that are radically honest about the nature of Google Client management that sets correct expectations about the nature of Google A documented process for seeking clarity when unusual […]

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Kindness as Currency: How Good Deeds Can Benefit Your Local Business

“To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and give.” – Taisen Deshimaru, Buddhist philosopher A woman stands in a busy supermarket checkout line. The shopper in front of her realizes that they don’t have enough money with them to cover their purchase, so she steps in and makes up the balance. Then, when she reaches the checkout, her own receipt totals up higher than she was expecting. She doesn’t have enough left in her purse. “No problem,” says the young clerk and swipes his own debit card to pay for her groceries. A bystander snaps a photo and posts the story to Facebook. The story ends up on local radio and TV news. Unstructured citations for the grocery store start crackling like popcorn. National news takes notice. A scholarship foundation presents a check to the clerk. When asked how he felt about it, the clerk said: “Personally, I think […]

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How to Get a Customer to Edit Their Negative Review

“When you forgive, you in no way change the pas — but you sure do change the future.” — Bernard Meltzer Your brand inhabits a challenging world in which its consumers’ words make up the bulk of your reputation. Negative reviews can feel like the ultimate revenge, punishing dissatisfactory experiences with public shaming, eroded local rankings, and attendant revenue loss. Some business owners become so worried about negative reviews, they head to fora asking if there is any way to opt-out and even querying whether they should simply remove their business listings altogether rather than face the discordant music. But hang in there. Local business customers may be more forgiving than you think. In fact, your customers may think differently than you might think.  I’ve just completed a study of consumer behavior as it relates to negative reviews becoming positive ones and I believe this blog post will hold some very welcome […]

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New Things I’ve Learned About Google Review Likes

Last time I counted, there were upwards of 35 components to a single Google Business Profile (GBP). Hotel panels, in and of themselves, are enough to make one squeal, but even on a more “typical” GPB, it’s easy to overlook some low-lying features. Often, you may simply ignore them until life makes you engage. A few weeks ago, a local SEO came to me with a curious real-life anecdote, in which a client was pressuring the agency to have all their staff hit the “like” button on all of the brand’s positive Google reviews. Presumably, the client felt this would help their business in some manner. More on the nitty-gritty of this scenario later, but at first, it made me face that I’d set this whole GBP feature to one side of my brain as not terribly important. Fast forward a bit, and I’ve now spent a couple of days […]

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Rural Local SEO: A Marketing Package Strong on Education

Can your marketing agency make a profit working with low-budget clients in rural areas? Could you be overlooking a source of referrals, publicity, and professional satisfaction if you’re mainly focused on landing larger clients in urban locales? Clients in least-populated areas need to capture every customer they can get to be viable, including locals, new neighbors, and passers-through. Basic Local SEO can go a long way toward helping with this, and even if package offerings aren’t your agency’s typical approach, a simple product that emphasizes education could be exactly what’s called for. Today, I’d like to help you explore your opportunities of serving rural and very small town clients. I’ve pulled together a sample spreadsheet and a ton of other resources that I hope will empower you to develop a bare-bones but high-quality local search marketing package that will work for most and could significantly benefit your agency in some […]

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The New Moz Local Is on Its Way!

Exciting secrets can be so hard to keep. Finally, all of us at Moz have the green light to share with all of you a first glimpse of something we’ve been working on for months behind the scenes. Big inhale, big exhale… Announcing: the new and improved Moz Local, to be rolled out beginning June 12! Why is Moz updating the Moz Local platform? Local search has evolved from caterpillar to butterfly in the seven years since we launched Moz Local. I think we’ve spent the time well, intensively studying both Google’s trajectory and the feedback of enterprise, marketing agency, and SMB customers. Your generosity in telling us what you need as marketers has inspired us to action. Over the coming months, you’ll be seeing what Moz has learned reflected in a series of rollouts. Stage by stage, you’ll see that we’re planning to give our software the wings it […]

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