B2B Local Search Marketing: A Guide to Hidden Opportunity

Is a local business you’re marketing missing out on a host of B2B opportunities? Do B2B brands even qualify for local SEO? If I say “B2B” and you think “tech,” then you’re having the same problem I was finding reliable information about local search marketing for business-to-business models. While it’s true that SaaS companies like Moz, MailChimp, and Hootsuite are businesses which vend to other businesses, their transactions are primarily digital. These may be the types of companies that make best-of B2B lists, but today let’s explore another realm in which a physical business you promote is eligible to be marketed both locally and as a B2B. Let’s determine your eligibility, find your B2B opportunities, identify tips specific to your business model, analyze an outreach email, explore your content with a checklist, and find an advantage for you in today’s article. Seeing how Google sees you First to determine whether […]

Read more

Taking Local Inventory Online: An Interview with Pointy’s Mark Cummins

Let’s go back in time 20 years so I can ask you the question, “How often do you look at a paper map every month?” Unless you were a cartographer or a frequent traveler, chances are good that your answer would be, “Hmm, maybe less than once a month. Maybe once or twice a year.” But in 2019, I’d wager there’s scarcely a day that goes by without you using Google Maps when planning to eat out, find a service provider, or find something fun to do. That web-based map in your hand has become a given. And yet, there’s one thing you’re still not using the Internet for. And it’s something you likely wonder about almost daily. It starts with the question, “I wonder who around here carries X?” A real-world anecdote After the tragic fires we’ve had this year in California, I wanted to wet mop all the […]

Read more

Why Local Businesses Will Need Websites More than Ever in 2019

64% of 1,411 surveyed local business marketers agree that Google is becoming the new “homepage” for local businesses. Via Moz State of Local SEO Industry Report …but please don’t come away with the wrong storyline from this statistic. As local brands and their marketers watch Google play Trojan horse, shifting from top benefactor to top competitor by replacing former “free” publicity with paid packs, Local Service Ads, zero-click SERPs, and related structures, it’s no surprise to see forum members asking, “Do I even need a website anymore?” Our answer to this question is,“Yes, you’ve never needed a website more than you will in 2019.” In this post, we’ll examine: Why it looks like local businesses don’t need websites Statistical proofs of why local businesses need websites now more than ever The current status of local business websites and most-needed improvements How Google stopped bearing so many gifts […]

Read more

The Guide to Building Linked Unstructured Citations for Local SEO

This article was written jointly in partnership with Kameron Jenkins. You can enjoy her previous articles here. When you’ve accomplished step one in your local search marketing, how do you take step two? You already know that any local business you market has to have the table stakes of accurate structured citations on major platforms like Facebook, Yelp, Infogroup, Acxiom, and YP. But what can local SEO practitioners do once they’ve got these formal listings created and a system in place for managing them? Our customers often come to us once they’ve gotten well underway with Moz Local and ask, “What’s next? What can I do to move the needle?” This blog post will give you the actionable strategy and a complete step-by-step tutorial to answer this important question. A quick refresher on citations Listings on formal directories are called “structured citations.” When other types of platforms (like online news, […]

Read more

The State of Local SEO: Industry Insights for a Successful 2019

A thousand thanks to the 1,411 respondents who gave of their time and knowledge in contributing to this major survey! You’ve created a vivid image of what real-life, everyday local search marketers and local business owners are observing on a day-to-day basis, what strategies are working for them right now, and where some frankly stunning opportunities for improvement reside. Now, we’re ready to share your insights into: Google Updates Citations Reviews Company infrastructure Tool usage And a great deal more… This survey pooled the observations of everyone from people working to market a single small business, to agency marketers with large local business clients: Respondents who self-selected as not marketing a local business were filtered from further survey results. Thanks to you, this free report is a window into the industry. Bring these statistics to teammates and clients to earn the buy-in you need […]

Read more

3 Empowering Small Business Tips for Today, 2019, and a Better Future

“American business is overwhelmingly small business.” – SBE Council Small businesses have created 61.8% of net new jobs in the US since the early 1990s. Local business is big business. Let’s celebrate this in honor of Small Business Saturday with 3 strategies that will support independent business owners this week, and in the better future that can be attained with the right efforts. What’s Small Business Saturday? It’s an annual shopping event sponsored by American Express on the Saturday following Thanksgiving with the primary goal of encouraging residents to patronize local merchants. The program was launched in 2010 in response to the Great Recession. By 2017, Small Business Saturday jumped to 7,200 Neighborhood Champions (individuals and groups that organize towns for the event), with 108 million reported participating consumers spending $12 billion across the country. Those numbers are impressive, and more than that, they hold the acorn of strategy for […]

Read more

What the Local Customer Service Ecosystem Looks Like in 2019

Everything your brand does in the new year should support just one goal: better local customer service. Does this sound too simple? Doesn’t marketing brim with a thousand different tasks? Of course — but if the goal of each initiative isn’t to serve the customer better, it’s time for a change of business heart. By putting customers, and their problems, at the absolute center of your brand’s strategy, your enterprise will continuously return to this heart of the matter, this heart of commerce. What is local customer service in 2019? It’s so much more than the face-to-face interactions of one staffer with one shopper. Rather, it’s a commitment to becoming an always-on resource that is accessible to people whenever, wherever and however they need it. A Google rep was recently quoted as saying that 46% of searches have a local intent. Mobile search, combined with desktop and various forms of […]

Read more

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Taking Full Control of Your Google Knowledge Panels

They say you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip, but when the turnip (and your biggest potential competitor) is Google, the lifeblood of the local business locations you market could depend on knowing where to take control. As Google acts to confine ever-more stages of the local consumer journey within their own interface, local enterprises need to assume as much control as possible over the aspects of the Google Knowledge Panel that they can directly or indirectly influence. This cheat sheet is your fast track to squeezing the most you can out of what Google is still offering. How Google changed from local business benefactor to competitor It may not come naturally, at first, to think of Google as a competitor. For many years in the local space, their offering of significant free screen real estate to any eligible local enterprise was like a gift. But, in their […]

Read more

Follow the Local SEO Leaders: A Guide to Our Industry’s Best Publications

Change is the only constant in local SEO. As your local brand or local search marketing agency grows, you’ll be onboarding new hires. Whether they’re novices or adepts, they’ll need to keep up with continuous industry developments in order to make agile contributions to team strategy. Particularly if local SEO is new to someone, it saves training time if you can fast-track them on who to follow for the best news and analysis. This guide serves as a blueprint for that very purpose. And even if you’re an old hand in the local SEM industry, you may find some sources here you’ve been overlooking that could add richness and depth to your ongoing education. Two quick notes on what and how I’ve chosen: As the author of both of Moz’s newsletters (the Moz Top 10 and the Moz Local Top 7), I read an inordinate amount of SEO and local […]

Read more

Local Business Transparency & Empathy for the Holidays: Tips + Downloadable Checklist

Your local business will invest its all in stocking shelves and menus with the right goods and services in advance of the 2018 holiday season, but does your inventory include the on-and-offline experiences consumers say they want most? Right now, a potential patron near you is having an experience that will inform their decision of whether to do business with you at year’s end, and their takeaway is largely hinging on two things: your brand’s transparency and empathy. An excellent SproutSocial survey of 1,000 consumers found that people define transparency as being: Open (59%) Clear (53%) Honest (49%) Meanwhile, after a trying year of fake news, bad news, and privacy breaches, Americans could certainly use some empathy from brands that respect their rights, needs, aspirations, and time. Today, let’s explore how your local brand can gift customers with both transparency and empathy before and during the holiday […]

Read more

How to Win Some Local Customers Back from Amazon this Holiday Season

Your local business may not be able to beat Amazon at the volume of their own game of convenient shipping this holiday season, but don’t assume it’s a game you can’t at least get into! This small revelation took me by surprise last month while I was shopping for a birthday gift for my brother. Like many Americans, I’m feeling growing qualms about the economic and societal impacts of putting my own perceived convenience at the top of a list of larger concerns like ensuring fair business practices, humane working conditions, and sustainable communities. So, when I found myself on the periphery of an author talk at the local independent bookstore and the book happened to be one I thought my brother would enjoy, I asked myself a new question: “I wonder if this shop would ship?” There was no signage indicating such a service, but I asked anyway, and […]

Read more

Take the 2018 Moz Local Search Marketing Industry Survey

Local search marketing is a dynamic and exciting discipline, but like many digital professions, it can be a bit isolating. You may find yourself running into questions that don’t have a ready answer, things like… What sort of benchmarks should I be measuring my daily work by? Do my clients’ needs align with what my colleagues are seeing? Am I over/undervaluing the role of Google in my future work? Here’s a chance to find out what your peers are observing and doing on a day-to-day basis. The Moz Local Search Marketing Industry Survey will dive into job descriptions, industries served, most effective tactics, tool usage, and the non-stop growth of Google’s local features. We’ll even touch on how folks may have been impacted by the recent August 1 algorithm update, if at all. In-house local SEOs, agency local SEOs, and other digital marketers are all welcome! […]

Read more

The Local SEO’s Guide to the Buy Local Phenomenon: A Competitive Advantage for Clients

Photo credit: Michelle Shirley What if a single conversation with one of your small local business clients could spark activity that would lead to an increase in their YOY sales of more than 7%, as opposed to only 4% if you don’t have the conversation? What if this chat could triple the amount of spending that stays in their town, reduce pollution in their community, improve their neighbors’ health, and strengthen democracy? What if the brass ring of content dev, link opportunities, consumer sentiment and realtime local inventory is just waiting for you to grab it, on a ride we just haven’t taken yet, in a setting we’re just not talking about? Let’s travel a different road today, one that parallels our industry’s typical conversation about citations, reviews, markup, and Google My Business. As a 15-year sailor on the Local SEO ship, I love all this stuff, but, like you, […]

Read more

Q&A: Lost Your Anonymous Google Reviews? The Scoop on Removal and Moving Forward

Did you recently notice a minor or major drop in your Google review count, and then realize that some of your actual reviews had gone missing, too? Read on to see if your experience of removal review was part of the action Google took in late May surrounding anonymous reviews. Q: What happened? A: As nearly as I can pinpoint it, Google began discounting reviews left by “A Google User” from total review counts around May 23, 2018. For a brief period, these anonymous reviews were still visible, but were then removed from display. I haven’t seen any official announcement about this, to date, and it remains unclear as to whether all reviews designated as being from “A Google User” have been removed, or whether some still remain. I haven’t been able to discover a single one since the update. Q: How do I know if I was affected by […]

Read more

Getting Real with Retail: An Agency’s Guide to Inspiring In-Store Excellence

No marketing agency staffer feels good when they see a retail client getting reviews like this on the web. But we can find out why they’re happening, and if we’re going above-and-beyond in our work, we just might be able to catalyze turning things around if we’re committed to being honest with clients and have an actionable strategy for their in-store improvements. In this post, I’ll highlight some advice from an internal letter at Tesla that I feel is highly applicable to the retail sector. I’d also like to help your agency combat the retail blues headlining the news these days with big brands downsizing, liquidating and closing up shop — I’m going to share a printable infographic with some statistics with you that are almost guaranteed to generate the client positivity so essential to making real change. And, for some further inspiration, I’d like to offer a couple of […]

Read more

Time to Act: Review Responses Just Evolved from “Extra” to “Expected”

I’ve advocated the use of Google’s owner response review feature since it first rolled out in 2010. This vital vehicle defends brand reputation and revenue, offering companies a means of transforming dissatisfied consumers into satisfied ones, supporting retention so that less has to be spent on new customer acquisition. I consider review responses to be a core customer service responsibility. Yet, eight years into the existence of this feature, marketing forums are still filled with entry-level questions like: Should I respond to reviews? Should I respond to positive reviews? How should I respond to negative reviews? Over the years, I’ve seen different local SEO consultants reply in differing degrees to these common threads, but as of May 11, 2018, both agencies and brands woke to a new day: the day on which Google announced it would be emailing notifications like this to consumers when a business responds […]

Read more

Enterprise Local SEO is Different: A Checklist, a Mindset

Image credit: Abraham Williams If you’re marketing big brands with hundreds or thousands of locations, are you certain you’re getting model-appropriate local SEO information from your favorite industry sources? Is your enterprise checking off not just technical basics, but hyperlocalized research to strengthen its entrance into new markets? Before I started working for Moz in in 2010, the bulk of my local SEO experience had been with small-to-medium business models. Naturally, the advice I was able to offer back then was limited by the scope of my work. But then came Moz Local, and the opportunity to learn more about the more complex needs of valued enterprise customers like Crate & Barrel with more than 170 locations, PAPYRUS with 400, or Bridgestone Corporation with 2000+. Now, when I’m thumbing through industry tips and tactics, I’m better able to identify when a recommended practice is stemming from an SMB mindset and […]

Read more

How to Boost Bookings & Conversions with Google Posts

Have you been exploring all the ways you might use Google Posts to set and meet brand goals? Chances are good you’ve heard of Google Posts by now: the micro-blogging Google My Business dashboard feature which instantly populates content to your Knowledge Panel and individual listing. We’re still only months into the release of this fascinating capability, use of which is theorized as having a potential impact on local pack rankings. When I recently listened to Joel Headley describing his incredibly creative use of Google Posts to increase healthcare provider bookings, it’s something I was excited to share with the Moz community here. Joel Headley worked for over a decade on local and web search at Google. He’s now the Director of Local SEO and Marketing at healthcare practice growth platform PatientPop. He’s graciously agreed to chat with me about how his company increased appointment bookings by about […]

Read more

The 2018 Local SEO Forecast: 9 Predictions According to Mozzers

It’s February, and we’ve all dipped our toes into the shallow end of the 2018 pool. Today, let’s dive into the deeper waters of the year ahead, with local search marketing predictions from Moz’s Local SEO Subject Matter Expert, our Marketing Scientist, and our SEO & Content Architect. Miriam Ellis, Dr. Peter J. Myers, and Britney Muller weigh in on what your brand should prepare for in the coming months in local. WOMM, core SEO knowledge, and advice for brands both large and small LSAs will highlight the value of Google-independence Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) and loyalty initiatives will become increasingly critical to service area business whose results are disrupted by Google’s Local Service Ads. SABs aren’t going to love having to “rent back” their customers from Google, so Google-independent lead channels will have enhanced value. That being said, the first small case study I’ve seen indicates that LSAs may be […]

Read more

How Is Google’s New “Questions and Answers” Feature Being Used? [Case Study]

Ever since Google rolled out Questions and Answers in mid-2017, I’ve been trying to get a sense of its reception by consumers and brands. Initially restricted to Android Google Maps, this fascinating feature which enables local business owners and the public to answer consumer questions made it to desktop displays this past December, adding yet another data layer to knowledge panels and local finders. As someone who has worked in Q&A forums for the majority of my digital marketing life, I took an immediate shine to the idea of Google Questions and Answers. Here’s a chance, I thought, for consumers and brands to take meaningful communication to a whole new level, exchanging requests, advice, and help so effortlessly. Here’s an opportunity for businesses to place answers to FAQs right upfront in the SERPs, while also capturing new data about consumer needs and desires. So cool! But, so far, we seem […]

Read more