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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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! […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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