Get All Your Questions about Local SEO Answered!

SEO

George Freitag Sep 18 2012

Fresh Local SEO

Last week we announced our new referral program for our PPC Essentials Package. There was a blog post about it. The world changed. We decided we really liked that feeling and wanted to hold onto it a little longer. So this week we’re announcing a special for our recently revamped and reworked Local SEO Package. For a limited time, we’re taking $500 off our normal price and offering our Local SEO Package for a one time cost of $1500.

To celebrate, we’re launching the Portent Local Series! That means for the next 2 weeks, every Tuesday and Thursday we’re going to be writing a local-specific post, all about local search and search for small and local business owners.

Portent’s Local SEO Q&A

Kicking it off, we’re throwing an anything-goes Local SEO Q&A where we’ll answer all your questions about Local SEO. Want to know where your reviews go? Which directories you should pay attention to? What Google’s calling its local service these days? Post a question in the comments and we’ll collect them all for a blog post on October 2nd. We’ll also be digging through our microfilm records to find old blog posts and grab those questions, as well.

Woman pondering her Local SEO

“How will I ever decide which business categories to choose for my listing?”

So, if there’s anything you’re dying to know about local, ask us below in the comments. Then check back next week where we’ll answer everything you’ve ever wanted to know about local. Because we love local and want you to, also.

And remember, if you’re a small business owner and you’ve been waiting for just the right time to give your search strategy a jumpstart, head on over to our Local SEO page and take advantage of our limited offer!

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tags : local seosearch marketingSEOsocial media marketing

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23 Comments

  1. What is the relative importance of directory listing?

    • Thanks Kevin! And congratulations on posting our very first question!

      • To your question, directory listings are the best signal search engines can use to determine your business’s popularity online. Directory listings are going to contain the citations that contribute to your business listing’s trust in the local results.

        Further, most all issues with duplicate map listings, incorrect business information and other local problems can be traced back to an inaccurate directory listing somewhere.

  2. For businesses like doctors or lawyers who want to target a broad radius of cities surrounding their office, how does one effectively do this? Service area pages covering the same info seem spammy, but in most cases the information you want to provide your site visitors isn’t going to vary that much.

    • Hey Mike, thanks for your question!

      This is always tough since Google is going to have a bias against any business without a physical address in the city. The most successful strategies I’ve seen have been to try and target the localized organic results; that is the results outside of the lettered results.

      So if you can fit the target city in your title tag and homepage text, do that. If it’s a ton of surrounding areas, create a unique page targeting the nearby city and fill it with original content related to that city. Even directions, if possible. If you can get some good links to this page, even better. You may never get in those lettered results, but at least you’ll show up on the results page.

  3. How do the Bing and Google local algorithms differ?

    How can I achieve anonymity in local search when everything is based on my address? I run my company out of my garage.

    • A two parter! Thanks for your questions, Skeeter!

      1) Google and Bing both serve localized results based on the query and the location of the searcher. The big difference is that Google’s local results are a lot more incorporated with the organic results. So, apart from a few exceptions, Bing tends to give 5 numbered local results and 8-10 organic results below for most local searches. Google’s results, on the other hand, will typically vary from subject to city and everywhere in between. Secondly, Google’s results will typically be almost entirely results for actual businesses, whereas Bing is more inclined to provide results for directory sites like Citysearch or Yellow Pages

      2) The best way to stay out of the local results is to not put your address anywhere! You can still target the localized organic results by mentioning your city and services in the content.

  4. Is there anyway to advertise on local search?

    • Thanks for your question, Allen!

      Both Google and Bing serve ads in localized results just as they do for any search result. You can bid on any local search phrase through their networks.

      On top of that, Google also has Google Adwords Express, which places ads as local results directly on the map!

  5. I was wondering how to optimize YouTube Videos for Search Engines. Are Tags more important or is the description of the video more important? Is there a difference between optimizing for searches within YouTube and optimizing for searches in Google?

  6. Is there any benefit to adding custom attributes to Google+ local profiles?

    • Thanks, Gyi!

      This is one of the less clear points of Google. There has been some mixed opinions on how much the content in the descriptions and additional details sections influence a listing’s ranking. My experience, though, has shown that the more information you give Google in your listing, the more legitimate your listing appears.

      So if anything, filling out those sections shows to Google that your listing is actively managed which adds to the trustworthiness of the listing. However, I strongly advise that you avoid any blatant keyword stuffing in any of the custom sections of your listing.

  7. What local biz listings (Google, Yahoo, etc.) are the most important to be listed in?

    Should you encourage customers to leave reviews of your business on review sites? If so, which ones are the most influential?

    • Hey Robert! Well you hit the most important directories! I’d also include Bing and Yelp. But then it sort of depends on what type of business you’re in. For most businesses, Citysearch, Hotfrog, and the phone directory sites are appropriate too. But after that, you’ll really want to focus on niche directories like Urban Spoon for restaurants or Healthgrades for medical practitioners.

      As for reviews, they are definitely important. For Google, they really are pushing for customers to use Google+ so a review there is ideal. They also do link to most other review sites below the Google reviews on the +Local listing so reviews on other sites do sort of get seen. I’d also recommend Yelp since, apart from having their own loyal users, they are also currently a content provider for Bing’s local listings.

  8. Hey George! What is the best way to combat similar businesses that share the same exact address?

    • Hi Kim. This is where you’ll want to spend the time to make sure all of your directory listings are displaying their contact information in the exact same format. In some cases, you may even want to go so far as to help your competitor update their directory listings as well.

      If you continue to encounter problems, you can try visiting Google Map Maker and editing your listing directly or report a problem directly to Google.

  9. Jeff

    We work with a lot of clients trying to direct their customers to one directory over another to write their reviews. Is this worth the effort? is one directory, like Yelp or G+ local, better or worse for leaving reviews?

    • Hi Jeff! In a perfect world, all the reviews would be counted. Unfortunately, Google places a such a high preference on its own reviews, that your clients will want to direct as many reviews as possible directly to the Google+ Local page. Like I told Robert earlier, Google will still link to the other reviews at the bottom of the local page, but it just won’t be displayed as prominently.

      Bing, on the other hand, has many different partnerships and will display reviews from Yelp, Citysearch and other popular directory sites directly in its business listings.

      • Shaun

        I agree that it is a good idea to try to generate as many G+ local reviews for a business as you can but it’s worth noting that for some industries (thinking travel or restaurants) there are some pretty powerful 3rd party sites that are well worth your time when it comes to reviews.

  10. Emily

    Is it worth it to pay for a link on a directory site?

    • Hi Emily. That really depends on your business. The old phonebook’s websites, BBB and even some local directories can often be worth looking into. It really depends on the niche directories available to your business.

  11. Jason

    Is there a connection between Google Plus Local rankings and Organic rankings?

    • Thanks for your question, Jason!

      To answer: absolutely. Google looks at both the website and the local listing when ranking its local results. This is why it’s important to optimize both; something we’ll actually be getting into during our Local Series here over the next couple weeks.

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