Local Myth Busters: Local Optimization Facts Proven or Debunked – SESNY

Gregg Stewart, President, 15miles
Benu Aggarwal, Founder & President, Milestone Internet Marketing
Andrew Beckman, CEO, Location3 Media
Jeff Campbell, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Resolution Media
Steve Yeich, CEO, Local Splash

Andrew Beckman is at the podium as I walk in 5 minutes late! I wasn’t slacking – just getting an interview for SEM Synergy. :) Jumping in!

Citation value:

  • PageRank of sub-domain of citation
  • Content and keyword density on the page
  • Backlinks to the page
  • Frequency of crawl on the sub-URL where citation exists

Mythbust: The speed of the citation update doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to rank higher. There are services that make you pay a premium to get data online faster. But that doesn’t account for the time it’ll take for the bot to come. Don’t fall for this.

In traditional SEO, if all things are equal between you and a competitor, exact match domain will give an edge.

Search Plus Your World

It’s no longer possible to ignore the growth of your social connections as part of your SEO strategy.

Google+ and Local: the writing is on the wall for Google to use Google+ as its foundation.


  • Bring traditional strategies to your local optimization efforts.
  • Prepare for optimization for both logged in and non-logged in users of Google.

Benu Aggarwal is next. She’s seen great traffic and revenue coming through local search. She’s going to focus on categories, reviews and microdata.

Consistent categories match with website content. For a motel chain, she did the following for 864% increase in revenue.

Google places:

  • Added relevant category
  • Added additional info
  • Added coupon

Website on-page:

  • Optimized content
  • Added category

How do you find out relevant categories?

  • Webmaster, website analytics
  • Search for similar businesses on search engines, DMOZ and review categories they are filed under.
  • Category optimization is most effective if website content matches and if site secures links for relevant directories/sites.
  • Facilitate customer reviews and the result is more engagement with the website. Reviews on third-party sites are important, so leave ways for customers to review from your website if possible.

Google Gives Search a Refresh: read this!

Keyword search determines importance of sites based on words it contains, links to those sites and dozens others.

Why use schemas on your site?

  • Helps SEs show relevant info quicker and faster.
  • Categorize info
  • Use of “Organization” schema tag helps display business address, reviews, product info and specials directly in SERP
  • Find out relevant schema for your biz
  • Structure info to ensure schema can be deployed at the CMS level.


  • Optimize place profile
  • Find out relevant/unique categories
  • Optimize content on your site, social networks, links
  • Facilitate customers leaving reviews on your site and third-party sites
  • Find out relevant schema tag for your biz
  • Structure site content to ensure tags can be deployed

Steve steps up next. He’ll be talking about images, video, Google posts and Google Offers. This presentation will not contain myths. Take advantage of these tactics.

local optimization mythbustersOptimize images for Google Places by including a keyword and biz name in image file names. Also, open properties of an image, go to Summary tab, in Title add biz name and category. Biz name, category and phone number in author, in keywords put Google cats and city, and add Google cats, other keywords and surrounding cities in comments.

Add all 10 photos in Google to maximize your optimization. Update your photos periodically.

Optimizing videos for search engines, do the same steps you did for photos. When you want to add to Google Places, put the video on YouTube and fill out the information box. Put up to five videos, all five if you can. In tags on YouTube include Google categories, city and state.

Google Coupons

  • Makes your biz listing more complete, a positive signal to search engines.
  • Helps your biz stand out from competing listings in SERP.
  • Allows you to precisely track the ROI of your local SEO optimization by collecting coupons from customers.
  • Log into Google Places account and fill out Offers tab.

Google Posts

Any announcement about your biz. Can be promotional. Short message is above the biz description on your Places page. They last 30 days but can be changed daily if desired. He encourages posting once a week. Use keywords in your posts. Frequent updates keeps content fresh. 160 characters max.

Jeff Campell is up to the podium next. He’s going to bust 2 myths:

1. Do you need a different strategy for mobile than desktop?

2. Do you need an agency to manage mobile?

Myth 1 – Local and mobile optimization differences?

Local searches are mobile. 1 in every 3 searches come from a mobile device. The mobile and desktop ranking algorithms are slightly different.

Strong correlations to rankings in Google smartphone search results

  • Phrase matched keywords in page title
  • Encouraging repeat visits
  • Being a desktop site
  • Having a mobile site
  • Having more than 100k unique visitors worldwide

Specific to local-mobile

  • Having a location in close proximity to searcher/device
  • Completeness of Google Places (hours of operation, events)

73% of local keywords differ across mobile and desktop. Only 27% of localized keyword rankings are the same, no matter the interface used.

Visual differences across mobile and desktop:

  • Desktop shows 3 organic listings before Places, while mobile displays 2
  • Proximity to location is a major ranking factor

Mobile users skew toward local behaviors. Use analytics data to see what differences in behaviors are between mobile and desktop users. Store locator is used almost 3x more for mobile users than desktop users.

If I rank well in desktop local, I’m covered for mobile-local – BUSTED

Myth 2 – Local Optimization tools: Can I do this myself?


  • singular feed upload
  • access to Google places, localeze, infogroup
  • report by state or DMA or a group of stores
  • positive and negative sentiments around locations



  • review monitoring
  • social mentions


  • access to 31 local directories/siutes
  • guaranteed listing standards, direct updates
  • listing data

Whitespark local citation finder

Google Places category tool from Blumenthals (free)

Local Search Rank Checker from Bright Local

I have 100s of local listings, I need a big agency to manage everything – BUSTED

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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5 Replies to “Local Myth Busters: Local Optimization Facts Proven or Debunked – SESNY”

Nice summary here and tips on local seo. FYI, you link to allLocal.com is broken. You are sending it to ww.allLocal.com and needs to be http://www.allLocal.com

Thanks, Matthew — updated! Appreciate it. :)

Matthew Hunt, thanks for the heads up! Fixed.

Thanks Virginia, this is a very well written synopsis. Very detailed, with several great takeaways – thank you :-)
Andy :-)

@author , Is back-linking a trick from black-hat seo?


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