SMX West 2012: Hardcore Local SEO Tactics

This session talks about the success of local SEO and gaining an edge beyond the typical local search tactics. This is my first liveblogging session for Bruce Clay, Inc.  here at SMX West; trying to capture as much as possible for you. Please excuse the typos — these guys talk fast!

Mike Ramsey of Nifty Marketing kicks it off.

Speaking on on-site local SEO tactics

1 year ago you could rank without it. Not today since the blended results. On-site is the new king. It does 3 things:

  • Helps Google Places
  • Organic ranking
  • Increase conversions

Do all that and angry birds are going to be sad because there isn’t enough time to play at work. You’ll be answering the phone.

Google Place tips:

URL: Single location, point to your home page

5 categeories – build webpages for each category. This is the only way to get 2 listings in blended – one in organic, one in blended

Multiple location pages – build landing pages for each location in your site and use that in Google Places

Title tags and descriptions:

  • 50 companies, 76% had their city and location in title tag, 82% had keyword/category in title tag, 78% listed busiiness nae in title tag
  • What Mike recommends:
    • main keyword + location | business name  | more keywords
    • put phone number in description, becomes click to call action on phones

SMX West logoCall to Action:

Most common missing element on websites
Make it BIG enough to matter. Make call to actions with phone and form compatible. Must have form as well as phone.

Never stop testing your call to actions Easier to get leads from traffic you already have  than to double your leads by doubling your traffice


Name, addresss, phone
Would like to see more custom Google map, google maps, click on myplaces and create a map. you can upload logos, and more.

NAP can be properly coded in both Schema and hCard on a site.

Correct markup could be a factor in getting  a map +box on your organic listing

KML File and Geo sitemap

  • KML gives latitude, longitude to Google
  • Upload to root directory and point to it in Webmaster tools.
  • KML data could be a factor in getting Landmark Status in Google Maps
  • Add your geo sitemap + kml file to your site sitemap to guarantee that Google finds it.


  • Use images of your staff
  • Images of your location and vehicles
  • Service or product
  • Imagery hits on who you are, what you do, where you are

Test images effect on conversion


  1. national
  2. Industry
  3. Local like BBB

Add reviews in hReview format, rich snippets only for now for individaul reviews. only way to get 1 testimonial to show up in rich snippet format

Testimonials are not as trustworthy as 3rd party reviews, increase click thru rate as they show in SERPS

Test all markup with rich snippetstesting tool

Google+ integration for Places

Starting to tag your profile with your Google Places, add rel author tag to your author page and then link to Google + from author page, and linked from G+ to author page.  Only show up on Google Place page that uses your website’s title and description tag.

Thomas Ballantyne of Bulwark Exterminating – The pest control guy

Online Reviews

How to get reviews?

You can’t fake reviews. He showed 11 fake reviews on Yelp from the same reviewer, exact same text. Got by Yelp’s spam filter.

Fake reviews are easy.

@Bulwark_ext’s customer satisfaction score went from 94% to 97% recommended after asking for online reviews. They simply asked technicians to ask for reviews. Bumped them up 3%.

Site traffic increased by 40% after review getting

Direct correlation between review count and customer referral rate.

When a customer gives you a review and they will most likely recommend you.


  • Don’t suck
  • Ask for reviews
  • Make it easy – Showed web page he uses on his site that has links to all review sites

Pay for reviews advice

From Google: “Don’t offer or accept money or product to write reviews”

Which do you believe:

  • I am a really good kisser
  • I hear he is a really good kisser
  • I have kissed him and he is a really good kisser
  • I am the head cheerleader and he is a good kisser. He paid me to say this.

Google and Yelp remove REAL reviews.

Bad reviews can be good for you.

64% became advocate initially but 36% became advocates after a solution was made. So learn from your bad reviews and make it better!

  1. Start offline. Hunt them down, Call them up.
  2. Fix the problem
  3. Ask them to update their review
  4. If you cannot find them offline then make a polite response online and invite them to contact you so that you can resolve the problem.
  5. If you are not going to be polite then don’t respond.

Reviews make marketing online easy! Also gets better staff.

Chris Silver Smith – Argent Media

Local Citation Development

Ranking factors


  • Keywords in business name
  • keywords inclassic website SEO
  • Business category match


  • Radius of distance from city centroid
  • City/zip outline regions
  • User’s geolocation (IP address/ cellphone)


  • Relative popularity of that biz in relation to others in that space
  • PageRank
  • Mentions of citations
  • PlaceRank – popularity of location, biz located in a highly popular location may be more popular than one in the rurals

What are citations?

  1. Business name
  2. Street address
  3. Telephone number
  4. Links
  5. Mentions of URL

Good Citation Sources

  1. Online directories
  2. local newspapers that have business directories
  3. vertical directories

Go to competitors Place page to see what citations they have and get there too

Unorthodox citation sources

  1. Wikipedia articles (business, building, shopping center, founder) You need to be noteworthy enough to get here, or maybe your location is historical, or the founder or prominent employee is well known enough.
  2. Wi-Fi hotspots can get you in Wi-Fi directories
  3. Geo-cache locations
  4. National register and state historical marker locations
  5. Chambers of commerce sites
  6. Pressed penny machine can get you in a hobbyist directory
  7. ATM locations can get you listed
  8. Integrate a weather monitoring station
  9. Specialty directories (expanol, Chinese, Jewish, Christian, Greek, etc.)
  10. Write a book, mentions of location in books can show up
  11. Host weddings or charity event at your business can get you mentioned on wedding websites
  12. Offer special discounts to local groups can get you listed in their newsletters, websites
  13. Check-ins can be a ranking factor beyond just a citation, helps to differentiate popular from non-popular
  14. Source for location popularity indicators – Wikipedia, perhaps a place with more Wikipedia articles is more popular and may rank higher
  15. Associate yourself with local events, festivals, community activities

Manish Patel, founder Where 2 Get It

Manish does local SEO for national brands

Challenges for that space are:

  1. Understanding the local ecosystem, mobile/social still an afterthought
  2. Business assumption – ranking well for branded terms
  3. Quality/Consistency of local data
  4. Analysis paralysis
    1. Likes, fans, +1, searches, CTR, KPI’s, events actions and so on

You need to think of yourself of a broadcaster.

  • You must push out far and wide – website, mobile sites, display ads, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, etc.
  • Understand consumer path to purchase – Search, Find, Actions
  • Local Facebook integration
    • Facebook referrals accounted for more than 15% of traffic to individual store location pages for National QSR
  • Other social Network Integration
    • Pinterest – put pin on pages you control
  • Back and forth linking
  • Mobile optimized

Key challenge #2 – No need to defend my turf; assume we rank well for brand

Need branded local long tail

Local microsites – 1 per location with these pointing to it:

  • Gogole places
  • Yelp
  • Adwords campaign
  • Local landing page
  • FB likes
  • Display Ads
  • Google Searches
  • Mobile searches

Key challenge #3: quality and consistency of the data

Prescribe the pain

  • Random SERP
  • Pull ranking reports
  • Show social reports and audits with bad data

Data Acquisition and Cleansing


  1. Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, Navteq
  2. Local directories, car navigation

Syndication and claiming challenges

  1. Limited resources $$ time
  2. Format location files to each search engine unique needs
  3. Manual work still required

Key Challenge #4: Analysis Paralysis

  • Give basics such as Google Place reporting that Google provides, gives value to client and convinces them they need to do it
  • Show visits by channel – mobile, place page, etc.
  • Local search market share – Google, Bing, etc.
  • Plot data on map.

That’s it. I know there are holes here as it’s hard to capture it all, and I apologize for that. But hopefully you gained something.

Kathy Long is one of the original "Digital Divas," having jumped on the Internet bandwagon back in its infancy in 1995 when she started her own company, Kat & Mouse. Her current passions are SEO, Local Search and what she calls "SECRO" (Search Engine Conversion Rate Optimization), as well as public speaking and teaching groups of SMB business owners on how to get their websites to ka-ching.
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