I’m honored to have this post for you by Shannon Evans, contributing author and editor of Get Found Now! Local Search Secrets Exposed: Learn How to Achieve High Rankings in Google, Yahoo and Bing (Volume 1) and multiple business books. What I’ve learned about local search I’ve learned from Shannon and, as you’ll read below, I still have much more to learn! (P.S. Shannon, I just got my book with your sweet note inside. Book looks great! Can’t wait to read it cover-to-cover!)
Below we transformed an email Shannon wrote me about improvements I could make to my own Web site into an informative post for you. For those joining us for the first time, I have a full-time job as a director of marketing communications for a publicly traded company. I keep this blog to learn/compete/help/entertain and build. (You can read “Why do you blog” later if you like.)
Shannon’s email starts here: Hey Joe,
I have been pondering your local search listing and have a few ideas to give you as well as a few observations.
In a recent blog post you hoot and holler about being number one in local search results for Seattle Marketing Strategy.
Well if you do a keyword search on that search string in Google: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal, you will find that “Seattle Marketing Strategist” has no measurable search volume of note. It gets roughly 140 searches per month. That means only 140 people in a month used that particular search string to find the service providers or information they were seeking on marketing. I don’t know about you but 140 people may or may not be enough for a target audience to prompt into calling or emailing you for more information.
So now let’s evaluate a few other keywords you have in your listing that are not working well either:
You show up number one for “Seattle Marketing Communications” (your second category choice). Great! But the bad news is that search phrase had no searches in October but had searches in the previous month. Then you use the phrase “Seattle Brand Building” as a category (as well as fun, etc) and it has NO search volume whatsoever. Things are looking pretty bleak for your local listing at this point; however, don’t lose faith in keywords that are geo-targeted! There are a few that you might consider using so you can crush your competitors like a bug…or at least rise to the top of the local search listings!
Let’s examine some other keyword phrases that are more frequently searched where you could easily dominate (and you currently don’t even show up on the first page!) if you included them in your local search listing:
Seattle Online Marketing (no JH Presence) 2400 searches in Oct – rising trend
Seattle Marketing Consulting 170 searches in Oct – rising trend
Seattle Marketing Firm 210 searches in Oct – rising trend
Seattle Marketing Firms 480 searches in Oct – steady
Marketing Consultant Seattle 140 searches in Oct – rising trend
Marketing Consultants Seattle 210 searches in Oct – rising trend
Marketing Research Seattle 110 searches in Oct – rising trend
Market Research Seattle 2400 searches in Oct – rising trend (almost double from Sept searches)
Seattle Marketing 14,800 searches in Oct – rising trend
Now let’s look at your actual listing as it appears on Google local search:
First, you should create a small paragraph-styled description of your business sprinkling in some of these keyword phrases. Currently you have “marketing strategy, marketing communications, brand building…”
People want to read more than that. Yes, keywords are important but Google will sometimes penalize a description that is not in paragraph form in this section. It is believed Google considers this “keyword stuffing,” a no-no in Google’s TOS. Describe what you do briefly and use keywords in natural flowing language.
Next you want to create logical categories (like Consulting) and add in a full descriptor: Consulting – Seattle Marketing Consultant, Marketing – Seattle Bellevue Marketing strategy, Communication – Seattle Metro Marketing Communication (etc ad nauseum).
Dump the categories that are not keywords (big ideas, fun). They are empty and gimmicky.
Add your url.
Phone a friend or trusted former customer who you have helped with their marketing needs and ask them to write a review on Google or on Yelp. Ask them to use Seattle and one of these super search phrases in their review title. Then you need to go on Yelp and create a free business listing there and on Merchant Circle or Hotfrog as well.
Once you have finished tackling the keywords you should add some photos to your listing. Perhaps a picture of your logo, you in that funky wizard hat and even a photo of the front of your business are really helpful in making you rank above your competition on local search. Make sure that you name those photos in your files before you upload them to your local listing. I use a keyword and a geo-tag so I can use more keywords in my listing. So if you have your logo to load as a photo image consider naming it: Seattle Marketing.
The data on Google is updated daily so you should be able to quickly identify what is working for you in your local search listing. Google’s local business center dashboard can be invaluable for showing you which keyword phrases in your local search listing lead to which action by the user as well as the geographic location where the search originated. That is HUGE! According to an old proverb: The man at the top of the mountain did not fall there!
About Shannon Evans
Shannon Evans is contributing author and editor of Get Found Now: Local Search Secrets Exposed and multiple business books. Her books teach entrepreneurs that they must deliver a consistent and unified message on the internet. Shannon is recognized in the Puget Sound as an expert in how to make your business have a web presence rather than just a web page. Her workshops and discussion groups are much admired by local and national professional networking groups. Whether coaching entrepreneurs on the ins and outs of writing a white paper or in how to create a website that sells, her classes are all well attended and often standing room only.
As co-founder of Practical Local Search she loves nothing better than teaching local businesses how to think globally but to be searched locally. When not writing or teaching she can be found coaching boys’ lacrosse, biking, fishing or clamming somewhere in the Seattle area.