Posts Tagged ‘SEL’

Top 10 Tips for Local Search Success

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Business owners today see all the different ways that consumers are seeking out, discovering and considering local businesses, and they don’t know where to start their marketing efforts.

In our column for Search Engine Land this month, I offer my 10 tips for best positioning local businesses in today’s ever-changing local search environment. These include:

1)     Ensure key information about your business is accurate & accessible

2)     Populate your top local business listings

3)     Build a website with the user experience as the key priority

4)     Optimize your website for search

5)     Start a blog to provide a steady stream of content

6)     Leverage visual content, including photos and videos

7)     Ensure your business website is mobile-friendly

8)     Engage on social media channels used by your target customers

9)     Encourage reviews to add credibility to your business

10)  Pay attention to your success – and adjust your approach as necessary

Click here to read my full column on how to integrate each of these tips into your local business strategy.

Best & Worst Ways to Influence Local SEO Rankings

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In our monthly Locals Only column on Search Engine Land, I discussed how the vast majority of local business out there – even those heavily invested in digital and mobile marketing – are constantly looking for insights on how they can improvement their placements in Google’s search engine results.

A survey released earlier this month by Moz’s David Mihm asked 35 local marketing experts to rank what they perceive as the best and worst ways to influence local SEO rankings. The survey provides a strong blueprint for local businesses on where to prioritize their local marketing efforts to generate greater visibility for their brands and one-up their competitors. It also provides perspective on actions to avoid that can damage a business’ credibility in local search.

Click here to read my column on Search Engine Land.

The Key to Success in Local Lies In A Vertical Approach

Monday, July 22, 2013

In my Local Search column on Search Engine Land posted today, I discuss the increasingly critical role of vertical offerings in the local search experience: not only in attracting customers and directing them to relevant business listings, but also in providing consumers with the necessary tools to evaluate and directly make purchases.

In my post, I overview recent developments involving key local players – specifically Yelp – that are implementing initiatives that simplify, speed up and complete the path to purchase. I then offer recommendations for local businesses to ensure they are able to capture these new lead opportunities.

Read my column on Search Engine Land by clicking here.

10 Questions Local Businesses Should Answer When Considering Online Deals

Monday, March 4, 2013

If you’ve followed headlines about the online deals space over the past year, you might wonder if the phenomenon has lost its appeal.

In our monthly Locals Only column on Search Engine Land, I discuss that while the industry is facing challenges, both local businesses and consumers continue to see promise in the medium. I lay out 10 key questions that local businesses should consider when deciding whether an online deal makes sense for them.

Read my full column at Search Engine Land.

How Local Businesses Can Leverage New Facebook & Foursquare Features

Thursday, February 7, 2013


In our monthly Locals Only column on Search Engine Land, I discuss new features recently announced by Facebook and Foursquare that will drastically change the ways local businesses leverage the social networks to build customer loyalty and drive new sales.

The new offerings, which include the introduction of Graph Search by Facebook and greater business access to customer information on Foursquare, will provide local businesses with new opportunities as well as challenges. In the column, I overview both changes and outline tips for how local businesses can and should adapt.

Click here to read my full Search Engine Land column.

Five Steps To Integrate Visual Content Into Your Social Media Strategy

Monday, September 17, 2012

In a column posted today on Marketing Land, I discuss the growing importance of visual content in a local business’ social media strategy.

In the past year, the unbelievable growth of visually focused sites like Instagram and Pinterest, the redesign of Facebook with the introduction of Timeline and the cover photo, and the rapid increase in use of smartphones with high-resolution cameras have highlighted changing consumer preferences in favor of images over text in the digital space.

In the piece, I offer five steps for local businesses to join the visual revolution online. Click here to read my full column.

Will Mobile Overtake Desktop for Local Restaurant Search?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I read an interesting post from Sherwood Stranieri over at Search Engine Land this week on mobile local search. Recent findings point to a rapidly increasing number of mobile searches in the restaurant category and it looks like mobile search may surpass desktop search in this category very soon.

In the last few months, there’s increasing evidence that mobile search activity for restaurants is growing by leaps and bounds. Consider the following:

  • Yelp recently shared that mobile usage now accounts for 40% of their activity, up from 27% in 2010.
  • According Groupon’s CEO, 30% of all transactions on Groupon’s platform are now attributed to mobile device use, and those usage levels have tripled in just one year.

Given these trends, it’s very likely that we’ll see restaurant search hit the tipping point in the next 12 months, with more mobile-based activity than desktop-based.

As you’ll recall from earlier this summer, YP, in their quarterly Local Insights Report, also found that the restaurant category was the most searched on mobile.

Take a look at Sherwood’s full article for more on mobile search and tips on how restaurants can get prepared to stay ahead of the curve.

Will the New Yahoo CEO Focus on Local Businesses?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In my Local Search column on Search Engine Land this month, I discuss Yahoo’s recent appointment of Marissa Mayer as its new president and CEO, and the opportunities that presents for local businesses should she decide to focus on reinventing the company’s once dominant local search platform, Yahoo! Local.

Mayer, who previously served as the Google executive in charge of local, maps and location services, lives and breathes local. She is also an expert in creating innovative user experiences in the space. I argue that if Mayer makes local a priority at Google – which still commands one of the largest audiences on the Web with 700 million monthly users – that local businesses will have yet another platform to actively consider for local advertising.

In my piece, I overview what Yahoo! Local looks like today and provide some thoughts on where Mayer might take the platform next. Click here to reach the full column.

5 Considerations In Planning Your Small Business 2012 Budget

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In our Locals Only column on Search Engine Land this month, I shared five key takeaways from BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’11 conference that are relevant to local business owners in the process of planning their 2012 marketing budgets.

My takeaways include:

1) Small businesses are increasingly investing advertising dollars online

Total small business ad spending for online media increased to almost 40% of total ad spend in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from 22% in the third quarter of 2009, according to BIA/Kelsey’s Charles Laughlin. It’s safe to say that small businesses should be putting a heavy chunk of their advertising dollars into the online space in order to keep up with competitors.

2)  Small businesses are juggling marketing tools

With so many tools at their disposal, small businesses are especially struggling with how to manage social media channels and print media based on changing consumer behaviors. Since a growing number of platforms provide unique opportunities for businesses to reach target consumers, small businesses should explore an integrated approach that targets the widest number of customers possible.

3)  Once websites are covered, mobile-friendly sites are next

With the number of mobile Internet users set to surpass desktop users by 2015, according to BIA/Kelsey, the emphasis is increasingly on ensuring that websites can be viewed as easily on mobile as they can at the home or office computer. Small businesses should look at ways to optimize their sites for mobile over the next year to make sure their customers can easily view them on-the-go.

4)  Daily deals are hot, but customer retention and deal fatigue are issues

Daily deals will be a $4.2 billion market by 2015, according to BIA/Kelsey, but so far some small businesses who have tried them have had limited success retaining participating customers over the long-term. AT&T’s Todd Rose, who runs AT&T’s Deal of a Day offering, says capping the number of deals per merchant is sometimes necessary as well to keep consumers interested. Small businesses should ask daily deals providers to offer information on the type of return on investment they should expect – both for the deal and in the weeks and months following.

5)  Use specific criteria when choosing local ad partners

Small businesses need to take a long and hard look at the characteristics of the advertising partners they work with to make sure they’re choosing the best solutions possible.

Click here to read my full article on Search Engine Land.

Study: Majority of Small Businesses on Social Media, But Engagement is Limited

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

As we frequently discuss on the blog, social media presents an opportunity for small businesses to interact and build loyalty among their existing customers, as well as attract new ones. It also gives small businesses the ability to help control their online reputation, especially when it comes to negative reviews.

In an interesting post on Search Engine Land, Greg Sterling discusses the results of a new study by Palore which found that nearly six in 10 small businesses (58%) have a presence on either Facebook or Twitter, but that only 22% had a presence on both social networks. The study also indicated that the percentage of small businesses with Facebook pages is nearly double the share of those using Twitter.

Palore’s analysis looked at more than 1,110 small businesses in two categories – restaurants and spas – in Philadelphia and San Diego in conducting its review. It focused only on small businesses with websites.

However, the good news about the high percentage of small businesses participating on social media is dampened by additional results of the study, which found that the level of consumer engagement on these social media pages is generally low. According to Palore, approximately 38% of Facebook pages had fewer than 100 likes, while nearly 45% of Twitter pages had fewer than 100 followers. Only a handful of small businesses’ Facebook pages had more than 1,000 likes (16%) and more than 1,000 followers (19%).

As Greg notes, while small businesses are doing a good job getting on social media, they seem to be having difficultly figuring out how to engage consumers once they’re there. As an industry, we have a lot of work ahead of us in helping to educate small businesses about various ways to use social media to promote their businesses and build their online reputations.