Local Search Engine Optimization (Local SEO)

Local SEO 2019 Solved!

Ready to grow your business? Let's discuss how we can assure your business shows up Google's Local 3-Pack resulting in more phone calls, website visits, and sales.

Local SEO Defined

Local SEO, short for Local Search Engine Optimization, is the process of optimizing a business's website, directory listings, and location listings (like Google My Business or Bing Places), to appear at the top of the search results for targeted keywords and location.

An effective Local SEO campaign will "earn" your business a spot in Google's Local 3-Pack, the highly visible block of maps listings at the top of the search result page:

An example of Google's Local 3-Pack

An example of Google's Local 3-Pack

Google’s Local 3-Pack

Google’s Local 3-Pack, also referred to as the Local Pack, is the block of 3 Maps listings (Google My Business profiles) that are displayed below the paid ads but above the organic results on the search page.

An example of a Google local search result page

An example of a Google local search result page

Benefits of Appearing in Google’s Local 3-Pack

Website link for a listing in the Google Local 3-Pack

More Website Visits

Appearing in the Local 3-Pack on Google tends to generate more clicks to your website. Every industry is different, but most of our Local Advantage clients receive over 50% of their website clicks from this link.

Person clicking to call from a local listing

More Phone Calls

This is an ideal spot for your phone number to be available for potential customers, clients, and patients looking for your product or service. From their cell phone, a convenient one tap click-to-call!

More Store Visits

Location-based businesses like restaurants and stores, will experience more direction requests and foot traffic by appearing in the Local 3 Pack for their search terms. 2 clicks, and they’re on their way!

Google My Business (GMB) Page Examples

The listing that appears in the Local Pack for your business is generated from your Google My Business profile. Your GMB profile is the listing from which all the following Google products pull their information from:

  1. Google Branded Search (Business name)
  2. Google Maps
  3. Google Local 3-Pack.
  • The Google Business Name Search, sometimes referred to as the Knowledge Panel, is the result displayed when you or someone else searches your business's name on Google.
  • Google Maps is of course Google's navigation program widely used around the world.
  • and the Google Local 3-Pack is the 3 listings that appear for searches with local intent.

Refer to visual examples below:

Branded Search Google
An example of a brand search on Google using ours as an example.

Google Branded Search (Knowledge Panel) Example:
This GMB listing usually appears for searches of your business name,  searches for reviews of your business, and in some cases when your business has an exceptionally strong correlation to a specific keyword, can show up for that keyword search. The more "built out" your GMB listing is the better your listing will look in these search results giving you a distinct advantage over your competition.

Google Maps
An example of a business on Google Maps using ours as an example.

Google Maps Example:
Google Maps information is also pulled from your businesses GMB listing. A verified listing is one that has been validated by requesting a Google postcard sent by mail from within your Google My Business dashboard. Having a verified (and optimized) Google My Business listing can really spotlight your Maps listing and give you control over your photos, business intro, website, appointment, and menu links, and even your map pin.

Google Local 3 Pack
Image

Google Local 3 Pack Example:
And of course the Google Local 3-Pack which appears for searches with "local" intent. Getting your business featured here will dramatically increase website traffic, phone calls, and directions. Proximity has a large impact for this listing, but with intentional and proactive steps as outlined above, a business can earn this spot, and stand out from the other listings with reviews and well chosen identity pictures.

The Importance of Intent

People search online for many different reasons and intent. Lately Google's algorithm has become extremely accurate at presuming the searcher's intent.

In Local SEO, we are optimizing for what is referred to as "local intent". These are searches for local results within a certain geographical area.

For example, if we search, "acupuncturist" from Phoenix, Arizona, Google delivers the following search results.

Example of a Google Local Search for Acupuncturist in Phoenix, Arizona

Example of a Google Local Search for Acupuncturist in Phoenix, Arizona on January 1, 2019

Notice the 3 map listings? Google rightfully assumed our search had what is referred to as "local intent", meaning we wanted results based on our current location.

A Search with Informational Intent

What if we wanted to learn more about acupuncture? Local listings of acupuncturists wouldn't be valuable to us, and Google understands this.

Google's algorithm is getting extremely accurate at determining a search's intent.

Continuing with the acupuncture example, here is the search results for "what is acupuncture?"

Google search example without local intent

Google search example without local intent taken on January 1, 2019

The "intent" for this search was for information. Notice this search query doesn't assume local intent and the results are informational?

When it comes to Local SEO, the objective is optimize your online presence for searches with local (and purchase!) intent.

The Golden Ticket

The real golden ticket for your business is appearing in Google's Local 3-Pack for searches with local and purchase intent!

Earning a spot in Google's Local 3-Pack is like winning the golden ticket!

Earning a spot in Google's Local 3-Pack is like winning the golden ticket!

Our Local SEO Process

Our Local SEO Process, The Local Advantage, is a campaign built from 6 years of data and experience that consistently earns our clients their spot in the Local 3-Pack.

Phoenix Online Media's Local SEO process

Our process, aptly named, "The Local Advantage", gives business's an "advantage" over their competition as a result of tried-and-true processes based on data and results.

We approach SEO with the same ethical standards we hold ourselves to; integrity, accountability, and transparency. Below is a general, but transparent look into our process.

  • Website Optimization

    A strong foundation is vital to your digital marketing and Local SEO strategy. Your website (or landing page) is a major part of that foundation, and ensuring your website is properly optimized and aligned with Google’s and other search engine’s best practices is an advisable first step and where our process starts. We approach this from a technical perspective as well as a user experience, conversion-focused perspective. Some of the technical improvements we implement are: ensuring there are unique and descriptive page titles and meta descriptions, utilizing keyword rich HTML heading tags (H1s, H2s, etc…), optimizing images for file size and alt tags, internal links, authoritative outbound links, Schema, canonical URLs, and minifying Java Script, HTML, and CSS. We have a 36-point checklist we follow here. Conversion focused improvements, depending on need, might include improving navigation menus, reformatting pages for a better user experience, ensuring you have clear call-to-actions and sensible lead generation or sales funnels set up. Your website or landing page influences the visibility of your Google My Business page as well. This is the other integral part of your Local SEO which we go into more detail in the next section below.

  • Google My Business (GMB) Page

    Your Google My Business listing, or GMB listing for short, is the other key foundational element to your Local SEO. Your GMB listing is your Google Maps listing, the listing that appears in the Local 3 Pack (the primary objective of Local SEO), and your knowledge panel as it’s called that comes up when you or others search your business by name. See screenshot examples below of each of these using our business as an example in the “Google My Business (GMB) Page Examples” section below. We will ensure that this page is claimed, set up correctly, categorized intelligently, and optimized accordingly. Google constantly updates this asset, so we diligently stay up to date with any new developments and capitalize on early adopter opportunities. Similar to our website optimization checklist, we have a Google My Business Page checklist ensuring you have every advantage over your competition possible including aesthetics. Your GMB will not only be thoroughly set up with attention to every detail, but will display your business in the utmost professional manner possible as well. portraying you as the obvious choice when compared to your competitors.

  • Review Generation/Reputation Management

    Reviews matter. As a matter of fact, they continue to grow in importance in 2019 and beyond when it comes to your Local SEO and overall online presence. Reputation is everything these days, especially when the internet makes it so easy for consumers to research products or services before making a final decision. Knowing the importance of reviews, we have invested lots of time and money into creating what we believe the best review and reputation management system available today. We are proud of this system, and a week doesn’t go by where we aren’t celebrating another win with one of our clients stemming from an impressive collection of online reviews. Do you have some negative reviews frustrating you right now? No problem. We have solutions for those too. A brief outline of just some of the benefits of our review acquisition system: Automated multi-channel review acquisition campaigns that can include email, text messages, and even print, an intelligent filtering system that forwards negative reviews to your inbox instead of online, a built in monitoring system that sends a copy and link to any new reviews that come up for you online from any site, capability to generate reviews on any site, email footers, a command center to respond to reviews, reporting, trends and ROI, and stream all your positive reviews on your social media or website with SEO-friendly markup. Bottom line. It works, and it works well. We would love the chance to set up a demo for you to preview it in action. Call us today at (480) 539-2900.

  • Local Link Building

    Backlinks, or link signals as they are often referred to in the SEO industry, are still one of the top influencing factors to a website’s ranking. In the case of Local SEO, link signals are second only to Google My Business page signals according to MOZ’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors study released November 2018. Read more and view the 2018 Local Ranking Factors graphs (and link to the full study) below in the Additional Resources section. Another insightful resource is Bright Local’s study on the effectiveness of Local Link Building in the same section. We have set up a very effective process that will help obtain valuable links from relevant sites in your industry. Not convinced that links make a difference? Google search, “best growlers in gilbert”. Notice the Quick N’ Shine Carwash GMB page comes up big and bold on the search result page? They do have an impressive growler selection, but that spot was secured with 1 high quality relevant backlink. This will be our goal for your business as well.

  • Content Creation & Promotion

    Content is an ideal way to demonstrate you’re an expert in your industry, provide more value to your customers, clients, patients, or website visitors, and gain additional internet traffic from people clicking through to your page or post from their search results. Our content strategy is as follows:

  • Directory & Citation Submissions

    Citations remain an important aspect of Local SEO. At one time, they were one of the most important Local ranking factors. Businesses could literally outrank their competition in local results and on maps by having the most citations! Those days are gone. Local SEO has become much more complex since then, and that strategy was capitalized and eventually burnt out as Google’s algorithm progressed. Having said that, a consistent and accurate citation portfolio on the web ensuring a profile on our “top 15” directories still proves to be a significant ranking factor. According to the latest study put out by MOZ (see more info in the Local SEO Resources section below) citation signals still account for 10.82% of all the local ranking factors. We view citations as potentially being the differentiator, or tie breaker, in the cases when all else is pretty much even between you and your competition. A robust online presence with your profile fully built out on our chosen top 15 citation sites and other industry relevant sites will give your business the edge in the rank war. Our citation process is simple: Hand entered citations on our top 15 and on the directories that are most relevant to your niche. In our own experiments, we have compared hand entered citations verses automatic submission programs which have become quite popular these days. Those definitely have their advantages, especially in the time they save, but within such a competitive landscape, the details matter – and that includes citation building.

  • Socially Media

    Social signals influence your Local SEO. More importantly, your social media is your platform to engage with your existing and potential customers. Furthermore, social media is becoming the customer service platform of choice for both customers and the businesses that utilize it. Did you know that 30 percent of consumers surveyed said that they may not choose to purchase from a company that doesn’t have a social media presence? A properly implemented social media strategy can have many benefits for your local search strategy as well as your overall online presence. Our social media process includes posting relevant content on the social channels most relevant to your customers, and engaging with them with surveys, contests, sweepstakes, and highlighting products and services. We have also developed a very effective Facebook Ads campaign process that provides very targeted traffic or engagement even with a small marketing budget.

  • Analytics & Reporting

    We understand that analytics and reporting don’t directly influence your rankings, but since we feel it to be so important, have decided to include it anyway. After all, it is an essential part of our process. We strongly advocate measuring and comparing results and making strategic adjustments according to that data to achieve the most optimal results every time. As the great management guru Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets managed.” We provide clear and informative monthly reports that show the good and the bad. We strongly believe it is advantageous for you to know the online health of your Local SEO and your ROI. The goal is to demonstrate monthly improvements to you but also be transparent when there is a bad month.

Our Local SEO Process

Our Local SEO Process, The Local Advantage, is a campaign built from 6 years of data and experience that consistently earns our clients their spot in the Local 3-Pack.

Phoenix Online Media's Local SEO process

Our process, aptly named, "The Local Advantage", gives businesses an "advantage" over their competition as a result of tried-and-true processes based on data and results.

We approach SEO with the same ethical standards we hold ourselves to; integrity, accountability, and transparency. Below is a general, but transparent look into our process.

(Click or tap any section to expand for more information).


Questions?

We live Local SEO everyday, so consequently tend to use industry vernacular or mistakenly "assume" something is clear when it is not. If you have any questions or comments about anything on this page, please give us a call!
We are confident we can answer any of your questions and shine light on anything that needs clarification.

Let's Discuss Your Project!

Are you ready to see a change? Frustrated with your current rankings? Want to see your business included in the Local 3-Pack?

Fill out the form below and we will respond within 24 hours with an honest answer to whether we think we would be a valuable partner to you, and if so, the results you can expect.

Consider These Compelling Facts about Local, Mobile, and Voice Search:

Local Search:

  • 46% of all Google searches are local.
  • 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (Wordstream, 2016) 
  • 30% of mobile searches are related to a location. (Google, 2016)
  • 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Google, 2016)
  • Local searches lead 50% of mobile users to visit stores within one day. (Google, 2018)
  • Nearly one-third of all mobile searches are location-based queries. (The SEM Post, 2016)
  • 46% of all searches on Google are seeking local information.
  • 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps
  • More than 50% of ‘near me’ searches result in a store visit. (Mediapost)

Mobile Search:

  • Over 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product while conducting a search on their smartphone. (Google, 2018)
  • More than 46% of Americans will check their smartphone before getting out of bed. (Tech Times, 2017)
  • An average mobile user spends about 4 hours a day on their smartphones.
  • 65 percent of people use their mobile phone in their buying moments. (Think with Google)
  • 71% of customers look to confirm the address before visiting a new store.

Voice Search:

  • The number of voice queries increased 3,400%  between 2008 and 2017. (HubSpot, 2017)
  • 19% of people use Siri at least daily. (HubSpot, 2015)
  • Google claims its voice recognition accuracy is now at 92%. (Campaign, 2017)
  • 20% of search queries on Google's mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches. (Search Engine Land, 2016)

(These numbers for local, mobile, and voice search continue to increase every year!)

Sources & Read More:

The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2018 (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

Google Local SEO Statistics That Every Marketer Should Read: (Source: https://seoexpertbrad.com/local-seo-stats/)

Additional Local SEO Resources

Below are additional Local Search related resources, graphics, articles, statistics, and information. One of particular interest is MOZ's latest 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors.

MOZ 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors

According to MOZ's latest Local Search Study, here are the ranking factors and the influence each factor has shown as a percentage:

MOZ Local Pack Breakdown 2018

MOZ Local Pack Breakdown 2018 Source: https://moz.com/blog/2018-local-search-ranking-factors-survey

  1. Google My Business Signals (Proximity, categories, keyword in business title, etc.) 25.12%
  2. Link Signals (Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc.) 16.53%
  3. Review Signals (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) 15.44%
  4. On-Page Signals (Presence of NAP, keywords in titles, domain authority, etc.) 13.82%
  5. Citation Signals (IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc.) 10.82%
  6. Behavioral Signals (Click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc.) 9.56%
  7. Personalization  5.88%
  8. Social Signals (Google engagement, Facebook engagement, Twitter engagement, etc.) 2.82%

Image credit: https://moz.com/blog/2018-local-search-ranking-factors-survey

Full study: https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors


Local Landing Page Optimization Guide

Nifty Marketing put out this great infographic on what an optimized Local Landing page looks like based on recent research (July 10th, 2018).

Full article and credit here: https://niftymarketing.com/optimal-local-landing-page-infographic/

An example of an optimized Local Landing Page

Reviews - Did You Know?

A graph demonstrating the importance of reviews and other factors like keywords in the review that also impact rankings.

Source: https://www.localseoguide.com/guides/local-seo-ranking-factors/

Reviews matter.

I think everyone knows the importance of online reviews, especially if you are a small business owner. Even from a personal level, how many of us read reviews before purchasing that new tech gadget, or committing to one particular service provider? I do. And it has paid off. Thanks to reviews and due diligence I have had no regrets with any recent purchases including service based ones.

From a business owner's perspective, reviews aren't something you can ignore any more. Not if you want your business to succeed today. If you don't have a review system set up, call us today and we can get something set up for you. For free if need be. Just mention this paragraph and the fact that you read down this far deserves that at least. 🙂

Regarding a review strategy for your business, did you know that the prevalence of your keywords, or mention of the city or town  you are trying to rank in, have influence on where you rank? LocalSEOGuide.com has put out this study showing the correlation between reviews and ranking, and puts it like this, "At a high level, having a keyword you are trying to rank for, and a mention of a city you are working to rank in, in reviews has a high correlation with high ranking Google My Business results."

Local SEO Case Studies

Advanced IT Solutions logoAdvanced IT Solutions

Advanced IT Solutions is a local computer repair shop in Mesa, Arizona whose main services include: computer repairs all makes and models, virus removal, data recovery, and managed IT services.

Thanks to expert repairs and exceptional customer service, owners Michael and Rebecca Long were getting business from word of mouth and referrals, but they both knew with some targeted advertising they could help even more people in need of their services.

Initial Research

After out initial research process we begin with each client, we were able to define their ideal customer, what keywords they were searching, industry trends, SWOT analysis of their local landscape, competition analysis, and a strategic plan to meet their goal of doubling revenue in 1 year.

Website Redesign

Like many of our projects, we start with the website. in some instances, we will optimize the current site, but after some consideration, it was decided that a new website would be the most advantageous in this case.

(Advanced IT Solutions initial website)

Advanced IT Solutions initial website

BEFORE IMAGE - Advanced IT Solutions initial website

(Advanced IT Solutions New Website)

Advanced IT Solutions new website

AFTER IMAGE - Advanced IT Solutions new website

"I am not easy to impress, and as a former communications editor, I am extremely detail oriented. Phoenix Online Media doesn't produce mediocrity.... in fact, their level of precision has blown me away. Where most web design firms don't concern themselves with spelling, grammar or content, Phoenix Online goes above and beyond to act as a second pair of eyes for me, while using their own sensibility to select photos and create content (although that is technically not their responsibility).
Can't say enough about how well they do what they do, including staying connected to the project, and the client, from beginning to end."

Rebecca Long - Advanced IT Solutions
The Local Advantage

We all agreed that the most beneficial start would be targeting customers seeking their services within a 5 mile radius of their address. Our Local SEO campaign, The Local Advantage was the perfect solution.

"David developed a personalized SEO Optimization Plan that includes monthly meetings to review analytics, evaluate our progress and revise our game plan where needed.

Michael Long - Advanced IT Solutions
Results

Results matched our expectations and beyond. In just 6 months Mike and Rebecca experienced and estimated 200% increase in computer repair service calls. Today, a year and half later Advanced IT Solutions is most visible business online in Mesa for computer repair, data recovery, and managed IT services searches. They rank on the first page for over 80 search terms and in the Local 3-Pack for over 150. Monthly website traffic increases monthly on average +8 - 12%. In October of 2017 they received 8 phone calls for that month. Today they receive 20 to 30 click-to-calls from their GMB listing, around 15 from the website, and another 10 self reported from them from different optimized listings bringing up the total to around 40 to 50. Not bad.

Google Analytics report

"In just six short months our business has grown exponentially! This has given us a pronounced online presence by increasing our website searchability and online reviews, to the point that we're now more searched for, seen online and contacted than ever before."

Michael & Rebecca Long - Advanced IT Solutions

Advanced IT Solutions Google Local Pack Appearances For High Revenue-Producing Search Terms:

Local search result for laptop repair mesa

Local search result for term, "laptop repair mesa az" (screenshot taken on January 1, 2019)

Local search result for keyword data recovery mesa az

Local search result for keyword, "data recovery mesa az" (screenshot taken on January 1, 2019)

Local search result for best computer repair shop

Local search result for keyword, "best computer repair shop mesa az" (screenshot taken on January 1, 2019)

Local search result for virus removal

Local search result for keyword, "virus removal mesa az" (screenshot taken on January 1, 2019)

Additional Reports:

Google My Business Insights

Google My Business Insights

SEO report

SEO Report

More Case Studies On The Way!

The above case study is just one of many success stories. We are in the process of putting together 10 more and expect them to be live by mid 2019.

If you would like to see an example of a success story of a Local Advantage client in your same industry, give us a call and we will be happy to oblige!

Thank you for your interest and support.

- The Phoenix Online Media team