Key Takeaways From 2017 MozCon Local For Small Business [video]
MozCon Local Was Spectacular
A couple weeks ago I attended MozCon Local, a digital marketing conference in Seattle hosted by SEO software company, Moz. Attending MozCon Local was kind of like going back to college for a couple days of classes in my favorite subjects. If you’re not in the local search industry, you may not know that there is even a guy in our industry called “Professor Maps” — Mike Blumenthal. I got to meet a lot of great marketers, some folks from Google and Yelp, other agency owners, and I came away with 42 pages of notes which I’ve distilled here into my key takeaways for small business owners. Kudos to Moz for creating such a vibrant community and the absolute best conference for local business marketing.
Trends is that “Google Is the New Homepage.”
Essentially, Google is pulling more and more information directly into their search results so you don’t need to leave (so you keep seeing or clicking on their advertisements – which is how they make money from search).
“Google has really become the new home page for most small businesses. That so many things are happening right on Google; clicks to call, driving directions, etc., and even more so than a website. For a business to do well there, things like photos, reviews (everywhere) and other visuals are becoming ever more important. And it appears that Adwords will follow will this trend and that more and more activity will take place either on the first page of Google or a subsequent Google hosted result.” – Mike Blumenthal, Street Fight Mag 3/6/17 interview with David Mihm
Why do we say this?
34% of searches no click to anything! Google is pull data from website and listings right into the search results. You should expect weird search results and potentially less traffic to your website even if you’re ranking well.
Things you can focus on moving forward
- Mark your website up with Schema to help search engines understand as much about your business as possible
- Barnacle SEO – make sure your business is found everywhere that ranks for your keyword or brand name. Do a search on Google for your keyword. Which directories rank? You should be listed there with a complete profile, reviews, photos, etc.
- Update your photos early and often on Google My Business As Bruce mentioned in last week’s post about photos in Google My Business, posting new photos is a great opportunity. Google is increasingly looking at the engagement with your Google My Business listing, and having great photos is an easy way to do increase this.
Trend: Voice Search Is Growing And Your Content Should Be Conversational
We’ve mentioned that voice search is a digital trend for this year and are well aware of how fast it’s growing — but I was shocked to learn that 60% of people who use voice search started within the last 6 months according to a survey completed in December 2016.
Three Local SEO Tips For Ranking In Voice Searches
- Keep your NAP citations & data consistent online to help get found in “near me” searches
- Create content in a conversational tone on your website.
- Remember that people are voice searching in the form of questions — have having content written in a Q&A or FAQ format can be really helpful. Mary Bowling suggested this can help rank in Google’s Answer Boxes.
Trend: Days Of Just Doing SEO Are Over – Diversify Your Marketing
One of the things Moz Founder & Wizard of Moz Rand Fishkin reiterated was that the days of “just doing SEO” are over. I totally agree. It’s important to remember that SEO is only one part of your overall marketing.
I know one local business who was too reliant on their rankings in Google Map results. Last year there was an update called Possum, which changed 64% of local search results. One of the affects of the algorithm update was that when two or more businesses of the same category are located at the same address — such as two dentists at an office suite (yes, despite having separate suite numbers) — one of them will no longer rank. The business I know was the second of its category at their address, and when they were removed from the local pack after the Possum update it was devastating to them. That’s why I recommend having multiple marketing channels running at anytime — especially a paid online advertising program like Facebook Ads which you can quickly scale up if needed.
Trend: Reviews Have Increased In Ranking Factor
Reviews have increased as a ranking factor. In my opinion — this is partly because proximity is the new #1 ranking factor and the search results kind of suck sometimes and people are modifying their searches for “Best”.
Notes for getting reviews
- Get Reviews On Other Sites In Addition To Google Google reviews are swweet, but you need to get everywhere your business is listed. Get reviews on all the sites that are ranking for your keyword and for your brand name when you search them on Google.
- The content of the reviews — even on other sites like Yelp — influence your ranking in Google Mike Blumenthal shared a story of how having the word “dive bar” used on a bar’s Yelp review helped it rank in Google searches for that. Google and consumers are looking around at reviews
Trend: Links Have Also Increased As A Ranking Factor
I feel like a broken record telling you this — but links are still so important! The conference seemed to agree that even a no-follow link from a local website is very powerful, and that Google is increasingly considering the context of the website which links to you. You should try to get links from other local businesses.
Local Business Link Building Tips
Sponsor stuff in your community – and get a link Get links from local sponsorships and the people you’re already doing business with. There was a neat segment on a DUI attorney — and one of the panelists mentioned an attorney that sponsors a pub crawl in a local town. Awesome! Get creative and get links!
Join us next Thursday in Denver at the SEO Meetup and in April at SearchCon in Breckenridge
If you’re in the Denver area, join me for lunch next Thursday March 23rd at the Denver SEO Meetup for my presentation of FOUND: How To Increase Sales With Local SEO.
I’ll be presenting the Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Running A Digital Agency on the Agency Success panel at SearchCon, an awesome SEO conference up in Breckenridge on April 27th and 28th. Use promo code jackjostes at checkout to save $50! Learn more and register at searchcon.events.