#CZLNY: 10 Local SEO and Digital Marketing Best Practices

Local and multi-location business marketers face unique and complicated digital marketing challenges, but Andrew Beckman, chief executive (CEO) of Location3 Media broke these down clearly this week at ClickZ Live New York.

Here are 10 of my favorite local SEO and digital marketing tips from his session, “Multi-Location Digital Marketing.”

1. Track Performance Across Multiple Devices.

The path to purchase happens across multiple devices. Google Universal Analytics (out of beta yesterday!) enables you to track user activity across multiple devices and sessions.

2. Don’t Rely on One Tactic or Channel to Reach Your Customers.

Filling your customer funnel requires a variety of tactics at different stages along the path to purchase. Local business marketers must integrate three types of media: paid, earned, and owned. Beckman calls this the “Triple Threat,” and recommends these tactics:

  1. PAID: Use paid search to drive direct response
  2. OWNED: SEO to drive non-branded organic traffic, and audience retargeting to maximize previous engagement from paid media
  3. EARNED: Establish long-term engagements with customers and develop more brand advocates

3. Strive for the Page One Position.

It’s not OK to be on page two or three — chances are your customers won’t find you. According to Beckman, 75 percent of searchers never scroll past the first page of results, and listings in the top position on page one of search results receive 42 percent of all click-through traffic.

LOCAL SEO TIPS

4. Address All the Local Ranking Factors.

The highest-ranking factors for local search still remain Google Place Page signals and on-page signals within your own website, which brings us to our next tip…

5. Optimize Your Google Place Page.

Optimizing Place pages with accurate and consistent data across all locations, and having a sound local page structure provide the greatest opportunity for increased organic rank.

6. Leverage Google Business Photos — Virtual Tours of Your Business.

When potential customers search for your business by name on Google, they will see the images displayed directly on the search results page. These panoramic images will also be published on Google+ Local pages, Google Maps, and other Google properties. Using easy-to-use HTML snippets or Maps APIs, you can also link to these images from your own business website, attracting potential customers who visit your website, too.

7. Build Local Backlinks.

Beckman stressed the importance of local backlinks, and recommends leveraging directories, press releases, and blogger outreach. He’s also had great success developing relationships with local businesses in order to get backlinks.

8. Keep Your Local Pages Up-to-Date With Fresh Content.

The search engines prefer to rank websites that they consider to be more current as that would signify relevance to their users. By regularly adding fresh content, the search engines will see it as an active and up-to-date website. Many content strategies live at the national level, but sometimes there are opportunities on the local side to develop fresh content.

  • Local blog
  • Refresh content on local webpage
  • Add new sub-pages to the local page

Creating fresh, local content is challenging, however. How can you talk about the same thing in so many areas? Beckman recommends starting with a metro area and creating content that talks about specific locations & links to those pages. You can also make your blog the hub and syndicate content to local social channels.

LOCAL PPC TIPS

9. Optimize Your AdWords Ads With Site Extensions.

According to Beckman, calls are the number one lead-generation source for brick-and-mortar retailers. He recommends testing click-to-call AdWords extensions, in addition to site links.

10. Make Sure Your Blog Isn’t Outranked by Yelp and YellowPage Listings.

Websites like Yelp and YellowPages are outranking local business pages, and are taking traffic away from local business sites. Don’t let this happen. It’s important to decrease the conversion funnel as much as possible, and work toward outranking these sites.

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