Here is the Transcript for Episode 72 – Local SEO Tactics 2020 Year in Review;
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host Jesse Dolan coming at you here, the kind of a year-end wrap up. We’re going to do a 2020 year-end review. We’re going to go through here today some of our more popular episodes that we’ve had this year, some of the things that have happened this year outside of COVID, some things that have happened in regards to the Google My Business area, your website in general, and then round it out with talking about some of our favorite tools that we’ve used this year, things that have been popular through our Resources page, and things like that. A bunch of little nuggets are going to be sprinkled in here and just an overall, really, review of the year and some of the main takeaways here looking ahead to 2021 to continue marketing.
It’s been a pretty much a crazy year for everybody out there, from early on in the year of the onset of COVID around spring break time through the summer. Coming into the winter here, it’s just been up and down in various parts of the countries, hemming and hawing and back and forth, and all of us that are kind of busy in the digital marketing space trying to get our businesses found or our clients found online have had our work cut out for us with the changing landscape. Hopefully, we can tie a bow around it at the end of the year here with this episode and get into some stuff.
Want to start off talking about you all, our audience out there, and just thanking you for letting us do this again. The reason we do this is because it helps our business and it helps you out there with your business. We’ve been able to connect with a lot of you guys this year working on projects, doing question and answers, trading emails back and forth. It’s really exciting to know that we’re not just sitting here recording this stuff in front of a camera at each week and pumping it out there but that you’re actually receiving it. You’re taking this information, and you’re doing some things to transform your business and transform your life. That’s what we’re hoping for.
I’m going to kick this episode off, actually flipping around our usual format. I’m going to read a review that we got a great review on iTunes that I think encapsulates what I’d like to have for the spirit of the episode and really the sentiment that I just said there with helping you out in the feedback that we get, letting us know we’re on the right track. Let’s read this here quick. This will be our five-star review of the week.
I’ll pause there like I always do and say if you haven’t left us a review yet, we’d absolutely love it. Like I said, this is the feedback mechanism to know if we’re really connecting with you. You’re not the first one that’s going to leave a review. I think we’ve got… What is it on iTunes… like 80 some-reviews on iTunes, almost at 90 now. We’ve got dozens of Google My Business reviews, some Facebook reviews. Dip your toe in the water if you want to leave us a review. You’re not going to be the first one. Other people have been there before, and we’d love to hear from you too is. Go on localseotactics.com. Down on the bottom, you’ll find the links for leaving a review. Will automatically bring it to wherever you want, iTunes, podcasts, Google review, Stitcher, Facebook, wherever you want to leave review. Wherever you’re so inclined, we would absolutely love it. Of course, we will read that on the show eventually as we get through the queue. As long as we keep getting the reviews, we’re going to keep reading them on the episode.
Without further ado, we’ve got an awesome five-star review here for this episode from Mellow Crow, which is an awesome user name. I always love getting these cool usernames. It goes on to say, “The best podcast for local SEO I’ve heard. Let me preface by saying leaving a five-star review or any review for that matter for me is very rare, especially when it comes to marketing education. Why is this? Because so few people are willing to go thoroughly… ” I’m sorry, “… are willing to thoroughly teach anything without being, well, salesmen. Even though these guys own a marketing firm, it is clear to me that providing real educational value to their listeners is the first priority and not trying to convert me to buying a class. Most of these podcasts I’ve listened to, YouTube videos or any information in this vein, has proven to be largely a marketing gimmick. Most people don’t seem genuinely interested in your… ”
I’m sorry, “… in your gain of knowledge unless it’s heavily impacted their wallet. These guys, on the other hand, are offering unprecedented value and authenticity without trying to sell you three courses, two eBooks, and their latest growth hack. It’s nice to hear a marketing podcast that doesn’t use those terms in every paragraph. Thank you guys for being down to earth and honest.”
Thank you, Mellow Crow. I love it. That’s like one of my favorite ones we’ve had in a long time because they really is what we’re trying to do. Yeah, we run a business. You’ve heard us talk about some of the affiliate things that we promote on here. Products or services that we use ourselves, that if we’re going to promote them, we might as well get a few bucks for promoting it, so we do promote those things. I think we’re pretty frontal and honest about that. We do sprinkle in that we are a marketing agency. If there’s anything that we cover on here that’s too complicated for anybody, if you’re turned on to some ideas and you’re seeing maybe your current agency isn’t doing some of this, we’re here for hire.
I mean, we make no bones about it, but we hope that that is the spirit that you’re getting, everybody, not just Mellow, in these episodes is that this is information for you. It’s kind of demystifying SEO, local SEO specifically, and trying to enable you to either carry out these actions yourself and make an impact in your business or become empowered to be able to jump in. Maybe you’ve got an SEO agency or your third cousin removed that’s doing your SEO for your business, and by catching our podcast and videos, maybe you can understand what’s happening so you can see what’s good, bad, and ugly with your current situation. Whatever it is, we hope that you’re getting value out of this, that it’s not just some pitch fest for us as a service or some book or course that we’re pushing, like Mellow says. Really appreciate the review, Mellow. Everybody else, again, we’d love to hear from you. I hope that’s the sentiment that we’re delivering to everybody.
Speaking on behalf of Bob as well… I’m doing a solo episode here… he’d be saying the same thing. I guarantee you that, and we’re happy to get that kind of feedback. Without any further delay on the rest of the episodes, appreciate that Mellow, and let’s dive into the content for this episode here.
Let’s reset. Again, we’re talking about a 2020 local SEO a year-end review, looking at some of the main things that have happened this year externally in the whole SEO world and then internally for our company for some products and services that we like and some of our favorite resources. With that, let’s talk about Google My Business, always one of our number one topics, and it should be one of your number one topics as well.
One of the main thing that’s happening still right now… This is in December at the end of the year for 2020… is how fragile My Google… I’m sorry… how fragile Google My Business is still at this point. A lot of people have got legitimate, real business listing suspended for maybe making any change to your business name or modifying your business categories, changing phone numbers, changing address, converting from a storefront to a service area business or back and forth.
These kinds of things have triggered some people to get suspended with the Google My Business listing, getting it taken down. Now, if that happens, of course, you can go in there and get it reinstated, go through the process, but bottom line, and that is, it’s still really fragile. Two things are at play there still. One is coronavirus. Google’s resources are still being strapped with all of the implications that that has on their systems here, and so they really just slowed down a lot of things, and because of that, they’d been getting tighter so they don’t have to have human interface in as many areas.
Secondly, Google has been fighting spam listings, fake listings, crappy listings on the Map Pack. They’ve tightened up some of their AI and automation to try to catch some tactics that a legitimate business might not do and bring down these false GMBs. If you can imagine, a legitimate business is probably pretty rarely going to go in, change their name, change their categories, and change their address all at one time. Google has the dial turned up a little bit for watching that kind of stuff, and if you do some of those things, they might flag you, so be careful on that still. That’s been happening pretty since coronavirus started ramping up back in March and April, and it’s really carried through still to this day. Just treat your listings with kid gloves and change one thing at a time and pace it out.
Another big thing with Google My Business that’s happened this year is the addition of all these new attributes, primarily focused around COVID and coronavirus: is your team getting temperature checks, do you have onsite services, do you do curbside pickup, do you offer delivery, things like that. That really does speak to the dramatic nature of how things have shifted online because of COVID and coronavirus this year, but also how valuable your Google My Business listing is. I mean, Google rolled out these attributes to really serve the customers and your customers better.
If you’re taking an advantage of these in your Google My Business listing, people will see right on the front side that you do or don’t offer these services, and if your competitors aren’t taking advantage of those attributes, but you are, you’re going to look a lot more attractive online for people, especially given any particular service industry you might be in, if it’s food service, home services, things like that, people really want to know what your level of protection is or what your care processes are. That’s another big thing for 2020 here is jumping in Google My Business and check out all those attributes and make sure you’re taking advantage of those.
Another area, the third one here we’ve got listed is the ability to be uploading photos with a review for your customers when they leave review in your Google My Business. This is kind of also a little bit of a broader area of user-generated content, or UGC, within your Google My Business. Google knows that a business owner can go upload photos on your profile, and with a degree of salt, with a grain of salt taken, they know that you’re going to try to optimize your listing.
On the other hand, a user that uploads a photo, that’s a lot more organic and a lot more real in Google’s eyes for your business. The user-generated content… content… Excuse me… whether it be photos, maybe questions and answers, obviously, leaving a review and the content in that review, that’s all very, very powerful stuff for your Google My Business listing as it relates to SEO.
We had back, a few episodes back… I forget the one off-hand. Let’s see. I don’t know I have it. Oh, it is listed. It was number 64, actually, episode 64, for adding a photo to your Google My Business listing. We covered that. But in general, anything you can do to encourage user-generated content with your Google My Business is going to be great for you. Has been great in 2020. It’s going to be great in 2021. That’s a very strong signal with Google that you’re a legitimate business, that you’re in business engaging with customers, and definitely going to help you out, so continue that and be aware of that.
Some overall SEO things for 2020 and going into 2021 here is to keep your COVID statements and pivots frontal, top of the page, on your front page, things like that. Again, if you’re a restaurant, be very clear about what your processes are, if you have takeout dinners, if you have curbside pickup, if you have a limited menu. Whatever it is, people right now are looking for these kinds of things when they go to your business. Relationships and interactions between consumers and businesses right now are much different than they were 12 months ago. If you haven’t done it yet, take the time to take a look at your website and just make sure that any COVID-related things are on your website, the things that the customers are asking you for.
If they’re calling you up or emailing you asking certain questions that are revolving around COVID, put those on your website because we all know for every customer that does ask and does contact you, I’m sure there’s a handful of them that are not contacting you, that were looking for that information on your website. Not only are they looking for that on your website, but we’re going to the website more now than we used to even a year ago to find that information. That’s just the way it is and the way people are gravitating, which, on one hand, is actually a boom for you and your digital marketing. People are going to the web more than ever before for this type of information, so you should definitely take advantage of that.
Also, with that, just to expand on that point is that some of these things are here to stay. There’s a lot of behaviors that have been changing, curbside delivery, services that come to you that otherwise you would have come to them before, scheduled appointments, working remote. There’s just a lot of dynamics that a lot of us have gotten used to over the last year, and even further… Not gotten used to in a way that’s the new normal, but the adaptation and the acceptance of that, like Zoom meetings, for example.
In our agency, we do Zoom meetings all the time. We have for years. People weren’t nearly as averse to doing… I’m sorry. People were more averse at doing them a year ago than they are now. Now, they’re very common, and people are comfortable with it and used to it. That’s a good thing. It’s allowed for us, at least, much better collaboration with our customers and clients, being able to do something over a video, share screens, things like that where, before, even a short year ago, people may have prefer a phone call.
That’s not all necessarily in a bad context, but just that adaptation and how we’re going to change going forward. Make sure you’re evaluating that as you’re maybe taking a holiday break coming in 2021. How has that changed with the way you’re interacting with your customers and what maybe is going to be permanent? What things are you doing that maybe seem temporary now that really won’t be going forward? Let’s stay on the forefront of that.
Another area here is content silos. We did an episode back on that… Let’s see here. I don’t have that one off hand. That was episode 60 that we talked about content silos for your website. That’s more of an SEO architecture for your website. It’s a very good episode if you haven’t checked it out yet, kind of walks you through some of the basics on how to do that. That’s definitely been very important this year for your SEO, and it’s going to continue to be into next year. SEO isn’t just spamming a page with keywords or throwing keywords all over your website. It really does make a difference how you present the information, how you lay out your pages, and how you interlink your pages.
Goo can understand… Google… Excuse me… can understand these content clusters and these silos of information throughout your website. We’ve related it before. It’s kind of like if you had a book with, let’s say, a hundred pages, if it was just a hundred pages front to back, you might have a hard time understanding the storyline here and the context of these different areas or sections of the story. That’s why we have chapters, and even an index or a table of contents, things like that. Adding that structure to your website, in this case, the siloed content structure, really helps Google understand what your site is about and what chapters or what chunks your website contains, and that helps you establish your relevancy and your authority on those topics, so that’s very important, and again, will be going forward as well.
Last but not least on here is reviews. You’ve probably heard us talking about reviews every handful of episodes, and you’re really starting to see reviews become something that’s used in marketing in general. There’s radio and TV commercials where businesses, at least in our local area here up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, local businesses are promoting and using that in their mainstream marketing how many Google reviews they have. They’re using that as a way of edifying themselves through those other media.
We know that that’s very important. That helps you be edified, if you can say that and quantify that, but then also when we do our research online, back to how I was talking earlier, we do more of that now than we used to as our first method of research. We’re looking at those reviews. We’re reading those reviews. How many of us have just finished some holiday shopping on Amazon or something, and we read the reviews to make our decision? That’s not going away anytime soon either. If you didn’t make an effort in 2020 to get more reviews on your Google My Business, Facebook, and other portals, definitely pencil that in for something for 2021. That is not going away and is a very strong factor in your overall digital presence in addition to your SEO.
All right, let’s shift gears here. I’m going to talk about some of our more popular episodes for this last year. I went back and looked at all the stats for all of our podcasts episodes for this year and just what was the most popular for listens, downloads, and things like that. We’re just going to recap some of those. If you haven’t checked these out, now would be a great time to make some notes. If these were the most popular for everybody in general, maybe you missed something. You might want to go check it out.
Let’s see. Number one on the list was episode number 62, which was What Are Google Search Operators and How to Use Them. We’ll link to all in our show notes as well. You don’t have to take a note of that right now. You can just visit the show page at localseotactics.com, and we’ll have all these in here.
That was talking about the search operators, basically how to turbocharge your own ability to do Google searches. You can use this for your business. You can use this for SEO. You can use this, just like we said, just doing some online shopping, knowing how to find things more specifically. Google is way more powerful than just opening up google.com and typing in a keyword to search. There’s what’s called search operators where you can filter results to just a certain website or containing certain keywords, some exact phrase you’re looking for. There’s some really cool hacks that you can do just in a Google search by typing a few more characters or words that can really transform how you do searches, so check that out. Super powerful.
Number two in the list here was Creating a Website Content Strategy and Get Help Making New Content For Your Website, episode 46. That one’s really good because if you’re not ranking for something, you have to do one of two things, really. You have to optimize the current content or create new content to be found for that thing. Putting out regular content is something that most businesses should do for your SEO and for your marketing in general. How to create content, what content to create, and how to get organized and efficient with that was the crux of that episode. Check that out. It’s got a lot of great advice and nuggets in there.
Next, third most popular for the year was episode 47, How to Optimize Your Webpage For Keywords: A Basic Overview. This is just a basic once-over for how to approach optimizing a page for a keyword. Pretty self-explanatory there. Check that one out if you are curious about that.
Mentioned earlier, episode 64 was our fourth most popular for this year, 2020. Episode title was You Can Now Upload Photos When Leaving a Review on Google My Business. Very powerful. We’ve got some tips in there on how to ask for photos, how to encourage photos, and maybe some good opportunities on where to mix that in. Like we always talk about on the show here with Bob, especially Bob is a very passionate and knowledgeable about this area… As a side note, if anybody wants to counsel, if you’re having trouble getting reviews for your business and you want to tap into an expert, contact us, localseotactics.com, and let’s get you connected with Bob. Transform your business. Transform the amount of reviews you’re going to get. I mean, he’s got some amazing coaching advice for you here.
You hear us talk about that all the time. Getting a photo with you review now is even more important than it was before. I shouldn’t say more important. It makes even the review even more important when you can attach that photo with it. We’ve got some pretty cool tricks on how to ask for review, how to get more reviews than you would otherwise, and how to start getting photos with those.
Last but not least, top five here, rounding it out at number five, episode number 60, Using a Content Silo Strategy and Architecture For Your Website Structure in SEO. Like I just mentioned earlier, silo structure, architecture in general, being purposeful on your SEO is important and is going to continue to be important. Check that out if you want to a good brief on how to do that, episode number 60. Localseotactics.com. You can find out all those, again, on the show page here. We’ll link right to them for you.
Last thing I want to talk about here is, wrapping it up for 2020, a lot of our favorite resources and tools. I don’t know if you’ve checked it out yet. If you haven’t, we’ve got a cool Resources page on our webpage, localseotactics.com. Right at the top or in the menu, just Resources, click on it. What this is, is a list of all the things that we like and that we use.
Most of the things on there, and there’s a disclaimer at the top, most of the things on there are affiliate. We represent them. We get a little commission. If you click on that link and buy the product or the service, we do get a commission. That being said, full transparency, you’re not paying any more for that product or service. This is kind of one way… If you liked the show, if you like what we do, this is one way for you to give us a little bit of an income or a tip is if you’re going to be purchasing these products or services, check out our Resources page, see if there’s something on that you’ve been kicking around anyways, and if you enter that website to purchase it through our link, we are going to get a little bit of a kickback.
Now, again, in full disclaimer, and I think everybody that listens to the show knows us by now, we’re not going to put anything on them that we’re not using ourselves. Just as the review that we read earlier in the episode, we’re not here to promote ourselves to do this all to make money, but obviously, we’re in business, and where there’s the intersection of helping and making money, we’re going to take advantage of that. Anything that’s on that Resources page, again, is usually going to be something we’re making a little commission off, but also, it’s something that we’re confident, that we use ourselves, and that we recommend to everybody; otherwise, it wouldn’t be up there.
Okay, so framing that up, here’s a few awesome things that are on there that if you haven’t checked that out yet, definitely do yourself a favor, again, maybe downtime the last few weeks of this year or kicking into 2021. Take advantage of these things.
Number one and something I mention every week, every podcast episode that we have here is our local SEO audit tool. Go to localseotactics.com, yellow button, Free Instant SEO Audit, click it. Enter in your page. Enter in a keyword, and it’s going to give you a quick cheat sheet on what’s happening with your SEO. You can use it on yourself. You can use it on your competitors and do some reverse engineering. Awesome tool. Totally free. Use it as many times as you want. We link to that on the Resources page.
Also, I don’t know if everybody knows that or not, but there’s also a Google My Business audit tool that we have on that Resources page. We’ve mentioned it in a couple of episodes. It doesn’t get as much volume of usage as the standard SEO audit tool, but it’s pretty cool. It’s specifically about your Google My Business, your local listing there. Similar concept. Plug it in, and that’s going to give you an audit with some tips on what you got to do to optimize your Google My Business listing, which is extremely important. Check that out on the Resources page as well.
Another one. We haven’t really talked about this overall on an episode yet… We’ve got one coming up in 2021… but Local Falcon. If you’re not familiar with what Local Falcon is, it’s a service that allows you to check your ranking for your Google My Business listing, but it doesn’t just tell you what you’re ranked, like for a certain keyword in a certain city. It actually shows you that ranking on a map.
If you’re looking above, if you can picture your business where you’re located in maybe like a 10-square mile radius around that business, it’s going to show you where you’re ranking for a given keyword within that 10 square miles as if you’re standing in that spot. I think everybody knows that proximity is very important factor right now for Google My Business.
Let’s just say if you’re like a nail salon, and you’re located right here in this spot you’re standing on. Two miles down the road, if there’s a competitor that’s also a nail salon, somebody doing a Google search standing in your lobby versus their lobby are probably going to get some different results, and the respective nail salons are probably going to rank better or worse in those locations.
Local Falcon has an awesome tool to help you see in your area where you’re ranking strong and where you’re ranking weak, and it also lets you click through your competitors that are in those areas as well, so you can kind of see, “Is competitor a strong in the northwest corner of my city, competitor B is strong on the east side, I kind of dominate here in the middle,” or vice versa. It’s just an awesome tool to visualize where you’re strong, where you’re weak. Then you can use that to up your SEO game. If you know you’re weak in a certain town or a certain suburb or strong in another or you have a certain competitor that’s really dominant in this area, you can then develop tactics and strategies to overcome that and grow. Local Falcon is something where you can do that on a recurring basis as well. Again, you can go to our Resources page to get the link to this, click through it. I think you get a little discount, and of course, we’re going to get a commission if you take advantage of that.
It’s got a cool feature. They just upgraded, I think, within the last month, if I remember correctly, month or two. They got a new feature where you can do the automatic scans on an archive, so it’ll show you over time your ranking and your footprint getting better or worse, is your reach getting better or worse in your market for various keywords. Super cool. Fun to play with. It’s very visual. I think you’re going to like it if you check that out. Again, find that on our Resources page.
Another tool that we haven’t talked about in a number of episodes but is extremely important is ReviewLead. If you don’t like ReviewLead… I mean, check it out. Go to the Resources page. There’s other products that do the similar concept as well, but it’s some automation to help you get more reviews. Still, the number one thing you can do to get reviews is asking in person when possible. ReviewLead provides some automation from when you can’t do that. You can dump your customer email addresses or their cell phone numbers and send them a text message to leave a review for your website. It’s got a real cool funnel system to do that. If you send them a link to leave a review, if they didn’t click on that link, it’ll send them a second and a third request. If they did click on it, it won’t send them another one. There’s some intelligence built in. I mean, it’s a great product for getting more reviews, more five-star reviews to be boot, even, for your website. Check that out. Again, go to the Resources page.
Two more awesome ones for you here. These are probably two of the most important. One is PageOptimizer Pro. We had two episodes recently… I believe it was 69 and 70… talking about PageOptimizer Pro. This tool is awesome. We’ve been using it for almost two years now within our agency, and it’s for on-page optimization. It’s going to take the top 10 competitors in your area that you’re trying to optimize for and for the keyword you’re trying to optimize for, it’s going to take the top 10 competitors, compare those against your website, and tell you what Google is preferring and what those competitors are doing to rank high that you’re not.
If they’re doing these three things on average, and you’re not, it’s going to tell you to do these three things. Very, very, very cool tool. Really helps you shortcut the SEO process. Still takes some intelligence and some decision-making, but they give you a great list of recommendations on how to fine-tune your page to bump your rankings up. We use it with great success. It’s easy to use. There’s an advanced and a basic way to use it. It’s not intimidating at all. It’s a great, great product.
This is made by Kyle Roof. I think he was the interview we did on episode 70. Super smart guy. Check that out. If you want to know more about it, about Kyle, the man behind it and how it works. Check that episode out as well. But yeah, checkout PageOptimizer Pro. You can find that on our Resources page.
Last but not least, here is WP Rocket, WP standing for WordPress. WP Rocket is a plugin that you can add on to your WordPress website that’ll allow for caching. This is something that’s extremely important for your page speed and for your loading times for your website, which is a huge SEO signal for ranking right now, not only for Google for a signal, but also for your end users, for your customers. It’s going to increase the speed of your website and make it load faster. We all know that’s a very important first impression. Somebody finds you in Google, clicks on your website, they don’t want to wait for your site to load. They can easily bounce out and go to another site. WP Rocket’s going to help speed up your website, provide better scores for Google, and provide a better experience for your end users to help you out.
You can find all of those on our Resources pages. There’s a bunch of other ones on there too. If anybody out there, if you have recommendations, something you really like that you think we should test out that it should be on that Resources page, love to hear from you about that too. Go to localseotactics.com. Just leave us some feedback down at the bottom. You’ll find the links to contact us. We’re always looking for new tools, new services, new things to try out. Some of the things that are on here have come to us in this way. You guys have reached out to us and just shared some insights with us as well, so we’d love to hear about that too.
That pretty much does it for this episode. I think we can wrap it up there. Hope everybody’s had a good year, a productive year. Our takeaways from talking with our clients is that coming into 2021, there’s really not going to be any slowdown for the energy that we should be putting into our digital marketing and our SEO. If anything, it’s time to keep focusing on that, keep ramping it up. Hopefully, this episode turns you on to at least a couple ideas of some things to dig into.
Like I said earlier, we’re here to help you out if needed. We’re not turning this into a pitch fest, kind of like Mellow Crow had said in his awesome review, but it is something that I haven’t emphasized for a while that I wanted to in this episode is that, like he says, we are here as an agency. This podcast is free. You can DIY anything that we’re teaching you, but if you need some help, you need somebody to make some things happen quicker or just take it off your plate, we’re here for you. Just reach out to us, localseotactics.com.
Thanks for having a great year on the show for us, everybody. We’re going to be getting Bob in the mix here going forward into 2021 more with some remote episodes between both of us, so excited for that. We also have some other surprises that are in stores, some Intrycks team members we’re going to be bringing into the show to increase what we’re doing here. We’re going to increase the frequency, and like I said, showcase some other team members that we have and looking forward to leveling up the show, the episodes, and the type of content we’re going to give you guys going to 2021. Hopefully, everybody has a great rest of the year, great holidays, and great 2021.