Transcript For Local SEO Tactics Top 5 Episodes of 2021 – 142;
Jesse Dolan: This is the top five episodes of Local SEO Tactics, the 2021 year in review. From interviews with Terry Samuels and Keith Evans to optimizing your website in GMV, here are the top five episodes of 2021.
Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, here with the year end in review for you. It’s been a great year for us here in 2021 as we wrap it up. Between holidays here, between Christmas and new year’s, wearing the hat, which I don’t know if I’ve done on any of the episodes here yet, a little bit more casual. And today we’re going to have a top five episode here for you, kind of a roundup taking some snippets from some of our best episodes. And so I’m going to set this up, let you know what is on tap for these five snippets here in this episode today, our top five, and what you can look for. For all of these we’re going to put links to the actual episodes in the show notes. So if any of these snippets and clips that we’re pulling out are attractive to you, just go to localseotactics.com, click on this episode, and you can navigate to the individual episodes for the extended version of each of these here.
Just to walk you through, though, what you’re going to see here, whether you’re a new listener or a longtime follower, we’re excited to bring you this 2021 year review. We had some great episodes. Starting off our list, coming at number five, it’s actually a two-part episode. We’re calling it number five really, but it is two segments here that come together. It was a interview with Terry Samuels, episode number 76 and 77, this published on February 4th. And we’re talking about schema with Terry. The snippet here, Terry’s talking about location schema for your location pages on your website and why that’s important. Terry’s been on multiple times on our show, going to be coming up more in the future in 2022 talking schema, as we always do. So this quick clip right here is going to have some good nuggets for you. And again, if you want the extended version, episode 77 and 76, check out the show notes here and we’ll link right to those for you.
I’m super excited to have you on, Terry, to teach to people, to start digging into schema, and crack this one open. It’s definitely a bit more mysterious than your typical SEO stuff. So appreciate you coming on.
Terry Samuels: No problem, happy to be here.
Jesse Dolan: You’re a schema guru, you’re a schema expert, you know a ton of it. And if people don’t trust that, just Google Terry, look up some things, and listen to this episode and you’ll get that. So in your mind, Terry, what is schema? If somebody stops you on the street or a new client saying, “Okay, I’ve heard about this schema. What is it? Why does it even matter to me?” How would you reply to that?
Terry Samuels: Schema is basically a way to tell the search engines not just more about your site or your brand or your organization, but basically everything about your site, brand, or organization. Schema basically, it was founded by Google, Microsoft,], and Yahoo. So it’s a markup that the major search engines all see and they can crawl. So one of the foundational reasons why I think schema is so powerful today is because of the way open source WordPress design, ZoomLaw design, Drupal design, any of the open source platforms have always had problems with crawl. And by that I mean going from the top of the head to the bottom of the footer.
Jesse Dolan: On a single page, you’re talking there, right, when you say that?
Terry Samuels: Single page, exactly.
Jesse Dolan: Okay.
Terry Samuels: So Google bot or Bing bot or whoever would hit the website and it would crawl, but it might only get maybe 50% of the page, because it saw something in there that stopped the crawl. It could be a code, it could be something. But what schema does is schema puts all this information in the head before it even gets to the body. So it’s got some powerful opportunity for you to introduce things to the Google bots or the different search bots that you might or might not show on the public side. So I get a lot of people that tell me, “Well, I only want 300 or 400 words on my page.” Well, I’ll put 1,000 words in schema, so I’ll get the benefit. So I’m not going to tell people, “Okay, well, we can only live with 300 or 400 words. Because we know from a ranking perspective that that’s light content, and light content is not paid attention to very often. So we can change that by adding more words to the schema.
Bob Brennan: Does schema become more important on, let’s say more competitive, either a keyword or search term? Or an industry might be, do you feel schema just plays a bigger role?
Terry Samuels: I think it plays a bigger role in a lot of high competition areas. But the one thing also is that the people that are doing the schema that we do, for instance, there’s not many people doing it. I just got done with a big schema project for a lawyer in LA, and I was amazed at how non-schema that was in that industry. The 10 websites that I use as my audit system then didn’t have much of anything. Some of them had a little bit better than the others, but nobody really had, you could tell nobody put a lot of time, effort, and energy into it. It should take you time. One of the reasons that I know a lot of people don’t do it this way is because it takes a lot of time. It can literally take you days just to do a real good schema for a website.
Jesse Dolan: And you’re trying to be clean with this, right? Because the bots are, this is a bot centric thing, right?
Terry Samuels: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: So I’ve heard other people say that Google has only got so much time and resources to crawl so many sites. And if yours is a mess, they’re going to move on. And if your schema is tight and clean, I would assume that’s going to help with your footing, your ranking, and everything.
Terry Samuels: Oh yeah, without a doubt. And again, you can use different variables. One of the things that we do a lot with schema is misspelled keywords. So misspelled keywords is something that we all deal with, but can’t really deal with it on the public side. You can’t have a paragraph about marijuana and spell it wrong three times in the paragraph. The public’s not going to know why you’re doing it. Well, guess what? We can do that in schema. We can misspell the word marijuana in three different places throughout a 600-word description. So there’s different ways you can just make sure. Like I said, my big thing is that I want Google to know everything they can know about my page before they even hit my page.
Jesse Dolan: All right. Coming in number four we have our interview with Keith Evans talking about CTR and CRO, CTRB and click through rate and CRO conversion rate optimization. This one dropped on September 24th. It was episode number 129. A lot of good nuggets in here with Keith. This one here, we’re going to be talking about Apple computers and how they separate themselves from the pack with their brand, the things that they do and how to stand out in the crowd, and how this stuff applies to your website and what you do to get found in the SERP, how you can stand out on that Google results page and get that click.
So you want to rank high, of course, get that click to your website, and then engage with the prospect and the client after that. Keith shares some great insights for the CTR, the CRO, and a little bit of the psychology getting in the mind of the consumer. So check this episode out and enjoy it.
Keith Evans: What many times you may need to do is talk to your sales people, talk to people, even your receptionist, people who are outside of your inner circle, to get them to discover what makes makes you unique or different. And at the end of the day, you just may have to hire a consultant like me and say, “I need to be something different.”
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Keith Evans: “I need to stand apart.” You look at Apple computer. Classic, right? In the late ’80s they were, “Think different.” They were trying to work with you, the average consumer, that you didn’t want the boring IBM computer. You wanted something more luxurious and you want to think different and then get that psychological bond. My greatest advice is, focus on some sort of emotional reaction if you can. And that’s why this was just an example with the Twin Falls, right? Where here’s mom, she’s happy, she loves to entertain, happy guests, and the headline just ties right in. Because outside is just more fun. Anyways.
Jesse Dolan: Nope, we make decisions based off our own emotions, right? Okay. So you had mentioned earlier on, you were showing through the AdWords, you have this many impressions, this many clicks, here’s your click through rate. I think we should let everybody know, if you’re going to make some changes on your website, we’ve talked in previous episodes about Google search console. If anybody hasn’t listened on those, just do a search on our page, look at how to set up, how to use Google search console. We have got some basic walkthroughs there. But I think, Keith, correct me if I’m wrong, that’s probably the best spot for them to go if they start changing their website, if they’re not doing AdWords, right? If you’re just changing the titles and descriptions on your website and you’re like, “Okay, did this make a difference or not?” Obviously if you’re tracking phone calls or getting form submissions, hopefully you’re seeing some benefit there.
But you can go in and you can check page by page, how has the changes I made last month or the month before, and you’re not going to do this like tomorrow, give it more than one day. But over time you can see if you are improving your click through rate, correct?
Keith Evans: Yeah. One of the only other challenges with just the raw data of Google search console is it can sometimes be averaged and it’s taking the old data with the newer data. So by getting Google Analytics or even just a simple tracker, a keyword tracker, you’ll be able to see within a week or two weeks or however, if the changes you made saw a greater impression. You obviously want more clicks, so your actual clicks would go up on the Google search console. You might even see more impressions because now Google says, “Hey, we’re going to show this to more people on that particular search.” And any time you make a change, especially off of your title, your title and your description, I would probably wait definitely 10 to 14 days before doing anything else.
And be very, very careful that you don’t make any other changes on the page. It’s better to do smaller increments unless your site is just a bit of a disaster. Because this is the other thing that can happen that Google does to you. Here, let’s just go, we’ll go do another search. So this is looking for gutters in Napa. This is a local city in my suburb, in the Boise market. And sometimes what Google can do for you is, let’s say this is your company right here. Well, Google might actually test you. Meaning, you used to be down here, like number three, number four. They moved you to the top, because why? Because you were getting clicks and they thought, “Okay, I think we’re satisfying people.” But now guess what happens? People are clicking and then they’re not satisfied. Now, there’s still lot of debate in the marketing world about, well, they’re tracking that? How do they know, right?
They have something that is called a bounce rate. You also can have an on time, meaning, if I click into this gutter page, if I don’t find as a consumer what I want, I’ll be like, “No, this isn’t for me.” And I leave. That’s part of a bounce rate. And so sometimes you do have to be careful about the changes you make and how you’re monitoring it. Because you might be click bait out here, right? Woohoo, check this out. This is sexy. Yeah, that’s what I want. And then suddenly they’re like, “Oh. No, that’s not what I want.” Be aware of that, that your message, the first message and then where you want them to go, make sure that they are cohesive.”
Jesse Dolan: Coming in here at number three, we have our episode number 132 from August 13th. It’s our local SEO checklist to make sure your website is optimized. And episode three here, we’re going to be talking about how to optimize your home page and your inner service pages on your website, the function that they all play, and how all that works together to improve your rankings and the user experience on your website as well. Check this one out, it’s got some great tips for you for ranking the pages and optimizing them.
Your homepage should really be focused around making sure your primary call to action is there, right? So when somebody walks in your store, what’s the number one sale you want them to be aware of? Or in that same analogy, can they clearly see the aisles and where they need to go within the store? You want to clearly lay to them the path that they should be taking, right? Milk’s way in the back, bread’s over here, produce is over there. They should be visible. So on your home page, what are the primary products and services you’re trying to sell? Mentioning those or having jump-off points, buttons, paragraphs, pictures, “Click here for more information,” blah, blah, blah, things like that. A general welcoming to the home page, here’s all the products and services that we do. Click here. And then they’ll get a detailed version on that page. So it’s always an easy jump-off point, is to focus on the home page.
After that, you’re going to want to go to those specific service pages that we talked about. For every product or service that you offer, and I’m talking like the primary ones, not every variation on color or slight model of a certain device or whatever. For now we’re talking about the primary products and services. Do you sell red balloons? Do you fix cars? Do you fix leaky pipes? Whatever it is, have a page for each of those. Now, those you’re really going to want to optimize for those keywords. You’re going to want to make sure your headlines, all the standard font and character manipulations, bold, italic, bullet points, H1s, H2s, various things like that, leveraging your keywords in all the right places, letting Google know this page page is really all about this one specific product or service. Photos, alt tags, all that stuff, your meta, your title should all be highly focused around a particular product or service.
And what you’re also going to want to do, depending on how wide your service area is, if you’re operating in more of a small local area, those pages should also talk about where it is. Best auto repair in Minneapolis, reddest balloons in Minnesota, things like that. So you’re going to work your geographic references into those primary product and service pages as well.
Next thing here that we’re going to do is we’re going to go after the specific locations. We’re going to create location pages, or city pages you might hear them referred to as as well. And if you can envision making your product or service page about those red balloons or about auto repair or about leaky pipes, likewise you’re going to develop a page that is more heavily focused on the geographic area. Now, these location pages are not going to be part of your navigational structure on your website. Those service pages, those product pages probably are. They’re probably up in your main menu or at least linked down in the footer, things like that. Those are accessible from the home page. You’re pushing people to those pages in the navigation or off the home page, call to actions, things like that.
These location pages are probably the first pages now on your website, if you’re going through this journey linear along this checklist here, these are the first pages that are truly created to be more landing pages to be found in Google. You’re not creating these to push users to them for navigational purposes. These are the first lures you’re throwing in the water, trying to catch some fish. Now, at this point you’ve got the basic foundation of a great website. And what you’re going to want to do here if you didn’t already do it before, or maybe you do it again even, is take a little break and you’re going to do some keyword research. Because what you’re going to want to do, you should be able to do a lot of that stuff right there that we talked about just off of your own knowledge base.
But now you want to make sure at this point going forward you’ve really tapped into some research to find out what people are actually searching for. So now at this point, again, you’ve launched your full website, you’ve done some keyword research. Now you have an idea of what pages you’re going to build. To go even further with this thing, you’re going to want to now start working on things off of your website as well. We’ve talked extensively on this show about setting up a Google My Business location. This is definitely something you’re going to want to take advantage of, whether you are a service area business, meaning that you go to a client’s location to perform the service or to deliver the goods, or if you’re a storefront, meaning they come to you, or a hybrid, which is both. Doesn’t matter, either way you want to get in Google My Business.
Check out some of our first early episodes. We’ve probably got about a dozen episodes that touch on the various aspects of Google My Business, from setting it up to optimizing it to using some of the functions like posts and photos and getting reviews. That’s a whole other topic in itself that we really don’t have time for on this episode. But for your local SEO checklist, build your website, get the navigation structure, get your primary content, get a blog, get keywords in mind, launch your GMB.
Coming in at number two, we have our episode number 74 from January 18th, kind of early in the 2021 cycle here. Episode was your Google My Business website. A lot of people don’t know that you can get a free website right within Google My Business. In this episode we talk about how to turn that on, how to optimize it, why this is important for you, and what you want to leverage with it even if you already have a website for your business. Great tips in here, check this one out. I think you like it.
So we’re talking Google My Business. If you’re not familiar with that, just go on out, sign up for Google My Business. If you want some more in-depth tutorials on how to do that, check out, I think three or four of our first half a dozen episodes were particularly about how to set up Google My Business, how to optimize Google My Business, and some of that stuff. So we’re not going to dive into that. We’re going to assume either you’ve done that or you can lean on those resources to get ahead and do that. So what we’re going to talk about here is, you need to be logged into Google My Business to do this, there is a website feature within Google My Business that you can turn on. It’s off by default, Google doesn’t automatically engage this for you.
So why would you want to do this even, right? Well, depending on where you’re at in your business, maybe you don’t have a website. Not everybody does. Maybe you’re developing one soon. Maybe you feel like you don’t need one. You just lean on Facebook, things like that, but you want some web presence. This is a way for you to get a … It’s not the flashiest website in the world, but it’s a website and it can showcase a lot of information for your business. You can put it on a business card if you want. It’s got an actual URL you can navigate to, it’s a legitimate website, just not maybe as customizable as your own original website. But as far as a value for time and money spent, it doesn’t get any better. It’s completely free, and you just click a few buttons here and it’s going to turn it on.
So if you don’t have a website currently, this is something that you can take advantage of. If you do have a website, you may be thinking, “Well, I do have a website, so I don’t need that.” But now really, why should you do it? Other than the fact that it’s super easy to do. Well, number one, it’s real estate, right? Digital real estate. If somebody’s searching for your business or even your products and services, now, depending on how competitive your market, your niche in your geographic area is, maybe this Google My Business website ranks high, maybe it doesn’t. But it’s a piece of real estate that at least is in the game. We’ve seen plenty of client areas where this will rank. Even if they have a website, maybe their website ranks number one, maybe this Google My Business site is two, three, four, or five.
Now, is that really impacting your business by getting you a lot more leads? Maybe not, but what it is doing is pushing competitors down. So at the very least you’re taking up more real estate, pushing other people out.
Bob Brennan: Right.
Jesse Dolan: If nothing else, if that’s the only benefit you get out of it, sign me up for that 75 seconds it took to make it.
Bob Brennan: And I would argue, if you are good enough to get your GMB in a three-pack by doing some of the stuff we talk about and you don’t have a website in there, that’s not a deal killer. But there is a subconscious voice as a consumer in the back of my head when I look at that and I look at reviews and they’re like, they don’t even have a website. I’m going to call these guys first.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Bob Brennan: Again, the younger you are, maybe that’s even higher in your priorities, whatever. But I do think it’s a converting factor that if on your GMB there’s no website listing, people might shy away from that.
Jesse Dolan: Now, just to expand on, you bring up a great point, expand on what Bob’s talking about there for everybody, just to visualize it, if you do a search, you get the Google map pack, the three-pack, the map pack, whatever you want to call it, where it’s got the ABC or the three listings usually with a map above it, on that you’re usually going to see two, you’re going to see the business name and the reviews, the review score. But then there’s usually two other little widgets or icons. One is going to be for driving directions if they have a physical address listed, and the other is going to be for a website. And to Bob’s point, if there’s three listings that show up for the Google My Business results and that map pack, if you’re one of those three and the other two have an icon for a website but you don’t, that’s exactly what Bob’s talking about.
Do you look less legitimate? Are you going to get any action from that? Definitely has an impact from people who are looking at you. Again, product, service, niche, and market dependent on how egregious or not that is.
Bob Brennan: Right.
Jesse Dolan: But if you don’t have a website, WordPress website or whatever, any other website, you take that URL from the free Google My Business website you just made, copy that, paste it into the appropriate field on your Google My Business listing, and now you have a website and that icon Bob’s talking about is going to show up and you look just like everybody else. And of course they click on it, they go to the website then, and there’s more information about you. It actually is a website. It’s not just to trigger the icon.
So there you’ve got two awesome reasons that, again, are taking you such a little amount of time. Even if these don’t transform your business, if they get you more customer a month or even one more customer a year, for the amount of time it takes you to do this you’re getting ROI on your time there.
And coming in number one for the 2021 year of Local SEO Tactics, we have another episode from January of 2021, episode number 73, how to find and fix high bounce rate pages for your website. This was our number one episode for the year. It’s a great walkthrough for folks looking to learn more about how to make an engaging website. We offer some tips and tricks on not just how to identify your bounce rate, high bounce rate pages, but also for creating content that keeps people on the page and makes them not be a high bounce rate page. So some great insights here on how to find, fix, and improve those high bounce rate pages, which is ultimately going to lead to more users, more engaged experiences, and increased SEO and rankings for you.
So let’s break it down. So that being said, again, talking really about improving your user experience with the benefit, or the purpose, I should say, of increasing your amount of clients off that existing traffic. So where do we start? Well, analytics. What’s happening on your website? Our analytics of choice is Google Analytics, completely free. Most of you listening out there probably already know of it or already have it installed on your website. But if not, that’s where you’re going to want to start, making sure that you’ve signed up to Google Analytics. That’s completely free, just got to set up an account.
They’ll give you a little piece of tracking code that you have to install on your website. So that code has to be embedded. So then Google can read the information, if you will, off of your website. Then it’s going to give you a bunch of reports. The dashboard for Google Analytics is pretty stellar. It’s going to tell you all kinds of amazing things about your website. The thing that we want to start here with Google Analytics is looking at specifically the bounce rate of your pages. Like we talked earlier, if you’re showing up for a certain term, somebody clicks on your website and then clicks back out in short order, that’s a bounce, Google tracks that. And they’ll tell you a couple interesting stats in that same realm. They’ll tell you what’s the percentage of people that are bouncing. You can also find how long are people staying on your site on average, if users are there for one minute, two minutes, three minutes, whatever the case is, and then also how many pages they visit.
So those kinds of stats just within this realm of conversion, those kinds of stats are the ones that we’re going to be keying in on here today. And what we’re going to be trying to find is how to identify pages that have a high bounce rate, that you want to focus on applying some of these conversion optimizations that we’re going to talk about. Within doing that, again, we’re looking at saying, “Our website is ranking at a certain level. We’re getting a certain amount of traffic. And just within that universe, within that set of blinders, how can I improve my balance rate?” Look for the worst pages on your website that are some of your highest traffic pages, that intersection. And you’re going to have something somewhere, right? Don’t look for things above 80%. Don’t look for things above 60%. If you’re not finding them, “Hey, my site’s great.”
What we’re talking here is, find the worst ones on your site. Most of your pages are 5% and you got one at 10%, attack the one that’s 10%. If most of your pages are 60% and you got one at 80%, attack the 80%. So to convert people, we’re going to need some things on the webpage to make it sticky, make it attractive, and let them know they’re in the right place. I’ll let you chime in on a couple, Bob, but lead with that first one we always want, is, unless you don’t want phone calls, because there are some businesses that are like that, just put that asterisk out there. For most businesses you want a phone call, and that’s probably your highest lead area. Make sure your phone number’s huge. If you have a landing page, just say about painting, like, “We can paint your house,” sure, you can have a bunch of text that’s, “We can paint your house.”
But if you have the owner or even any of the team members talking about painting and showcasing something, whatever, now it’s like I searched for something, I landed on this page. Well, there’s the people. I can see the people I’m going to be working with. And number one, let’s just say if it was a video, they’re going to watch that, they’re going to stay on your page longer. The longer somebody’s on your page, the higher your chance of converting them is. But then number two, just that mental connection to see the people, that trust. Because there’s a lot of fake stuff on the Internet, right? Some of that you can’t make up. If you’re wearing your polos and you’re showcasing yourself, you’re in front of your service van behind you, you’re legitimate and you’ve already separated yourself right there. And you’re going to get that call or get that email on that page.
Don’t want to just have a page and have it exist. Like, “Hey, okay, here we are. If you need us, call.” That’s cool, it’s not compelling, though. There’s no call to action. Think about why your clients and your customers would contact you when they land on that page. Do they want a free estimate? Do they want a mockup of what the home design is going to look like, if you’re an architect? Having that be prominent and displayed on your website is going to be very important.
So it’s been a great year for us here 2021. We’ve got a lot of exciting improvements launching in 2022, expanding our show, more content, different types of content, higher production value. We’ve seen a lot of this come in at the tail end here of 2021 and we’re just getting started. Very excited about the engagement we’ve had with all of you listeners out there. A lot of you that are listening have turned into clients of ours, engaged with us for web design or SEO, and are still listening to the show, which is great, and submitting questions and just helping the overall community. If you’ve got questions out there, we’d love to hear about them. Go to localseotactics.com, scroll down to the bottom, click on the button for submit a question. We’d love to hear from you, and want to thank everybody for tuning in for the past three years, but also more specifically this last year here in 2021. It’s been a great ride and we’re looking forward to the new year.