Hola! Bienvenidos mis amigos! Welcome to the
first ever Peruvian edition of Whiteboard Friday. It’s Peruvian because as you can see
I am attired in a Peruvian football jersey, which I recently picked up on my trip to Lima,
Cusco, and Machu Picchu. I had an incredible experience. I had such a great time for Mozcation.
I wanted to say hi and a special thank you and shout out to all of our friends in Peru
and South and Latin America. Just amazing time with Mozcation. I am taking some experiences from the Mozcation
we had. I know that there were a lot of questions at the Mozcation event about some of the local
SEO best practices. I talked with some folks after the event and in the Q&A about some
things we can do from a local SEO standpoint. I realize we did a checklist the other week
on Whiteboard Friday about some SEO basics, but we really didn’t target local SEO sites
specifically. What I want to do today is give you that local SEO checklist that you can
follow for local and small businesses in a regional area, what they can do to improve
their SEO. So let’s start. Number one, registration with major engines.
Now, in the United States, in Canada, in most of Europe, in parts of Asia, it’s very easy.
You either send a postcard to Google or Google sends you a postcard to your address and you
fill out the code that they give you or they call you on your phone and verify where you
are. But in Peru, and in many other places in the world, Google does not offer this registration.
So the key to getting included is actually going to be step number two. This first step
is very easy. Everyone can and should do it. I know you’re going to check that off your
list really quickly. The major engines typically are just Google and Bing, but in Russia remember
it could be Yandex. In China, it might be Baidu. In the Czech Republic it could be Seznam.
I think in Norway there is actually a tertiary engine that is doing relatively well there.
Some places you might even want to double check with your Yahoo local listing if that
sends traffic too. But for those folks who can’t do it, and for
everyone else, you should also be claiming your listing on all the major local portals.
These are the international major local portals. In countries like Peru, one of the big powerful
ones there is actually Trip Advisor. You want to be doing this for places like Yellow Pages,
YP.com, Urban Spoon, CitySearch, Yelp. In many places, Foursquare is actually quite
popular. We found that in South American and Latin America Foursquare was actually huge,
and weirdly enough Foursquare was a much more accurate map system than Google Maps. I think
probably because of this issue, wink, wink, nod, nod, Googlers hello. So, take care of
claiming those listings for your business on all of these portals. If they don’t have
you listed yet, remember you can add your business to them. Number three, get listed on key local sites.
This means regional portals. A lot of times these are media institutions. Here in Seattle,
it might be KING5.com. It might be TheStranger.com, which is a local weekly publication. It could
be The Seattle Weekly. It might by KOMO TV. All of these local regional sites that have
listings for local businesses and you want to try and get included in those. Many times,
remember that these media stations they love to cover whether it is in the newspaper, the
weekly, on their website, or with a TV camera crew, they want to cover new local businesses.
So, if you are a new local business, you want to reach out to them, and it is a great way
to generate some press. You also want to be considering regional portal sites that may
not be specifically local focused. So in the Seattle area, I believe it is Northwest, what
is that? NWSource.com is sort of our big local portal for aggregation. These are wise ones
to consider as well. For these three, it is absolutely essential
that you have consistency. What I mean by consistency is the same name, exactly the
same name. I don’t want to see SEOmoz, Inc. versus SEOmoz Incorporated versus SEOmoz,
LLC, versus just SEOmoz or SEOmoz.org. Same name. Exactly the same name every time. Same
address. Same format of the address every time. Same phone number with the same phone
number format every time. All of those things are critical to the consistency of citations
that engines look at to determine is this the same exact business that is being referred
to here. Even slight variations can generate those differences and can mean that you don’t
get all of the sort of link juice or citation juice that the engines are using to rank things. Number four, do competitive research on listing
sources of high-ranking sites for your keyword. So, let’s imagine that one of your keywords
is Seattle plumbers. So, you do a search for Seattle plumbers, and you see here are the
guys in the top eight spots. Where are they getting listed? Now, it used to be very simple.
You just click on them and you could see a big list of all the sources where Google pulled
data from. Not so simple anymore. They will still show you some of the sources for the
images, so it might say Yelp or Insider Pages or Zagat or something like that, Gayot, but
now it is much harder because they will no longer show those. But it is easy. You just
have to make a quick tweak. What you want to do is take the name of the business and
the address and search for that, possibly minus the site colon of the actually business’
listing, and that with show you all the places where the address is. So, for example let’s
say I wanted to find all the local places where SEOmoz was listed, I would do a search
like this. I would do a search for “SEOmoz (11919 Pine Street)-site:Seomoz.org”. I am
going way off on the side here, but that’s okay. The reason that this is going to work
is because it is going to show me all the places where there is a listing for SEOmoz
not on our site that includes our address. That’s what you want to do when you are doing
this competitive research on those high-ranking websites, and it is going to show you a ton
of different sources where you should be listed for your local business to help with your
local SEO. Step number five, review your reviews. What
I mean by this is you want to go through all the places, all the listings that are popular,
your Google Profile, your Yelp Profile, Insider Pages, City Search, wherever you are listed,
Trip Advisor. If there are reviews for them, see what they are saying and see if there
are ways that you can get more people commenting on the positive stuff and fewer people commenting
on the negative stuff. For example, if someone says, “I was very frustrated that I didn’t
get a receipt.” Great. So make sure that the folks at the front desk know they need to
be giving out receipts. If someone says, “Hey, I had a fantastic experience when I ordered
this particular thing,” great. Tell your wait staff, “Hey, guys, people seem to love this
thing. Feel free to recommend it when people ask for a recommendation,” and then when they
do, great. Maybe there is something special that your restaurant, that your business,
that your service offers and does that really gets people excited and you find that when
you do it for people, they are much more likely to leave a positive online review. Great.
Do that thing. This is your customer research. This is telling you what people think about
your business, and it is a great way to learn, grow, and become a better business. Number six, last one here, for goodness sake,
maybe I should put this in number one. It’s so important. Audit your site’s usability,
accessibility, and content. Now, a local website does not need to go through all of the steps
of inbound marketing and thought leadership that a scalable B2B company or a startup or
someone who wants to take over the Web in their category needs to go through. A local
business can stay relatively focused on their local niche, and you can earn top rankings
with just a lot of the first five things that I have talked about here. However, however,
you want to make sure that usability, meaning your site is phenomenally simple to figure
out the places. I hate when I go to a local restaurant’s website and I can’t find the
place for reservations. It is not on the contact page or the about page. Where is it? I am
looking for this. Have those key buttons that drive users to say, oh, right, these are the
seven things I can do on the website, those are the seven things I want to do on the website.
Have buttons for all of those. Have pages for all of those. Make those easy to access.
Make sure there is not a Flash intro that is blocking someone or an experience that
can’t be, for example, seen on a mobile phone or by search engines. This happens all the
time with a lot of local business websites. Then finally, make sure that you have the
right content. You can do this, very simply, by when people come into your business, if
you’d say, “Hey, we will give you a 5% or 10% discount if you can take this little survey
for us or send it to ten of your friends, or email ten of your customers that you have
got.” That survey should simply say, “What are the top five things you would look for
from us on our website?” The top five pieces of information. People will tell you the same
things all the time. It will be things like I need your hours, I need directions, I wish
you had a little Google Map built in where I could just plug in my address. They’ll tell
you that they need a list of services. They almost always want prices. If you can provide
these things, you’re just going to do a phenomenally better job of converting people faster once
they find your website through the great local SEO that you’re going to do. There you have it, my local SEO checklist.
I hope you enjoy it everyone. Thank you very much, and thanks especially to our friends
in Peru. Ciao!