PaulBarrs.com | The Beginners Guide to Local SEO
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The Beginners Guide to Local SEO

Today’s topic, Local SEO

Local SEO refers to when people search online (especially using mobile devices) for local businesses.

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The following is an edited transcript of a presentation I gave recently –

Today we’re talking about local SEO and, of course, how that affects your business.

First, a little bit of background for those of you who haven’t had chance to sort of catch up yet.

paulbarrs-va-conference01I’ve been working online myself now since literally the beginnings of the internet. I actually started in 1998, it took me a couple of years to learn the ropes, of course, back then there was no training at all. I then started that business in 2001. My online business is training, it’s what I’ve been doing for years and I’ve developed now, I think, 41 or 42 different products. Both real world products, books, DVD training sets, as well as well as A-products, video coaching programs and so on. That’s a fairly, I guess a rough estimate of what some of those have done. I’ve actually had some programs, which I’ve released, in the free training world, been downloaded as many as quarter of a million times.

That simply means I’ve had good fortune. No. What it means is I’ve listened to those who did teach and train me back then, and put into action what they’ve actually told me to do. So I’m, hoping you’ll be able to do the same.

Now I enjoy, very much, consulting and training with local SMEs around Australia. So my specialty, internet business training.

Okay, from here, let’s just cover some basics first. Now as we’re going through this, I have to say sometimes there will be basics and other times there will be things that you haven’t heard of. I guess that’s how we define the difference between basics and not. Basics are those that you have heard of, those that aren’t basics, they’re the ones that you haven’t. That’s about as difficult as it gets.

So SEO, Search Engine Optimization, different to SEM, Search Engine Marketing, which we often refer to, with paid advertising of some sort.

It is simply the practice of improving, promoting a website in order to increase the number of visitors that that site should, of course, receive from the search engines.

Of course here in Australia, the big hand goes up the Big G. We know who manages about 80% of all search here in Australia, but the practice is the same no matter which search engine we’re working with. Now there are two types, generally, of SEO, on-page and off-page and I will be running the webinars for both of those in future weeks. Very simply, on-page SEO, that’s stuff you do on your pages, you can guess what off-page is, stuff you do off your pages.

I’m going to try and keep the technical down because we’re just talking about stuff really, and make it and present this in such a way that you can follow everything. Of course now there is this thing called “local SEO”, it’s not new, it’s been around for some time. I remember doing a presentation on Google’s local SEO, that’s two years back now for a local tourism market place.

It’s evolved a little bit in that time. What we will be looking at today is the foundation basics that have remained the same. Now this is an interesting thing. Foundation basics that have remained the same, that aren’t changed, they never change, and this is basically how it all works.

The search engines, they’re just databases, lots of lots of information. It’s the online library, Google, Yahoo, Bing, yeah mathematical algorithms. It’s the stuff that’s well above my pay grade, that makes it all work. Very simply it comes down to this, someone goes to Google, they do a search, Google’s goal is to serve back to their customer the best possible results. Now that’s interesting, the best possible results.

So what happens is when you build a new website or make additions to content on your website, that gets indexed and added to the results. Good for you if it’s number one, or three, or even five. Not so good if it’s number 500.

So, the user comes through, they do their search, they look for the stuff, they look for the things on the SERPs, the Search Engine Results Pages, that’s just basically what we see. There’s a couple of different types, there’s the natural and organic results, that’s the one that we try and get our ranking in. There are of course also the paid results and if we add a locality or what’s called “geotagging” to our search, such as “Maroochydore builder” or “Steakhouse in Auckland”.

restaurants-search-resultsI had the chance just to do this recently when I was on the Gold Coast, last weekend. I wanted to find a very nice Italian restaurant, so “Italian restaurant, Pacific Paradise” and up comes the local search results.

That’s what I’m looking for and here’s just a generic image, it shows how this would work out. It’s pretty much the same, everywhere and anywhere. You can see we have the local search results. Who’s seen these before in your search? Just give me a quick show of hands, yes. They come up quite frequently. Now, here’s the thing, they don’t always come up but if it’s a local search, nine times out of ten they do. If you’ve run a business which services local areas, good for you that you should come up in these results.

So, yes, it’s good to be in local search, but it’s better to be ranked in local search. Does that make sense? That’s what we’ll be talking about today. Specifically looking at that.

Here’s some facts, here’s some very interesting statistics. I’m one of these people, I hate it when I fall into the category of being “one of those people, a statistic”, but the latest numbers are showing us, 87% of people who search for a local business, they call or they want to go to that particular business and they’ll get there within 24 hours.

Look at my example this last weekend, I’m looking for a restaurant, did I want it for this week? No. I wanted it for what? When I was there. When you’re looking for someone locally, we tend to want that because we want to go there or talk to them. These are quick response customers, the majority of them. When it comes to running a business and I should just throw in quickly, when it comes to me doing a webinar, you will get this, I tend to throw in a bunch of other examples also related to business that you can use.

So here we have the 87, who’s heard of the 80/20 rule? Probably all of us. It simply shows that generally 20% of our income tends to come from around 80% of the people. Mmm. They’re not the best people to be dealing with. But what if we could get 80% of our income from 20% of the people?

Now when it comes to business we often find, or at least I do when I’m consulting with businesses, that they serve that smaller percentage and yeah, they have got a full time business but they are missing out on 80% of their potential market place. Chances are for you, if you’re not yet serving your local business listing customers well, you could be missing out on this massive amount of traffic, that 80 something percent of people.

They want to find you, or your product, or service, they’re going to go straight to you now. That will be good, I like that, I like “now” when it comes to business. Whose ever had to talk to someone, “Yes,” and we negotiate, “Yes,” and we talk and, “Yes,” we send emails, “Yes”. Oh my Lord, it can go on forever.

Instead, so much better when I had just last month, someone gave me a phone call, they’d already checked me out online, they’d done their research. We talked for about probably 30 minutes or so to clarify a few things and they said, “Okay great, where do I send the money?” And I just thought, “Are you a real person?” That doesn’t happen, well it does. Particularly with local business search, people are looking for local results soon.

3d illustration: Mobile technology. mobile phoneThis is also very interesting, where are we using our phones? Where are we using our mobile devices? A number of them would actually do it in store. I’ve done that 15%, I’ve actually been there and look . . . thank you very much for showing me the product, I had this happen with choosing a coffee maker a little while back and I said, “Thank you, you showed me the product and I really like it. Now I’ve decided this is the product I’m going to buy. With all due respect, if it’s a $100 cheaper down the road, guess what, I’m going down the road.” So I said “I’ll be back in just a moment”. Went round the corner, didn’t want to do it in front of the poor fellow. Had a look on my mobile device and went, “Okay it’s $20 cheaper down the roads, I don’t care I’m staying here.” and I made that decision right then.

Often though when we’re waiting at the bus stop, or for an appointment, or for whatever, cafés, restaurants, commuting and look at this one, up to 36%, I feel like a sheeple right now, I do. I do this 36% using the mobile device at home. I’m horrible when it comes to this. I can be sitting down watching television and if it hits a quiet patch on whatever show, I just pull up the tablet which is sitting next to me.

I might be browsing through Facebook or sometimes I’ll see something on television, I think, “Okay I don’t really know what that is.” or maybe I have been watching a new show and I like that actor, what’s their name? I’ll Google them and I’ll go and find out more information right then, because we expect it right now.

Have you ever done that? Quick, give me a show of hands, Who’s ever just pulled out that mobile device while they’re at home and you’ve got the computer sitting nearby? Look at that Practically everybody. You’ve got the computer sitting nearby but what do we do? It’s just so much more convenient to pull up the mobile. It’s just the way that our world has become. We think of something, we want it now.

Local search provides so much of that opportunity for your customers. Whereas once upon a time we walked into the store and there was usually a few, three or four lined up, and we go from one to the other, “I’m thinking about buying one of these. I’m thinking about buying one of this.” Some of us still actually do that, I still do it depending on, of course, the size of the actual investment. Fair enough. But we can now also do so much research online and then go, “Hmm, now where can I buy this from?” And that’s where you want them to find you.

Let’s have a quick look at how Google serves this purpose and how Google helps us.

g-mapGoogle maps, yes we’ve all used maps, I’m sure at some point. Google Places, where the stuff is. The Local and Google My Business. It’s actually changed overtime, it’s pretty much the one thing there but it’s evolved over time. This is what I love about Google, excuse my sarcasm for just one moment, “Google, you keep changing it up. Yay. Thank you so much. Not.” Now I’ve had to do workshops or seminars before and like 48 hours out and Google goes and changes it up and it’s like, “Oh, for crying out loud. Really?

See, here’s the thing, they do it because it’s based on the customers, that consumer demand. So we also need to keep up to date. Very simply now, Google My Business is where it’s all held, and here is the cool thing about it, we can do it for free. Can I just get quick show of hands, actually how many people already have . . . it doesn’t matter how well it’s set up, but who already has Google Local Business presence of some sort?

All right that’s good, that’s only about half of those here. Great, it looks like we’re in the right place then. At least you’re in the right place, good for you.

After this, I guarantee if you’ve been going through the workshop and through the assignments and so on with the program, yes, you’ll definitely want to be doing this too. It is a great way to kick off your online presence, especially if you’ve got no website. It’s essential. Plus here’s the good news, what you do on your Google Local Business profile – which we’ll get to showing you shortly – that can also help you with your organic rankings in Google main search results. Plus gives your business a good identity, a good presence on Google, get ranked in those first couple . . . you’ll even appear above the organic search results.

This is one of my favorites, the listings, they’re optimized for the different devices, even if your website isn’t optimized for mobile. Which is a topic in its own, isn’t? Have you been hearing about that, all the changes coming up for mobile? Not the place to be talking about it here but so important, very, very important that your website be optimized for mobile.

Very simply, in a nutshell, here’s how it works, if your website isn’t optimized for mobile search, meaning when someone goes to look at it, they’re going to be scrolling left, or scrolling right, or squeezing in, or squeezing out, I’m not quite sure what the technical term is for zooming in, probably that, “zooming in”, but because we just can’t read it. It’s going to disappear, it’s gone completely out of Google search results from mobile.

Here’s the thing, Google are now, currently saying that as a general rule and sure it differs from industry to industry, but just over 50% . . . I think it was 54% by memory, just over 50% of all search through Google is now on a mobile device. And if come another week and half or so when this update comes out, your website isn’t mobile optimized you just won’t show. Sorry, no chance.

But, with a good Google business listing, it’s ready to go and it’s mobile optimized, plus you can also get your business listed with Google maps. Now that’s a good thing for you if people want to actually find you, wouldn’t you agree? Good to know, I love it.

Customers want to say, “Where do we find you,” I say, “Here, there’s the coffee shop, come and meet me,” but if you’re a business somewhere else and you need them to come see you, makes it really easy, integrates with Google maps.

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There are some ineligible businesses:

  • If you haven’t opened your doors yet, not such a good idea, “Hey, we’re under construction, we’re away,” not quite.
  • Not to be used for rentals or for individual properties for sale and things like that, “Hey, this home is vacant.” That’s not what it’s for, that’s what the overall agency website or the agency listing would be for.
  • Things like ongoing services, or like a meeting, a regular class, you know we have our breakfast business things on a regular basis and so on, not for those types of things and so on and so on, for businesses.

google-my-businessHere’s what I’m going to do, this is where it gets really curly, and I’m going to see if my computer is going to behave for me. I’m going to click on now over to Google.com My Business so bear with me while I come through to here. What I’ve done is I’ve just simply gone into Google and I’ve just put in Google My Business, that’s the easy way to find this link. If for some day you’re having a hard day and you can’t remember Google.com/business, there’s also another good reason, this link is likely to change at some point in the future, however Google might feel.

So in my particular listing, I actually have a couple of different listings. Okay, open up, there we go. So I have a couple of different listings and basically though, this is the first page that you would come to. Let me see if I can reduce my screen size, one moment so that we can all see that a little bit better. Okay, that’s a bit too small. There we go. If you don’t yet have it, it’s pretty easy, this is called Paint by Numbers, get your business on Google for free, click, get on Google.

Now let me just throw this in, this is a really interesting thing. Google . . . we know they pretty well rule the world when it comes to Internet at this point of time. I remember a time when they weren’t around and other companies ruled the world.

Not to say another one will never come out, but for the moment, if you’re going to set up a Google account and you don’t yet have one, I’m pretty sure probably everyone does, but if not, your Gmail, your Google Analytics, your YouTube Tube account, your Google My Business, your Google Webmaster Tools, your Google, Google, Google whatever, everything. You want to have just the one email address for all of them.

I suggest an email from Gmail. For example your business. Mine is and that is a real email address, I also do receive emails from that as well. It’s like a backup but I use that as my login for everything, and that’s the important thing, you don’t want to have multiple accounts for all these different things.

Now you can come here in your own time and just sort of read through the information. It really is paint by numbers, it’s incredibly easy. So I’m just going to now see if I can just get to sign in, Google be good to me. I don’t remember my password so it’s already done it for me, awesome.

I am happy and I’m going to need to . . . because I’m on a smaller window, my actual screen size has been reduced by the webinar, so let me just shake that around.

Okay, as I said, I’ve got a couple of different listings just for different business names and these are not my personal ones, these are my business ones. If I want to create a new one, first of all I’ve obviously got my Google listing and that means I can access all the different Google things just under this same logged in. See, look there I am, I’m now logged in under that account for pretty much everything.

I can come into any of these and then just click on manage the page, will do that in a moment or I can very easily just get a new page. So first of all, good to see, if you’ve maybe accidentally already one got one if you don’t think you have one yet. This is the one I’ve actually been using just for like demo purposes, there’s no links to it out there, I don’t know how I managed to get a couple of followers for that one, I use it for demonstration purposes.

webman-bankerSo let me just click through it and I’ll just manage this page. Very simply, there’s one golden rule, what you want to do is “pimp that profile“. If you’re taking notes, jot that down, “pimp that profile”. Very simply all the different things that you need are simply along there but you would click up here, “edit” and then from there you fill out the information that it asks you to fill out, it’s pretty easy, easy stuff. So the business name and yes, this is actually a registered business name. I registered that so I could use this for demo purposes. I’ve already completed this profile, it says its 100%, there it is. I’ve got my number in there, what I do, the times that I’m open and so on, bang. Finish that editing.

So you just fill in all of those little bits and pieces. I’ll just go back one for the moment. We also have . . . If I just click up here in the settings area, na-na-na, there we go. It just sort of plays some elevator music while I’m waiting this to open. In the settings area, we can just change different things around in here regarding Hangouts and so on. Not really so much, that important, but good to go through just have a look at these different things as well.

I have my YouTube videos, we’ll get sort of linked up with this, that I find is quite good, and important. There’s this link here connected to services, what’s that one? Okay, no, don’t need that.

We can add managers in there, that’s also good to know, if you’d like someone to be helping you out with it and I’m not changing anything there. So that will then get me out of that and I’ll go back to Google My Business.

Everything that I need, I can just upload from here. I can upload photos and so on, change any of these details along here. I’ve got my Analytics showing there as well plus I can share directly to the page from there, or I can use a sharing tool like a HootSuite. Those different types of things, not running any AdWords on this.

Let me just throw this in, have a look at this very carefully for me, AdWords Express, manage ads.

Now this is something that I learnt by error, trial and error, AdWords Express, different to Google AdWords, don’t ever . . . and this is just my personal opinion, if this somehow gets public. Don’t ever use Google AdWords Express, because it creates . . . and look it’s easy, don’t get me wrong, but it creates estimations based on what it thinks you are looking for, based on what you tell it. It’s not as highly targeted as AdWords itself.

I created some ads on here for my other account and I found that as I was going through this it was just like, “Hmm, how the hell did I just manage to spend $150 on ads in two days and get no traffic?” Considering that there wasn’t even that much search for those things, I went back, I had a look and found out that they were referring traffic to me for stuff I didn’t even do. It was their estimation. That’s AdWords Express, so if you’re looking to do some paid advertising, you definitely don’t want to do it there.

I don’t have any reviews in this particular section, I’ve got them in the other one but managing reviews is very important, and reviews themselves are very important as well.

Then we can just look at the various other elements which I won’t bother going through, but there is a whole lot of different things that you can also access. Let me just come back to the main window if I can. You can just manage your sites from there.

Basically you can also . . . Once you’re logged in here do whatever you need to do for managing your personal profiles and so on as well. So if I just quickly check on that one it should be . . . let’s have a quick look, opening up, opening up, yeah, there we go, so the personal profile as well. This is the one that I’m most active on, but this is not my business page.

TeamworkNotice this says, that’s where I work, so that’s where I work and that’s my business page but the rule of thumb is, whichever profile, pimp that profile. Which means add photos, put up your YouTube links, look after and manage your reviews, make sure your “About” information is filled up. Those things are critically important, when it comes to getting results with Google+.

That’s just a very quick overview, let me now just come back to here and I’ll just come back, Hide that one down . . . resume slideshow, Haha, technical whiz. Honestly I’m not a technical whiz, that kind of stuff I don’t like. It’s really easy, Google.com.au/business/my business or my business and it will just come through for you.

So these are some of the things that I’d like you to do, search to find out if you’re already there, if you can have the two windows open, great. If not I’m just going to come up here and I’m going to search for my business name like this.

So, it should come up obviously as already there. My website, reviews and these are my Google reviews, look at that. Linked to my Google+ page. I’m listed in “Where” that’s because they also know I’m in Maroochydore. I don’t know if you noticed on my Plus profile there earlier, currently in Maroochydore. This stuff really scares the crap out of me sometimes. No, I’m joking. I have told Google that I’m okay to let them know where I live, because I want better search results.

We have down here, things from my Google+ profile and so on, all appearing. How about you? Are you being found in there as well? Hope so. Look at the different ways that you can also do it. For example, the Training Collective, who is running the program. “Training Collective” or “The Training Collective”, or “TrainingCollective”, one word, or “Training + Collective”.

If you can’t find yourself, have a look around, try and find yourself first, before you then add a new one. If you can’t, great. Add it in, pimp the profile. That’s the catch phrase for tonight.

I’ll be telling you more how to do that shortly, but fill it up with everything you possibly can. In a nutshell, you want to see, like I showed you early, that you’ve got something like this. You’ve got that profile, it’s showing that you’ve got followers, everything is starting to work, you log in, you check it out, you make sure you’re there. As you can see here also from Yvette’s information, that you just clicked on your name, populate it, and what’s my catch phrase? Pimp that profile. Get it up and running from there.

Let’s just look at a few more things. With your Google+ pages, you want to feature on maps. Of course, you want to have an actual store front, so when you’re setting up, you’ll come across in the settings there . . . I can’t recall exactly where it is off the top of my head, but I did have a look this afternoon, quick and easy to find.

It basically asks you, “Do you service people in your actual region, and do you go out to them?” There’s another one, “Do they also come to you?” So, if you can have a shop front, yes, you want them to come to you. If you’re working from home, no, don’t check that button. You don’t want them to come to you. All right? That’s where you get stalkers. That’s where we go into a different language and really creepy stuff with Facebook.

No, I’m joking. You know what I’m saying. It’s common sense if you don’t want your address to show, and if I just come back here to mine quickly, it says here I live in Buderim. Yeah, I do, but that’s it. That’s all it’s going to show, because I’ve said I don’t service people at home. That’s important for you to have that as well.

linkwheelsbrandsYou can also brand your Google+ pages. Again, just search on maps. See how well it comes out, have a look, you brand a page, color, logo, pictures, and so on. Look to see what’s in there, and then pimp that profile.

All right, let’s now just quickly go through some reasons why your listing may not be showing up, even though you’ve done all of that.

Could be, could be that your business isn’t verified yet. There are a couple different ways of verifying it, the latest that I have seen, and they seem to do with us here in Australia is, you get mail. You get that little “Tu-tu. You’ve got mail”, but it comes in the form of a postcard. It’s real mail to the address that you’re trying to register with your Google+ and your local business profile.

That comes with a code. Took me two goes. Don’t know what happened to the first one, just disappeared. I think I waited 4-5 weeks, and went “Mmm, should be here by now.” Did it again, and that was worthwhile waiting for, because now if you go looking for me, you’re going to find me everywhere. Also with some of the products and services that I offer too.

So, if it’s not appearing at Google Maps, but it doesn’t always appear in the search results, just make sure everything is up to date. I can try and tell you as much as possible with this sort of presentation, but their Help files, at Google are the best. Where do you think I go to learn these stuff? I go there.

So, look at the changes that you’ve made recently. Maybe you were there, and then are not, and may be how long ago? Sometimes it can take a while for these things to change. If you update your address, they just might want to verify the whole thing all over again, and of course, make sure that you comply with what Google is looking for.

Let’s just have a look now, what to rank, because the Google local listings also get ranked, according to a set number of criteria. First thing is the relevance. They’re not going to show up stuff that shouldn’t be there. There is that word again, “stuff”. That’s as technical as this gets.

Relevance is everything about what you do and what? Who you do it for.

That’s so important in all areas of online business, what you do, and who you do it for.

Also, distance. When you’re setting up your profile, set a distance. How far is your service area? Don’t say the whole of Australia. This is for the local business search.

I have mine set up for a radius of about 200 kilometers, because I’m quite happy to jump on my bike, as I did just this past weekend on the Gold Coast, and I’m down there, and I then had an entire day just catching up with clients as well. That’s still within the South East Queensland region for me.

I could perhaps narrow that, and maybe even test it. I wonder if that would make a difference. I don’t know. I haven’t tried. I think that would be worthwhile testing one time. Also things like prominence, how sort of prominent a business is, how well known. Is it mentioned elsewhere? Google Local SEO, much like normal search engine optimization, also is affected by what I call that circle of influence. It’s not just what you do. It’s not just what you say that makes it happen.

It’s what other people say as well. Hence this great tip, getting reviews on your Google listings can work really, really, really well. Let’s just have a quick look at this image for a minute. I got the same here. I don’t get this. Someone needs to explain this to me.

positive-reviews

This is just having a little joke on the side. 4.9 is my average of my reviews. I’ve only got sort of half a dozen or so there at the moment, but they are all five star reviews. How do I only get 4.9 when they’re five star?

I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s probably maybe one of the questions in one of them was a 0.1 or something like that, along the way. They’re the kinds of things that you’re really, “Yeah, it doesn’t matter.”

What does matter though is that you acknowledge and address any unkind reviews.

Yes, now look. That can happen. Yes, it does happen, and sometimes I’ve had people say, “Oh! I just got a single star. I’m sure that was one of my competition having a go at me.” Maybe it was, but what you would do is address that in the same manner as you would, as if they were talking to you face to face, and they were a real customer.

So, you get a chance to address and sort of reply to these along the way, and that’s so important. That’s just good customer service. Don’t just get stressed about it if someone dislikes your service. It happens sometimes. It’s part of business.

Honestly, if your skin isn’t thick enough to, every now and then, listen to, objectively, a poor review, perhaps you shouldn’t be in business. You didn’t think you’d get that one from me tonight, did you? Here’s the thing. Every now and then. That doesn’t mean every week, it doesn’t mean a couple of times a month. If you’re getting negative feedback and reviews like more than every now and then, you’d better listen up, because something is going wrong in your business and you are unaware of it.

Reviews are powerful, not just to help us grow and build and improve on our businesses, but also for our Google+ local listings. Not just Google+ there are other places that you can go which can also get you a local profile. Yelp is another directory out there. Actually, look, if your competition is there, probably you should be there too. I think that’s the best advice. Does that make sense?

That’s one way of looking at it. The other way is, “Well, if my customers are there”, guess what comes next, “I should be there too.” These other directories can also assist with the ranking of your Google+ profile in Google Search. Foursquare is another very popular directory out there.

Not so much now, as social media has evolved more over time, but it’s certainly still there. There are other places like Bing, Bing Places. Did you know they even know they even have a Places? These places are free to get listed in. Why wouldn’t you do it?

Sometimes people say, “Ah, but you know, there aren’t that many people using Bing.”

Let me say it to you this way, I guarantee there are more of your potential customers using Bing, than are actually using your business.

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Google only manages about 80% or so of search here in Australia, only. What about the other 20%? What happens if a couple of them might be high rollers? Could be Gold Class VIP customers for you, using these other places, and so on. Wouldn’t it make good sense to also be there? Do it once. Get in there, spend a bit of time, pimp the profile, make it look good.

Then we have this. This is important. If you’re taking notes, you need to be jotting down some of this. In fact, if you’re not taking notes, you need to be jotting down this. This is the most important thing following “Pimp your profile.” In fact you need to memorize from tonight.

webman-checklistHere we are, talking about NAPs. I could try and maybe just mix it up a little bit to help you remember, the NAP, the Name, the Address, the Phone number, oh and how important this is, and do a really silly song about NAPs. I’m not going to. I can see some of you quivering in your boots right now, but this is essential.

This is what we call citations. Citations are simply, as it says, mentions of your business name, address, and phone number, on what? Other sites. These other places that we’ve just been talking about. They . . . Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, they really help with your ranking.

Here’s the way it works. You set up your profile. Go to Google.com/business, bang, set up your profile, pimp it out. Everything is there. Set up a schedule, add content on a regular basis, because it just comes from your website and your YouTube channel anyways, like really easy. Then, what do you do?

Then you start searching the internet. You start searching the internet for your business name, for your phone number, for your address, and then you go and make sure that you get to claim all of those listings, all of them. What did I say? All of them. Oh yeah, this can take a little bit of time.

It’s one of those things that you might want to think, “I’m going to get me somebody else to do this. This is a lot of work.” Oh, but the results that come from it. So important, so important.

Just quickly, I’ve got a question here from someone saying they’ve lost the sound. Can I just get a quick hands up. Others still able to hear me at the moment? Yes, others can still hear me. Okay, sorry you one person. You need to turn your speakers back on, about the best we can do. Hopefully, that will come back for you. If not, it is being recorded. I love a recording.

Just a quick break, okay, breath in. Recording, “Hi, my name is Paul Barrs, and this is not my real voice.”

All right, moving back on, citations, so important. Look for your business name, look for variations of your business name, look for your address, look for “some other business had your address at some point,” look for your phone number. That’s the killer of “some other business had your phone number.”

I get at least one phone call a week from the nut jobs who used to own my phone number who never bothered to tell all of their customers, and worse yet, never bothered to update it across the Internet. Oh, fool them. Oh well, not my problem. I also get to sell lots and lots of water tanks. No, I don’t, really, but if I wanted to, I could. People keep calling me and asking for them. Why? Because the phone number is still on the internet in places that I haven’t even found it yet, and haven’t had the opportunity to update it.

dot-comSo, we need to go out there, find these, and claim them. What that means very simply is, often your business will get listed on somebody’s website, like they’re creating a directory. Dom-dom. They create that directory, and they scale the web, and they find relevant businesses, and they put them up online, and they just put it there, and you don’t even know about it. But when you find it, you can claim it. Click, “Yep, this is me,” and basically just make it your own, update your contact details, put your email address in.

Some of them are going to ask you, “Yeah, you can claim this. It’s going to cost you $500.” Here is what you do with them, “I’m out of here. Delete my listing.” No, actually that’s not entirely true. What you need to do is say, “Are there more of my customers using that directory or more, I should say, of my potential customers using that directory, they’re not currently not walking into my store.” Because if there are, could be worthwhile paying the $500, don’t you think?

I have one of my customers come to me a little while back, and someone had done this, and created a beautiful directory listing, a gorgeous page, all the information snippet from their websites, some images, all sorts of beautiful stuff, and my client rang me and said,

“Look, Paul, they are asking for $500 for the year, should I pay it?” Here was my instructions, I said, “Look, do this for me. Go to Google, just while we’re on the phone now. Go to Google, type in what you do and where you do it,” so they did, and then I said, “Who comes up higher in the search rankings, you or them?

In that particular case, I’d been doing SEO for them for quite some time, so it was them, number one, them, number two, somebody else, number three, them, number four, and this $500-a-year directory was nowhere to be seen. So, I said to them “What do you think is the best answer to your question?” They went, “Thank you very much,” saved themselves $500. I should have charged them that for the call.

Basically, if it’s a paid thing, you need to find out, have they got more of your customers going there than coming to you, then it could be worthwhile.

So, just quickly, last thing on that. If it’s a paid thing, two rules.

Number one, make sure that you use a tracking link. Not theirs, yours. A tracking link, ideally set up through something like Google Analytics which allows you to track the number of click throughs, and then the number of conversions to whatever goal you are running in Google Analytics. That’s a topic for another day. Just accept that it can be done, and it should be done. That’s rule number one for paid listing.

Rule number two for a paid listing is, never send them to your home page, unless you’re just saying, “I’m a plumber.” Bang, there it is, or “I’m a real estate agent.” Bang. or “I’m a consultant.” Bang.

If you can target that listing to a particular element of your product or service, okay, “Bathroom plumbing.” you actually send them to a page about bathroom plumbing, okay? And just leave at that. You send them directly to what they’re looking for, not to the home page, to then make them go and look for something else.

That’s just a rule for any kind of pay advertising, whether it’s AdWords or Facebook or a listing on a directory somewhere, whatever.

you_did_itThe final thing before we move away from NAPs, the N-A-Ps, Name, Address, Phone number. Have you written that down? Give me a show of hands. Everybody wake up quickly. Show of hands, who’s actually written that down? I’m going to actually check on this one. All right, we’ve got some who haven’t written this down. I need you to write this down right now, because it is so incredibly important. Failure is assured if you don’t do this. That’s that important.

All right, great. Thank you very much. Still had a few there that might have been actually grabbing a cup of tea or coffee at the time. The Name, Address, the Phone number, here’s what you also need to do. Go and look for different variations of your name, and then make sure that you’ve changed them all to be the same as what’s on your Google Plus profile. If I come back here to mine, I can see here Paul Barrs Publishing. Never, ever, ever would I get rid of that space between my first and second name.

Never ever, ever would I put in something else. Now obviously, this is my business name, we’re not likely to change it. But what about the phone number. Look at this, (07) and then the phone number, which means when we come back to our NAPs, you need to make sure that your address, and your phone number are . . . listen carefully . . . identical. If you’re using (07) or whatever your sort of area code is and then your phone number. You need to be using that exactly the same, on all of these other directories as well, and wherever your business is mentioned.

If it’s mentioned on other websites, get out there, make sure that they have it the same. If, on your address you have Rd instead of R-O-A-D for “road,” then you need to make sure that they are all the same. Your citations must be identical. That is very, very important, and that is the single biggest ranking factor for local search results, out of everything. Pimp your profile and then do this.

golden-egg-03That’s the gold from there, and then you can just go out and you can look for other directories. There are a lot of directories. Look, if it’s a free listing, go for it, add yourself for free. It’s not just because, “Man, why do I want to put myself on there? I’m never going to get customers from there.” Well, number one, make sure it’s got a bit of credibility to it, got a good reputation, and like this one, Hotfrog, for example, which does. It’s a big one.

Make sure that your competition is there, because if they are there, then likely that your customers could be going there, and if not necessarily just in your area, then certainly in other areas. Good for you, if you are the only one listed for your area. But you really want to do this because number one, your customers are likely to be there, possible. But two, with good NAPs and good citations it will improve your local business listing and ranking place.

That’s the gold. That’s the important part. Just go to Google, and just do “top ten list of business directories in Australia”. That list tends to change all the time, and that will work well, or “Top ten business listings for those of you in New Zealand”.

Hello. Sorry, my fault, didn’t forget you, just adding that in as well. Yes, good. You’re happy. Awesome.

Now industry specific pages, yes good to have them out there as well. These are great for customers. Remember, if you can add that for free, add it for free. Some of them, they are always going to want to try to upgrade you to something paid. So, how would you know? Look at this particular image. It’s a 30-day free trial in our directory. How would you know if it’s worthwhile being there?

Well, imagine that you had done what I suggested you do and you set up a link back to your website, tracking it through Google Analytics, not just to the website, but right through to the conversion, the booking page, the contact form, the sale, whatever the conversion was. Then you could find out, not just how many visitors, not saying that they wouldn’t be giving you accurate statistics. They can say, “Hey, we sent you 325 people”. but if none of those people are actually looking for what you want, you’ll never know if none of them convert.

You need to have that conversion tracking in place as well. Look for locality-based directories, very, very important. I’ve got to say, I am a bit of a slacker on this too. There are so many different things in this, that I yet haven’t done for my own business. It’s like the plumber who has leaky pipes, because he’s always out there doing other people’s plumbing. But for yourself, good to do or great to get someone else.

This isn’t work that requires three or four degrees. It just requires a little bit of dedication, a bit of smarts, someone who has attention to detail. That’s what it comes down to. You can do it yourself, just an hour or two every now and then, like you build a list, do that. Or perhaps you build the list and get somebody else to do it. Make sure they understand, though, how these citations work.

I think this is what we’re looking at just here as well. Other examples, newspapers, magazine articles, blogs, very simple. When it comes to citations, make sure that everything is there in the same place, in the same way.

Paul-001Let’s just summarize this before we go to questions. Look at that, perfect timing.

Have a look to see what you’ve already got, then create what you need, if it’s not there. Update it if it is, get it verified, pimp that profile, flesh out your listings, pimp that profile, and get citations. That’s all there is to it. On an ongoing basis, citations is pretty much it. Once you’ve got that everything up, just start building those citations.

Okay, folks, that’s pretty much, in a nut shell, “Local Business Search.”

Let’s see now, anyone got any questions on that? We’ve got a few minutes, if you have some questions on that, or on other areas of SEO, the other areas, I might refer them coming up, but let me know. Now is the golden time. Let me just open up my little dashboard just here, and quickly go to the questions section. How do I even view the questions section? That’s a good one.

There we go. Someone pressed answer, there is the questions. Coming across a couple here. All right, I’ll just quickly go through these one by one. First of all, we had a question earlier on, on SMEs, Small to Medium Enterprises. That’s just a sort of standard government list categorization of the small to medium size businesses.

Going through those, we also have a question here on being able to delete your personal address from your Google business page. You need to go into that area of the settings, which says, “I service people in the local area.” or “No, I don’t.” meaning, “I go out to them, or they come to me.” There is two different check sections in there. I’m might have to actually track down where to find it.

I won’t try and actually find it now, live, but I will find it, and I’ll take a screenshot, and I’ll upload it to the Facebook group afterwards. Which will show you where to do that. So, that’s how you do it. You update your address, but you change, “I don’t serve people locally.” Then it will only show basically the suburb that you are in.

dice-questionAnother question here, does your business name matter in terms of SEO, or are the principles the same?

Your business name can matter. If you can name your business what you do and who you do it for, or where, that’s good, but not if it sounds silly. Sometimes it does. I’ve seen people come up with names, I’ve just thought, “Really?” In a nutshell, from a Web point of view, your business name or what you want to be found under, like your website address, here’s my rules, “Easy to remember and easy to type.” It should be easy to remember and easy to type. That’s the important thing.

So, if you can make that what you do and who you do it for, fantastic, but it’s not essential. You can just go to Google noun. If you Google Internet Business Training, you are going to find me, and it has nothing, paulbarrs.com. That’s got nothing to with it, but it can help.

Another question here, regarding real estate agents and so on and their listings. You cannot list an individual property. You cannot list a particular event like an auction. But you can list your business, because you are a business and you serve a local area. So, if you’ve got XYZ Agency serving this particular region, no problem. That’s what you do, but not individual properties in their actual locations.

Another question here in regard to using a trading name on Google instead. Yes, you could. It needs to be registered, certainly. For me, as a business, I’ve always been Paul Barrs, trading as, just a business name. Nothing wrong with that, doesn’t have to be company name, but it does need to be a business name. That’s the thing. So, before I went and registered Sunshine Coast Web Design and Development as my demo, sort of profile, I went and registered the name.

What does it cost these days? I don’t know, $70, $80, $90 a year, I’m not even sure. But fairly easy to do, and they will mail that back to you.

Any other quick questions before we move on? Looks like that might be all of them. Fantastic. How are we going for time? Let me just open up my clock. Huh. Bingo. We’re looking for about 60 minutes, and we are almost right on the mark.

Okay folks, I am going to sign off there. Thank you so much for joining with me. I really hope that you will join me again when we come up to the other SEO lessons. I will be in and out of the Facebook group, this week, for questions.

If you have them, please post them in the Facebook group so that everyone can get access to those answers. I look forward to helping you as best as I can, and I love just watching businesses grow. It’s exciting stuff.

Once again, thank you very much.