Applying Local SEO for your Business’s Landing Pages

If you run a local business and have a website, then you likely have a series of pages for your targeted location(s). You might even have supplemental pages that target cities and towns near your physical location. Done right, this can be a solid strategy to scale your marketing and make local customers aware of your business.

Sadly, these pages are not always crafted with the finest detail. Usually, they’re simply template pages, with only one or two details changed for each location. This can end up causing location greed, where a business targets towns that they might not even be near but still want to get the boost for the towns that they do want to rank for. To quell this, Google has released an update to their doorway pages algorithm, which could catch your business in the crossfire if you’re not careful. Here are some tips to help give you the local boost you need for your landing pages.

Avoid Targeting Multiple Locations

This might seem a little paradoxical, since the goal is to target multiple regions or cities. The trick here is to be picky about which regions and cities you target. Don’t be too aggressive by targeting every town, city, or region within a certain distance to your location, just aim for the ones that you feel are the most important and start there.

Avoid Doorway Pages

A doorway page is a page that only exists to funnel users to the main part of your site, this is a big no-no. These pages are often mostly templated and have very thin optimized content. The landing pages that your visitors come to need to answer their questions. If you are providing a service in a given area, ensure that all the information that a visitor needs is on the landing page.

Avoid Pages That Are Substantially Similar and Aren’t in The Main Navigation

This is pretty straightforward, don’t have some boilerplate style text that just swaps out the location of the business. Additionally, ensure that your landing pages can be easily found from the main navigation. A good way to do this is to add an, “areas covered” tab on your navigation.

So What Does Google Want?

It often seems like Google speaks in riddles and will happily tell us what not to do, but is a little hazy on what to do. Well, where landing/location pages are concerned for local businesses they’ve made a guide. Though all the guidelines are applicable for single and multi-location businesses, some of the instructions are aimed at the latter style of businesses.

Summary

In the beginning, the web made attempts to scale simple, machine generated pages would rank pretty well, and you didn’t have to worry about having duplicate pages across your website. Now, to be visible in specific locations, you are going to have to work at it, and work hard. You need to add value and demonstrate that your business is among the best choices for a user in a given location.

As you know, landing pages are your virtual salespeople. It’s the same thing with location pages, make sure they have all the ammunition to sell, and sell big. In doing so, you will see your time investment in the unique content of these pages rewarded whilst you weather the fine algorithmic tuning that is pruning your competitors low quality, cookie-cutter pages.

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Mountain Commerce Updated to Now Include Filtering Module

In a recent update to its E-Commerce platform, Mountain Media has now given its e-commerce clients the ability to create filtering for their products. “You can create an unlimited number of attributes and values to assign to products in our filtering module” says Mountain Media CTO Scott Fultz. Currently, the filtering module is only available to customers who use the responsive design framework for Mountain Commerce. This filter module allows you to sort by common attributes such as brand, color, and price. However, additional attributes can be chosen as shown below.

Filtering Module Mountain Commerce

Additionally, in the most recent update, auto-subscribe features have been included to help ease of use with email marketing customers. Curious about our e-commerce platform and design options? Shoot us an email or give us a call at 888-583-0300.

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Why You Should Include Video On Your Landing Pages

In the past we’ve talked about the best practices for landing pages we’ve even given tips about some ways to help improve conversions. However, one thing we haven’t gone over yet with landing pages is using video to help you get your message to your customers.

The long and short of it is video should be used on your landing pages whenever possible. It provides your customer with a way to passively engage with you and experience your message with little effort on their part.

A case study by Eye View Digital showed that by using video you can possibly increase your landing page’s conversion rates by up to 80%! As a certain car dealer says, “That’s Huge!” Additionally, people have been inundated with video since the middle of the 20th century. Web-based video content has such an impact on the way content is consumed it’s what made YouTube the internet’s video search engine.

How Videos Can Increase Landing Page Conversion Rates

Videos have multiple ways that they can increase your conversion rates. Firstly, they have staying power; videos increase the length of time people stay on your page, giving your brand message a higher chance of reaching the customer. Second, by showing the people behind the product, either yourself or your fellow employees, helps to increase the trust factor significantly. Finally, if all else fails, people have a natural preference to watch something to get what they want over reading something.

A/B Testing For Landing Page Videos

Now, of course when you create a new landing page or modifying an existing landing page, you have to split test it. Here are a few ways to make your videos more effective: Firstly, try testing autoplay vs. pressing play. Most usability guidelines suggest not using autoplay as it is mostly used as an interruption technique that ends up annoying most people and they end up bouncing from the page. Additionally, try adding a call to action to the video, try testing between it being permanently visible or showing up at strategic times. Also, try testing the length of the video to see what your customers respond to more. Some products need a detailed video, others you can give it the 30 second commercial treatment. Finally, don’t just wing it, make sure to write a script beforehand, this will help the flow of the video and will make sure it looks and sounds professional.

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The A To Z Guide to Local SEO for Ecommerce

With Google making local results more and more prevalent these days, especially with the incoming “buy now” button, Local SEO is more then a convenience, it is quickly becoming another necessity for businesses to succeed.

The internet has opened the doors to countless opportunities. For artists and writers, it has allowed them to showcase and promote their work online and reach out to new audiences they might not have otherwise reached. For businesses, this allows you to expand your presence while not having to worry about investing in more brick-and-mortar stores. If you run a business that has an online store in addition to its brick-and-mortar locations, you should seriously consider investing in your online presence. Not only is it cost-effective, but when done right, can help you attract the right customers faster. The solution: Local SEO.

Why Local SEO?

As most of you know, operating in the online space has become paramount for success. Everyone is online and competing for those coveted top rankings on the first page of Google searches. SEO is vital to online promotion on a large scale; but, what about on a smaller more local scale? This is where Local SEO comes into play. But, before we get knee deep into talking about Local SEO, here’s some quick statistics about why it should be included in your marketing efforts.

  • Studies show that over 72% of consumers use online reviews when making shopping decisions
  • 90% of smartphone users use their phone before shopping, and 84% use them while they’re shopping
  • 50% of consumers use their smartphones to find local information and have “local intent” or searching for something and including location identifiers (i.e. antique furniture Saratoga Springs NY)
  • Over 4 billion desktop searches in the US have “local intent” as well
  • Prospects that search and find localized results are more likely to convert into sales, because when they look for a service or product and find it locally, they will want to take advantage of this option
  • Local SEO has the highest ROI when compared to other online marketing strategies

Alright, now that I’ve shown you the data, let’s get started in how to get your local SEO off the ground.

Getting Started with Local SEO

In today’s online landscape, there are literally, tens of thousands of places to list your business online, and at the fundamental level, creating local listings is a key component of any local SEO campaign. But, let’s understand why this is important before we go into how to build it.

To help explain the importance of listings and citations, let’s look at the motivations and experiences of two of the most important variables in local SEO: search engines and the consumer.

Consumers today are buried under the number of options available to them. It doesn’t matter if they’re looking for restaurants, shopping outlets, or the closest and cheapest gas station. Search engines help ease this pain by allowing consumers to input a few keywords, which in turn return a plethora of options that make it easier for them to choose one and be happy at the end of the transaction. If the results are satisfactory to the consumer, they’ll come back to the search engine and use it again, allowing that search engine to monetize via advertising.

To make sure this happens, search engines review Exabytes (1 Exabyte = 1 Million Terabytes of Data) of data to be able to serve up the most relevant and best-reviewed options sorted by geography. Additionally, the quality of this data that’s used to process the information can make or break a service. So how is the high quality benchmark for data ensured? Through cross-referencing the data points across the internet. However, there are three major information brokers whose data powers Google, Bing, Yahoo, and many others, and they are:

The information these data stars provide is then cross-checked with more popular business listing services like; Google+ Local, Yelp, Bing Places, Yahoo Local, Foursquare, and others. If your data is consistent across many of these data providers, the more trust is invested in your site and in turn more likely to be served up by Google or the other search engines when someone types in a keyword associated with your business. Quality and relevance above all else is the key.

Now that we’ve explained the “why,” let’s get into the “how.” To begin with, in order for your business to qualify for a local listing in any index, it needs to meet the following four criteria:

  1. Your business must have a name or a DBA
  2. Have a local phone number that matches the city you’re located in
  3. Have a dedicated physical street address
  4. Make face-to-face contact with customers

Next, we’ll look at two factors that have a heavy influence in how search engines and other web services find out about your business:

  • The quantity and quality of links that point to your website and tracking the sites where those links appear
  • Tracking the number of citations of your business and on which sites these citations appear

Now you’re probably thinking, “I get links, I’ve done link-building in the past…but what the heck is a citation?!?” In the simplest terms, a citation is a mention of your business name on web pages other than your own and it usually includes either your business address, phone number, or both, regardless of whether there is a link to your website or not.

For example, let’s take a look at Yellow Pages, where your business is listed, but not necessarily linked to.

Yellow Pages Business Citation

When it comes to creating your business listings and getting citations, you have a couple of options available to you. You can take the DIY approach and list with all the major players (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Yellow Pages, Google+Local, Bing Places, Yahoo Local, and Foursquare), hire a marketing agency, or you can turn to a location-based CMS (Content Management System) like Yext, or Moz Local, where you upload your address once and then use the software to push your listing to everywhere you want to be. Each CMS has its own pros and cons, outside of the cost associated with it. So, if you’re going to look at the CMS route, make sure to do your due diligence and invest in the best one for your business.

Business Reviews and Online Reputation

In 2012, Search Engine Land released a study, and according to the study, 72% of consumers say that they trust online reviews on the same level as personal recommendations. Let that sink in for a moment, people are trusting the reviews of strangers who’ve interacted with your business on the same level of trust as a friend or family member. That’s not all though, in the same study, 52% say that positive online reviews make consumers more likely to use a local business.

Reviews not only help drive a higher CTR (click-through rate) but are listed on search results where your business is shown. So it should go without saying that businesses cannot afford to ignore their reputation on the internet.

Google Review Screenshot

When dealing with online reviews the two main activities are inviting people to leave a review, and managing your online reputation. Getting people to leave a review can be as simple as having a call-to-action at check-out, or bringing it up while you’re conversing with your customers. Managing your online reputation is the other end of the spectrum. Rep management deals with alleviating customers who’ve left negative reviews and self promotion of your reputation as social proof of your goods or services.

On-Site Optimization for Local SEO

Lastly, let’s take a look at what you can do to get your website optimized for local SEO. To start, it’s recommended that you have your company’s NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information listed on every page. If you have multiple locations, you can either use multiple landing pages for each location, or have it all listed on a single “contact us” page. One thing that you’re going to want to test when setting this up, is to make sure that your NAP is crawlable by Google, because Google can sometimes include it as an image instead of HTML coding.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you’re optimizing for local based keywords, over larger, broadly based keywords. For example, if one of your keywords is “fish market” you’ll want to do, “fish market Seattle, WA” over the broad keyword, “fish market.” Also, you’re going to want to make sure your website is optimized for mobile. As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, 50% of searchers are using a mobile device to help them with a purchasing decision and/or purchase via mobile device. This number is only going to grow, and it’s predicted that mobile use will be 80% of e-commerce traffic by 2018.

Bridging the gap between offline and online experiences needs to be one of the top priorities of businesses today if they wish to survive in today’s digital world. By concentrating your efforts on what I explained here today for optimizing your local search marketing efforts, and you’ll be on your way to better rankings, increased traffic and conversions.

Have any questions for us? Leave them in the comment section below. Want to talk with us about how we can help your business succeed? Email us or give us a call!

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