There’s much more to the local pie than relationships, but they’re an important part of building a strong presence in your city. Here’s an old presentation I did at PubCon talking about outreach and relationship building. There may be some outdated information in here (especially since the local pack and how Google serves local results changes so often), but the general information is still valuable.
Some things covered are..
- Local changes & challenges
- Understanding your local competition and footprint [competitive research]
- Social ads and messaging
- Localization in the SERPs
- Benefits of outreach
- Creating and maintaining a blog
- Local tactics/strategies
1. Local Changes & Challenges For the small business owner- Time •Scalability •Knowledge For the large companies/corporations •Too much budget •Not sure where to focus •Conflicting management
2. Current Local Rollup Local Changes & Challenges- Full and Meaty Plus Pages Images Zagat Integration from Buyout Citation Review integration Competitive Local Pack Tons and tons of other signals
4. Local Changes and Challenges- For regional/national businesses, localization has varying appearances depending on the query and metro •Fluctuations per metro •Fluctuations per query •Local vs. Big Local [Pack vs. Organic]
6. How Can I Approach Local Sustainably and Strategically? Understand Your Competition [STALK]• Leverage Your Community • Leverage Publisher Relationships• Embrace Your Business Model
7. Seek Reviews- Reviews are holding more weight in the local space and are trust signals. •Integrate review options into direct mail campaigns •With brick and mortars, have a sign encouraging good or bad reviews •Split these review signs into different areas of your store to align with categories/products •Explain the starring and review system
8. Citation Stalking & Updating NAP – Name, Address, Phone Number •Biggest Mistake – no blanket updates when changes occur •Create a feeling of “inconsistency” to the engines •Creates conflicting signals and information
9. Your Local Page Is Your Hub- Update with fresh images •List in multiple, relevant categories •Brand your page and integrate useful keywords if possible •Make sure you have a full description added •List store hours
10. Where is Your Competition Getting Citations? • Local? • National? • Niche? Tools: • Whitespark Local Citation Finder • Localeze • Sweet IQ • Identify where they’re listed, and not listed, and GET LISTED. • Strengthen your social presence – claim all social locations (Foursquare, Yelp etc) for your stores.
11. What’s Their “Community” Strategy? •Do they own a blog? •What relationships do they hold locally? •Are they partnering with colleges or other businesses? •Are they receiving reviews? •Are they offering Living Social or Groupon specials? The “Offline” Stuff •Are they holding events? •Are they offering “Real Life” incentives via online channels? [Foursquare / Yelp]
12. Social Ads & Messaging Analysis [Message Resonation or- “WTF Do They Like?”] Paid ads allow for constant A/B testing on a large or small scale •With smaller budgets – Small Facebook campaigns – CPC or CPM •Testing different messaging in your local area •Understand what resonates and encourages click through/conversions •Work that messaging and topic into content •Multiple locations? Test different “slang” and “dialects” to see what resonates •Create and pitch content that integrates that “speaks” to your target
13. Social Ads & Messaging Analysis [Message Resonation or- “WTF Do They Like?”]
14. Videos & Images- Encourage staff to take videos and images and submit to Google + page and other channels like Flickr, YouTube etc. •Hold events and encourage attendees to submit videos and images
15. Local Publication Outreach
16. Benefits of Local Blogger Relationships- Audience sharing • Extra promotional channels – bloggers love to promote their work • Reaching other locals • *Free content* – Less time needed on content creation • Opens up door for guest contributions on other blogs
17. Local Publication Outreach [Local Link Currency is People + Relationships] Offers geo-signals to further validate importance of your brand in city and broaden your local audience: •What’s your UVP? Why should they work with you? •Query Google News for relevant and ‘hot’ topics/news to identify publisher. •Mine your competitor’s backlinks if possible. •Local publishers are your friends. REACH OUT. Build Relationships. •Be a Value Add-on – Offer to create custom content for their column. Content creation goes both ways. •Generate links to both your main site, on-site location page, and Google + Local page
18. Local Publication Outreach [The Two Way Street For Generating Local Links] Work on relationships with columnists that cover your business/niche Start a partnership – what stories are they planning to cover? Can you contribute? Example: •Worked with a local lawyer •Created relationships with local news publications •Discussed topics that they were covering and created content sponsored by business •Generated relevant and timely links from local publications •Saw increased movement around relevant phrases being tracked
19. Meetup Groups- Excellent for finding niche influential groups • Many Meetup group attendees are bloggers – Find them • Offer incentives/events for those groups to come to your business • Potential for reviews and Yelp cross integration • Reviews tie into Google +
20. Meetup Groups
21. Launching a Blog [Your Blog is the Core] There’s no “Easy” way to create a blog – it’s hard work Your local blog should be the “hub” and meat of where you’re driving local users and other businesses for info: •Integrate local and relevant content into your posting schedule •Create national pieces that are focusing on your specific industry or niche with city integration •First hand research – the fresher the better •All content should be pushed via social [If there’s manpower behind it] •Review analytics for informational queries – How can you help your local audience?
22. Launching a Blog [If You Build It – They Won’t Just Come] NEVER. •Interview others in similar niches •Work with local charities to “give back” and trade coverage •Attend local events and write about/promote it •Host events at your place of business •Work with local focus groups or small groups of people for mini-studies
23. Volunteering in “RLE”s (Real Life Events) • Identify local events, clubs or sports your business can sponsor • Cover event in blog or within social channels [if applicable] • Identify local blogs and news publications that have covered event previously and offer fresh content/perspective http://www.eventbrite.com/directory/sitemap/ http://www.active.com/
24. Offering RL (Real Life) Incentives • What would bring people to your store? • What will encourage images and videos? • What will encourage check-ins and sharing? • What will encourage cross-channel reviews? • Can you take advantage of Groupon/ Yelp Elite / Living Social?
25. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Well? Find where your competitors are generating citations STALK and identify where your presence is lacking Nurture and build community relationships to increase geo and relevance signals to your local website – it’s never *one size fits all* Get involved IN REAL LIFE. Find YOUR niche local strategy