SEO

Liveblogging Pubcon: Enterprise Level Local Search

Up next we’ve got the enterprise level local search panel with Brian MacDonald, Will Scott, Chris Tolles, Alan Bleiweiss, and Arnie Kuenn. Will Scott just offered to pay me for a text link in this post, but I had to turn him down.

Anyway, first up is Alan Bleiweiss – You’ve probably seen some of his rants articles posted here on SEJ. Alan works on large sites at Click2Rank. Don’t let “local for enterprise” scare you. You don’t have to be a national company.

Alan is starting off talking about missed local opportunities. Enterprises miss local opportunity by not seeing the value or thinking it’s too difficult. Local optimization is always worth the effort if you properly implement it. It’s all about sustainable SEO.

We all know local is important what with personalized search (which we just covered in the last liveblog,) and mobile.

So how can you tap into local?

short answer: Create crawlable, quality content geo-funnels based on keyword research. What geographic phrases are important to your industry? One size does NOT fit all when it comes to geographical search. It depends on your term. If you’re looking for a massage you’re not going to drive 80 miles, but if you’re looking for a medical or legal specialist you just might.

Target a variety of geographic terms. National, Regional, and Local.

Regional optimization can help you overcome the lack of a local brick and mortar location.

Don’t prevent search crawlers from finding your local content. That means it’s time to update your map widget your installed in 1999. Schema and microformats are great, but not if your navigation isn’t crawlable and search engines can’t see it.

Provide consistent geo signals in titles, url, breadcrumbs, and content.

[note: I love Alan’s slides. there’s a pre-written tweet at the bottom and I’m basically just stealing those for this post. You rock Alan, you’re making this super easy for me!]

Here’s another speaker talking about varying anchor text. That’s been a recurring theme throughout all sessions today.

By the way, just doing local search isn’t enough. You’ve got to reinforce it with social media. Why not have regional twitter accounts? Why not link those accounts to that regional section on your site?

Tip: Implement schema.org markup now so you can dominate local search in 2012. (that’s what #sustainableSEO is all about)

Now Alan’s giving an awesome black hat tip that he made me promise not to post or tweet – proving once again the true value of actually attending a pubcon. That’s why you should attend next year.

Up next is Chris Tolles. His twitter is @tolles and he’s the CEO of Topix. He’s started off mentioning the good old “SEO is dead” meme. Topix is the largest local forum site in the united states – and the did that all by leveraging local search.

2/3 of every ad dollar spent is on local. Local is definitely growing.

For some terms, you can do all the SEO you want but you’ll still be below the fold underneath the local listings. For profitable niches, if you’re not there already then good luck getting there. Some sites (here’s another Yelp mention) are grandfathered in.

So what do I do?
Smaller cities are easier to rank.
You can use intermediaries. Like AT&T, Yext, Citygrid, Etc.
Go for the easy layups (merchantcircle, topix – [shocker that he recommended this!], and local directories)

Or you could result to SEM – but that’s another session.

But that’s not all there is. There’s tons of opportunities out there. Youv’e got foursquare, yelp, local newspapers, daily deals, and social media.

Original, timely content is the best thing you can do from a pure SEO standpoint.

Here’s the takeaways:

  • Local is finally a big opportunity
  • Opportunities for easy SEO are rare.
  • But there’s lots of SEM opportunities.

Next up is Brian MacDonald

The challenge: shifting local SEO day to day work tothe local level.
Wide range of roles/knowledge is required and Local managers are busy, and it’s easy for them to write off SEO as too hard or not important.

Local SEO requires lots of research and is hard to pass off to local managers. Brian has his own tool that he thinks can help. You can find it at bit.ly/pubconlocal

Brian is demoing his tool to us now, so I’d urge you to play around with it and we’ll get back to blogging in a few minutes. An interesting note is that his tool doesn’t work too well in IE. Why is Pubcon still using IE on their computers?

Side note, searching your phone # on Google is a good way to see where you’re listed at.

That’s it for Brian. Up next is Will Scott (@w2scott) CEO of Search Influence – commenting on how non-natives try to pronounce “New Orleans” and end up sounding like they have a hairball.

Will says own your NAP (no that’s not a sleepy nap, as nice as that sounds right about now) that’s an acronym for Name, Address, Phone Number.

A lot of data on the web comes from offshore companies manually typing in the phonebook in the 80s. Some of it may not be right. Nobody’s going to clean it up for you, and even if they did they couldn’t do it better than you.

This is a situation where using call tracking phone numbers can actually hurt you.

Find your stray listings, edit, edit, edit, edit, review, merge, and then it’s “yee haw”

The room is getting a good chuckle over his slide showing results for “prostitution attorney” @alanbleiweiss posits that Will took on that client as a barter deal.

It’s kind of BH but you can use knowem to buy some citations. Just sneak your phone# into the description.

Will’s showing Google trends and he’s showing Michigan data. His example is running shoes and bike shops. Interesting that kalamazoo and traverse city are topping the list here. They’re cold and up north.

If you’ve got location landing pages, you’re a moron if you point your Google places back to your homepage. (his words, not mine – but I agree!)

And that does it for the presentation. I’m going to take the next session off, so hopefully we’ll be back at it again tomorrow.

 Liveblogging Pubcon: Enterprise Level Local Search
By day Ryan Jones works at SapientNitro where he's a manager of search strategy & analytics and works mostly on fortune 500 clients. By night he’s either playing hockey or attempting to take over the world – which he would have already succeeded in doing had it not been for those meddling kids and their dog. Follow Ryan on Twitter at: @RyanJones or visit his personal website: www.RyanMJones.com
 Liveblogging Pubcon: Enterprise Level Local Search

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One thought on “Liveblogging Pubcon: Enterprise Level Local Search

  1. The article lost me when I heard the mention of Topix. That website is nothing more than a gossip site and is the last thing communities need. Just yesterday there was yet another report of the tremendous bullying of children on their site out of Cabot, Arkansas. The Today Show, The New York Times, and countless towns and communities are fed up with that unethical company. They claim to be a news aggregator but many forums don’t have a single aggregated story or only a handful. Topix allows posted to go on unregistered and spread a ton of lies, defamation, you name it on their site. They even have drug forums which often promote using drugs and selling drugs. The only auidence Topix draws are cowards who come on the site to hurt other people. I don’t know the heart of Mr.Tolles but business wise he has a website that constantly gets reported and he doesn’t care that people are being destroyed. Any company that uses Topix automatically loses my business.