User Behavior Affects Local Rankings. Now What?

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@philrozek #stateofsearch User Behavior Affects Local Rankings. Now What? State of Search 2014 Phil Rozek localvisibilitysystem.com

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch So click-through and other user-behavior matters. I’ll show you what to do with that knowledge. But first…

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch My theory: it’s all like a sandbox

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch 2 assumptions about Google…

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Assumption 1: Google knows everything

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Assumption 2: Google judges everything

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Ever noticed how some businesses stick on page one forever? Or how businesses rank then tank? Or why results can seem so random?

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Assumption 2: Google uses what it knows Overall, more difficult-to-game signals have been on the rise - clickthrough rates on your listings in search results are more influential than ever. Clicks on maps, review links, and driving directions all factor in. Chris Silver Smith Local Search Ranking Factors 2014 “

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@philrozek #stateofsearch The $64,000 Question: how can you get users to show Google you’re a good search result?

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Obvious win: Get lots of people into a room

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Host a big gathering if you can. Or do TV ads if you can. But I can’t assume you’ll do those.

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@philrozek #stateofsearch How can you send Google more behavioral clues every day, starting today?

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Know the main places where searchers can engage with you: 7 “sandboxes”…

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Main search results Branded search results Your knowledge graph “People also search for” Google Places page Website “Maps” view

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@philrozek #stateofsearch The goal(s): collect more clicks + clicks from all over.

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch By the way… Forget rankings for a second. You should do all these steps anyway.

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Engagement area 1: main search results

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Goal: Become the obvious search result to click on

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Get a catchy business name

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Get a catchy business name

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Get a catchy business name

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Use a Google Places “descriptor”

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Reviews, reviews, reviews

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Reviews, reviews, reviews

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Upload attractive photo(s)

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Engagement area 2: branded search results

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Goal: avoid pogo-sticking

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Punchy title + description tags

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Make pages based on autocomplete

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Make pages based on autocomplete

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Get on Google’s favorites

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Obvious: Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Less-obvious: BBB, SlideShare, paid niche sites, even Meetup.com Get on Google’s favorites

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Engagement area 3: your knowledge graph

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Goal: turn your knowledge graph into Play-Doh

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Catchy photo and many reviews

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Photos in posts

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Engagement area 4: “people also search for”

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Goal: steal clicks from competitors’ branded results

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Upload flashy 1st photo

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Upload flashy 1st photo

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Upload flashy 1st photo

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Engagement area 5: Google Places page

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Goal: get people to click through - or click to call.

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Google reviews!

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Google reviews!

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Nice cover photo

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Detailed description w/ links

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Google posts that link to posts / subpages

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Google Business View photo shoot

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Google Business View photo shoot

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Google Business View photo shoot

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Google Business View photo shoot

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Engagement area 6: your site

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Goals: avoid pogo-sticking (esp. bounces) 2. push users deeper

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@philrozek #stateofsearch 1. Autoplay videos, Flash intros, music 2. Thin content on landing page 3. Typical keyword-stuffing Bad ideas

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@philrozek #stateofsearch 1. Visible, foolproof navigation 2. Lots of info about services 3. Mobile-friendly site Good ideas – the obvious ones

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@philrozek #stateofsearch 4. Links to review sites (in new tab) 5. Click-to-call links 6. Multiple calls-to-action 7. CrazyEgg Good ideas – the less-obvious

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Use CrazyEgg

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Engagement area 7: “Maps” view

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Goal: urge visitors to look up driving directions

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Encourage driving directions

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Embed the RIGHT Google map

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Embed the RIGHT Google map

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Put it on several pages if possible. Ask visitors to use the map. Where you don’t embed the map, consider linking to it (new tab). Embed the RIGHT Google map

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Bonus tip: Give Google Plus reviewers manual directions

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Go to Plus.Google.com Or to Google.com Don’t send everyone a link! Ask reviewers to search manually

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch What’s the bigger picture? a few principles

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Study your UX – your “click-flow” 2. Give users stuff to look at 3. Give users places to click 4. REVIEWS Takeaway principles

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@philrozek #stateofsearch

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Thanks!

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@philrozek #stateofsearch Phil Rozek localvisibilitysystem.com twitter: @philrozek

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@philrozek #stateofsearch # of Clicks on Your Google+ Page Determines Your Ranking? – Local Search Forum Driving Directions vs. Reviews as Ranking Signals for Google Maps – Bill Slawski Mad Science Experiments in SEO & Social Media (slides 88-102) – Rand Fishkin Using Autocomplete To Hijack Local Search Results – Chris Silver Smith How to Pimp Your Local Google+ Page – Phil Rozek / Whitespark One-page handout for getting Google reviews – Phil Rozek Resources / further reading