Local University | What I Learned
Written by: Eileen Lonergan
Local University is a nationwide series of Search Engine Optimization seminars created specifically for small business owners. The panel of educators are the best, very approachable, knowledgeable and they really want to see local businesses succeed with their digital presence. I was lucky enough to attend their most recent event last Friday in Baltimore.
At the end of the event attendees are given a 12 month road map, manageable tasks to complete in a reasonable amount of time which will help them navigate to digital success. Success = showing up HIGH in Google.
Some of these tips you may know, some may be new, but I had the vantage point of being in the very back of the room and could watch when people were scribbling notes and at some points I could literally see light bulbs going off over heads. This list is in random order.
Mary Bowling: If you have multiple locations create a locations page for each individual place. Add Google maps, local driving directions, hours, contact, etc. link those location pages from your Google+ Local Page.
From everyone: Use your own images. Stock photography is lame. Most small business owners have access to a decent camera (phones, iPads, digital camera or a friend with one of the aforementioned items). Ask someone into your office to wander around and take some photos of you, your colleagues, your space, people doing their job.
Arron Weiche: The website owner wants a Ferrari, the WOW factor and fancy features. The user is delighted with a mini van, it works on all devices, answers questions, is practical and professional. Who is the website for, you or your customer?
Again from Arron, Outliers – not a good seo practice. (This means you need inbound links, you need connections. Don’t be the cheese stands alone.
Mary Bowling: When you are using the Google keyword tool make sure you enable phrase match. Local doesn’t mean in your area, it means the country.
Mike Ramsay: Facebook users are most likely to engage with 1. Photos 2. Video 3. Text and 4. Links – (note the previous mention of real photos – FB is another great use for them.
General Theme: Be honest and real, give people want they want: ie replace the mission statement with relevant customer content (3 ways we can lower your car insurance premium)
Everyone: get rid of flash, get responsive websites
I yanked this off of David Mihm’s Twitter feed: @planetocean: Facebook EdgeRank has been emasculated. Less than 10% of your fans will see an update. @w2scott #localu NOTE: LESS THAN 10%!
Mike Blumenthals Be proactive about online reviews. Ask pleased customers to review you. It isn’t possible to make everyone happy all of the time, so a bad review at some point may be inevitable; however a bunch of good testimonials, with a bad one or two along the way is a better strategy than the other way round. Note, Google alerts is not a good tool for monitoring reviews, they don’t pick up those
Ed Reese suggests that you consider the content of the “bad” reviews. What may be a negative to one person could be a positive to another (remember in the movie The Holiday, when Cameron Diaz asks Kate Winslet if there are any men in the town and Kate says NONE and Cameron’s immediate response is, perfect! Well that is what he is talking about).
It was an event full of really useful information. Upcoming events by Local U are planned for Philadelphia and New Orleans. If traveling to one of those events won’t work with your schedule, I suggest you follow their blog which is full of great seo tips and insights for search engine optimization for a local business owner.