By Matt Owen

In previous ClickZChat sessions we’ve largely covered content and platforms, but seeing as it’s a Twitter event held by both ClickZ AND Search Engine Watch, it seemed only right that we spend some time looking at search in more depth.

This week we took to Twitter for an hour to ask our followers for their local SEO challenges and solutions. Here’s everything we learned:

Alright everyone, get your Local #SEO thinking caps on – it’s time for today’s #ClickZChat pic.twitter.com/jIhuZ0XkH8

— ClickZ (@ClickZ) May 4, 2016

Question 1: What are the biggest challenges you face when optimizing for local search?

Let’s get cracking – Q1: What are the biggest challenges in optimizing for local SEO? #ClickZChat pic.twitter.com/xRzRPCV6IN

— Search Engine Watch (@sewatch) May 4, 2016

SPAM

Several users (including me) mentioned spam being a much bigger issue for local ranking, with maps being particularly open to abuse, and Search Engines slower to act on this than in other cases:

A1. Maps are still open to a lot of manipulation through fake reviews, fake offices, etc. #ClickZChat

— District Knockout (@DistrictKO) May 4, 2016

Not until Google is more responsive to queries from legitimate parties. Not happening now. #ClickZChat https://t.co/2br4odVBhv

— Kevin Reichard (@kreichard) May 4, 2016

Citations

Many people also felt that citations were a hassle for a variety of reasons.

@sewatch incorrect citation cleanup.

— Тихомир Петров (@t1sh0_) May 4, 2016

A1. Citation management requires media spend. It’s more obvious what you get for that spend through AdWords/paid social #ClickZChat

— Stephen Kenwright (@stekenwright) May 4, 2016

Resources

Indeed, the issue of keeping up to date was seen as a major challenge. Data is often fragmented and many organisations with several locations do not have the time or resources to roll out best practice – or even standard practice – to all location listings, with local stores and outlets being left to fend for themselves:

@sewatch #clickZchat main challenges are data management, forming policies to be followed across locations and organisational management

— Anshika Srivastava (@anshikamails) May 4, 2016

This issue is compounded when you consider the lack of SEO expertise on site. In many cases it simply isn’t considered an issue.

A1: I think a big challenge is the lack of awareness and knowledge. Many people don’t know even the basics #ClickZChat #localSEO

— Andrew Warren-Payne (@agwp) May 4, 2016

.@sewatch Q1. Getting clients to understand why it’s local is important, who your local competition is &claiming pages! #ClickZChat

— JaroG4 (@JaroG4) May 4, 2016

With that said, it was also felt that this state of affairs meant there were big opportunities for those businesses that are getting it right, with small changes making a big difference

A1: Schema’s becoming more important for rankings & reviews. Get higher ranking potential w/ rich snippets for on-page reviews #ClickZChat

— Hillary Humphrey (@hilph) May 4, 2016

Q2: What are the absolute essentials for a decent local SEO presence?

Q2: What are the absolutely essential basics for decent local #SEO? #ClickZChat pic.twitter.com/OUWfq50mkA

— ClickZ (@ClickZ) May 4, 2016

This is where those quick wins we mentioned really come into their own. As our own Graham Charlton mentioned, not enough businesses are taking time to claim their Google Business listings:

Q2 – Google My Business listing. Easiest and cheaper way to increase your profile. #ClickZChat

— Graham Charlton (@gcharlton) May 4, 2016

Of course, once you do start claiming listings, you need to have a consistent data structure in mind. Google will focus on listings that are formatted correctly in multiple locations:

A2 cont. Too many business assume address and opening hours (and a map) are enough for a location page #ClickZChat

— Stephen Kenwright (@stekenwright) May 4, 2016

Once you have your listings in order, there’s also a big case to be made for (you guessed it) content. While there’s no doubt that technical optimisation plays a huge part, it is worth remembering that with so many local searches taking place on mobile devices, user intent is the primary motivator.

@sewatch Q2. From a content perspective, focusing on relevant events can also play a significant role in getting noticed #ClickZChat

— JaroG4 (@JaroG4) May 4, 2016

Reviews

This of course brings us into the realm of reviews, a hugely important component for local business. Even if you lack the resources to optimise your listings properly, this can still make you stand out to a certain extent:

@sewatch @RobinHeed Simply concentrate on great customer service. SEO will come naturally as a bi-product of customer feedback/engagement.

— Bradley King (@BradleyKing1980) May 4, 2016

A2: 3rd party reviews are a ranking factor, too, so be aware of whats being said & ALWAYS respond to pos. & neg. comments. #ClickZChat

— Hillary Humphrey (@hilph) May 4, 2016

Finally our very own Andrew Warren-Payne mentioned this useful list from Moz, very helpful if you want to get organised:

A2: This checklist on @Moz is a good place to start https://t.co/p5HrYZP9li #ClickZChat #SEO pic.twitter.com/1NsimO9II3

— Andrew Warren-Payne (@agwp) May 4, 2016

Q3: What one local SEO tip has proven the most successful for you?

We had a rush of great suggestions to this question, so I’ve pulled them into a quick reference list of ‘Golden rules for Local SEO’ for you:

1: Build on your past success
Use existing product content. Marketing reaches across the isle to customer success. ‪#SEO improves ‪ via @colincrook

‬2: Be as focused as you can on the needs of the local customer
We created separate web pages for each of the locations, with unique content & optimised them with local keywords – @anshikamails

3: Good local SEO takes time. Make time to maintain it
Build citations. An oldie but a goldie. – @Lexx2099

4: But just doing what you can will help
In some areas, just the basics of listings and data are enough if your competitors aren’t up to speed. ‪#ClickZChat – @gcharlton

5: Remember that Google services are linked together. Focus on the bigger picture
Google business page creation and posting in G+ page. – @shaileshk

Be sure to publish FROM Google+ TO OTHER platforms.. ‪#ClickZChat – @steveplunkett

6: Get your data in order
Site 1st with NAP for all locations, Category, Description, Social, reviews, schema & repeat in citations ‪#ClickZChat ‪#ClickZChat – @rajnijjer

7: And make sure you never stop learning
SEO changes so fast that it’s hard for anything to be easy! :p Best advice: stay aware & current on industry trends! – @hilph

8: Remember why people are searching in the first place

@sewatch #ClickZChat #TopTip “Be Unique”, interesting and offer some value

— Anshika Srivastava (@anshikamails) May 4, 2016

And of course, we can always rely on Search Engine Watch’s editor to chime in with some useful advice…

@ClickZ This guy renamed an island ‘Busta Rhymes’ with a simple geotag in Google Maps. He’s winning. https://t.co/6KefA65DEh #ClickZChat

— christopher ratcliff (@Christophe_Rock) May 4, 2016

That’s it for this week. A huge thank you as always to everyone who took part. We’ll be holding another chat this Wednesday at 12 noon Eastern Time.

For more on Local SEO, check out Graham Charlton’s handy list of 30 quick and easy SEO tips for small businesses.

Source:: Search Engine Watch RSS