State Of Search 2015: Dan Leibon

The following is a live blog from State Of Search. Please pardon any typos or grammar issues as we really didn’t have time for much proofing between sessions.

Dan Leibon from Local SEO Guide takes the stage on the Local Track. He begins with noting that the top 50 local ranking factors there are no page-specific metrics. This impacts brands with multiple locations like another speaker Thomas Ballantyne will be discussing.

Google local is still broken. It’s not returning the best results all the time.

The shift from the map-pack to the snack-pack “shocked” the world. Losses in Google Analytics from organic shifts to the Google My Business page. For many businesses this doesn’t negatively impact business and needs to be factored into local SEO metrics.

What About Multi-Locations

Solutions are difficult. You need to look for issues created by other teams. For example, diferent teams may create pages or links that don’t’ make SEO sense (links to different pages, different numbers used for tracking). Essentially Google gets confused and traffic is being attributed to the wrong source.

Knowledge Graph

At times odd issues arise. These can range from odd images being used in the knowledge graph to a location being incorrectly listed as closed. This can be difficult to address and difficult to detect without manual checks from various locations.

Small tactics can have huge results. The page results resulted in massive onsite improvements. The citation results improved results but not with the same degree. (My note: this may have been due to timing – the example involved onsite being done first so there may have simply been less gains to be made).

Implicit Geo-Location

This is search terms that involve terms like “near me” or “nearby”. This is increasing with growth in mobile.

TripAdvisor is simply linking to page with anchors “restaurants near me”. Etc.

Secondary Directories

Referring to citation directories like Yellow Pages. In a large promotion across multiple listings tey cleaned up 8,115 incorrect or missing citations and got …

  • Significant boost in 3-pack location
    BUT
    Almost zero change when a site was within a pack

This essentially made him believe that citations may be important to get you associated as relevant and local but not reinforcing that. Essentially acting more like a light switch on or off as opposed to a dimmer switch.

Takeaways

A company he worked with with anemic SEO that just did citations improved organic traffic by 23%.

Next he’s talking about links and local. Location pages have the most links (cumulatively) but few brands pass that weight internally in a positive way.

He advised to always be testing. Large multiple locations allow for broad testing.

Schema implementation in non-local (coupons, etc.) created very significant results and so was deployed on a different site for local. This cleaned up issues with knowledge graph results by reinforcing how your site and locations interact.

If local is important you can’t ignore IOS. IOS is used in maps by close to 50% of users. This makes it an incredibly powerful traffic source. It won’t help you rank but it will make sure your customers can get to you.

Facebook – it’s very much ignored for local SEO but is incredibly important and they’re investing heavily. This makes it important to insure your teams (social vs organic) are sync’d.

If you can do nothing else …

  • Get a good SEO quarterback.
  • Make sure your on-domain location pages are well optimized
  • Build links
  • Make sure your core citation points are covered

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