Category Archives: Local SEO

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The 3 Essential SEO Tools for Any Marketing Consultant

The 3 Essential SEO Tools for Any Marketing Consultant written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

To manage a strong SEO strategy, you need to keep a lot of balls in the air. From comprehensive keyword research to keeping tabs on the competition to tracking backlinks, you need a great set of tools to help you manage it all.

We use a suite of tools to help us manage the many facets of SEO. These three are the ones we use every single day to stay on top of SEO for our clients and ourselves!

Best Overall SEO Tool: SEMrush

SEMrush is a comprehensive SEO platform with dozens of tools and crystal-clear reporting, and that’s why we’ve partnered with them.

SEO can quickly get confusing. You’re running multiple reports, and when it’s across a handful of platforms, you can lose track of the through-line on your data. Because SEMrush has so many features and services all under one roof, it makes keeping track of your reports and data much simpler.

SEMrush offers the following tools and reports:

  • Domain Analytics: This includes an overview, organic and paid research, backlinks, traffic analytics, display advertising, and PLA research. Plus, you can look at domain versus domain and overall ranking.
  • Keyword Analytics: From their keyword manager to the keyword magic tool, you can do a deep dive into existing keywords and look for new ones that could net major benefits.
  • Marketing Insights: These include traffic rankings and analytics, providing insights into your audience, their geographic location, and what pages people are finding through which channels (direct, search, or social media).
  • Gap Analysis: To identify gaps in keywords or backlinks, you can compare your domain against competitors’ to see where there’s overlap and where you can move out ahead of the competition.
  • Topic Research: Enter any content topic and get a list of ideas for titles based on what competitors have already published on their sites.
  • SEO Content Template: By entering a set of keywords you’d like to use in a particular piece of content, SEMrush will give you tips on how to optimize for those keywords, based on the current content landscape on Google.
  • SEO Writing Assistant: This tool will analyze your writing for SEO, readability, tone of voice, and originality.
  • Lead Generation Tool: SEMrush’s site audit widget allows you to add their code to your website. Prospects will have the option to audit their website content for free, and a report will be delivered from you to their inbox. This helps marketing consultants drum up new leads.
  • Listing Management: Distribute business information, manage reviews, and keep all local listings pages current.
  • CPC Map: See CPC broken down state-by-state, and industry-by-industry. Plus, see CPC cost versus demand for each industry.
  • Projects: This is key for marketing consultants; you can save and manage your clients’ SEO data from the projects dashboard.

As you can see, SEMrush has you covered, no matter what kind of SEO research or work you’re trying to do. It’s still best practice to use Google Search Console for each of your clients, but Google Search Console requires that you link up to each individual client’s website. With the projects feature on SEMrush, you can easily switch between SEO reports for all of your clients.

Best Tool for End-to-End Tracking: CallRail

SEO only happens online, right? Not quite. While your standing in SERPs is determined by your online presence, the effects of a strong SEO strategy ripple out into the real world. Once people discover a business online and decide they like what they see, they often reach out offline. This is particularly true for small and local businesses, where the phone is often the first point of offline contact between a prospect and your employees.

CallRail is a tool that gives you insight into where call traffic is coming from. Basically, the tool allows you to insert a line of code into your website so that you can clearly see the link between offline and online interactions with prospects. You can also create specific phone numbers that are associated with each ad campaign you run. Then, when you get a call to a certain number, you know that prospect learned about you from that particular ad. They apply the same technology to form submissions, so that you can clearly see the connection between behavior in completing forms online and in-person interactions.

CallRail features

An overview of CallRail’s features, as outlined on their website.

Why does this matter? First and foremost, it provides you additional insight into your marketing efforts. When you’re only tracking online responses to ad campaigns, you’re only getting half the story. Perhaps you craft a campaign that’s so compelling, multiple readers flock to their phones to call your client. If you’re only tracking online reactions, you might think you’re getting crickets in response, when in reality the campaign was so successful people jumped right to making contact with the business.

Which leads to the second point about the importance of call tracking. It allows you to demonstrate your full value to clients. When they can see that your marketing tactics led to X number of clients calling their store, they feel more comfortable in paying you the rate you deserve for your work.

Best Tool for Local SEO: BrightLocal

What works for Walmart’s or Salesforce’s SEO strategy will never apply to a local business. Local SEO comes with its own unique set of tactics and strategies, and BrightLocal is a tool designed to address those local marketing needs.

Some of their SEO tools overlap with SEMrush’s offerings. They provide information on keywords and search ranking, but the difference is that all of their reports and information is localized. So if you have a client operating out of the St. Louis area, all of the data BrightLocal provides will be related to that geographical area.

Plus, they have tools that are focused specifically on two of the biggest SEO hurdles for small businesses: local listings and reviews.

Local listings sites like Yelp and Google My Business are critically important to a small business’s survival. That’s where prospects go to learn about local solutions, read reviews, and get directions and contact information. BrightLocal makes it easy for you to make sure your client is listed on all of the relevant local directories, which gives them a boost in backlinks and ensures that they’re discoverable by those prospects who rely exclusively on local listings, rather than general Google searches, to find local businesses.

BrightLocal reputation management dashboard

A screenshot from BrightLocal’s website, featuring a sample version of their reputation management dashboard.

They also make reputation management easier. Online reviews are particularly critical for small businesses. With a household name brand, people usually already have a sense of whether they’re well-regarded by others. For local businesses without the name recognition, though, people will go online to see what the general consensus from existing customers is about the business. If your client doesn’t have a strategy for soliciting reviews from happy customers or managing negative feedback from unhappy ones, BrightLocal can help you stay on top of all reviews posted across various local listings sites.

Handling SEO for yourself or one client is hard enough. When you’re managing SEO for multiple businesses, things can get unwieldy, fast. When you have the right tools on hand, though, it’s much easier to manage the many moving parts that come along with creating a great SEO strategy.

Tips for Attracting Local Clients

Tips for Attracting Local Clients written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with David Mihm
Podcast Transcript

Perhaps the hottest area in the world of search today is local. I’ve been writing about this topic for about ten years, but Google is finally taking it seriously.

The reason? Plain old AdWords search revenue is starting to shrink and Google is looking to monetize the map and local listings as the next frontier. In fact, they never actually want you to leave the SERPs and are using your website to inform their results with knowledge rather than send traffic.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is David Mihm. He is a digital marketing expert for small businesses, co-founder of, and founder of Tidings. He and I discuss local search trends and why Google may not ever want you to leave the search engine results pages.

Mihm was instrumental in the development of Moz Local and served as Moz’s Director of Local Search Strategy. He has been invited to present on Local search marketing at every major industry conference, including the BIA/Kelsey Group ILM Series, LSA, StreetFight, MozCon, SearchLove, and multiple SMX and SES events.

Questions I ask David Mihm:

  • What’s going on in local right now that people need to know?
  • Should we optimize for Google’s 3-pack?
  • Are we coming to an age where fewer people will land on websites directly?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • What you need to know about snippets
  • Why everyone needs a VPN
  • What you need to know about the trend of blending organic and paid search

Key takeaways from the episode and more about David Mihm:

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This week’s episode is also brought to you by ActiveCampaign. This is my new go-to CRM, ESP, and marketing automation platform. With its low cost, any size of business can use it. Starting at $19/month, you can keep track of your clients, see who’s visiting your website, and follow-up based on behavior. Learn more here.

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How to Create Local Content for Local SEO

How to Create Local Content for Local SEO written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Pre-internet days, it didn’t take a lot for local businesses to notify a prospect that they are located in the same city. Handing them a flyer with business details and an address was pretty much a giveaway as to where you did business. Running an ad in the local daily newspaper or the Yellow Pages was how you got found in your town.

Times have changed. Search engines are one of the primary ways that people find nearby products and services. In this digital era, it’s not always so obvious where your business is located or who it is that you serve, and this can be a real challenge for local business owners.

While there is a growing list of local SEO tactics that you must implement, one that often goes unnoticed is the use of local content. You must genuinely put in the time and effort to create local content to alert website visitors where you are so that you hit your ideal clients in town, not somebody located across the world.

The problem I often see is that many local business owners either aren’t aware of how much effort goes into making content to make their business known locally online, or they’re aware, but just don’t know where to get started. So, instead of playing the guessing game, below are some helpful hints that could help to point you in the right direction.

Creating local content

I’ve said it often, and I guarantee I’ll continue to say it. . . Content is no longer king – It’s air.

Yes, it’s that important for your marketing. Without it, the ability to get discovered and rise above your competition in search engine results pages becomes significantly harder.

While the majority of your content can be general and focused on your audience and how you can solve their problems, it’s important to sprinkle in some material that also focuses on your community. When doing this, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Embrace the community beyond what you sell – Show that you are involved and know what’s going on in your area, whether it’s supporting a local sports team or discussing neighborhood news and events. Talking about community, customer, and employee-related local news is a great way to mix up your local content in authentic ways.
  • Develop case studies that address the different neighborhoods you serve. Show that you’ve had successes in the areas of people you’re trying to reach.
  • Write about local things that people care about – Don’t just write about what you’re interested in. Write what your audience would be interested in.

One important thing to keep in mind throughout your content development is intent. What do you intend to accomplish with every piece of content your produce? It’s easy to get spammy if you just list a bunch of random local content, so tying it into your business is ideal. Remember, if you want to use content as a tool to drive local traffic then you have to make it useful and local.

A good example of a piece of local content done well was by my client, Jackson Tree Service. They wrote a blog post titled, St. Louis Suburbs Giving Citations for Unkept TreesThis post was educational and helpful for members of the community, but it also tied into their business effortlessly.

Now, you don’t necessarily need to develop all the content on your own. Having local guest bloggers and contributors post on your site is a great way to add content, while also expanding your audience to the contributor’s audience as well.

In addition to blogging, don’t forget to incorporate local content across the rest of your website:

  • Use the names of your city and suburbs across your site pages.
  • Add your NAP (name, address, and phone number) to the header or footer of your site so that it appears on all pages.
  • Add a Google map so that people can see exactly where you’re located and the areas that you serve.

More than ever, your website is at the core of how you get ranked and found locally online. Make sure that your content is tailored specifically to the search results you want to show up in.

Best practices for local content

Link building and keywords

Keyword research is a huge game changer when it comes to local SEO. Be sure to add local keywords to the text used to link back to your site from places like LinkedIn or in article directories. Be sure to also add local keywords in the internal links on your pages as well.

Link building from external sites has changed over the years, and it’s now much more about quality than quantity. Getting inbound links from core businesses in your community, such as chamber directories, tourism directories, and local strategic partner pages, can be huge and a big win for your business.

On-page elements

Be sure to optimize your pages and posts with local keywords in the following areas:

  • Title tags
  • Meta description
  • Body copy
  • Anchor text (linking to other content)
  • H1 tags (Usually your headline)
  • Bold and italics tags
  • URLs
  • Alt text in images

Use rich snippets

By using rich snippets, you can help Google find geographic information, information about people in your business and reviews of your products and services. They essentially help users find your website when it references a local place.

Don’t forget about reviews

Reviews are a form of content that many local business owners neglect. While you need positive reviews for social proof, you also need them as a pillar of your local SEO efforts.

You must put consistent effort into getting reviews. Even a business with raving fans needs to work hard to get reviews from happy customers. The key is to ask often and make it as easy as possible for happy customers to log in to the sites that matter, such as Yelp and Google, and leave a review.

You can repurpose these reviews into other forms of local content on your site as well.

Make creating local content a priority. By continuously putting time towards it and striving to make it better, you should start to see the rewards come in.

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