For the context afforded by having read the first blog post in this series, read my take on my first time at Brighton SEO. Also, my write-up of Natalie Jones’ talk on humour in digital marketing is the third article in the series.
Greg Gifford of DealerOn
Marketing to Local Customers Takes More Than Local SEO
Greg Gifford’s talk on local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) marketing was a useful one, because he kept simplifying his definitions for ‘the noobs in the room’, thereby making me feel exceptionally experienced in the SEO world because I already knew that Facebook ads are the ads that you pay for on Facebook. But, let’s look at some of the other, slightly more insightful tidbits from Greg’s talk.
Firstly, local SEO is not really about SEO. No, controversially, Greg spent a lot of time (comparatively – he’s a fast talker) explaining to a room full of SEO’s, at an SEO conference, that we should stop caring about SEO so much. In the local game, the same rules simply do not apply, because Google is too smart for that and its algorithm is even smarter, or at least smarter than anyone who hasn’t figured this out yet. His example is a good one: any local business is like pizza delivery. Right now, take out your phone and google ‘pizza delivery’: it will show up local pizza delivery places because Google knows you want your pizza now rather than in however long it takes for the top keyword ranked pizza place in the world to fly it to you. Forget keywords and all the other traditional bits. For local SEO you need to be aware of the following things:
- Be part of your community. If you blog about local events, local town information, and anything else you can think of about your area, you’ll create much more engaging and shareable content. Stop selling; start engaging with your local neighbourhood.
- Link all you can, the smaller the better (sort of). Google cares about the domain authority (DA) of a nationwide website, yes. But for your local flower shop? Google cares that your local church used your local flowers at its local weddings, even if the church website has a DA small enough to make my bank balance look big. Google is checking your links for a different thing, here – it’s checking how well you’re received in your area, so horde those tiny DA links, even if they’re no-follow.
- Keep up to date with all the fancy technology. There’s bluetooth devices, and drop pins, and all manner of fancy ways for you to make your ads so specifically targeted now that your customers will feel like you’ve followed them home and are now gazing at them through their front window with your binoculars. I know that sounds like something people wouldn’t want, but that’s not quite true. As one honest-to-god millennial explains in this blog post, customers respond very well to customised adverts. They like to think that you, the local company, actually do understand them. It’s always nice to feel understood.
- Finally, you probably do need to invest in PPC (Pay-Per-Click). No matter how well your in-house or hired SEO experts are, they can’t get you above the PPC ads. It’s not a possible thing that can be done. Worse, Google is now showing more PPC ads at the top of the search results than ever before. Infact, on mobile (which most people browse from, especially for local products) non-PPC sites don’t even show above the fold! And who has time for scrolling, really? Ideally, you’ll have a mix of both PPC and local SEO strategy, but unfortunately the truth is you will absolutely need PPC for your local strategy to be effective.
Greg Gifford has a whole host of useful blog posts and videos if you’re interested in delving even deeper into local SEO strategies. You can watch his Brighton SEO talk, follow him on his twitter, @GregGifford, and, because genius never sleeps, you can find a weekly video series by him here.