Local SEO Experts

The significance of SEO and its impact on the foundation of our online presence is well-known. For a business to succeed on the online platform, having a solid SEO strategy is a must. As long as there are websites competing for visibility and increased traffic, SEO will continue to be an integral part of online marketing. While high rankings are always on a marketer’s mind, other crucial aspects of digital marketing that are constantly evolving also play a defining role in making SEO marketing more effective.

We sought a few words of wisdom from established digital marketers and discussed evolving factors such as the preferred marketing channels for social media, local link building, and other important factors that are constantly affecting the SEO marketing strategy.

Below are 54 industry experts sharing their insights on local search and the methods to support enhanced link building campaigns. Their tips will serve as a solid reference for all digital marketers to enjoy success in the already packed content marketing space.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Ever since Google launched the Pigeon update in 2014, local search results often reflect organic rankings. Therefore, ensure your website is ranking within the top two pages of organic search results for keyword terms you would like to rank locally for. Secondly, don’t simply settle for submitting your website to data aggregators and create business listings on the top general, niche-specific, and local directories. Use Whitespark’s Local Citation Finder to find all quality niche-specific and local citations that the top 3 ranking competitors have that you do not and build every citation possible from this list.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Lately I have been pitching small local-specific blogs and offering to write a free blog optimized blog post in exchange for link from the post. For example, if you are trying to rank for your keyword + Los Angels, search “Los Angeles blog” and find small blogs that appear to be run by a single person.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

As it pertains to multi-unit and franchise systems, having local store pages for each location is a must if you want to win in local search. It is hard to believe, but some brands still do not have dedicated local pages for each location, while others have basic pages that are not indexed by Google. By having unique, indexable, pages per location, brands have the opportunity to control the user’s experience and display helpful and unique content specific to each location. The multi-unit and franchise brands who have robust local store pages, have a real opportunity to win in local search.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Link building is tough, and the success rate of link outreach can vary dramatically depending on approach and vertical. I’m not sure there is a perfect pitch when it comes to link building. When considering link building for multi-location business, it is most successful to start with a strong market prioritization strategy. This allows you and the brand to be confident the time and effort spent on link building and related efforts, is focused on the most important locations. Having a data-driven market prioritization strategy based on SEO performance, competitive saturation, demographics and sales trends should be the foundation for all local search optimization efforts.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Have a GMB page? haha 😛 Have higher rankings in organic search. I don’t know that it’s a surefire way, but I don’t know that I can think of any surefire ways. It is however the biggest influencer of top local rankings IMO. Dollar for dollar, pushing focusing on various link building/earning/begging means is going to be the best thing you can do. Right now, I am all about my editorial sites. Pair that with a basic local search strategy available on a SEO blog near you, and 95% of the time you are laughing.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

With cash in hand! A good article/idea to pitch, and something valuable for them to link to (resource on your site that isn’t promotional) goes a long way too. Writers aren’t paid well, let’s face it. So approaching contributors to local blogs, news sites, etc is a great way to pick up local links looks after everyone’s interests. It will take a little time and elbow grease but it’s not too hard with a good template and virtual assistant.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

The biggest thing that local businesses can do to move their rankings up are to focus on getting highly relevant and localized links. When you’re thinking about links you should really put yourself in the mindset of “what links will send me relevant traffic that might turn into business?”. Keeping this in mind will ensure you’re always focused on the quality of the link.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

There is no one size fits all when you’re pitching for local link outreach. It’s really about testing. Creating different personas and seeing what works for each individual person is the best approach. Sticking to one form of outreach from our source will not yield the results you’re looking for.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Higher rankings are always correlated with a few things in local: proximity to the searcher, consistent name/address/phone number across listings online, and citations (aka links) to your site from both national and local websites. Whenever I see a local business not ranking well, it is always some combination of those three and the most common two I see are inconsistent NAP and not enough links/citations. Clean those up using a tool like Moz Local, and you’ll rank.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

By being human and connecting with the person on the other end of that email. When you’re local, you immediately have a connection with that person because they live in the same area as you. Do your research and figure out where you have more common ground – is your dentist in their same building? Are they connected on Facebook with your mother in law? Be human, make a connection, and make a clear ask.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

On Page is key. If you don’t get on page right you lose. Make sure your Titles, Meta, H1, images, videos and URL’s all have the keyword or a LSI in them. Silo. Don’t over optimize. 1% will get the job done if you have links coming in.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Offer to do a guest blog and show the benefits of cross-marketing each other’s content. Study their market and create a piece of content that will benefit their readers. Most local companies are starving to create content. Everyone is paralyzed by doing the right thing and making it perfect. Be the authority. Show the benefit for them and be clear about the benefit to you.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

The top two tactics to get right with local search are NAP consistency across directories and solid online reviews. Google uses a range of directories to verify your physical location, phone number, and business name, so diligence is required (or use a service like Yext / Moz Local which will do it for you). Reviews, though often elusive and difficult to manage, can provide a lot of positives including rich snippets that will help you with both local and overall organic results.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

We always like to take a “local first” approach to whom we pitch and how we pitch them. This should work in most locales. It’s very important to also share why linking is mutually beneficial – if there’s nothing in it for the recipient of the pitch, you’ll struggle to find success with pitching local link partners.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

3 easy steps: First, create, claim and optimise a complete and accurate Google My Business page for each physical location. Next ensure your NAP data is consistent and correct across the Internet. And finally, get your SEO right on your web pages, focusing location based keywords in titles, body copy, headings and URLs.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Keep it simple: just make it perfectly clear how your link will add genuine value to the website you are reaching out to. Don’t focus too much on the SEO value of the link and concentrate on how the link will be genuinely useful to humans. A helpful link will get clicked on, which in turn will bring qualified referral traffic and raise brand visibility.

Steve Wiideman

@seosteve

wiideman.com

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Businesses can see long-term success in local search by monitoring and improving key focal points (database validation, local landing page optimization, business data visibility, and reputation). However, a surefire activity that can improve both rankings and foot traffic is simply working with neighboring businesses to refer business to each other both off and online; where the online support includes a write up and link to each other’s most important webpages.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

The best way to pitch for local online visibility is in-person. Bring buy a gift, stay to learn about their services, bring in the marketing folks and figure out a way to help each other. If your team is remote, consider hiring a street team to do the door knocking, and do the follow up by phone or email.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

First, be a better business. Good businesses get more reviews, and that’s going to go a long way. Make sure there are several local citations verifying your address, use your keyword in your titles, and get a few links. But first, focus on being a better business. Q2. What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

We have an outreach process in our post on increasing website traffic with templates and more that I suggest using for this type of thing. In general, though, local link outreach should be done with the purpose of getting mentioned on local events, meetups and etc – this kind of link building is really going to be the highest ROI for your time compared to building content or something like that. For lawyers, that story might be different.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Ensure the basics are done correctly, consistent NAP sitewide and within Google Places, use rich snippets and schema to identify your business as a local business and have a focus on training staff to try get customers to leave reviews online – ideally via Google Reviews. From an onsite SEO point of view make sure that the area that you service is mentioning frequently throughout titles and descriptions.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Pitch quality. If the piece of content you are asking someone to link back to is of quality then they will invariably link back to it. Give them a compelling reason to link back to it (perhaps there is some ego stroking in the post or the content paints the outreached in a positive light) and try cultivate the idea of community more so than self promotion as easier for local people/businesses to get behind an idea if it’s driven for the good of the local community.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Make sure you have the correct or most relevant category chosen for your Google business listing. If it is incorrect, fixing this is often the easiest win in local SEO.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

If there is someone you refer a lot of business to, introduce yourself if you haven’t done so and make sure they are aware of the referrals. Then (and only then) ask if they would be willing to link to you.

Oleg Korneitchouk

@olegko

smartsites.com

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

The formula for local rankings is to write content related to your products or services, include location terms, then build links to the website. Essentially, you need to think about the types of terms prospective customers would be searching for and create local, targeted pages for them. For example, if I was a doggy day care in New York City, an article like “grooming your pet in the city” with tips and guides would be helpful for dog owners in the city and would put your business on their radar.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

The perfect way to pitch is to have something perfect to pitch. If you create something that people truly want to use and share, all you need to do is get your message in front of local and industry influencers. One of the easiest methods is to look at the other content that local influencers share, create something better, and show it off again.

Nate Shivar

@nshivar

shivarweb.com

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Stop looking for surefire measures to get rankings on a couple vanity keywords, and think through a strategy to increase qualified local organic traffic more broadly. The only surefire way to get higher rankings in local search is to pay for it via AdWords. For local organic traffic, create more content that is locally focused. Create more focused & detailed service & location pages. Execute on all the fundamentals such as good site markup, good citations, good links, etc. Answer the “question behind the question” on your highest priority keywords.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

The perfect way to pitch for local links is to do time-intensive, thoughtful research beforehand. Figure out what approach will help both your site and your outreach site. Then customize every aspect of your pitch – including the channel. Pick up the phone, set up an in-person meeting or send a thoughtful email.

Michael Borgelt

@borgie

51blocks.com

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Create and promote great content that answers your customers’ questions. AND – One of the most important things for a website to do is to make sure they have appropriate title tags and meta descriptions for Google to crawl when indexing the site. It’s also very important to make sure the site’s H1 tags match the targeted keyword for that page and that each page has the appropriate amount of content.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Don’t pitch. Connect yourself or your client to members and leaders in the market and find out how you can help them. That way you are getting more than just links for your time and you build up a bigger, better marketing network.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Local Pack rankings are effected more by organic rankings today than ever before. Getting more good links and more media attention will help with both organic and local rankings.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Find places that can gain significant benefit through giving you a link, like a sponsorship, interesting news/photos to share, volunteer services or products, a place to hold an event, marketing assistance, etc. These are your best prospects for getting good links.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Two things come to mind immediately – High-quality SEO overall, and optimising for local. By optimising for local, that includes location pages and useful resources for the geographic targeted area and audience. Sadly, keywords in the domain & business name are far too powerful IMHO but I can’t argue they work incredibly well.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Taking the time to be personal to the individual you’re pitching to. Link building is driven by an “about me” motive, so you need to make this a win-win. Be friendly, personable, show you’ve invested more than 5 seconds looking at their website/blog, and give them something worth linking to.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Well, that’s a tough question to answer generally as it depends on the current situation which will be unique for each and every business (or even location within the business). Ultimately you will get good returns from citation optimisation, website optimisation, link building and Google My Business optimisation. Really, I tend to think the most surefire way to generate higher rankings is always to gather some intelligence regarding your current situation. Conduct a local SEO audit. Understand your current situation, competitors and marketplace. Determine your strengths and weaknesses. Do the same for your competitors. Understand where the opportunities lie – ideally in promoting your strengths and striking at your competitors weaknesses.

As you can likely tell I am not a big fan of cookie-cutter approaches. When working for clients at Bowler Hat, the SEO agency I run in the UK we always look at a strategic approach. From the great wisdom offered by the teachings of Sun Tzu in the Art of War to modern digital marketing methodologies like SOSTAC we always look for the smart way to improve clients rankings and beat the competition into submission.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

You have to find the “what is in it for me” for outreach to work. As an example you guys just pitched me with regards to this contribution. Whilst I would love to simply contribute as I am a kindly, altruistic marketing wizard the reality is that we have a fair exchange of value here. I provide considered content for your blog. You provide me with exposure and a link back to my website. This helps raise awareness of our business and hopefully adds a small boost to our own SEO through the link. A fair exchange.

If you are pitching a local business then don’t come at it from what you want – come at it from what they need or the value for them. I cover my feelings on the backwards nature of most link building efforts in some depth on the Bowler Hat Marketing Blog but the core of this is to provide value.

From a local perspective what could this value be? In the world of Penguin and link spam algorithms what is a safe link? What will help? What could hurt? In Google’s own words they tell us to “make sure that others sites link to yours” on one hand but tell us to “try to avoid link building” altogether in another. So we have to consider our overall philosophy here along with other implications.

My approach here is always to look for things that should be connected first. Find relevant sites that would be improved by linking to you. This could be as simple as a business directory or could require you to create a valuable content resources that is of benefit to the readers of a specific site. You can create connections through sponsorship of a local team, supporting a local charity or many different ways. Again, do the research, see what is relevant for your location and then determine the strategy to earn a link.

The so the perfect pitch will always be one that the recipient is A) glad to receive and B) can hardly resist. If you can get there then you are onto a winner.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

It’s all about local links and consistency of the data. Links from local directories are great, but also very importantly links from other local businesses. Combined they send signals to Google that you’re a real local business and that’s what secures the rankings.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Be friendly and always offer something back. The hardest thing is usually getting to speak to the right person within the business, so be extra polite at the start not to make them think you’re trying to sell something!

Kris Jones

@krisjonescom

lseo.com

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

If a website is trying to improve organic rankings in local search, there are four points to consider:

  • technical/on site SEO improvements to increase domain authority and site usability.
  • improving backlink portfolio to increase domain authority.
  • relevant content on the site (both topical and geographic).
  • accurate business information in local directories.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

The perfect way to pitch a link outreach target is by offering value to them and their site’s user base. One of the most legitimate tools for successful link outreach is the use of a “link magnet”; offering text content, infographics, videos, widgets, white papers, etc., to a link target for use on their site in return for a backlink. It is a win win for both the client and the link target; the client gets a legitimate, authoritative link, and the link target gets a unique piece of content on their website.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Local Businesses need to make sure their URL structure, titles and meta descriptions are setup properly. If they have several services and work in different locations then they must have a services areas page with individual pages for each location. Then make sure the Meta Titles explain your service and ?location. Just doing this will get you on page 1 or 2 for not so competitive terms. We see too many local businesses who had their web designers omit or write the Meta tags (not a good idea).

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

I think local link outreach is much easier than national. You can look for local sponsored links for charities or just find out if the local neighborhood paper has a section your services could be in. Email the editor a real nice thoughtful message and they can usually squeeze you in since they are always looking for content.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

A consistent Name Address and Phone number across a large number of citations is very critical. Getting the address formatting down is important for that consistency as well. Reviews come second as an item of importance as long as they’re built naturally like a link profile is. Lastly, tactical on-page items like geo meta tags, address tag, schema, and clickable phone numbers are important for local SEO.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

For local link outreach, pitch as though you are giving not taking. Let the person know what’s in it for them and their audience, not what you want or need.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

I think “surefire” can be misleading. The risk with banking all one’s efforts on Google is that a simple algorithm change can result rankings lost. That said, the most important thing today in local search is consistency across NAP = Name. Address. Phone. To start, validate the correct mailing address using USPS zip code verification tool.

Once the address is validated, update the address on your website, Google My Business page, Yelp, etc. Next type your phone number into Google’s search and review all the results that show up. If you see listings with incorrect data, claim those listings and update the information. Tools like Moz Local and Yext can ease this process. Consistency in NAP will go a long way to improving your local search visibility.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Local link outreach can be tough considering the ideal candidates may be competitors. As an alternative, look for opportunities to sponsor local sports teams (both youth and collegiante), animal shelters, etc. Another great trick is to look for Meetup local groups on meetup.com that need a sponsor. Ideally, these groups would be in your niche which makes the pitch align well. In Google, use the site command: site:meetup.com “this group does not have sponsors right now” [your city] This will list out all the local meetup groups without sponsors. Contact the host and offer up a sponsorship. These can range from providing meeting space, pizza for the members, whatever.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

A combination of efforts is important. First and foremost, make sure that you have accurate NAP listing information across all services/sources (Google My Business, Yellow Pages, etc..). There are a lot of great services out there like WhiteSpark and Moz Local that can help with getting NAP right. Second, make sure you are getting positive reviews for your business from patrons. For local businesses, the importance is on accurate citations and positive experiences. Obviously, typical onsite, schema business markup, etc. is a given.. but focus on the other items and you’ll get ahead of competitors.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

For local link outreach, we’ve found the best strategies come from building relationships within your local community. If you are home services, get local HOAs to link to you, get on the local newspapers classified listings, partner with restaurants, etc. so your customers can get a free appetizer or something. Ultimately, the best pitch is on the back of developing a real relationship.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Build topically, locally, & authoritative links. Dump domain authority. Focus on “real” local sites.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Haven’t found one. But whatever you’re pitching, it better be good. And it better be obvious why they would want to link to it.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

There are really no longer any surefire measures someone can take to guarantee higher rankings in local search today due to so many different variables & Google algorithm updates. But here are some best practices a business can take that should help. Schema encoded geo specific content and staying active on your Google My Business listing for better maps rankings.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Mutually beneficial, relevant relationships is the best answer. Links should be natural and come as sharing your valuable content that you create. Educate local groups about something that matters, is beneficial and can help them in some way.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

To get higher rankings in local search, we recommend finding ways to be relevant to local audiences. What’s the ethos of that community, and how can your brand contribute? ZipSprout, Citation Labs’s sister agency focused entirely on local, advocates for the benefit of local sponsorships, for local rank and branding. Most communities have many hundreds of local nonprofits and events looking for business sponsors, and working with them is a great way to do local good, and get marketing benefits in return. We’re also fans of local content creation – using local writers to help create content for that region. Look for our upcoming Moz post on that topic in a couple weeks!

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

I think the most perfect local pitch reflects a certain knowledge of the community and what locals are looking for. At ZipSprout, we experiment with both high-touch and low-touch outreach, but I don’t think it would come as a surprise to anyone that taking the time to address local concerns in an outreach email warms up the conversation. I’d start a perfect pitch by mentioning local details. Maybe I’ve visited the city in the past, or I know someone who has. Is that burger joint downtown still just as delicious? They haven’t painted over that mural, have they? etc. Just as with pitches on any topic, local pitches work best when they involve local conversation.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

I am glad you specify “measures” plural as there is no single method for every website! For many local websites, incoming links and citations are needed to really move the needle forward – but that will work best if the site also has great, optimized content.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

It is a win-win situation. You get a customized piece of unique content and we get a link to our website. We can also interact on social media, which helps to increase brand awareness.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

I’m not sure that anything is “surefire” anymore in local search, but from what I’ve seen lately, having a strong traditional SEO foundation is important for attaining local visibility.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Make sure that whatever you’re reaching out with is valuable to the person you’re pitching! Don’t ask for anything from them until you can offer them something useful.

Colton Miller

@BigCSEO

boostability.com

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

The best way is to create and nurture their local business listings (Google, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Bing, etc.) Creating these gives potential customers immediate access to a business. Nurturing these profiles with accurate and update to information and positive reviews help create trust for customers and search engines.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

I would compare it to SEO with a slight tweak at the end. The basis for local link outreach is to gain more popularity. Let’s say someone comes to you and say they are a professional basketball player. While some may take that statement as fact others (search engines, customers, etc) will question your validity. This uncertainty would be settled if that person had a bunch of people vouching for them and reassuring their sentiment. Local link building is the same the only difference is the need to have genuine reasons for the links created.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Don’t use aggregators across the board. Make sure you write unique descriptions for each of your local listings. This will help separate you from the pack early on.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Focus on social. It’s where you will get the most traction.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

NAP, local content & reviews. Ensuring business citations across local aggregator sites (Yelp, Google My Business, Citysearch, etc.) are consistent is key. NAP (name, address, phone number) are critical to get consistent across the web, alongside fully completed business profiles with a link to your site whenever possible. Using a citation management platform such as Moz Local or Yext can save loads of time on this piece. Creating genuine local content on your site, getting included into local directories, and getting reviews from local customers are also solid ways to boost your local SEO results.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Personalize your messaging and make and connection as a local business, you might even offer to stop by and say hi at some point. Look for ways that you might be able to benefit the directories’ users, and pitch how your listing/business would be of benefit to local customers. The key is being personal, distinguishing yourself as a real local business, and figuring out how your listing/business will benefit the site and local audience.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Websites can actively work to improve their local search presence by improving their online reviews. Online reviews are one of the primary metrics used by Google when determining local SERPs.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Building local links starts with a foundational understanding of the audience and their primary motivations to improve their local community. Research the prospect, communicate in a way that will resonate most effectively with their persona, and communicate your shared vision for the community.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Links, Complete your GMB Profile, Reviews

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Keep it short, sweet and personal.

Brandon Seymour

@Beymour

brandonseymour.com

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Over the years, the Local Pack has become a precious slice of real estate for small businesses, since inclusion is free and the map listings appear prominently at the top of search results. In 2016 Google reduced the total number of Local Pack listings from seven to three. This means that Local Pack visibility has become drastically more competitive. Earlier this year, Google announced that they would start showing ads within the local pack, which could potentially mean even less visibility for local businesses. In 2017, one of the most effective ways businesses can expand their online visibility is by optimizing their website and Google My Business listing to improve their Local Pack rankings. Local SEO will become increasingly important over the next year or so, since mobile usage is still on the rise. The best way to put your business in front of potential customers searching online is to stake your claim in the Google Local Pack.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Some of the best links local business can get are links from other local business and resources. These types of links help to reinforce a business’ authority in a specific market, which can not only help businesses rank higher in the Local Pack, but also organically.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Content keys: fresh, LOCAL keywords, mobile optimized, tagged and structured along with a social media fortress of inbound links!

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

When networking to exchange local links, explain what benefit it is to them, not what is in it for you.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

One of the most important local search factors is ensuring that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) are consistent across the web. For each directory, make sure you have only one correct listing per location. It’s a timely task to do manually, but is well worth it.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Make sure that your pitch is clear and to the point. Whoever is on the other end should benefit by helping you, so tell them exactly what you’re offering and what they’ll receive in return.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Three things: NAP consistency, local citations, and reviews. First, your NAP details (name, address, phone number) should be consistent everywhere your business is mentioned on the web. So the details on your Google business page need to match up exactly with your website and all your business directory listings. Second, get citations: listings in reputable local directories, outlets like trade magazines, local newspapers, industry blogs, etc. Thirdly, make sure you gather reviews – ideally on your Google business page – from your customers to show that you are a reputable business.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

I find that using the local business angle works well. A lot of bloggers are approached by big name businesses, and if you want to stand out you should use the angle of a small local business trying to compete with the big boys. You may not have the same polish and budgets, but your local charm and ties to the community can help you gather sympathetic coverage.

Ashwin Ramesh

@ashwin_ramesh

synup.com

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Currently, what we’re seeing producing results is investing in getting listed on industry-specific sites (Trulia, TripAdvisor etc.,) and also getting customers to leave reviews of your business. Volume of reviews seems to be a big ranking factor other than all the basic stuff.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

The best way to pitch is to create an industry / local focused asset and asking people to link out to it. For instance, if you’re a CPA, create an asset about what you need to do to prepare for tax season and then reach out to people who are likely to want to share this.

When it comes to the email, keep it short, personal and limited to a smaller list. Most people sift through emails and don’t spend more than ten seconds; inboxing is also a huge issue and it helps when you’re emails are not long and are sent to 100 – 200 people in the span of a week.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Hire someone who knows what they’re doing or read a lot of blogs by Local SEOs who know what they’re doing. I hear LocalSEOGuide.com is pretty good.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Hi I have something you need. Here it is. I’d appreciate a link back.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

There are a couple of ways to make sure your local search profiles are firing on all cylinders. First and foremost, it’s important to have the profile completely optimized like you would your homepage including contact details, alt tags in photos, everything. It’s also crucial to have all the details accurate across all profiles and match them up to your contact information on your website.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

We run scans on our potential clients’ locations. This shows them how many places have incorrect information and we then show what a fully optimized profile looks like. Of course after that, we offer stats on increases in reviews and traffic once the profiles are optimized. This may not be the “perfect way” to pitch a client but it is effective in educating them on the importance of local link outreach.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

It’s crucial to be on top of Google My Business issues. Check regularly for duplicate GMB listings and get those removed ASAP. In addition to other fundamentals like on-site optimization and backlinks, make sure you’re consistently getting 4 and 5 reviews. Don’t get only 5-star reviews, as that can seem unauthentic to both consumers and Google. Investing in a high quality blog can also boost rankings.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

It saves time and opens doors. I’ve had a lot of success getting high-quality link placements for my local clients. 🙂

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Sadly, I believe there are no surefire ways to get higher rankings in local search in 2017. There are too many variables at play with Google and with our clients’ competitors. But there are some things that we find work pretty well.

Three tactics we find work pretty well are:

  • Consistent, accurate citations (NAP) from the top authoritative sites.
  • A good volume of positive reviews (Google/Facebook/Yelp etc.).
  • The client’s business is in a close proximity to the searcher

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Beyond that, links are always of great help. Many say Google is phasing this out, but I think that it will be a while before that happens. Good local links are obviously hard to come by.

The most important thing to remember is that people like to do business with people they know, like and trust (KLT). That goes for social sharing, link building and even reviews. When doing outreach we’ve found we get much better results reaching out to people that already know, like or trust our client.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Building quality links that have local relevance is by far the best way to dominate the local search results. While not an easy task, quality link building communicates trust and local authority – both of which are important for Google’s search algorithm.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

I have found that you must be creative and trustworthy when pitching website owners for local link outreach. Don’t be afraid to try different methods than just email either as that can oftentimes come across as unsolicited spam. I’ve been seeing great results using social media as it’s more personal and casual. It’s a great way to build rapport before you ask for a link.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Always think about consistency. Make sure your business listings on directories and social media profiles all share the exact address and contact details. If your information isn’t consistent, Google is much less likely to trust it.

Next, you need to think about reviews. These will help your click through rates. You should always ask your happy customers to leave feedback on Google for your products or services. The more reviews that come in, the more likely you will rank higher – especially after your CTR increases and Google can see positive user experience data from your traffic.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Always play the local business card. Build a relationship first and stress the importance of enhancing relationships with local businesses, both for purchases but also for helping each other out. You’d be surprised how efficient picking the phone up can be compared to firing out lots of emails.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Ensuring your citations are accurate is massively important to rank in your local area. Having accurate NAP data (Name, Address, Phone number and website link) is the key to getting those rankings.

You need to make sure you do good competitor analysis to find out exactly what has worked for your competition. This means finding their top rankings for certain pages on their site (most important rankings will be achieved through their homepage) using tools such as SEMrush (full tutorial on this tool with video walk-throughs). Implement the onsite SEO with the competition’s keyword use in mind and then move onto offsite SEO.

Use good quality backlink analysis tools like ahrefs for finding the competitor’s backlinks. At first, try to ensure the directory links are secured before moving onto more advanced forms of link building. Once you have more good quality backlinks than the competitor’s, you can move onto leveraging local relationships, or build new relationships with related businesses, charities and event organisations to secure links.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

My favourite way to try and get links at the moment (once I have directory links covered) is to find errors on the target site. I use tools like deadlinkchecker.com to find cases where they link to webpages that are no longer online. I then offer up a resource from my client’s site to replace the dead resource and educate them on why it is good to manage onsite errors. This way, they are not just doing you a favour!

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Consistency and quality of relevant national and local citations, in conjunction with quality (not quantity of) content and local outreach.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Don’t be gimmicky! Tailor it to the individual you are approaching, be genuine and give them something of value.

Kevin Mullett

@kmullett

marketsnare.com

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Since Google has placed a priority on serving content with local or hyper-local query intent, context, and relevance, site owners should make it their priority to match content and SEO efforts for those signals. The litmus test would be asking, “How does this content identify, speak to, and provide value for this local market?” particularly with multi-location sites and directories, like those used for dealer networks and franchises.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

The perfect pitch is the one that isn’t required because the quality, specificity, inclusiveness, and relevance of your content earn organic backlinks and naturally occurring citations. Typically the result of having strong local brand advocacy and audience connection. In the absence of perfect, I’ll take merely having to seed or mention the content to the right businesses and influencers, or those mentioned in the content.

Gabriella Sannino

@SEOcopy

level343.com

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Your ranking is a matter of several factors (number/quality of competitors, for example), but making sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) is always the same no matter where it’s used – and that it’s used often – is a great step forward. Local citations are also a must have for local ranking.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Short and sweet emails are always a big hitter; where people get them wrong is by not making them personal and relevant. You have to immediately let the person know that you know who they are, what they write about, and how your link will benefit them and their readers.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Aside from relevant links, nailing the on-page SEO elements like page title, meta description, and NAP – most local businesses will have already won half the battle.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

Your best bet is to target industry related sites when performing local link outreach. The key is to try to focus on sites that closely tie to what your business offers.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

In order to improve your business’s visibility in the local search results, you must first take care of all things organic SEO. Once that is set in place and running, work also on all of the local on-site and off-site signals–namely, on-site optimization for local search; Google My Business audit and cleanup; getting listed and cleaned up on the top 30-50 generic citation sites plus a handful of niche and local sites; asking for, getting, and responding to Google and third-party reviews; and getting a few good links–particularly local links. Remember that when it comes to local links, even the sites in your local area with a low domain authority can move the needle in local search rankings.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

I think first you need to determine what opportunities there are to earn local links. Google loves local interaction with the community, and local businesses may be missing some opportunities that are pure gold for local rankings. I suggest sending your client Phil Rozek’s Local Link Questionnaire to get some ideas. Is your client willing to pay for links? Is so, joining a local chamber of commerce, joining an industry association, getting accredited on BBB, sponsoring a local meetup, little league team, or a charity are great ways to boost your SEO and gets quality leads.

If you are looking for low hanging fruit, one thing you can do is write a testimonial on a local business’s website that has done a service for your business (e.g. a carpet cleaning company who cleans the carpets at your office). Once your testimonial is on the other business’s website, you can ask them to link back to your site. As for the pitch, I would say you will first need to run a good business and then be a nice person. When you get involved in the community, people will want to work with you because they trust you, and that will translate online.

Samantha Kate

@SamanthaKateM

Co-Founder of SC Digital Group

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Local businesses can start with making sure the website is technically sound. Without a solid foundation of technological soundness, large issues can creep up and destroy digital marketing efforts. Make sure your meta data is sound & properly optimized – but not over-optimized. I would enlist a service like Moz Local, Yext or Whitespark to create, claim and/or remedy NAP data across the web.

Additionally, I would focus heavily on link acquisition from niche/location relevant sites, review acquisition and building brand awareness. If nobody knows who you are, you’re dead in the water. Take advantage of current or past professional relationships, sponsorship’s, etc.. Social traction is also huge – SEO’s often don’t give enough attention to how viable Social Media Marketing can be – and it’s affordable!

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

I start with explaining that links are considered a strong ranking signal when it comes to Google and SEO efforts (we all know this…I know). If you cover the “Google god” topic first, it generally grabs their attention. I often pitch this as a “thumbs up” from another niche/location relevant website. The more “thumbs up” you get from relevant sites, the better off you’ll be.

I also add in that outreach is best not automated – everyone wants to automate this part. STOP IT. We need real people building real relationships. So far, this statement is what gets the ‘head nods’ in the room. Check out Eric Ward, Garrett French and/or Backlino for some awesome tools and pro insight. A word of advice: GOOD LINKS ARE NOT ALWAYS EASY TO GET. DO THE WORK.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

“For local rankings, a business has to do these 5 high impact tasks to begin doing proper Local SEO: 1) Get a “Google My Business” listing and fill it out correctly and fully. ‘Fully’, meaning fill out 100% of what is allowable >> For ex.

  • correct business categories from most important to least,
  • a business description that describes main services,
  • upload images of your happy and helpful staff,
  • inside photos of your beautifully clean and organized business,
  • outside photos of your professional looking business with your signage clearly displayed.

Warning: Do not add keywords to your business name. For ex. If you’re business is “Smith & Associates“, do not make it “Smith & Associates, criminal lawyers in Toronto“. Don’t get deleted or lowered in ranking by Google for breaking their rules about business names. Get 7+ positive reviews on that GMB anchor listing (*make this an ongoing goal for every happy customer. **you can do the other steps while doing this step every day). This will give you the bright yellow stars beside your GMB local listing to attract potential searchers for your services.

1) If your reviews are not as good or at the volumes of your three top competitors in local search, then you need to make this a goal for you and your employees.

2) It is the consistent effort in providing top notch service, then asking for help in leaving a review that will add up over time. For ex. If you get 10 reviews per month, then you’ll get 120 every year. But you can’t get 10 if you don’t ask EVERY happy customer. Who knows, you may have to ask 50 to get 10?

Warning: DO NOT have your customers leave reviews at your location on your Wi-Fi. They will all be detected as having the same IP address and be filtered out.

3) Take your main local search query (service/profession + local modifier/city you are located in. For ex. “financial advisor New York City”) and put into Google Search.

– Then grab the three local listings on the 1st page’s local phone numbers and open three new search tabs on your browser.

– For each tab/window, enter the full local number with area code into Google Search.

– Look at the top 20 citation spots (Google “what is a citation in Local SEO?”) for each of these three top organic local search results.

– Put those URLs into a spreadsheet and mark which of the three had which citations, which citations were on the 1st page of search results and which are common to two out of three or three out of three.

– Go replicate and get for your business what Google has told you they like in your competitors.

4) Put your local business phone number into Google Search.

– Mark down all the citations on the first page that has your business name or address wrong and go fix them.

– Then do the same for page two and then lastly, page three.

– Then put your business address into Google and find all the citations that has your local phone number wrong.

– Then go fix them.

– Then do the same for the citations on page two and then on page three.

5) Your top 20 local organic competitors, go look at their GMB’s business name. Then look at their business name on their website’s homepage. If it doesn’t match and they have keyword stuffed their GMB business name with service or location modifiers, then:

  • login to your GMB
  • flag them on their GMB by giving the reason, URL to their site and screenshot of the correct name on their site.
  • then go flag them again two weeks later if Google doesn't email you saying that your edits have been changed.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

See step #3 above. From that analysis, you’ll also find local link opportunities for local sites in that city that those three top competitors have and that list will also give you ideas on other local link opportunities.

– Then go get them. Phone, email or in person.

– As far as ‘pitching’, if it’s not a win/win, then why would that site, business or organization give you a link?

– Are you sponsoring the local boys sports team? Then ask for a link to your business from their sponsors page.

– It may be challenging, however, you don’t need many local links to beat most competitors.

Q.1 What surefire measures can websites take to get higher rankings in local search?

Ranking in local search at its core is still largely about creating a GMB page for proximity signals and building quality local citations with accurate and consistent NAP, but website owners should also focus their efforts on building high quality, authority backlinks preferably from local domains, as this is a very strong ranking signal which is growing in importance. Having plentiful positive reviews is also important for nailing those top spots, followed by behavioral signals and of course on-page relevancy. My advice would be to start from the top and work down.

Q.2 What is the perfect way to pitch when it comes to local link outreach?

The perfect way to pitch for local link outreach (or indeed any link outreach) is to always offer something of value in return for the link, especially if you’re going in cold, and spell it out for them – highlight exactly how your offer will benefit them.

What you offer will depend on the context, for example, if you’ve got a piece of link-worthy content or a local resources page which is useful to local visitors, explain how it would benefit their readers, how it backs up a statement or claim in their own content, if it offers more depth on a particular subject being discussed, if it connects with the audience to a product or service of interest, and so on. Offering to share a piece of their content also works as a good incentive too.

If you’re sponsoring a local event or sports team then it’s a little different (usually easier) as you’ll likely be offering a financial incentive, whether it be a sponsorship fee or just offering to pay for food and drinks. Either way, a link from their website in exchange will seem like a bargain to them. They might just give you the link without asking – that’s the perfect pitch.

Conclusion

There is something unique about every organization that carves a niche for itself in the digital marketing space. Given this uniqueness, it goes without saying that the strategies every company follows will be different. It will, therefore, be an intelligent move by every marketer to collate thoughts and practices of various industry experts to finally design a matching strategy in tandem with the business objectives.