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7 Ways To Improve Local SEO & Attract New Business



7 Möglichkeiten zur Verbesserung der lokalen Suchmaschinenoptimierung und zur Gewinnung neuer Unternehmen

There is a big difference between the way standard organic SEO works and the way we should approach Local SEO.

Not only is searcher intent likely different, the algorithms Google uses to show the map pack differs from the main organic algorithms.

In this article, I’ll be taking you through the ways you can win new customers and improve your visibility through local SEO.

Top Ways To Improve Your Local SEO

1. Keep An Eye On Your Competitors’ Google Business Profile Q&As

Google Business Profile (GBP) has a great function that can do wonders for growing new business – the questions and answers feature.

If you use it well for your own organization, it can help convert customers who are otherwise on the fence.

But don’t stop there. Spend time researching your competitors’ Q&As, too. See what your potential customers are asking others in your industry.

How GBP Q&A Works

On your Google Business Profile, you may notice an “Ask a Question” button. Once clicked, users are taken through to a screen that allows them to submit a question.

Screenshot from Google Business Profile, September 2022

This next bit is key. The question does not get submitted to the owner of the profile. It gets submitted to the profile. That means it is visible to anyone who sees a Google Business Profile listing.

Once a question has been posted to your competitors’ Google Business Profile listing, you will be able to see it.

And once the question is answered, that information – and the engagement – is there for all in the future to see.

How Does This Help Build New Business?

These questions are a great way to encourage new business from local searchers. Questions are likely to be asked by people who have never visited that business before but are in your target market.

They are already engaging with the brand but need a bit more information before they commit to a visit.

For Your Own Listing

On your own GBP, you can use this opportunity to converse with a potential local consumer who is far down the conversion funnel.

If they are at the stage where they have found you and are considering you enough to ask some questions, a thoughtful response may be all it takes to see them walk through your doors.

On A Competitor’s Listing

Look at what questions your competitors’ customers and potential customers are asking. Use this to better fill out the information on your own profile and website.

If you are noticing a lot of questions being asked about the availability of gluten-free pizza from other pizza restaurants in your area, for example, you want to make sure you highlight your gluten-free products on your site and listing.

This type of research can keep you one step ahead of local competitors, especially if the questions they have been asked are slightly negative in tone.

Consider this question: “Do you still play loud music?”

If a potential restaurant-goer sees that question asked of another business, it immediately makes them consider the environment they will be eating their meal in.

It may make them wonder if they will really be able to enjoy the catch-up with their friends over a meal as they have planned.

Answer the questions being asked of your competitors on your own website and GBP before anyone asks. State in your description that customers will enjoy a meal accompanied by relaxing, ambient music.

This can put you at a significant advantage over your competitors for winning new business in your geography.

When you proactively answer a potential customer’s question before they even have to ask it, you demonstrate that you understand their needs and wants.

2. Tweak A Google Product Listing To Get More Exposure

Google allows businesses with GBP to upload details of the products they offer. This can be viewed by potential customers on both mobile and desktop search results.

The listings appear in the GBP in a carousel format on Maps and in both a carousel and under the Products tab in Search.

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Both formats allow users to click on the product cards for more detail, to call, or visit the website.

How GBP Product Listings Work

Uploading your products to a Google Business Profile has gotten simpler. Google has released a new way of doing this called “Pointy.” Pointy is a device that is plugged in between the barcode scanner and the point-of-sale device. As products are scanned in, Pointy adds them to Google.

This is a quick way of uploading your product inventory to your Google Business Profile. There are restrictions around this, however, as Pointy is only available in some countries and also isn’t suitable for products without barcodes (bunches of flowers, for instance).

It is still possible to upload products manually. Simply sign in to your profile and click Edit Profile > Products > Add Product.

How Does This Help Build New Business?

You may be looking to showcase some products over others for a variety of reasons. You may have a surplus of stock in one of your locations, for example.

Bringing that stock to the forefront of that location’s GBP listing will help alert local customers to it. It will allow you to target specific products more to relevant audiences, dependent on their location.

For instance, seasonal products may be better served first. Perhaps the geographic location of your car repair shop is set for an unseasonal snow flurry. Edit your snow tire listings to bring them to the beginning of the carousel.

This could enhance the visibility of your product at just the right time for a new customer in your target location to see them.

3. Use Google’s Business Messages While You Can

Google Business Profile can include functionality that allows businesses to correspond with customers straight from the SERPs.

When activated, GBP will display a Message button that users can click on to start direct messaging with the business.

How GBP Business Messages Work

This functionality has existed since 2017 in Google Business Profile and since 2018 in Google Maps. It has only recently made it onto the desktop, however.

If you are an owner of a GBP, you should see the option in your desktop dashboard to Turn on messaging under the Messages tab.

Google My Business Messaging-Option aktivieren.

You can then set items like an initial auto-responder to be sent out when a visitor first messages you are using this service.

To make sure the service is a timely one, Google recommends you reply to all messages within 24 hours.

If you don’t, Google may deactivate the messaging service on your account. Your response times can also show in Google Search and Maps.

Google may display ‘Usually responds in a few minutes,’ ‘Usually responds in a few hours,’ ‘Usually responds in a day,’ or ‘Usually responds in a few days,’ depending on your average reply time.

How Does This Help Build New Business?

Not everyone has the time (or inclination) to call up a business they have yet to engage with. Allowing potential local customers to message you straight from your GBP is an excellent way of streamlining conversations with them.

If you respond quickly, your chances of that potential customer converting are greatly increased.

This is of particular use to local businesses that perhaps don’t use centralized call centers or messaging. It can be another touch point that shows the personalization of the business based on the location that the consumer is in.

Consider the offers, services, and tone of voice that might be most appropriate to your customers in that particular geography. This is your opportunity to highlight again how well you know your customers.

Make use of the local name for the area your business is in. Talk about the specific events and charities you support in the area.

Any additional indication that your business serves the local population specifically can help to reinforce your relevance to the potential customer who has contacted you.

Now that the functionality is available in such a wide range of places on the web, it would be a wasted opportunity not to engage with your potential customers in this way.

4. Update Your GBP With All Relevant Newly Available Attributes

Google keeps updating the features available through its Google Business Profile property. Make sure you keep your listing fully populated with the relevant attributes as they become available.

How Do New Attributes Work

Google frequently adds functionality to Google Business Profile that your business might be eligible to use. Not every new feature is available to all types of businesses, however.

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Whether you can access new updates depends on what category is set as your primary in GBP.

To keep up to date with what new features are becoming available and who is eligible for them, visit Google’s GBP announcements page.

How Does This Help Build New Business?

With any new change to Google Business Profile, early adoption will put you ahead of the pack. Although these attributes will not necessarily affect your rankings in the map pack, they can make your business more attractive to prospective local customers.

For instance, attributes can include details of the business’s ownership. For example, it’s possible to include attributes like “women-owned” and “black-owned” to your Business profile.

Google also introduced the option to denote a business’s support for the LGBTQ+ community through “LGBTQ+ friendly” attributes.

A business showing that it is inclusive and supportive of minority groups can help members of those groups to feel welcomed. For some people, knowing they will be welcomed at a business can be the difference between them visiting there instead of a competitor whose support isn’t guaranteed.

LGBTQ+-UnterstützungsattributScreenshot from Google Business Profile, September 2022

5. Join Local Marketplaces And Forums

The key to marketing your local business well is understanding what your audience is looking for. A great way of understanding your target market is by spending time where they are.

This includes online.

Make sure you register your business in local directories and forums. This is not so much for the traditional citation benefit. It’s so you can be amongst your prospective customers, hearing what they are talking about.

How Local Marketplaces & Forums Work

Online Marketplaces

Look on platforms like Facebook for marketplaces relevant to your location and products. You don’t necessarily need to be engaging with the audience to learn more about who they are and what they respond to.

For instance, if you sell locally created craft products in your store, you can get a feel for how much your audience is willing to pay for products by seeing what similar items are being sold for in your town’s Facebook Marketplace.

By watching what your local audience is saying about prices, quality, shipping, and sourcing of products, you can begin to understand more about your audience’s preferences.


If you are a local pizza restaurant, you would do well to join Reddit subreddits for your city and read the threads that talk about restaurants in your area.

What is your local audience saying about your competition? Are they sick of pizza restaurants and really want someone to bring something new to the area?

Perhaps they are enthusiastic about local independent shops and want to support them more.

How Does This Help Build New Business?

This kind of information can help you to tailor your search marketing strategy, tone of voice, and more.

Go to places where your target audience members are talking freely about your local area. Find out what they want from their local businesses.

If you are feeling brave, you can even interact with your audience on these platforms. This has to be done sensitively and authentically.

Most people don’t want to be mined for information without their consent. Be open and honest when reaching out for feedback on these sites.

The more you can watch and learn from your audience, the more likely you are to be able to offer products and services they will respond well to.

6. Don’t Neglect Bing, DuckDuckGo, And Others

Google is not the only search engine you need to be concerned with. There are others, too, that might be the first port of call for users looking for information on local businesses.

How Other Search Engines Work

You may see the vast majority of the organic traffic going to your site coming from Google. Don’t forget that you might not be tracking all of the ways customers discover you through search.

Your profile showing in the SERPs might not generate a click. As a result, it will not show up in your web analytics program.

So, unless you are measuring impressions across different search engines, you will not know that your business has been seen on the likes of Bing or DuckDuckGo.

DuckDuckGo’s maps are powered by Apple Maps. Therefore, if you want your business to appear in the DuckDuckGo local map pack, you will need to have your business set up with an Apple Maps Connect profile.

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Similarly, Bing uses Bing Places to power their local map functionality. Setting up and optimizing a Google Business Profile listing will not help you with increasing organic visibility on Bing.

We are seeing an increase in the popularity of other search engines over time, and for some locations, Google is not the primary search engine used.

If you have physical stores or business locations outside of the U.S., you should look at which search engines are also popular in those regions.

Make sure you utilize the local map functionality of these other search engines.

How Does This Help Build New Business?

Yet again, being where your competitors are not will put you in good stead.

If your competitors are not appearing in the Apple Maps results in DuckDuckGo, you are going to be far more likely to win the business of local searchers using that platform.

7. Keep An Eye On Your Reputation

You may be keeping a close eye on the reviews left on sites like TripAdvisor. You even check your own Google Business Profile listing regularly.

But are you keeping on top of some of the other places in the SERPs which might be giving potential customers an outsider’s view of your business?

How Reputation Monitoring Works

Top and middle-of-the-funnel local search queries, such as [car mechanic telford], can bring back a variety of features in the SERPs.

Prominently Featured Review And Directory Sites

Take a look at this SERP result:

Prominently Featured Review And Directory SitesScreenshot from search for [car mechanic telford], Google, September 2022

The top carousel lists large directories, social media sites, and niche directories. This gives potential customers access to information about your company – and potentially even reviews – on sites you may not even be checking.

Aside from the inaccurate data about your company that these sites may contain, what have customers, former employees, or even competitors said about you?

Given that links to these sites appear as the first feature in the Google SERPs for this query, it would stand to reason they may get a lot of visibility from your potential customers.

People Also Ask

If customers are in the process of narrowing down their choice of business, they might start searching for specific information about those businesses. That can often trigger a “People Also Ask” feature to appear.

When searching for [is (name of a mechanic) in Telford any good], the following PAA box appeared, talking specifically about that brand.

PAA für Automechanikermarke.Screenshot from Googe search, September 2022

That first “People Also Ask” question is, “why is [brand] so expensive?” That does not inspire much confidence in the value for money of this particular mechanic.

Although there is not much you can do to control what questions appear in the “People Also Ask” section, it is important to try to influence the perception of those who may click on this question.

Write a page addressing this question and try to get it ranking. That way, when someone interested in your local business clicks on this question, they at least will see your response around “the quality service,” “not compromising by using cheap parts,” and “highly-skilled technicians who you pay well for their expertise.”

How Does This Help Build New Business?

It is crucial to remember that what a potential customer sees about you may not just be the information you are writing on your website or Google Business Profile listings.

It might not even be the reviews left on sites you are closely monitoring and responding to.

A potential customer will be influenced heavily by others’ opinions and experiences of your business. Local businesses tend to attract a lot of reviews because they are promoted by sites that encourage them to be left.

A negative perception of your business will likely be the difference between you winning or losing a new customer.

Always monitor the SERPs around your core lead-generating search terms. Identify where negative perceptions of your business could be formed.


There are many aspects of SEO that you need to consider if you want your business to do well with your local audience.

How your website appears for searches with local intent in Google Maps and the standard SERPs can make or break your business.

If you want your brick-and-mortar business to succeed online, make sure you develop a robust local SEO strategy.

Mehr Ressourcen:

Featured Image: Rido/Shutterstock


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Is It OK to Remove 301 Redirects After a Year? We Tested It



Is It OK to Remove 301 Redirects After a Year? We Tested It

In 2021, Google’s Gary Illyes said on Twitter that redirect signals consolidate permanently to the new location after one year.

This means that, in theory, signals to the original URL are permanently passed to the new one after a year. 

If the redirect is removed and the original page is restored, the original page has to build brand-new signals on its own. 

Even though the old links still point to the original page, they count for the page that was the redirect target for over a year.

How 301s work


Note that one year is measured from the time Google crawls it.

This is different from what SEOs believe. Usually, it is assumed that if the redirect is no longer in place that the signals are lost. It’s also been understood that if the original page is restored that the signals will build back up for that page. Have we been wrong this whole time? Let’s find out.

I removed redirects to these pages on January 30, 2023:

These posts were chosen because they had older posts redirected to them. Those older posts were about the same topics and had enough links and referring domains that I thought removing them would have a visible impact. 

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You can see the clear drop in referring domains after I did this:

Graph showing drop in referring domains

What I don’t see is much drop in traffic to these posts. One actually has increased traffic, one is down, and two are relatively flat.

Graph showing traffic changes of posts

The post on keyword search volume is the one that was down. The drop that looks like it occurred about the same time as when the redirects were removed actually happened a few days before the removal. You can see that the drop already happened on January 24, but I didn’t remove redirects until January 30. 

Graph showing a drop in traffic happened before the removal of redirects

The traffic to the post did decline during the test, so I can’t rule out that removing the redirects hurt this post. 

I’m not willing to conclusively say that permanent redirects pass value even after one year, but what Gary said seems to mostly hold true.

It’s not that I don’t believe Gary, but this is radically different from how SEOs thought redirects consolidated. It seems crazy that signals could be consolidated to a different location than where a link points.

It’s certainly not something I want to take lightly. I’m already running another test, have a larger test planned if that pans out, and will likely do a study after that. Even though it’s not conclusive, it likely will hold true, and that’s why I want to share this now.

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If the way we understand redirect consolidation is wrong, it has massive implications for the SEO industry.

Redirect recommendations

One of the tactics that I always use with a new client is to redirect 404 pages that have links pointing to them. I think, in most of those cases, the pages had never been redirected.

If redirects are actually permanent after one year, I’ll need to segment those that were redirected longer than a year from those that weren’t. There might still be value to be had with this tactic, but with less work needed.

Domain buying

This is a big one. The value of a domain can change a lot based on the links pointing to it.

A lot of SEOs buy domains that already have links from sites in the same niche when they plan to launch a new website or redirect it to their current site. They hope that these old links will help them rank better.

Imagine if that value was no longer actually there. If the domain had been redirected for a year or more and the value permanently passed to a different domain, then that domain might be worth a lot less.


There’s also a massive impact on various tools like Ahrefs if the redirects do permanently pass value. We would need to change how we show links and domains to these sites when redirects are involved.

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I’m sure we’d also get a lot of questions when the redirects were removed, e.g., “Why do you still show these links to this page when the other page no longer redirects?” It’s a weird concept, right? But if that’s how it works, that’s what we need to do.

Abschließende Gedanken

I haven’t seen any change in the SEO industry or the recommendations from SEOs since Gary’s tweet. I’m not sure if that’s because few people saw it or followed the fractured conversation, or we collectively don’t want to believe that redirects consolidate differently than what we think. 

I still don’t think many SEOs believe me when I say temporary redirects consolidate backward to the original URL, but they do.

As I said, I’m not willing to call this one just yet. At the very least, a lot more tests need to be run before I’m willing to conclude that permanent redirects do permanently pass signals.

If you have any questions, message me auf Twitter.


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So steuern Sie die Interaktion des Googlebots mit Ihrer Website



So steuern Sie die Interaktion des Googlebots mit Ihrer Website

Google’s Search Relations answered several questions regarding webpage indexing on the latest episode of the ‘Search Off The Record’ podcast.

The topics discussed were how to block Googlebot from crawling specific sections of a page and how to prevent Googlebot from accessing a site altogether.

Google’s John Mueller and Gary Illyes answered the questions examined in this article.

Blocking Googlebot From Specific Web Page Sections

Mueller says it’s impossible when asked how to stop Googlebot from crawling specific web page sections, such as “also bought” areas on product pages.

“The short version is that you can’t block crawling of a specific section on an HTML page,” Mueller said.

He went on to offer two potential strategies for dealing with the issue, neither of which, he stressed, are ideal solutions.

Mueller suggested using the data-nosnippet HTML attribute to prevent text from appearing in a search snippet.

Alternatively, you could use an iframe or JavaScript with the source blocked by robots.txt, although he cautioned that’s not a good idea.

“Using a robotted iframe or JavaScript file can cause problems in crawling and indexing that are hard to diagnose and resolve,” Mueller stated.

He reassured everyone listening that if the content in question is being reused across multiple pages, it’s not a problem that needs fixing.

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“There’s no need to block Googlebot from seeing that kind of duplication,” he added.

Blocking Googlebot From Accessing A Website

In response to a question about preventing Googlebot from accessing any part of a site, Illyes provided an easy-to-follow solution.

“The simplest way is robots.txt: if you add a disallow: / for the Googlebot user agent, Googlebot will leave your site alone for as long you keep that rule there,” Illyes explained.

For those seeking a more robust solution, Illyes offers another method:

“If you want to block even network access, you’d need to create firewall rules that load our IP ranges into a deny rule,” he said.

See Google’s official documentation for a list of Googlebot’s IP addresses.

In Summe

Though it’s impossible to prevent Googlebot from accessing specific sections of an HTML page, methods such as using the data-nosnippet attribute can offer control.

When considering blocking Googlebot from your site entirely, a simple disallow rule in your robots.txt file will do the trick. However, more extreme measures like creating specific firewall rules are also available.

Ausgewähltes Bild, erstellt vom Autor mit Midjourney. 

Quelle: Google Search Off The Record


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Google widerlegt die „Index Bloat“-Theorie



Google widerlegt die „Index Bloat“-Theorie

Google’s John Mueller debunks the “Index Bloat” theory, stating there’s no limit on the number of pages indexed per site.

In a recent episode of the ‘Search Off The Record’ podcast, Google’s Search Relations team addresses questions about webpage indexing.

A key point of discussion was the concept of “Index Bloat,”—a theory that has garnered attention within the SEO community.

Google Search Advocate John Mueller refutes the idea of index bloat, which posits that excessive indexing of unnecessary pages can negatively impact search engine rankings.

This article covers the details of the index bloat theory, Google’s response, and the broader implications for SEO practices.

The Theory Behind Index Bloat

The term “index bloat” describes a situation where search crawlers index pages that aren’t ideal for search results.

This includes a variety of pages, such as filtered product pages, internal search results, printer-friendly versions of pages, and more.

Proponents of the index bloat theory argue that these pages make it harder for search engines to understand websites, negatively impacting search rankings.

The theory relates to the concept of a crawl budget, the number of URLs a search bot will crawl during each visit.

The theory suggests that index bloat can lead to inefficient use of this crawl budget as search bots spend time and resources collecting unnecessary information.

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Google’s Response to the Index Bloat Theory

Mueller entlarvt die Index-Bloat-Theorie mit den Worten:

„Mir ist kein Konzept der Indexaufblähung bei Google bekannt. Unsere Systeme begrenzen die Anzahl der pro Website indizierten Seiten nicht künstlich. Ich würde nur sicherstellen, dass die Seiten, die Sie zur Indexierung bereitstellen, tatsächlich nützliche Seiten sind, aber das ist unabhängig von der Anzahl der Seiten, die Ihre Website hat.“

Diese Aussage stellt die grundlegende Prämisse der Indexaufblähung in Frage.

Laut Mueller setzt Google keine künstliche Begrenzung der pro Website indizierten Seiten fest.

Anstatt sich Gedanken darüber zu machen, Seiten aus dem Google-Index zu streichen, ist Mueller der Meinung, dass Sie Ihre Zeit besser damit verbringen sollten, hilfreiche Inhalte zu veröffentlichen.

Die „Ursachen“ für Index-Bloat

Diejenigen, die die Index-Bloat-Theorie unterstützen, nennen häufig Ursachen wie versehentliche Seitenduplizierung, falsche robots.txt-Dateien und leistungsschwache oder dünne Inhalte.

Allerdings weist Google darauf hin, dass dies keine Ursachen für einen nicht vorhandenen „Index-Bloat“ sind, sondern allgemeine SEO-Praktiken, auf die Webmaster und SEO-Experten achten sollten.

Index-Bloat „erkennen“.

Befürworter der Index-Bloat-Theorie haben vorgeschlagen, Tools wie die Google Search Console zu verwenden, um Index-Bloat zu erkennen, indem die Anzahl der indizierten Seiten mit der erwarteten Anzahl verglichen wird.

Der Standpunkt von Google impliziert jedoch, dass dieser Vergleich kein Problem darstellt. Es ist Teil der regulären Website-Verwaltung und -Überwachung.

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Das letzte Wort

Trotz der Diskussionen über das Aufblähen von Indexen ist die offizielle Haltung von Google klar: Der Gedanke ist widerlegt.

Stattdessen sollte der Schwerpunkt darauf liegen, sicherzustellen, dass die Seiten, die Sie zur Indexierung bereitstellen, wertvoll und relevant sind.

Quelle: Google Search Off The Record

Ausgewähltes Bild, erstellt vom Autor mit Midjourney. 


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