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How To Use ChatSpot AI With HubSpot To Improve Productivity

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How To Use ChatSpot AI With HubSpot To Improve Productivity

HubSpot recently announced the launch of new AI tools – content assistant and ChatSpot.ai – to boost productivity and save the marketing and sales teams valuable time researching, reporting, and summarizing important information.

SEJ had a chance to take these new tools for a spin – read on to find out what we learned about how you can use them.

What Is ChatSpot.ai?

ChatSpot.ai integrates the power of ChatGPT & GPT-4 with the HubSpot CRM, so users can ask questions and provide detailed instructions for a task through natural language in a chat interface.

This new AI chatbot allows users to perform various tasks, such as adding contacts to the CRM, creating custom reports, summarizing HubSpot data, and drafting effective, personalized marketing messages and emails.

Combined, these features can save marketing and sales teams a lot of time.

Instead of going to multiple places to run reports based on your HubSpot data or research a competitor, you can just ask ChatSpot.ai to compile the information in the chat.

Inside ChatSpot.ai, you’ll find suggested marketing, sales, generative AI, and research prompts.

Screenshot from ChatSpot.ai, March 2023

ChatSpot.ai also has a prompt library with 40 more prompts to help you learn how the AI chatbot can help you be more productive in your marketing and sales efforts.

See also  9 Key Affiliate Marketing Tips for More Money & Traffic

Examples Of ChatSpot.ai Responses

The following are examples of responses you can expect from ChatSpot.ai when utilizing it for marketing and sales.

First, we can ask the chat to list PPC keywords for a popular design tool, Canva. The AI chatbot will respond with a list of the top keywords that drive paid search traffic to its website.

We Took The New ChatSpot.ai For A Spin. What Did We Learn?Screenshot from ChatSpot.ai, March 2023

You can continue researching Canva by clicking on the Organic Keywords to see a list of Canva’s top organic keywords in search. Again, you’ll get a list of the top keywords that drive organic traffic to its website.

We Took The New ChatSpot.ai For A Spin. What Did We Learn?Screenshot from ChatSpot.ai, March 2023

The link next to each PPC and organic keyword will take you to the target landing page for those keywords to inspire your page’s design and copy.

Second, we can ask for research on specific companies, like OpenAI. The tool will pull basic information about the company from social profiles, like Twitter and LinkedIn – helping users become briefed on a potential customer quickly before making a sales call.

We Took The New ChatSpot.ai For A Spin. What Did We Learn?Screenshot from ChatSpot.ai, March 2023

Beneath the company info, you can click on links to see the company’s PPC and organic keywords.

Third, ChatSpot.ai can help you draft blog content about specific topics.

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As with any ChatGPT-based response, verifying the information (and sources) presented and rewriting it in your own words is important.

That kind of due diligence can help prevent your blog content from matching other companies that use the same prompts for generating content.

If everyone asked ChatSpot.ai what SEO is for blog inspiration, they would likely get the same answer that looks like this. The only way to ensure it is unique is to rewrite it with your unique tone of voice and insights.

We Took The New ChatSpot.ai For A Spin. What Did We Learn?Screenshot from ChatSpot.ai, March 2023

ChatSpot.ai is currently in Alpha mode. Users may find it struggles to answer questions beyond the prompts provided by HubSpot.

It should be fully functional and ready to assist with your marketing and sales needs with time.

How To Access ChatSpot.ai

Sign up for the waitlist to get access to ChatSpot.ai.

Also, sign up for the Content Assistant waitlist for a more powerful content generator for your marketing strategy.

Conclusion

The implementation of AI by Google, Microsoft, HubSpot, and others highlights the potential benefits of AI for everyone, from small businesses to enterprises. As AI tools become more available and easier to use, businesses should leverage them to increase efficiency and productivity, leading to faster achievement of business goals.

See also  How to Use Your Cellphone for Maximum Productivity

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11 Tips For Optimizing Performance Max Campaigns

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11 Tips For Optimizing Performance Max Campaigns

Performance Max campaigns are the pinnacle of automation in PPC, so it’s no surprise they continue to be a major topic of debate for PPC professionals looking to balance time savings with peak campaign performance.

The primary goal of Performance Max campaigns is to drive conversions, such as sales, leads, or sign-ups, for your business while maintaining a competitive cost-per-action (CPA) or return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).

By utilizing Smart Bidding strategies and dynamically adapting ad creatives, these campaigns help advertisers reach a wider audience and boost the results obtained from traditional, single-channel campaigns.

But their high dependence on AI doesn’t mean these are set-it-and-forget-it campaigns.

Automation can still benefit from the touch of an expert PPC manager. But because they are so different from traditional campaigns, there are unique ways to optimize Performance Max (PMax) campaigns.

PMax optimization broadly falls into three categories:

  • Setting them up for success.
  • Monitoring that the AI is driving the right results.
  • Tweaking the campaigns to further optimize their performance.

Read on to learn how to get the most out of your PMax campaigns by addressing each of these three areas of opportunity.

How To Set Up PMax Campaigns For Success

Let’s start with what can be done to set up Performance Max campaigns to be successful out of the gate.

Remember that one big risk of automated PPC is that machine learning algorithms can eat up a significant amount of budget during the learning phase, where it establishes what works and what doesn’t.

Many advertisers don’t have the patience or the deep pockets to pay for machines to learn what they already know from their own experience.

1. Run It In Addition To Traditional Campaign Types

This advice is straight from Google, which says

“It’s designed to complement your keyword-based Search campaigns to help you find more converting customers across all of Google’s channels like YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps.”

And while running Performance Max as a stand-alone campaign is better than not advertising on Google at all, for professional marketers, it should be seen as a supplement to existing campaign types.

Running PMax campaigns in conjunction with traditional search and display campaigns offers advertisers a more comprehensive and diversified marketing strategy.

This approach allows businesses to capitalize on the strengths of each campaign type while mitigating their limitations, resulting in a more balanced and effective promotional effort.

Traditional search campaigns are particularly effective at capturing user intent through keyword targeting, ensuring ads are shown to users actively searching for relevant products or services.

Traditional display campaigns, on the other hand, are excellent at raising brand awareness and reaching audiences across a vast network of websites and apps.

PMax campaigns complement these traditional approaches by utilizing machine learning to optimize ad targeting and placement across multiple Google platforms.

This broadens the reach of advertising efforts, tapping into new audience segments and driving conversions more efficiently.

Combining these campaign types allows advertisers to cover all stages of the customer journey, from awareness and consideration to conversion and retention, while maximizing their ROAS.

2. Exclude Brand Keywords From Performance Max

One keyword-targeted search campaign you should always have is a brand campaign.

Then, ask your Google rep to exclude your brand keywords from all PMax campaigns so they don’t cannibalize traffic from your brand campaign.

Brand traffic should be inexpensive because it’s leveraging the power of your own brand. When users search for that, your ads will be the best match with the highest Quality Score and hence should be discounted significantly.

But because Performance Max’s mission is to generate more conversions, it may actually end up bidding on really expensive brand-adjacent queries.

For example, if I bid on the keyword “optmyzr,” I’ll pay around $0.10 per click when someone searches for exactly that.

(Disclosure, I am the co-founder of Optmyzr.)

But if I show ads for the keyword “optmyzr ppc management software,” I’m competing against every advertiser who bids for ‘ppc management software,’ my brand discount disappears, and those clicks will cost several dollars each.

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In a branded search campaign, I can control exactly which traffic to target using positive and negative keywords. But in Performance Max, there is no easy way to manage keywords, so Google may use the really cheap brand traffic to subsidize the much more expensive brand-adjacent traffic.

Ultimately, you will get results within your stated ROAS or CPA limits. And while that may be acceptable to some, many advertisers prefer to manage their brand campaign separately from everything else.

3. Create Multiple Performance Max Campaigns To Target Different Goals

The same reasons why you would run more than one campaign in an account without Performance Max apply to why you should consider having multiple PMaxcampaigns.

For example, online retailers often set different goals for different product categories because they have different profit margins. By splitting these products into different campaigns with different ROAS targets, advertisers can maximize their profitability.

Image from author, April 2023

Maintaining multiple campaigns also supports seasonal advertising plans that may require different budgets at different times of the year.

Google supports up to 100 Performance Max campaigns per account, so that indicates that it, too, agrees there are many different good reasons why an advertiser would want to maintain more than one campaign.

4. Manage Final URL Expansion

When you create a PMax campaign, you tell Google what landing page to send traffic to. But you also get to decide if Google can expand to other landing pages on your domain.

Think of it a bit as dynamic search ads (DSAs), which automatically match your site’s pages to potentially relevant searches and automatically generate the ads to show.

Final URL expansion should be used cautiously.

At the campaign’s onset, consider focusing all your budget on the landing pages you care most about. If the results are good, then expand to more final URLs automatically.

And always be sure to use rules and exclusions to ensure Google doesn’t show your ads for parts of your site you don’t want advertised. For example, exclude your login page (assuming that one is ranked high in SEO).

You can also exclude sections of your site that are the focus of other campaigns. A retailer could exclude all pages that include the path ‘electronics’ in their apparel campaign to ensure consumers interested in electronics are served ads from the most relevant campaign.

5. Add Audience Signals From The Start

Adding audiences to a Performance Max campaign helps enhance the targeting and performance of your marketing efforts.

While PMax campaigns already utilize machine learning to optimize ad targeting, incorporating audience information provides additional context that can further improve the campaign’s efficiency.

Adding audience information enables the machine learning algorithms in PMax campaigns to make more informed decisions when optimizing ad targeting and placements. This can lead to better campaign performance and a higher ROAS.

By specifying particular audience segments, such as in-market, affinity, or remarketing audiences, advertisers can tailor their campaign messaging and creative to resonate better with their target users. This enables more personalized and relevant ad experiences, resulting in higher engagement and conversion rates.

Advertisers should also attach their own audiences to Performance Max campaigns. For example, by attaching a list of all their existing customers, they can choose to have the PMax campaign prioritize new user acquisition.

Because it is generally harder and more expensive to find new users than to convince existing users to make another purchase, adding this setting can better focus the ad budget on what is most valuable to the business.

How To Monitor Performance Max Campaigns For Success

Even when campaigns are well set up, monitoring AI is always a smart idea because it can sometimes make questionable decisions.

When I accidentally turned on automatically applied recommendations from Google, I found that my brand keyword ‘optmyzr’ was removed by Google because the AI felt it was redundant to some other keywords in my campaign, particularly some misspellings of our brand name.

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I investigated and found the keywords Google preferred delivered fewer conversions and had a higher CPA than the keywords it removed. So not only was AI semantically wrong, but it also made a bad decision for my bottom line.

So let’s look at some ways to monitor Performance Max campaigns.

6. Report Where Your Performance Max Traffic Is Coming From

Just like you may have monitored clicks and impressions by device types or from different geographic areas, in PMax you should care about the performance of the various channels where your ads are shown.

If you only look at the overall performance of a PMax campaign, you may be falling into the trap of averages.

Relying solely on averages can be misleading and might not accurately represent the true nature of the underlying data.

Averages can oversimplify complex data, reducing it to a single value that may not capture important nuances or patterns within the dataset, and this can mask the variability or range of values in the dataset, leading to false assumptions about the consistency or homogeneity of the data.

a reporting widget showing where google ads performance max ads are showingImage from author, April 2023

For example, is low performance on the display network made up for by the great performance of ads on YouTube?

On average, the campaign drives the results you want. But by eliminating some wasteful portions, results could be even better than what you asked for.

Even if the campaign is delivering the desired results, knowing about possible inefficiencies puts you in a better position to address those and tilt the playing field back in your favor.

Tools like Optmyzr make it easy to see where your budget is spent in PMax, and there are also Google Ads scripts that will add this type of clarity to your data.

7. Monitor For Cannibalization

Because PMax campaigns don’t include the traditional search terms reports and only include part of that data in insights, it can be difficult to know when it is cannibalizing the other campaigns you’re running in parallel.

When it comes to standard shopping campaigns and PMax for retail (which replaced Smart Shopping campaigns), the PMax campaign always takes precedence over the traditional shopping campaign. For this reason, it’s important to segment products to avoid overlap.

For example, you could advertise shower doors in one campaign and bathroom vanities in another. But if there is any possible overlap, even segmenting campaigns may not lead to the desired result.

For example, shower wands advertised in a traditional shopping campaign may be closely enough related to shower doors and get mixed into the PMax campaign for shower enclosures.

Regarding keyword cannibalization, Google says if the user’s query is identical to an eligible Search keyword of any match type in your account, the Search campaign will be prioritized over Performance Max.

But if the query is not identical to an eligible Search keyword, the campaign or ad with the highest Ad Rank, which considers creative relevance and performance, will be selected.

And even a keyword that is an identical match may be ineligible due to a variety of factors and still get cannibalized.

The best way to monitor for cannibalization is to monitor campaign volumes and look for shifts. Does an unexpected drop in a search campaign correspond to an increase in traffic to the PMax campaign? If so, dig deeper and use our optimization tip for managing negative keywords that we’ll cover in the next section.

Optimizations For Performance Max

While PMax promises to optimize itself on an ongoing basis thanks to AI, there are some proactive ways you can still help the machines deliver better results.

8. Use Account-Level Negative Keywords

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to add negative keywords to a PMax campaign without the help of a Google rep. And even then, they will generally only add negative brand keywords to help prevent cannibalizing a brand campaign.

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But PMax campaigns can work with shared negative keyword lists if you email Support and ask them to attach one of your shared negative lists to your PMax campaigns.

From that point forward, you can simply add negative keywords to the shared list, and they will instantly take effect on the PMax campaign that is associated with the shared negative list.

While Google doesn’t share full search term details for PMax the way it does for search campaigns, it will show keyword themes under insights. This is one good source for negative keyword ideas.

You should also leverage data from traditional search campaigns you’re running in parallel to PMax.

So mine your traditional search campaigns for negative keyword ideas, for example, when users search for things like ‘free’ ‘login’, etc., that never convert well. Add these as negative keywords to the shared negative list that is attached to your PMax campaign.

9. Use Account-Level Placement Exclusions

When it comes to placements, Google has a predefined report that shows placements where your Performance Max ads were shown.

image of reports in Google Ads showing what placements performance max ads appear onScreenshot from Google Ads, April 2023

 

This is a great starting point to find ideas for placements to exclude.

To exclude placements from PMax, you’ll need to exclude them at the account level, since it’s not possible to add negative placements to individual PMax campaigns. You’ll find this ability under the “Content” section of the Google Ads account.

The Google Ads interface for excluding account level placementsScreenshot from Google Ads, April 2023

 

Just like with negative keyword discovery, consider using your account-wide placement data from all campaigns to find placements to exclude in PMax.

And if you run multiple Google Ads accounts, you can get even better results by finding money-wasting sites and apps in the display network to exclude across all the accounts you manage.

Or when working with a tool provider, they may even be able to help you find negative placement ideas from their own vast network of data.

10. Exclude Non-Performing Geo Locations

Even though PMax uses automated bidding, which doesn’t support geo bid adjustments, you can still leverage geo data in two ways.

You can either exclude locations that don’t drive conversions or use conversion value rules to manipulate the value you report for conversions from different regions so that the bids will get adjusted accordingly.

For example, if you report conversions as soon as someone fills out your lead form, but you know that people in Munich become paying customers at a higher rate than people who fill out the same form from Berlin, you can set a conversion value rule to value conversions from Munich more highly.

This helps automated bidding make the right decisions about what CPC bid will likely have the desired ROAS.

And that leads to our final optimization tip, which is a big one.

11. Feed Correct Conversion Data

AI can only do a good job for your account if you tell it what the goal is.

And the goal should be precise.

It shouldn’t be to get the most conversions possible if your real goal is to drive profits.

Or to get as many leads as possible if you want leads that turn into customers.

Setting up goals correctly can make a huge difference in how well PPC automation will perform.

Updating goals with margin data or with data from your sales team can be a significant effort, and that’s why I’ve listed this as an ongoing optimization strategy rather than an up-front setup task.

Get PMax up and running with the conversions you’ve already been operating with, and then work to constantly enhance that conversion data.

Conclusion

With these 11 tips to optimize your Performance Max campaigns, you can expect better results while also benefiting from the time savings promised by automated campaign types.

There are many more tips I didn’t cover here that you can discover by joining the dialogue online.

And there will be many more tips to come as PPC automation continues to evolve.

More resources:


Featured Image: TippaPatt/Shutterstock



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A Strategy For Ranking Local Search Terms

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A Strategy For Ranking Local Search Terms

Location landing pages don’t get enough respect.

You set them up with your name, address, phone number & hours. Maybe you embed a Google Map for driving directions.

Perhaps you write some copy that no one will read, and if you have multiple locations, you repeat the same copy on each page and just change the location name.

If you’re feeling cocky, you put a call to action on it – maybe.

You set it, then you forget it.

And guess what? That actually works pretty well for local SEO.

I mean, what more does a potential customer want from a location page? Maybe an appointment scheduler?

But who cares about the customer? We smug SEO types all know Google is our #1 customer.

So, what does Google want from a location page? Let’s start with the basics.

1. What Is The Purpose Of A Location Page? (PAA FTW)

I can’t believe I have to explain this, but ChatGPT isn’t going to train itself. (At least, I don’t think it will.)

For retailers, location pages come in four basic types:

1. Location Detail Page

This typically represents the physical location of a business (e.g., SideTrack Bar & Grill at 30 W. Angela St. Pleasanton, CA 94566,).

2. Location Service/Department Page

This typically represents a specific service or department category available at the physical location (e.g., SideTrack Bar & Grill Catering).

3. City Page

This typically represents the city (#duh) where various physical locations are located (e.g., Pleasanton, CA),

4. State Page

This typically represents the state (#duh2) where various physical locations are located (e.g., California).

Depending on your industry, you may also want to consider County Pages (or Boroughs, Provinces, Prefectures, or whatever nomenclature your particular country uses).

For example, attorneys specializing in the laws of a specific county may find it useful to set up a page for that county.

There are likely infinite other options, but these are the main ones that 99% of you with location-based businesses need to consider.

For service area businesses (aka “SABs”), it’s basically the same setup, except you will typically want to create additional City Pages for the various areas you serve (e.g., Plumber in Livermore, CA, Plumber in San Ramon, CA, etc.).

This will help you target these queries in the Local Organic search engine results pages (SERPs) – those results that typically show up below/above Local Packs – and they can help your Google Business Profile (GBP) be more relevant for queries for those areas.

2. Why Do Location Pages Matter For SEO?

Despite their simplicity, location pages can play a big part in SEO for brands.

There are two basic types of search queries these pages are tailor-made for:

Brand Queries

These are perhaps the most important queries to show up on Google for.

When a searcher queries [Starbucks], [Starbucks near me], or [Starbucks Pleasanton], Google typically wants to show a location page for that brand.

If you don’t have a page for the specific location, Google may show your homepage, a nearby City Page, or perhaps a page for a third-party site like a local business directory that uses your brand name, plus the location for SEO purposes.

And, of course, there are all sorts of related queries like “Starbucks hours,” “Starbucks address,” etc.

Non-Brand Local Queries

These are the money queries where you can attract potential customers who may have never heard of you – or thought of you for the specific query.

Consider queries like [pizza], [pizza near me], [best pizza in Pleasanton], etc. Single-location businesses can often rank for these queries with just their homepage, which basically acts like a location page.

But multi-location businesses will typically need a page for that specific location to rank for these high-value queries in the organic results.

Links

Outside of the homepage, location pages are typically the best source of a site’s external links. Numerous local business directories link to these (aka “local citations”) and they tend to accumulate backlinks from local media sites and others over time.

They can then spread the link mojo throughout the site.

3. How Do Location Pages Affect Local Pack Rankings?

This is pretty straightforward. If you have a Google Business Profile (GBP) linking it to a location page for the area in which you are trying to rank is a critical ranking factor for Local Packs.

I have done plenty of tests where we changed the link to go to a page that did not target the city we wanted to rank in, and the Local Pack rankings suffered. When we switched it back, the rankings recovered.

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It’s important to note: your homepage may have more location mojo than your location page for a given location, so you’ll want to test which one works better for GBP.

And as mentioned above, having a page for a given service area can help you rank for queries for those service areas.

4. What Are the Basic Elements Of A Well-Optimized Location Page?

Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP)

Your location’s business name, address, phone number, and hours. Make sure the name, and all other info, you use on this page matches the info on your business’s GBP.

Last year we looked at 100,000 SERPs and found that pages on local directory sites that exactly match the business name and other info of the relevant GBPs tended to outperform those that have partial or no matches.

Structure Your Data

Mark up all of the NAP elements in LocalBusiness schema. There are a number of specific business category schemas, so if there is something more targeted for your business, you’ll want to use that.

For brands with multiple related brands (e.g., IHG, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, etc.), you’ll want to acquaint yourself with Organization schema to help our robot overlords sort things out correctly.

And don’t forget breadcrumbs linking up to parent City/State URLs marked up with Breadcrumb schema.

Use Targeted Meta Data

The page’s title tag and H1 should ideally target the business name and location (e.g., “Starbucks Pleasanton, CA”).

You can certainly test adding additional targeting to see how it affects performance (e.g., “Starbucks Coffee in Pleasanton, CA,” “Starbucks Coffee Near Pleasanton, CA”).

Our research suggests that outside of the target category (e.g., “coffee”), the city is the most important element to be included in the title tag for “near me” searches – then the state.

Using the word “near” appears to help, but at the margins. Still, an extra 1-2% clicks couldn’t hurt, right?

Title tag factors Image from author, May 2023

5. Engagement Intangibles

“Engagement” is one of the fuzzier of the many fuzzy SEO factors.

So think about what else a potential customer might need to find a location page useful.

Calls-to-action (CTAs), like the ability to make online appointments, order something online, etc., likely send positive signals to Google about the usefulness of the location page.

6. Advanced Location Page SEO

This isn’t rocket science, so when I say “advanced,” I really mean “SEO tactics for someone who somehow got buy-in from the rest of the org to prioritize updates to the location pages that everyone forgot we even had.”

Here are some things we have seen work over time. Your mileage may vary, of course:

Optimized Copy

It’s perfectly fine to start with a basic copy block with a find and replace for the location name/city that explains what your business offers.

It’s relatively cheap and easy, and you can always go back and update the copy later. See what that gets you before spending more time or money on it.

That said, we tend to see more targeted copy outperform instances of using the same copy on each page. I recall a client site not moving in rankings for six months until we updated the copy on the location pages to be unique.

As with everything SEO, try to test this at a small scale before you make a bigger investment.

Hopefully, it goes without saying, but I’ll say it: using phrases relevant to the topic you are targeting in your copy couldn’t hurt.

Certain businesses may also benefit from adding “Points of Interest” (aka “POIs”) to the copy. For example, people often search for hotels with modifiers like “near the airport.”

So adding those phrases and POIs to your location pages can make your page more relevant for these queries while also improving the relevance for the target city “entity.”

That’s a fancy way of saying that because you mention JFK Airport, Google may think you’re relevant to the great borough of Queens, NY. Mentioning the neighborhoods you serve is also a good one.

Link To Nearby Locations

Multi-location businesses should link to nearby locations (the distance depends on what you think is best for customers) from their location pages.

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There are two good reasons besides customer convenience to do this:

  • The more locations you have, the harder it is for Googlebot to find them, so linking to them from these pages creates more reasons for Googlebot to crawl them.
  • Adding the other location names to the copy of the location page may make it more relevant for Google. For example, if there’s a link to “Starbucks Livermore” on the “Starbucks Pleasanton” page, the phrase “Livermore” might give Google more confidence about the Pleasanton location, since Livermore is the next town over.

Use Topically Relevant Images And Videos

Since these lowly location pages get no respect to begin with, they often are launched with copy only.

But check this out: We have found that for some niches, merely adding relevant images to the pages can help with ranking improvements.

For example, if you have a truck driver school, consider adding a picture of a person driving a truck (#duh3). If you are a remodeler, maybe add some shots of recent projects.

A good rule of thumb is to look at the top-ranking pages in the Local Pack for your query and make sure you have just as good, if not better, images and/or videos on your location page.

Use Google’s Vision API to ensure it understands what your image is about.

Link To Product/Service Category Pages

Last year we looked at Local Packs across 10,000,000 keywords for 40 ecommerce categories in 5,000 U.S. markets (the things we do for SEO…).

One of our key findings was that location pages that linked to category pages (e.g., Target.com’s Dublin, CA page linking to its Video Games Category Page) tended to outrank those sites that didn’t do this.

This simple tactic can have a significant impact.

Pick the categories you want to prioritize and link away.

Add Local Reviews

Adding a feed of customer reviews to these pages, particularly if the reviews are from the page’s target area, can often improve performance.

One of my theories is that a regularly updated review feed gives Google a good reason to visit the page often and prioritize it.

Before you implement this, be sure to bone up on Google’s guide to user reviews and its rules for marking up “self-serving” reviews.

Note: I have rarely seen a site penalized for violating these rules, but you may not want to be Patient Zero on this one.

Meet The Team!

We recently did a project for a moving company where we observed that many of the best-ranking pages in their markets had pictures of the local team.

According to my friend Carrie Hill of Sterling Sky,

“Any time someone goes into a client’s house, car, or business, I advise putting employee faces on websites, confirmations, and reminders.”

The Kitchen Sink

Other items that could make sense on your location pages and improve engagement include:

  • Philanthropy and community connections.
  • Local sponsorships.
  • Hiring and careers info.
  • Pricing info (marked up with Price schema, of course).
  • Business license/insurance info.
  • Social proof and trust signals like BBB accreditation for each location and/or “Voted Best Boba Shop in Pleasanton!”

Use Google Merchant Center Data To Increase Conversions

If you are running product listing ads (PLAs) you likely have a ton of data in Google Merchant Center that can give you hints on how to improve conversions on your location pages.

The TL;DR: Check your Google Merchant Center (GMC) to see what products get the highest impressions and click-through rate (CTR) when they are connected to your GBP in the SERPs.

This can be found in the “Local Surfaces” report. These products should be featured on the relevant location page.

see whats in store: google searchScreenshot from Google, May 2023

Google is showing you that people are already interested in them.

See Google Merchant Center: A Local SEO Goldmine for Retailers for more detail on this wacky trick.

7. What Should I Not Do With Location Pages?

Over the past decade or two, we have tried pretty much everything you can think of with these things. Here are a couple of things you’ll want to be wary of:

Unnecessary Location + Service Pages

We’ve seen many brands launch location + service/department pages linked off the location detail page. For example, Home Depot has these pages for Home Services, Truck Rental, and its Garden Centers.

There are plenty of good non-SEO reasons to have these pages. If you are looking to rent a truck, having a specific page about renting a truck in your city might be helpful.

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But be clear that this will often not be a net-new traffic play.

Why do I say this?

Because, after looking at organic traffic data to tens of thousands of location + service pages, we have observed that most of the time, 90% of the organic traffic to these pages is brand traffic, and they are likely cannibalizing searches you were already getting.

Local dept service pagesImage from Semrush, May 2023

This is not the case in every situation, and it may be worth it to roll these out merely to improve conversions.

But you should be aware that these may not be a net positive in terms of organic traffic, and they may even have negative SEO effects due to increasing the number of “thin” URLs on the site.

Multilocation SEO problemsImage from Semrush, May 2023

In one case, we had a client with about 100,000 URLs launch these pages, which created about 1,000,000 new URLs. Guess how well that went.

Our rule of thumb is that if a department or service can get a GBP, it may be worth creating a local page for SEO purposes. This doesn’t apply to all cases, of course.

Location Pages With No Location

We recently worked on a retailer site that created pages for cities that were near their locations, but where they had no locations.

The pages looked like every other location page, but instead of presenting NAP info for a relevant location, it linked to the nearby locations.

This was a national site, so they had over 130,000 of these. And, of course, they were getting virtually zero organic traffic.

For SABs, this tactic is necessary if you want to rank outside of your physical location’s area (more on that in a moment). But it seems that, for queries that imply a searcher is looking for a physical location, Google doesn’t want to show you these types of no-location pages.

Oh, and don’t add insult to injury by creating local pages for every brand you carry (e.g.,/ca/pleasanton/flaming-hot-cheetohs). This client had about 500,000 of those and, you guessed it, virtually no organic traffic.

Beware Thin Content Location Pages

A common tactic for service area businesses or SABs is to create a ton of location pages for the areas they serve.

They may even make the content on them super unique.

Manual actions: issue detected on GSCScreenshot from Google Search Console, May 2023

The challenge is that we are starting to see these types of plays get manual actions for thin content.

Of course, Google does not seem to apply this across the board. I still see plenty of “thin” location pages for various queries.

So what can you do? It’s the same challenge every other SEO has.

Look at what type of content is doing best for a particular query type and create a better page. Let’s face it: when it comes to location pages, the bar is pretty low.

Only Create Pages When There Is Clear Local Intent

We just finished up a project for an attorney with practices in 30+ cities. They have 54 practice areas and have created location + practice pages for each. That’s 1,620+ pages for Google to figure out.

The first thing we did was to determine how much “local intent” there was for search results for each practice area.

“Local intent” can be determined by what % of a SERP has “local” content (e.g., Local Packs, cities or states in the titles, suggested or related searches, etc.).

You don’t need a location page for a query with relatively low local intent. This particular attorney had 300+ location pages targeting queries that had no local intent.

In these cases, it would be better for SEO to redirect these pages to a single “national” service page.

So before you invest a lot in creating location pages, check for local intent first. It might save you a lot of time and cash.

I could keep going.

These deceptively simple pages have near-infinite possibilities for SEO, but my guess is that if you have made it this far, you now have plenty of JIRA tickets to prioritize.

Gunga galunga.

Special thanks to Carrie Hill, Amy Toman, Mike Blumenthal, Joy Hawkins, Brandon Schmidt, and Will Scott for providing feedback.

Special thanks to the LSG team for yelling at me like they were my mother when I was procrastinating while writing this article.

More resources:


Featured Image: DEEMKA STUDIO/Shutterstock



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AI Domain Name Generator & AI Writer Announced by Web.com

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AI Domain Name Generator & AI Writer Announced by Web.com

Web.com, the all in one web services destination, announced two new AI-based tools that help users choose a domain name and provide content ideas.

While the AI Writer tool is for customers, use of the AI Domain Name Generator is free and available for anyone to use without having to sign up for anything.

Web.com AI Tools

Web.com is a provider of hosting, domain, website building, SEO, security and email services.

It’s also an ecommerce platform, essentially a one-stop destination for everything needed to launch a website.

So it’s a natural fit to introduce an AI-based tool that helps customers at the beginning of their website journey when choosing a domain name.

Content ideas for product descriptions, article excerpts, and content for blogs is also a useful addition that should help their users leverage OpenAI technology.

AI Writer

Web.com’s AI writer is a tool that’s exclusively for their customers.

The tool works with an easy to use step by step interface.

First a user selects the the type of content that is needed and then it prompts selections for contextually relevant options like important keywords or the tone of the content.

It creates the following kinds of content:

  • Article
  • Landing page
  • Meta descriptions
  • Meta titles
  • PPC ad
  • Product description
  • Product details page
  • Services page
  • Social post
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The AI writer also works in the following twelve languages:

  • Arabic
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Mandarin
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Ukrainian

I asked Web.com if the tool can automatically insert product descriptions and meta descriptions.

They answered:

“Not yet, the in-product AI Writer feature generates the copy for you, you can customize it to your liking and then you copy and paste it.

However, that kind of integration within the website builder will be coming in the next phase of the product.”

This is how the tool works:

“It was developed for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking for an easy way to create content for their websites, social pages, blogs, product descriptions, and digital marketing campaigns without having to write it themselves.

The AI-powered tool offers a variety of content prompts and interfaces depending on content needs, making it easy to tailor content to specific needs (e.g., emojis for social posts).

Other customizable elements include design tones, keywords, and multilingual content generation in over 10 languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin, so creators can create websites even in a language they aren’t fluent in.”

The AI Writer tool is based on OpenAI, so it’s a convenient way for customers to access these tools within their workflow.

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AI Domain Name Generator

The AI domain name generator is a public tool that helps users brainstorm domain name ideas.

It leverages OpenAI technology so anyone familiar with prompting ChatGPT will immediately feel comfortable using this tool.

But the tool is so easy to use that someone who is new to generative AI should be able to use it.

What makes this tool interesting is that the AI domain name generator is open for use by anyone, you don’t have to be registered user or customer to take advantage of it.

I gave it a try and by describing the kind of business the domain name is for and it generated some pretty good keyword-based domain names.

My preference tends toward brand name domains.

So I updated the prompt by adding, “Don’t use keywords for the domain name but rather give me an evocative brand name.”

And it worked!

Web.com described their tool:

“Traditionally brainstorming and manually searching for available domain names can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

By combining AI with our expertise and experience as one of the largest domain name providers in the world, Web.com offers small businesses a more efficient, creative and tailored approach to finding the best available and relevant domain names.

A customer can provide a few words to describe their business, and the AI-powered Domain Name Generator gives the best ideas on domain names, significantly reducing the time and effort required to find a relevant domain name.”

The AI domain name generator is available here.

See also  9 Key Affiliate Marketing Tips for More Money & Traffic

Featured image by Shutterstock/Kateryna Onyshchuk



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