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The Complete Guide For Local Businesses

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The Complete Guide For Local Businesses

When we hear the term local SEO, we often think about the strategies and tactics that local retail or B2C businesses use to optimize their online visibility and drive traffic to their physical storefront.

However, there are also B2B businesses, which may or may not operate from a distinct location, e.g., a commercial realtor.

These types of businesses have similar, albeit slightly different, challenges to having their customers find and engage with them via organic search.

The overarching goal of a local SEO strategy for any B2B business (much like its B2C counterparts) is to establish itself as the most trusted authority for all topics related to the products and/or services within a specific geographic service area.

As such, businesses must present themselves as active, trusted community participants who create real value for their customers and the community at large.

You can still apply local SEO tactics to improve visibility in local map packs and organic results.

Below are a few best practices to consider specific to B2B.

Start With The Basics

Every SEO project, locally-focused or otherwise, must begin with a solid foundation.

This means conducting a thorough web presence audit or SWOT analysis to identify where to focus on-site and off-site optimization efforts, whether the business is new or well-established.

A comprehensive strategy will include:

  • Intent-driven, topical keyword research to identify how customers are searching.
  • Local qualifiers such as “ near me” and “ in [service area]” to mimic typical consumer search behavior.
  • A technical website audit focused on site/page structure and performance.
  • Locally-oriented keywords into primary structural items like page titles, headings, and meta descriptions.
  • Internal and external link reviews to establish how search engines lead searchers to the right answers to their queries and which links influence online authority.
  • Detailed competitor analysis to understand who stands in the way and what level of effort it may take to unseat them.

The output of each of these exercises should be a prioritized checklist of items forming the basis of your foundational optimization efforts.

Leverage Schema

One particularly important local SEO tactic is using local business schema or HTML markup to standardize the structure of information preferred by the search engines.

According to schema.org, which governs the use of schema,

“On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web.”

Business schema can be used to structure the business address, hours, departments, and reviews, and translate into a similarly structured display within the organic and mapped search results.

Here is an example of how to structure a local business address and other information:

Screenshot from search for [commercial real estate Barrie], Google, April 2022

Another potential use of schema is tagging questions and answers in an FAQ section of a business website, highlighting the business’s area of expertise.

Questions and answers tagged in this manner may display as coveted rich text snippets in search results.

Question and Answer SchemaScreenshot from search for [what is commercial real estate], Google, April 2022

Schema can be a powerful and often overlooked tool that can vault a business’s visibility and content to the top of the search results.

Optimize Your Google Business Profile

A Google Business Profile (GBP or formerly Google My Business page) is a critical component in local SEO. It enables Google to validate the existence of a business within the area it services.

Each business can claim and verify its location, which must be a physical address, even if its business with customers is not formally conducted at the address.

The GBP enables a business to provide all relevant details, including business hours, website links, categories, products, services, logos, images, and/or videos.

Profiles should be as complete as possible.

Google recognizes not all business is done at fixed locations and provides several B2B categories under which such businesses may operate.

Google Business ProfileScreenshot from search for [commercial real estate Barrie], Google, April 2022

The GBP also provides an important place for customers to provide business reviews, whose importance is discussed below.

Beyond initially configuring your GBP, it can and should become a channel through which you engage with your local customers.

Ideally, establish a cadence for posting relevant content at least once a week.

Regular posting of events, promotions, or general information helps improve local search visibility as Google naturally favors active businesses.

Don’t Nap On Your NAP

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number, representing each business’s unique identifier and is likewise important from a local SEO perspective.

Specifically, pay attention to the accuracy of the NAP wherever it may appear across the Internet, from the corporate website to the GBP and within local directories or other sites referencing the business.

Google and the other search engines cross-reference all of these occurrences of the NAP and reward those businesses that maintain a consistent and accurate profile.

Pro Tip: A quick and free way to start managing your NAP is by simply searching your company name and reviewing the search engine results for all mentions of your business and its NAP.

Manage Your Local Listings

Another important signal of a business’s locality is its appearance within relevant local listing sites.

There is a wide variety of free and paid, locally-focused, categorized directory sites businesses can maintain listings.

Here, too, it’s important to maintain consistent NAP info.

However, many directories enable enhanced listings, including product or service information, images, promotions, or other features geared to lead generation.

As with your GBP, the more detailed and complete your listings are, the better.

Many of these directories also offer consumers the opportunity to provide reviews, which should be noted and monitored accordingly.

Use the pro tip above to identify directories. Several paid listings management solutions will also find and update all of your business listings automatically and enable you to monitor and manage them on an ongoing basis.

A deeper analysis should include referencing your primary target keywords’ search engine results pages for any relevant directories.

Those ranking well should be of particular interest as they, by definition, are considered relevant and authoritative in the eyes of the search engines.

Ask For And Respond Promptly To Reviews

Online customer reviews have become a standard and highly trusted resource within the modern B2B buyer’s journey.

Depending on the study, consumers consult reviews before purchasing anywhere from 70% to 95% of the time.

I’m certain we’ve all done it in our personal or professional lives.

These reviews, in turn, have a definitive impact on a business’s local search and map pack visibility.

As such, it’s imperative to encourage your customers to provide reviews via the platform of their choosing, though you can and should guide them to your GBP first, as it will naturally hold significant weight when it comes to Google rank.

Further, it’s important to respond to any reviews quickly, particularly when reviews are deemed negative.

A business’s ability to respond reflects on its organization, customer service, and the general strength of the business.

Some studies have even indicated consumers are more trusting and likely to work with businesses that have effectively addressed issues.

Become The Local Expert

You’ve likely heard the phrase “content is king,” and nowhere is this more true than in B2B SEO. As mentioned, a primary goal is to convince Google your business is the authority on topical areas related to your products and services.

Google rewards topical authority with higher organic visibility, a key benefit of content marketing.

While not easy, at a local level, there is a significant opportunity to become an expert by consistently producing relevant, high-quality content that addresses your customers’ needs at each stage of the buying cycle.

Establish your website, blog, or other content such as instructional or promotional videos, as the go-to resource for customer questions and answers in your service area.

As such, the keywords you use within your content should include local identifiers, e.g., “commercial real estate trends in [location]” or “leasing office space in [location].”

The same content should then link back to your primary ranking product and service pages, where appropriate, to further boost their overall authority.

All content should work together to lead customers from their initial search for a solution to purchasing.

Engage With The Community

Another way to establish authority within a community or service area is to become an active participant.

Some of the ways a business can engage with its community include:

  • Becoming a member of the chamber of commerce or other local business organizations.
  • Joining and supporting local service groups.
  • Sponsoring local events or charitable organizations.
  • Hosting or participating in local events.
  • Partnering and co-marketing with like-minded businesses.

In each case, publish and promote your participation in these activities via your business website and/or social media properties.

Where possible, also seek out opportunities to gain inbound links to relevant pages of your website from any partnering organizations.

These links are valuable signals to the search engines as they help further validate your local presence.

Mind Your Competition

Before you can analyze your competitors, you need to properly identify them, which can sometimes be enlightening when it comes to online competition.

Once you’ve established the topical keywords you want to be found for, use them to understand which competitive domains consistently appear in the search results, particularly those outranking you.

You can perform technical website and content audits to understand how these competitive sites may outperform yours.

You can also look into your competitor’s backlink profiles to see if there are websites where they’ve obtained relevant, high authority links where you have not.

Finally, pay attention to the content they create and the frequency to guide your own content marketing cadence.

As mentioned, the goal is to establish your business as the local expert, and this may take some effort if others are on the same path.

B2B Requires H2H (Human To Human)

The final analysis of your local authority and visibility falls on your customers’ validation of your business through their search, visit, consumption, sharing, and review behavior.

The onus is ultimately on you and your business to ensure you provide your human customers with content, answers, products, and a level of service that will keep them coming back for more and telling their friends and colleagues about you.

Search engines recognize and positively rank local businesses that deliver exceptional experiences and establish a loyal, trusting human audience.

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Why Every Marketer Should Be On Reddit

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Why Every Marketer Should Be On Reddit

In its nearly 20 years of existence, Reddit has built a robust, dynamic, and highly engaged community.

It has cemented itself as not only one of the key influencers for the internet culture we have come to know today, but also as one of the top 10 social media sites in the world, with more than 500,000 monthly visitors across more than 100,000 active communities.

Despite its size and influence, marketers have long avoided, overlooked, and failed to establish a presence on what is arguably one of the most influential social media sites today.

To be fair, Reddit has always been known as one of the hardest communities to have marketing success with, requiring months (if not years) of dedicated commitment to actually being a part of the community and engaging with your audience through meaningful, genuine, and honest interactions.

To many, that is just too much risk and too much work, but let’s be honest – most amazing things take risk and hard work. And for all of you who put in that work to be successful on Reddit, you already see the payoff it brings.

Regardless of the reasons, marketers who continue to overlook Reddit’s potential are missing out on an extremely influential community with ideal targeted demographics, where authenticity and genuine connections lead to valuable information, positive branding, and marketing success.

Not convinced? Let’s take a closer look at Reddit!

Reddit Stats You Cannot Ignore

Reddit users are dedicated to their use of the platform, with a reported 82 million (16.4%) of its 500 million users visiting the site daily, sharing over 1 billion posts, with over 16 billion comments across 100,000+ active communities, making it easily one of the top visited and most active sites in the United States today.

The user base is so loyal that they spend, on average, 20 minutes on the platform each day (and over 45 minutes a day for long-time users of more than 7 years) and, in many cases, are inactive on other social platforms.

This makes Reddit one of the only places to actually get in front of this massive audience, with 32% being inactive on Facebook, 37% on Instagram, 41% on TikTok, and 53% on X.

When it comes to demographics, a 2019 survey concluded that the overall Reddit audience was majority male (59%), ranged in age (36% aged 18-29; 25% aged 30-49), and well educated (42% college degree; 31% some college) making them an ideal audience many businesses looking for success.

They also helped Reddit improve revenues by 21% to $804 million in 2023, with a global addressable market for advertising estimated at $1.4 trillion by 2027.

Thought by many to be mostly a North American audience, Reddit claims more than 50% of its traffic comes from international users, a rather impressive climb from its earlier years.

It is important to remember, though, that Reddit is a platform that allows communities to grow and thrive, so those demographics change from subreddit to subreddit.

If that isn’t enough to grab your attention, surveys have found that 75% of users find Reddit a trustworthy source for making purchasing decisions.

For years now, it has been included heavily and prominently in Google search results, which have become even more visible due to reports following their inclusion in SGE results and with Google’s recent $60 million a year deal with Reddit to have real-time access to Reddit content and to use its content to train Google’s future AI models.

Speaking of Reddit’s visibility in Google’s search results, let’s take a closer look at why that deal is so important, especially to search marketers.

Reddit In Google Search, SGE, And Google’s Reddit Deal

For years, Reddit results have been prominently displayed in Google’s search results – so much so that users have even started adding the term “reddit” to the end of their search queries.

So often, you will see Google suggest search lines with the term “reddit” prefilled at the end.

Screenshot by author from search for [are purple mattresses good], Google, May 2024

Even without selecting the query that includes “reddit,” you will notice Reddit’s prominent placement in two places: discussions and forums, and Reddit sitelinks, which are both just below the ads and the first organic result.

Reddit resultsScreenshot by author from search for [are purple mattresses good], Google, May 2024

This was amplified by Google’s recent Helpful Content Update (HCU), which allowed platforms like Reddit and other forums to show up more frequently in search results,

Reddit’s ability to be helpful in satisfying a user’s search for information is so successful – in combination with reported shortages in new content for AI models from all major platforms – it is not surprising Google struck a deal with Reddit to show its content faster in search results and to use the content in training future AI models.

Since news of the deal between Reddit and Google was reported, there has been a lot of additional focus on Reddit’s visibility in Google’s search results.

Experts throughout the search industry report an increase in not only the total visibility of Reddit going up within search but also the speed at which a Reddit post is indexed and shown to users.

Google responded to concerns about Reddit showing up more in search results, saying that “some of the SEO folks who tend to be vocal on this platform (X) really dislike seeing more forum content in our search results. But actual searchers seem to like it. They proactively seek it out. It makes sense for us to be showing it to keep the search results relevant and satisfying for everyone.”

Google responded to concerns of Reddit showing up more in search resultsScreenshot by author from X (Twitter), May 2024

Although disputed by Google, Roger Montii wrote about one report of Reddit content being indexed within five minutes.

ChatGPT to Surface Reddit Content

Adding to the deal Reddit made with Google, it was recently reported that OpenAI has partnered with Reddit to surface their content in ChatGPT, adding to the clear value that both OpenAI and Google see in Reddit’s content today and in the future.

Of course, this has sparked a lot of interest in companies of all sizes. They want to figure out how their brands can participate and succeed on Reddit in hopes of increasing their visibility in Google’s search results, SGE, and ChatGPT and building their brand’s visibility amongst one of the most influential audiences on the internet today.

**Quick warning: Reddit requires genuine, long-term engagement and a strategy for success. So, I would definitely advise individuals and businesses to avoid trying to game, spam, or blindly jump into marketing on Reddit and take the time to really understand the platform, its audience, and your place of value within its communities.

Let’s look at how some major brands have been successful on Reddit in the past.

noosa Yoghurt

Noosa Yoghurt’s 2021 back-to-school campaign on Reddit was a great example of tapping into niche audiences to create engaging, user-driven content.

To capitalize on Reddit’s community of vocal yogurt enthusiasts, noosa launched a Flavor Poll that invited Redditors to upvote their favorite noosa flavors in the comments. This created a sense of community and interactivity around what could have been a standard poll.

Noosa Yoghurt’s 2021 back-to-school campaign on Reddit.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

After tallying the upvotes, noosa published a Promoted Post that showcased the results using a sleek custom infographic, highlighting the community’s favorites while also giving the brand important insight into consumer preferences.

Noosa published a Promoted Post that showcased the results.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

The results:

  • 49% increase in brand recall among Reddit users who were exposed to the campaign.
  • 30% increase in brand favorability.
  • 39% increase in purchase intent (15X the typical lift observed in the food vertical).
  • 50+ billion monthly views.

Sony Pictures Germany

To drum up excitement around the release of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” in Germany, Sony Pictures Germany crafted a Reddit campaign that combined organic and promoted content to engage the platform’s robust fan communities.

The brand created a Reddit account under the protagonist’s name, u/MilesMorales, and used it to share exclusive content directly within Spiderman-related subreddits.

It also organized an AMA with the German voice actor Miles Morales to create a more personal connection with fans and promoted video posts featuring the movie trailer to amplify the excitement.

Sony Pictures Germany crafted a Reddit campaign.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

The results:

  • Sony Pictures Germany achieved a click-through rate (CTR) that was 344% higher than that of its standard paid media.
  • 831 upvotes.
  • 618,000 impressions.
  • The film remained No. 1 on the German movie charts for three consecutive weeks.

It is important to note that promoting your content and your brand on Reddit is definitely not the only value Reddit can bring you and your business.

Reddit is an amazing place to get honest feedback.

Whether you are trying to figure out what your target audience wants from your brand, test out a new feature or concept before investing and launching it openly, or even just to have continued open communication with your customers to support them and keep them connected to your brand, Reddit can help you succeed in an amazing way.

Transamerica Helping Reddit Make Dollars Make Sense

Transamerica’s campaign on Reddit is a great example of a company identifying an opportunity to connect with its target audience on the subreddit /r/finance.

This allows the company to better understand its customers’ needs and focus on content creation and future marketing plans.

Transamerica’s campaign on RedditScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

Aligning itself with its audience by demonstrating awareness of the topics around personal finance happening in the subreddit, as well as acknowledging the Redditors working at the company, it asked what topics it could create “specifically for the reddit community” around the topic of finance.

It stayed involved and engaged throughout the campaign, responding to threads and maintaining a lighthearted and sometimes humorous tone.

Transamerica’s campaign on RedditScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

After getting all the feedback it needed, it created content around the more popular requests, going as far as branding and designing them similar to Reddit.

IRA vs 401K venn diagramScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

It even took the time to individually comment a link to the published content on its site, bringing attention back to the overall campaign and the content it created.

This campaign was 10 years ago, and it is still referenced as a core example of engaging on Reddit as a brand in a respectful, thoughtful, and meaningful way.

Why You Should Be On Reddit Wrapup

TL;DR: If your brand has something meaningful to say and is interested in truly connecting with your audience, then yes, you should be on Reddit.

These successful brand campaign examples showcase Reddit’s power when used correctly. With research to understand the specific communities you want to reach, Reddit can have exceptional performance compared to other channels.

The stakes are high to get it right because Reddit communities can be highly negative toward self-serving promotion. But if you put in the effort and solve people’s needs and problems, Reddit has the potential to be a high-performance channel.

Edit: Updated daily active users figure based on Reddit’s Q1 Earnings Report

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No Algorithmic Actions For Site Reputation Abuse Yet

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Looking up at an angle at the Google sign on the Head Office for Canada

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, has confirmed that the search engine hasn’t launched algorithmic actions targeting site reputation abuse.

This clarification addresses speculation within the SEO community that recent traffic drops are related to Google’s previously announced policy update.

Sullivan Says No Update Rolled Out

Lily Ray, an SEO professional, shared a screenshot on Twitter showing a significant drop in traffic for the website Groupon starting on May 6.

Ray suggested this was evidence that Google had begun rolling out algorithmic penalties for sites violating the company’s site reputation abuse policy.

However, Sullivan quickly stepped in, stating:

“We have not gone live with algorithmic actions on site reputation abuse. I well imagine when we do, we’ll be very clear about that. Publishers seeing changes and thinking it’s this — it’s not — results change all the time for all types of reasons.”

Sullivan added that when the actions are rolled out, they will only impact specific content, not entire websites.

This is an important distinction, as it suggests that even if a site has some pages manually penalized, the rest of the domain can rank normally.

Background On Google’s Site Reputation Abuse Policy

Earlier this year, Google announced a new policy to combat what it calls “site reputation abuse.”

This refers to situations where third-party content is published on authoritative domains with little oversight or involvement from the host site.

Examples include sponsored posts, advertorials, and partner content that is loosely related to or unrelated to a site’s primary purpose.

Under the new policy, Google is taking manual action against offending pages and plans to incorporate algorithmic detection.

What This Means For Publishers & SEOs

While Google hasn’t launched any algorithmic updates related to site reputation abuse, the manual actions have publishers on high alert.

Those who rely heavily on sponsored content or partner posts to drive traffic should audit their sites and remove any potential policy violations.

Sullivan’s confirmation that algorithmic changes haven’t occurred may provide temporary relief.

Additionally, his statements also serve as a reminder that significant ranking fluctuations can happen at any time due to various factors, not just specific policy rollouts.


FAQ

Will Google’s future algorithmic actions impact entire websites or specific content?

When Google eventually rolls out algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse, these actions will target specific content rather than the entire website.

This means that if certain pages are found to be in violation, only those pages will be affected, allowing other parts of the site to continue ranking normally.

What should publishers and SEOs do in light of Google’s site reputation abuse policy?

Publishers and SEO professionals should audit their sites to identify and remove any content that may violate Google’s site reputation abuse policy.

This includes sponsored posts and partner content that doesn’t align with the site’s primary purpose. Taking these steps can mitigate the risk of manual penalties from Google.

What is the context of the recent traffic drops seen in the SEO community?

Google claims the recent drops for coupon sites aren’t linked to any algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse. Traffic fluctuations can occur for various reasons and aren’t always linked to a specific algorithm update.


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WP Rocket WordPress Plugin Now Optimizes LCP Core Web Vitals Metric

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WP Rocket WordPress Plugin Now Optimizes LCP Core Web Vitals Metric

WP Rocket, the WordPress page speed performance plugin, just announced the release of a new version that will help publishers optimize for Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), an important Core Web Vitals metric.

Large Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP is a page speed metric that’s designed to show how fast it takes for a user to perceive that the page is loaded and read to be interacted with. This metric measures the time it takes for the main content elements has fully loaded. This gives an idea of how usable a webpage is. The faster the LCP the better the user experience will be.

WP Rocket 3.16

WP Rocket is a caching plugin that helps a site perform faster. The way page caching generally works is that the website will store frequently accessed webpages and resources so that when someone visits the page the website doesn’t have to fetch the data from the database, which takes time, but instead will serve the webpage from the cache. This is super important when a website has a lot of site visitors because that can use a lot of server resources to fetch and build the same website over and over for every visitor.

The lastest version of WP Rocket (3.16) now contains Automatic LCP optimization, which means that it will optimize the on-page elements from the main content so that they are served first thereby raising the LCP scores and providing a better user experience.

Because it’s automatic there’s really nothing to fiddle around with or fine tune.

According to WP Rocket:

  • Automatic LCP Optimization: Optimizes the Largest Contentful Paint, a critical metric for website speed, automatically enhancing overall PageSpeed scores.
  • Smart Management of Above-the-Fold Images: Automatically detects and prioritizes critical above-the-fold images, loading them immediately to improve user experience and performance metrics.

All new functionalities operate seamlessly in the background, requiring no direct intervention from the user. Upon installing or upgrading to WP Rocket 3.16, these optimizations are automatically enabled, though customization options remain accessible for those who prefer manual control.”

Read the official announcement:

WP Rocket 3.16: Improving LCP and PageSpeed Score Automatically

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