Update 6/15/2013: I had the microdata code in source code…
The hard part about selling local SEO is that people don’t realize how much impact it has on their brand. It’s not just for storefront businesses. But that’s where most marketing executives think it lives.
Here’s a quick way to introduce the impact of local SEO on a CMO or marketing exec using something familiar – their brand.
Choose a Prospect to Pitch Local SEO
There are different reasons to pitch local SEO. You should pick a prospect who is greatly lacking in one or more areas, whether it be reviews, lack of map listings, lack of brand presence (or prominence as Google now refers to it), etc. This example works for all of them.
Perform a Variety of Brand Searches
Search just the brand. And search the brand plus modifiers. Depending on the brand, it may trigger a Knowledge Panel or it may simply display standard web search results.
Take screenshots of the results (BTW, my favorite screenshot tool is Snagit). Determine based on the listings and Knowledge Panels whether Google is inferring local search intent. You can spot local search intent when you see your city or region appear throughout the listings.
Highlight Results with Local Search Intent
Make a list of brand keywords that do not show local search intent and those that do show local intent. If there is already some brand presence, it will be easy to spot local brand searches by the Knowledge Panel and everything it includes (map, images, reviews, see inside, address, phone, etc.).
If they don’t have decent brand prominence, you may need to dig through results and find clues to show locality included in them. This is how to identify local search intent. I am in Atlanta. So when I search keywords that may have local search intent, Google is going to include local results – even in the regular web listings. So I’m going to look at the Knowledge Panel, as well as terms like Atlanta, Georgia, GA, and Peachtree (a common nickname in Georgia). Also I’m going to look for “Peachtree” because it’s a common nickname in Atlanta. Your region may have a nickname like lowcountry, capital, buckeye, bayou, tri-state, big apple, or mile high that clues you into a hidden local result.
Here are some of my searches.
No local intent.
- Knowledge panel from Wikipedia
- Brand social channels and reviews
- Brand PR & events
- Other organizations, products, technical terms with same initials
Yes: local intent…but with a heavy mix of other results on the brand
- Knowledge Panel with business info
- Job postings
- Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter
- News & events
Yes: local intent (similar to above).
But the reason these have local intent is that Google recognizes the specific business and gives you the local info needed to find it.
SEO Analysis Conclusion:
This brand does not have enough local signals. The brand only search, BKV, does not give all the business details, photos, reviews. Google is not sure if you want the specific marketing agency in Atlanta without giving it more descriptive modifiers. However, the Wikipedia page, links, articles and PR does give it enough prominence to display a Knowledge Panel powered by Wikipedia.
As a disclaimer, I’m the director of SEO here, so I already know the progress and challenges we have, such as building customer reviews while most clients have NDA and cannot publicly say much about their marketing efforts, let alone give reviews for their agency.
This is key SEO insight to know, but it’s not your approach to the pitch.
Pitch a Brand Solution
Here’s what to present to the CMO or marketing executive.
- Provide your examples of brand search.
- Highlight all local elements you find.
- Highlight where it lacks local SEO elements (reviews, photos, see inside, biz info, etc.)
But keep all your examples and highlights BRAND oriented. Don’t talk about SEO. Thoroughly illustrate the problems with the brand online. Regardless of what marketing executives understand about SEO, they always care about their brand.
That’s the key to selling Local SEO. Sell the brand problem first.
Close the Sale
Then you know the rest. If you are in SEO, then you are a problem solver, and you can illustrate that you know how to solve this using your local SEO services. I call this approach Local “Brand Building” SEO.