How to create a consistent omnichannel customer experience

30-second summary:

  • Customers today have high standards when it comes to their online shopping experiences, so you can’t afford to be lax with your operation.
  • Before you do anything else, you should create some in-depth brand guidelines to steer your company’s creative and conversational output.
  • Responding quickly is paramount because it shows that you’re committed to excellent service and are paying attention to what people are saying.
  • By closely tracking when people reach out to you and storing relevant information, you can provide a personalized — and impressive — support service.

Since the rise of ecommerce to a position of prominence, an omnichannel customer experience has steadily become a stronger point of focus for ambitious brands, and it’s easy to understand why. Prices alone aren’t enough to sway shoppers or service users when the profit margins are so narrow, and occasional eye-catching deals won’t earn the loyalty that returns the most value.

At the same time, the complexity involved in the process of designing good customer experiences has skyrocketed. Not only have expectations gone up immensely due to the standard-setting performance of the biggest brands in the world, but there’s also far more competition out there than ever before — and it’s so much harder to stand out.

Notably, it isn’t enough to provide great customer experiences through just one channel. However you reach our customers, you must always offer the same level of polish. This is where the omnichannel approach comes in, pushing you to focus on what you do (being highly actionable with your inbound marketing) instead of where you do it.

Here are some tips to create a consistent omnichannel customer experience:

1. Design and adhere to clear brand guidelines

A great omnichannel customer experience first and foremost would need you to have a set of brand guidelines in place to ensure that every area of your customer service is on the same page. This becomes more of an issue the more people you have working in your business. Knowing that the preferred company tone is one of genial informality, for instance, will prevent an errant support assistant from being overly critical.

And if you think that isn’t particularly important, consider how quickly negative comments can spread through social media. If someone has a great experience dealing with your support team through Facebook but sees some scathing remarks about you on Twitter, it will (at the very least) tilt them towards questioning you. Depending on the identity and influence of the complainant, it may even completely invert their opinion of you.

It’s a good idea to put a system in place to monitor feedback from all relevant avenues because otherwise, you’d need to manually trawl channels to see if anyone mentions you. There are plenty of tools on the market capable of doing this, so I suggest checking out HubSpot’s roundup to see which one might work best for you.

2. Invest in being extremely responsive

Customers can afford to be demanding at this point. Even if there weren’t so many businesses making similar products and services available that any given one (with rare exceptions) could be replaced with a substitute at any time, we’re inarguably living in a time of consumer power. Anyone who’s willing to publicly call out a company can cause it no end of trouble.

If you want to consistently keep customers happy across all possible platforms, you don’t just need to normalize your responsiveness: you need to normalize impressive responsiveness. When an issue comes to your attention, you must take action to address it extremely quickly. This will show that you’re actually invested in making things better.

This will partially come down to implementing smart automation, particularly through using chatbots, though be mindful of the need to adhere to the aforementioned brand guidelines. Don’t just slot in a generic design: provided you’ve chosen a decent platform, you should be able to customize your website’s live chat with your brand colors, your preferred design elements, and — most importantly — content that suits your tone. Extend this philosophy to your social chatbots (anything you deploy via Facebook Messenger, for instance).

In addition to that, you need support assistants that can promptly handle any complex issues that arise. Don’t worry too much about immediately meeting demand, though, because you can’t realistically have enough people to address issues in real-time during crunch periods. Instead, ensure that every issue gets acknowledged (most likely by a chatbot) and that you have a guaranteed response window that’s clearly indicated so everyone knows where they stand.

3. Use platform-independent issue and loyalty tracking

Imagine that one customer reaches out to you via Twitter because they need some help with choosing a product. You provide that assistance, then they go on their way. Later, you receive an email from that customer seeking further information, but the assistant responsible for helping ends up sending them the same information they were previously given.

This is an awkward scenario because it can easily make the customer feel insignificant and unmemorable. Is it your fault? Well, not exactly, but it depends on the exact circumstances. Did the person responsible for the email reply ask the customer if they’d made a prior query? Did the social media assistant note down their details? You shouldn’t expect your customers to track these things. Where it’s convenient, they’ll ignore previous queries if they possibly can.

What you need, then, is a combination of two elements: a platform-independent cloud-based CRM tool (CRM meaning customer relationship management: here’s a good example) and a standard procedure for ensuring that every notable customer interaction is appropriately logged.

Apptivo example - Creating a great ominchannel customer experience

Source: Apptivo

Whenever a support assistant speaks to an existing or prospective customer, they should note things like their social media handles and their email address. When subsequent interactions arise, then, you can impress that customer by already knowing what they’re looking for and what they might need support with.

Closing note

We’ve only looked at a few tips here, but they’re particularly important ones when you’re trying to consistently outperform your competition when it comes to omnichannel customer experience. Assuming your website itself is well optimized (running quickly, being responsive even on mobile connections, and scaling with demand), a renewed focus on brand identity and comprehensive live support could be just what you need.

The post How to create a consistent omnichannel customer experience appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Basic Reputation Management for Better Customer Service

Posted by MiriamEllis

The Internet can be a great connector, but sometimes, it acts as a barrier.

Your local business receives a negative review, and the slate-colored words on the bland white screen can seem so cold, remote. You respond, but the whole interaction feels stilted, formal, devoid of face-to-face human feelings, like this:

At least when a complaint occurs via phone, the tone of a customer’s voice tells you a bit more and you can strive to respond with an appropriate vocal pitch, further questions, soothing, helping, maybe resolving. Still, if you’re working off a formal script, the human connection can be missed:

Image credit: News Oresund, Elvert Barnes

It’s a win when a customer complains in person to your staff, but only if those employees have been empowered to use their own initiative to solve problems. Employees who’ve been tasked with face-to-face interactions but lack permission to act fully human when customers complain will miss opportunity after opportunity to earn the loyalty your brand would give almost anything to amass. Two people can be looking one another in the eye, but if one has to act corporate instead of human, too much formality ensures forgettable experiences:

Image credit: Jan-Willem Boot, Amancay Blank

What you really want as a local business owner is to have the power to turn those chilly black-and-white words on a review profile into a living color interaction. You want to turn one-way messaging into front porch conversation, with the potential for further details, vital learnings, resolution, and deeply informal human connection with a neighbor, like this:

Image Credit: Christian Gries

The great barrier: reviews

Seventeen years into my journey as a local SEO, I’ve come to realize that my favorite businesses — the ones I’ve come to patronize with devotion — are the ones with owners and staff who treat me with the least formality. They’ve creatively established an environment in which I felt liked, heard, regarded, trusted, and appreciated, and I’ve responded with loyalty. It’s really a beautiful thing, when you step back and think about it.

For me, it’s small local farmers who epitomize informal neighborliness in business. They:

  • Do their best to grow high quality food
  • Know me by name
  • Know my dietary preferences
  • Let me roam around their properties for enjoyment’s sake
  • Trust me to pay via an honor system
  • Ask me if there’s additional produce I’d like them to grow
  • Want to know how I’m cooking their produce
  • Tell me other ways I might prepare their produce
  • Have nice conversations with me about a variety of topics

Am I describing a business here, or a friend? The line is blurry. I’ve hugged some farmers. Prayed for a few when they’ve had hard times. I may have first met them for monetary transactions, but we’ve built human relationships, and the entire way I relate to this sector is defined by how the farmers go about their business.

With a few exceptions, most local brands can work at building less formality and more neighborliness into their in-person customer service. Think about it. In most settings, your customers would enjoy being treated with the respectful interest and kindness that invites camaraderie.

But we hit a strange barrier when the medium is online reviews. If we learned to read and write in a formal school setting, we may unconsciously ascribe a certain stiffness to textual exchanges. We’re worried about getting lower marks for making a mistake, and we’re aware of being in front of a public audience in writing review responses. We’re missing vital communicative cues, like the facial expression of the customer, their tone of voice, and their body language.

On our side of the equation, we can’t shake hands, or physically demonstrate our willingness to help, or even signal our approachability with a smile.

To tell the truth, reviews aren’t a great substitute for in-person communication, but they are here to stay, and there’s a certain amount of fear on both sides of many transactions that builds up the layers of the barrier, like this:

What can be done to bring the two parties closer together, so that they are at least leaning over the same fence to talk?

Create a workflow for spotting single and aggregate review cues

The easiest way I know of to get started with a workflow surrounding reviews is via a very intuitive product like Moz Local. Basic components are built into the dashboard, offering a simple jumping off point into the complex world of reputation management.

The screenshot above shows a portion of the functions Moz Local offers for review management. The organization of the various data widgets create a bridge for getting closer to customers and engaging in real, meaningful dialogue with them in an atmosphere of goodwill, rather than fear. Let’s break it down by tasks.

1. Seek cues in single reviews with ongoing alerts

To enter into a conversation, you have to know when it starts. The right-side column of the Moz Local dashboard keeps a running feed of your incoming reviews on a variety of platforms, as well as incoming Google Q&A questions. On a daily basis, you can see who is starting a conversation about your business, and you can tell whether customers most recent customers were having a good or bad experience by looking at the star rating.

Make it your practice to click first on any review in this feed if it’s received a 3-star rating or less, and see how much information a customer has shared about the reason for their less-than-perfect rating, as in this fictitious example:.

Because the reviews are timestamped, you may have the ability to connect a customer’s poor experience with something that happened at your place of business on a specific day, like being understaffed, having an equipment failure, or another problem.

In fact, a second view in the dashboard makes it immediately obvious if the reviews you received on a particular day had lower star ratings than you’d like to see:

If you know a customer’s complaints can be tied to an issue, this gives you something more and better to say than just “I’m sorry,” when you respond. For example, broken equipment leading to a cold meal is something you can explain in asking the customer to let you make it up to them.

2. Seek cues in aggregated sentiment

    Knowing whether you have just one customer with a single complaint or multiple customers with the same complaint is vital quality control intelligence. Very often, Google reviews are particularly brief in comparison to reviews on other platforms, and you need to be able to take a large body of them to see if there are shared topical themes. The Review Analysis widget in the Moz Local dashboard does exactly this for you:

    In this view, you can see up to 100 of the most common words your customers are using when they review you, the percentage of the reviews containing each word, and the star rating associated with reviews using each word. You can toggle the data for each column.

    In our fictitious example, the business owner could see that when food is served cold, it’s yielding very poor review ratings, but that, fortunately, this is a complaint contained in only 1.7% of total reviews. Meanwhile, the business owner could notice that 2% of reviews with a 3.8 star rating (only a moderately good experience) are revolving around the phrase “service”. The owner can click on each word to be shown a list of the reviews containing that term to help them identify what it is about the service that’s diminishing customer satisfaction.

    The figures in the above screenshot are all pretty low, and likely represent only mild concerns for the business. If, however, the business owner saw something like this, that would change the narrative:

    Here, 12.2% of the reviews mentioning the restaurant’s veggie burgers are associated with a very poor 2.0 rating. The owner would need to dive into this list of reviews and see just what it is customers don’t like about this dish. For example, if many of these reviews mentioned that the burgers lacked flavor, had bland condiments, or buns that fell apart, these would be cues that could lead to changing a recipe. Again, this would give the owner something genuine to say in response to dissatisfied customers. Ideally, it would lead to the customer being invited to come again for something like a free taste test of the new recipe.

    Whatever details the review sentiment analysis function yields for your business, use it with the intention of having a two sided conversation with your customers. They complain, in aggregate, about X, you research and implement a solution, and finally, you invite them to experience the solution in hopes of retaining that customer, which is typically far less costly than replacing them.

    3. Grade your business at a glance

      These two views in the Moz Local dashboard allow you to analyze two key, related aspects of your business at a glance.

      The Average Rating view is the fastest way to grade yourself on aggregate customer satisfaction. This example shows a business with little to fear, with 96% of customers rating the business at 4-or-more stars and only 4% having a three-stars-or-less experience. In terms of having happy customers, this fictitious company is doing a great job.

      However, the Reviews Reply rate needs some work. They’re only replying to 1% of their overall reviews, 0% of their 2-to-5-star reviews, and only 21% of their 1-star reviews. The business is doing an excellent job offline, but unless they improve their online responsiveness, their average review rating could begin to decrease over time.

      In sum, a workflow which investigates reviews singly and in aggregate tells the story or customer satisfaction across time, and gives the business owner a clearer narrative to tap into and write from in responding.

      Make optimal response rates and two-way conversation your goal

      As a local business owner, you have many demands on your time. That being said, my pro tip for you is to respond to every review you possibly can. There’s no scenario in which it’s smart to ignore a conversation any customer starts, whether positive or negative. Just as you wouldn’t ignore a percentage of your incoming calls or customers walking around your business, you shouldn’t ignore them online.

      If thinking of reviews as a two-way conversation is a bit of new concept to you, consider that most review platforms enable people to edit their reviews for a reason: many of your customers think of the reviews they write as living documents, and are willing to update them to journal subsequent interactions that made a scenario better or worse. My own research has shown this to be true, and multiple studies have reached the conclusion that the majority of customers will continue doing business with brands that resolve their complaints.

      This means that local businesses can manage a customer journey that follow this pattern for negative reviews, much of the time:

      In black-and-white review land, this might look like this:

      Or, when a customer is happy to begin with, offering extra incentives to come again while thanking the customer for taking the time to write their review could look like this:

      Here, a conversation starter about salsa has been turned into a two-way dialog guaranteed to make the customer feel heard and valued. They’ve been invited back, their opinion has been solicited, and both the existing customer and all potential future customers reading Mary’s response can see that this is a restaurant with a lively, on-going relationship with its diners.

      Takeaway: don’t just say “thanks” to every customer who positively reviews your business. Seek cues in their words that show what they care about and tie it to what you care about. Find common ground to further engage them and bring them back again.

      How big of a priority are reviews, really?

      I’ve consulted with so many local business owners over the years — everybody from beekeepers to bookkeepers. It’s a plain fact that all small business owners are extremely busy, and not all of them instantly take a shine to the idea of having a lot of little two-way conversations going on with their customers in their review profiles.

      Statistics can change minds on this, when it comes to figuring out how much of a priority review analysis and management should be. Consider these findings from the Moz State of the Local SEO Industry survey of over 1,400 people involved in the marketing of local businesses:

      Respondents placed aspects of Google reviews (count, sentiment, owner responses, etc.) as having the second greatest impact on Google’s local rankings.

      90% of respondents agree that the impact of reviews on local pack rankings is real.

      Nearly 14% of those marketing the largest local enterprises realize that more resources need to be devoted to review management. Yet, in another section of the survey, agency workers placed review management in a lowly 11th place in terms of something they are requested to help their clients with. Learn more about these trends by downloading the free State of the Local SEO Industry Report for 2020.

      Statistics like these indicate that there is a maturing awareness of the vital role reviews play in running a successful local business. Management of all aspects of reviews deserves priority time.

      Make a habit of reading reviews between the lines

      Moz Local software will ensure you know whenever single reviews come in, and help you slice and dice review data in ways that tell customer service narratives in aggregate. If you’re already using this software, your first steps of reputation management are just waiting to be taken with ease and simplicity.

      But to get the most of any review management product, you’ll need to bring a human talent to the dashboard: your ability to read between the lines of review text that can be brief, vague, sharp, and sometimes unfair.

      With the exception of spam, there’s a real person on the other side of each text snippet, and for the most part, their shared desire is to be treated well by your business. Even if a review stems from a customer you can’t identify or one who communicates disappointment rudely, you can take the high road by making a mental image of yourself standing face-to-face with someone you highly value who is voicing a problem. Respond from that good place, with the conscious intention of improved neighborly communication and you may be pleasantly surprised by your ability to transform even the most dissatisfied person into a happier, more loyal customer.

      I’ll close today with an excerpt of a very long real-world review which I’ve truncated. I’ve underlined the cues and the rewards I’m hoping you’ll spot and see as you strengthen your commitment to review management as a key component of your customer service strategy.


      The new Moz Local plans — Lite, Preferred, and Elite — are designed to offer more features and flexibility to better meet the needs of local businesses and their marketers. Customers on any of the new plans can now monitor reviews via alerts, and depending on the plan, respond to reviews and take advantage of social posting. It’s never been more important to actively engage and listen to the needs and concerns of your current customers — and potential customers will take notice.

      Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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      CEO’s take on emerging industry trends and strategies: Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird

      30-second summary:

      • Hyperlocal SEO will help struggling communities salvage their local businesses.
      • Moz surveyed over 1,400 local business marketers and more than half said they plan to implement Google’s new features to support COVID-19 affected businesses.
      • Five under-rated yet crucial parameters marketers need to stay on top of.
      • Sarah Bird’s special tips to optimize audience engagement at various marketing touchpoints.
      • The best things you can do for landing pages is….?
      • Dive in for these golden nuggets and a lot more.

      2020 has hit the reset button for the world in many ways adding more wheels to digital marketers’ and brands’ “car of struggles” for success. SEO is somewhat looked at as a game of Russian roulette where you win some and you lose some, and COVID-19 hasn’t made this any easier. To help you hit bull’s eye and add an extra push to your digital strategies, we caught up with Moz’s CEO, Sarah Bird to uncover emerging trends in the search scape, SEO, audience behaviors, and more!

      Sarah Bird Q&A on emerging SEO and industry trends 2020
      Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz

      Q. What technologies, tools, and audience behaviors do you see shape up as 2020 progresses. If you were to draw a line between the temporary and ones that are here to stay, what would it be? 

      Sarah Bird: Hyperlocal search has been important for years. 2020 has only increased its merit.

      COVID-19 has made active local business listings management more vital than ever before. Communities struggling to keep themselves supplied and cared for in changed conditions must depend on the internet as a crucial resource, and when business listings can quickly communicate to them what’s available, where, when, and how, that’s truly important.

      With Google rolling out new features that allow business owners to share updates about curbside pickup, home delivery, or special hours for vulnerable populations directly on their listings, customers can access convenient information with a simple search. We surveyed over 1,400 local business marketers and more than half said they plan to implement such services permanently. Aside from being absolutely necessary this year, businesses recognize that the investment in ecommerce should not simply be for the short-term, but should be able to accommodate their business and customers in the long-term.

      Q. If you were to pick the hero of Moz’s local and international SEO strategy for the rest of 2020, what would it be? 

      Sarah Bird: Reputation management will be crucial for local SEO strategy during 2020. We offer reputation management features through Moz Local that we urge users to leverage. 

      Some of the most valuable features of Moz Local at this time are review alerts that allow you to quickly facilitate complaint resolution and response rating for quality control. During hectic times, customers are more emotional — this can either work for or against you. Should you receive a poor review during this time, it’s imperative that you respond quickly and empathetically.

      Moz Local also offers a sentiment analysis feature that shows the most commonly used words for each of your star ratings. This can be useful in deciphering exactly what customers are finding important during this time.

      Q. What five under-rated yet crucial parameters do marketers need to stay on top of to ensure that their brand has positively influenced their customers/target audiences?

      1. Keywords: Understanding your own keywords and those of your competitors ensures marketers have a plan in place to secure visibility on a brand’s offerings or content. 
      2. External links: These are an important source of ranking power in a SERP.
      3. Differentiation: Framing content correctly is key to reaching target audiences. Sometimes that means presenting contrarian ideas, as described by Caroline Forsey of HubSpot. 
      4. Omnichannel communication: Not all of your readers are going to read and engage via laptop or mobile, but be sure to consider how SEO is involved in your social media strategy.
      5. Outcome alignment: SEO goals don’t always have to focus on clicks. Ensure your marketing team is aligned on how content or a topic should be engaged, as it could mean that your ideal outcome is answering your customer’s question directly within the SERP. 

      Q. What are the best ways to use entities that can leverage BERT, add more dimensions to keyword strategy, content, and the overall digital presence? 

      Sarah Bird: I don’t encourage SEOs or marketers to optimize for BERT. There are too many variables to develop an effective strategy toward this model.

      Instead, marketers should continue the focus on the overarching goal of creating excellent content that holistically understands and meets the intent of users. This is no small feat and requires an intense understanding of your business, your audience, and how the two intertwine. Creating world-class content that’s data-driven, timely, and empathetic to the audience will prove to be far more effective than focusing on this specific component of an algorithmic change from Google.

      Q. Tips to optimize audience engagement at marketing touchpoints like emails, landing pages, and social media?

      Sarah Bird: Each of these touchpoints are important for a business’s SEO strategy. These aren’t tactics that can be tacked on — they all have a powerful impact. 

      Email marketing delivers some of the highest ROI, generating $38 for every $1 spent. When it comes to emails, call-to-actions must be clear. Consider which landing pages you’re sending people to and whether they’re appropriate to improve bounce rates.

      Social shares of a brand’s content have a high correlation to ranking (as described by our own Cyrus Shepard.) As with everything in SEO, a focus should be put on the keywords used as well as the medium of the content being put out and whether or not it’s optimized.

      High-converting landing pages may lead to high bounce rates, which could negatively impact SEO. Rand Fishkin actually addressed this exact issue in a Whiteboard Friday. The best things you can do for landing pages is – focus on high-conversion long-tail keywords and to provide keyword-based content.

      Feel free to share your thoughts on our interview and the emerging trends, drop a comment!

      The post CEO’s take on emerging industry trends and strategies: Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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      How to use personal passions to create meaningful content

      30-second summary:

      • Nearly half of all consumers consume plenty of content before deciding on a purchase, so brands should focus on crafting compelling, useful reads.
      • If you position your brand as a trusted source, people are five times likelier to look to you for pre-purchase information.
      • RAPP copywriter Jack Schuleman shares three tips for encouraging a team to use personal passions to write richer content. 

      Content is still one of the best ways to engage consumers. Create meaningful content, and you offer like-minded customers more reason to get involved and invested with your brand. Whether information is coming from peers, family, or brands, people like the feeling of being understood. That’s what meaningful content does. It makes the individual feel seen and heard.

      Besides, nearly half of all consumers engage with copious amounts of content before arriving at a purchase decision. This is the perfect opportunity to persuade with a compelling, useful read and move the ultimate choice in your favor. It may also help position your brand as a trusted source, which has benefits of its own. Individuals will be five times more likely to look to you for information prior to a purchase, giving you yet another opportunity to persuade.

      The question then is, how do you go about crafting a meaningful piece of content?

      The power behind a passion

      It all comes down to one two-syllable word: passion. Personal passion makes all the difference in the creation of meaningful content. It brings deeper insights into an intended audience. You already know what that community likes, engages with, and finds compelling. If you’ve spent a life immersed in a given subject, you know these people on an intimate level.

      I’m a car guy. Anybody who knows me knows that. Working for an automobile client now, I’m able to incorporate my wealth of industry knowledge into the work — and get a little return on the years of magazine subscriptions. It’s allowed me to tap into not only my passion for cars but my understanding of the people who own and love them.

      Take an SUV, for instance. One buyer’s interest stems from a desire to go off-roading regularly, while another may only use it to go to the mall. Other than the obvious, what’s the meaningful difference between the two? Where might their interests coincide? How can you speak to both effectively? My passion affords me a better understanding of how to write to either one of these customers, helping to craft more compelling and engaging content.

      Unleashing the full enthusiasm

      Using a passion to inform content is straightforward, but instilling this idea throughout a team can take some time. There’s a comfort level that varies from one person to the next. But there are few steps to make the process easier, and it goes something like this:

      1. Find opportunities to utilize your passion

      Integrating your passions into your work can certainly have a positive impact on your job performance. I can attest to that. It simply comes through in the work — and, best of all, consumers can feel it. When customers understand that the people behind the brand are passionate about the products, it sets an expectation: You can trust us to deliver quality goods. In fact, studies show that communicating passion in your advertising influences everything from purchase behaviors to brand attitudes. Look for the opportunities in the workplace to best utilize your passions. Ask to take part in that work.

      2. Bring more of yourself to work

      My previous team knew I was into cars, so they were more than willing to keep an ear to the ground should something on the automotive front open up. Had I decided to leave that part of myself at home, who knows whether I’d be working on that client today? Not that you need to divulge your entire personal life to co-workers, but sharing more of your “self” in the workplace allows you to bring your passions with you each day. You can more easily lean on your enthusiasm and do your best, most innovative work. There’s a lot of potential in that.

      3. Give credit where credit is due

      Whether ideas come from trade publications or industry events, lived experiences advance the work. So you should feel comfortable sharing its origin; it won’t make the idea any less valuable or worthwhile. And while on the topic, look for suggestions outside the confines of your department. Someone from customer service, for example, could provide valuable insights for your next marketing campaign. Ask for ideas. Challenge teams to bring new concepts to the table, and provide feedback on what you like most about it. The constant exchange can create momentum throughout your company and encourage everyone to think outside the box.

      Speaking from a place of knowledge will always be more compelling. It simply provides an air of expertise that consumers respond to. Of course, each individual has only so many interests, which is why building a team with an eclectic mix of hobbies, passions, and lifestyles is essential to an agency or marketing department. The more backgrounds you can get, the better off your team will be — and you’ll see it in your content.

      Jack Schuleman is a writer who never learned the meaning of the phrase “slow down”. After a lifetime of drag shows, car meets, and all sorts of misadventures, he’s been able to apply his unique point of view and improv-honed creativity into engaging copy across nonprofits, automotive brands, and tech companies. Now writing for Toyota, he’s pursuing the most elusive target yet: a 100% click-through rate.

      The post How to use personal passions to create meaningful content appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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      There’s Gold In Them Thar SERPs: Mining Important SEO Insights from Search Results

      Posted by AndrewDennis33

      There’s gold in them thar SERPs…gold I tell ya!

      Now, whether that phrase takes you back to a simpler (maybe? I don’t know, I was born in the 80s) time of gold panning, Mark Twain, and metallurgical assay — or just makes you want some Velveeta shells and liquid gold (I also might be hungry) — the point is, there is a lot you can learn from analyzing search results.

      Search engine results pages (SERPs) are the mountains we’re trying to climb as SEOs to reach the peak (number one position). But these mountains aren’t just for climbing — there are numerous “nuggets” of information to be mined from the SERPs that can help us on our journey to the mountaintop.

      Earning page one rankings is difficult — to build optimized pages that can rank, you need comprehensive SEO strategy that includes:

      • Content audits
      • Keyword research
      • Competitive analysis
      • Technical SEO audits
      • Projections and forecasting
      • Niche and audience research
      • Content ideation and creation
      • Knowledge and an understanding of your (or your client’s) website’s history
      • And more.

      A ton of work and research goes into successful SEO.

      Fortunately, much of this information can be gleaned from the SERPs you’re targeting, that will in turn inform your strategy and help you make better decisions.

      The three main areas of research that SERP analysis can benefit are:

      • Keyword research
      • Content creation
      • And competitive analysis.

      So, get your pickaxe handy (or maybe just a notebook?) because we’re going to learn how to mine the SERPs for SEO gold!

      Finding keyword research nuggets

      Any sound SEO strategy is built on sound keyword research. Without keyword research, you’re just blindly creating pages and hoping Google ranks them. While we don’t fully understand or know every signal in Google’s search algorithm — I’m pretty confident your “hopes” aren’t one of them — you need keyword research to understand the opportunities as they exist.

      And you can find some big nuggets of information right in the search results!

      First off, SERP analysis will help you understand the intent (or at least the perceived intent by Google) behind your target keywords or phrases. Do you see product pages or informational content? Are there comparison or listicle type pages? Is there a variety of pages serving multiple potential intents? For example:

      Examining these pages will tell you which page — either on your site or yet to be created — would be a good fit. For example, if the results are long-form guides, you’re not going to be able to make your product page rank there (unless of course the SERP serves multiple intents, including transactional). You should analyze search intent before you start optimizing for keywords, and there’s no better resource for gauging searcher intent than the search results themselves.

      You can also learn a lot about the potential traffic you could receive from ranking in a given SERP by reviewing its makeup and the potential for clicks.

      Of course, we all want to rank in position number one (and sometimes, position zero) as conventional wisdom points to this being our best chance to earn that valuable click-through. And, a recent study by SISTRIX confirmed as much, reporting that position one has an average click-through rate (CTR) of 28.5% — which is fairly larger than positions two (15.7%) and three (11%).

      But the most interesting statistics within the study were regarding how SERP layout can impact CTR.

      Some highlights from the study include:

      • SERPs that include sitelinks have a 12.7% increase in CTR, above average.
      • Position one in a SERP with a featured snippet has a 5.2% lower CTR than average.
      • Position one in SERPs that feature a knowledge panel see an 11.8% dip in CTR, below average.
      • SERPs with Google Shopping ads have the worst CTR: 14.8% below average.

      SISTRIX found that overall, the more SERP elements present, the lower the CTR for the top organic position.

      This is valuable information to discover during keyword research, particularly if you’re searching for opportunities that might bring organic traffic relatively quickly. For these opportunities, you’ll want to research less competitive keywords and phrases, as the SISTRIX report suggests that these long-tail terms have a larger proportion of “purely organic SERPs (e.g. ten blue links).

      To see this in action, let’s compare two SERPs: “gold panning equipment” and “can I use a sluice box in California?”.

      Here is the top of the SERP for “gold panning equipment”:

      And here is the top of the SERP for “can I use a sluice box in California?”:

      Based on what we know now, we can quickly assess that our potential CTR for “can I use a sluice box in California?” will be higher. Although featured snippets lower CTR for other results, there is the possibility to rank in the snippet, and the “gold panning equipment” SERP features shopping ads which have the most negative impact (-14.8%) on CTR.

      Of course, CTR isn’t the only determining factor in how much traffic you’d potentially receive from ranking, as search volume also plays a role. Our example “can I use a sluice box in California?” has little to no search volume, so while the opportunity for click-throughs is high, there aren’t many searching this term and ranking wouldn’t bring much organic traffic — but if you’re a business that sells sluice boxes in California, this is absolutely a SERP where you should rank.

      Keyword research sets the stage for any SEO campaign, and by mining existing SERPs, you can gain information that will guide the execution of your research.

      Mining content creation nuggets

      Of course, keyword research is only useful if you leverage it to create the right content. Fortunately, we can find big, glittering nuggets of content creation gold in the SERPs, too!

      One the main bits of information from examining SERPs is which types of content are ranking — and since you want to rank there, too, this information is useful for your own page creation.

      For example, if the SERP has a featured snippet, you know that Google wants to answer the query in a quick, succinct manner for searchers — do this on your page. Video results appearing on the SERP? You should probably include a video on your page if you want to rank there too. Image carousel at the top? Consider what images might be associated with your page and how they would be displayed.

      You can also review the ranking pages to gain insight into what formats are performing well in that SERP. Are the ranking pages mostly guides? Comparison posts? FAQs or forums? News articles or interviews? Infographics? If you can identify a trend in format, you’ve already got a good idea of how you should structure (or re-structure) your page.

      Some SERPs may serve multiple intents and display a mixture of the above types of pages. In these instances, consider which intent you want your page to serve and focus on the ranking page that serves that intent to glean content creation ideas.

      Furthermore, you can leverage the SERP for topic ideation — starting with the People Also Ask (PAA) box. You should already have your primary topic (the main keyword you’re targeting), but the PAA can provide insight into related topics.

      Here’s an example of a SERP for “modern gold mining techniques”:

      Right there in the PAA box, I’ve got three solid ideas for sub-topics or sections of my page on “Modern Gold Mining”. These PAA boxes expand, too, and provide more potential sub-topics.

      While thorough keyword research should uncover most long-tail keywords and phrases related to your target keyword, reviewing the People Also Ask box will ensure you haven’t missed anything.

      Of course, understanding what types of formats, structures, topics, etc. perform well in a given SERP only gets you part of the way there. You still need to create something that is better than the pages currently ranking. And this brings us to the third type of wisdom nuggets you can mine from the SERPs — competitive analysis gold.

      Extracting competitive analysis nuggets

      With an understanding of the keywords and content types associated with your target SERP, you’re well on your way to staking your claim on the first page. Now it’s time to analyze the competition.

      A quick glance at the SERP will quickly give you an idea of competition level and potential keyword difficulty. Look at the domains you see — are there recognizable brands? As a small or new e-commerce site, you can quickly toss out any keywords that have SERPs littered with pages from Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart. Conversely, if you see your direct competitors ranking and no large brands, you’ve likely found a good keyword set to target. Of course, you may come across SERPs that have major brands ranking along with your competitor — if your competitor is ranking there, it means you have a shot, too!

      But this is just the surface SERP silt (say that five times fast). You need to mine a bit deeper to reach the big, golden competitive nuggets.

      The next step is to click through to the pages and analyze them based on a variety of factors, including (in no particular order):

      • Page speed
      • Visual aesthetics
      • Timeliness and recency
      • Readability and structure
      • Amount and quality of citations
      • Depth of coverage of related topic
      • How well the page matches search intent

      If the page is lacking in any, many, or all these areas, there is a strong opportunity your page can become the better result, and rank.

      You should also review how many backlinks ranking pages have, to get an idea for the range of links you need to reach to be competitive. In addition, review the number of referring domains for each ranking domain — while you’re competing on a page-to-page level in the SERP, there’s no doubt that pages on more authoritative domains will benefit from that authority.

      However, if you find a page that’s ranking from a relatively unknown or new site, and it has a substantial amount of backlinks, that’s likely why it’s ranking, and earning a similar amount of links will give your page a good chance to rank as well.

      Lastly, take the time to dive into your competitor’s ranking pages (if they’re there). Examine their messaging and study how they’re talking to your shared audience to identify areas where your copy is suboptimal or completely missing the mark. Remember, these pages are ranking on page one, so they must be resonating in some way.

      Conclusion

      Successful SEO requires thorough research and analysis from a variety of sources. However, much of what you need can be found in the very SERPs for which you’re trying to rank. After all, you need to understand why the pages that rank are performing if you want your pages to appear there, too.

      These SERPs are full of helpful takeaways in terms of:

      • Keyword research and analysis
      • Content ideation and strategy
      • And competitive analysis and review.

      These golden nuggets are just there for the takin’ and you don’t need any tools other than Google and your analytical mind — well, and your metaphorical pickaxe.

      Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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      Optimizing the browser long tail across platforms, devices, and countries

      30-second summary:

      • If a company or brand wants to go global, it must understand the intricacies of where and how consumers browse, realizing that true optimization must consider content consumption trends and regional device or browser differences.
      • Better user experiences and higher engagement levels depend on it.
      • There is no such thing as “mobile vs. desktop” when optimizing visuals for a website.
      • Cloudinary’s VP of Marketing discusses how to optimize at a global scale. 

      Just as diverse as the devices and browsers on which people globally surf the web, the internet is a complex digital world. If a company or brand wants to go global, it must understand the intricacies of where and how consumers browse, realizing that true optimization must consider content consumption trends, and regional device or browser differences. Better user experiences and higher engagement levels depend on it. More on how optimizing the browser long tail can help your business.

      Visual storytelling is everything, but not simple

      Marketers rely heavily on visuals as part of their strategy to make a meaningful impact and ensure a good first impression. Whether to sell an apparel product or market a professional service, a photo or video will more quickly communicate value than a written description. Delivering compelling visuals across a website is critical to achieving the desired call to action for a site visitor, but it’s often technical details that interfere with a brand’s visual storytelling efforts.

      There is no such thing as “mobile vs. desktop” when optimizing visuals for a website. While once a helpful reminder for developing responsive and user-friendly sites, this simplistic, either-or mentality doesn’t account for every possible touchpoint.

      Consider this scenario: first thing in the morning, a man checks his WhatsApp messages on his phone to see that a friend shared a Facebook link for a fitness watch. He then starts looking more into it on his device before getting out of bed. Once he’s logged on to his desktop during work hours, he does additional research, digging into product details and features. Later, he pulls up the website on his tablet to show the watch to his girlfriend as a birthday hint, referencing customer testimonial videos to drive his point home. Before calling it a day, he’s back on his phone in WhatsApp or via text message, sharing with his friend that he’s almost certain the watch will soon be his.

      There are a variety of important aspects to consider when creating a visual story online, as shown in this example: the default browser on the man’s device, the microbrowser through which he communicates with friends, the previews associated with unfurled social media links; and finally, the different devices he interacts with, each having different requirements for size, and aspect ratios. Nothing is more frustrating than investing significant time and resources to create beautiful visuals for a campaign only to discover that audiences aren’t seeing them how they were intended.

      The browser long tail and other browser dynamics shouldn’t compromise your visuals

      Despite the dominant players in the global browser market, there still exists a browser long tail – a list of different browser versions used by consumers – with significant regional differences. Consumers expect a consistent experience, wherever they engage with brands, but a big reason for consistency issues is a developer’s limited view of just how lengthy that worldwide list of relevant browser types really is.

      In this year’s State of the Visual Media Report, Cloudinary found that while Chrome and Safari continue to lead the worldwide browser market (63.91% and 18.2%, respectively), lesser-known variants are still influential in many parts of the world. In analyzing more than 200 billion monthly transactions across 700 customers, research found, for example, that Nokia devices are still popular in Northern Europe, and in certain Asian markets, Nintendo DS systems see a lot of traffic. Surprisingly, there’s even image traffic coming from legacy office software like Lotus Notes. Understanding these nuances of the browser long tail in different geographies will give developers a leg up as they work to ensure every image or video format used is supported by a viewer’s browser of choice.

      Adopting visual content and lite mode to improve engagement durations

      In April 2020, 18% of global Android users enabled the “save-data,” or lite mode, function, which enables faster browsing by decreasing the amount of mobile data used. In this mode, Google’s servers may consider web pages fully loaded without processing large-format and data-rich visual content. Knowing this, developers can adopt visual content to ensure the experience will be optimal without losing site performance. According to Cloudinary data, web developers that work to optimize the lite mode experience benefit from longer engagement and see up to a 10% uptick in session engagement. Given the strong correlation between adapted content and longer engagement, it’s in a developer’s best interest to ensure visuals are adapted for this device mode and its users.

      Embracing intelligent asset optimization for a seamless user experience

      Making sure a website’s images and videos are responsive is more than just adjusting for the right layout. More than ever, it’s now about making sure that content is making the greatest use of landscape and portrait device orientations. A responsive site adapts its layout to the viewing environment, resizing and moving elements dynamically based on the properties of the browser or device the site is displayed on.

      AI can automatically detect web visitors’ visual requirements and their browsers, automatically delivering each image and video in the most efficient format, quality, and resolution. AI can also detect the subject in an image that is most likely to capture a viewer’s attention to help automate the resizing and cropping of visual content.

      The browser long tail shouldn’t degrade a user’s experience of visuals on a website. Dev teams should prepare for the browser longtail as they seek to understand and reach their target audience. Only when they wrap their arms around the vast universe of browser dynamics can they create a visual online storytelling experience that is consistent and meaningful, worldwide.

      Sanjay Sarathy is VP Marketing at Cloudinary.

      The post Optimizing the browser long tail across platforms, devices, and countries appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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      The State of Local SEO: Experts Weigh in on Industry-Specific Tactics

      Posted by MiriamEllis

      The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the way we engage with local businesses. We’re ordering more food for delivery, spending more money in online shops, and checking for safety measures on the web listings of businesses of all kinds. But what do these new trends mean for the ways businesses market themselves online?

      We asked five local SEO experts to zero in on the trends and tactics businesses across five industries should focus on to get ahead — and stay ahead — during this time. 

      For more local insights, download our State of Local SEO Industry Report.


      1. 70% of local marketers reported marketing budget cuts due to COVID-19, leading marketers to focus even more on the most impactful local SEO campaign elements. Which three local search marketing tactics are delivering the most value for businesses right now, and why?

      Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

      1. Detailed, recent reviews — especially on Google Maps, but preferably also on other sites. 

      2. Where applicable, a “telehealth”-type page that goes into great detail on what specific problem(s) the doctor or wellness profession can help with remotely. 

      3. A detailed page on every specific service, procedure, or condition the practice handles, each with a section that explicitly states whether a telehealth or similar “virtual” option is applicable to it.

      Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

      1. Link building. A lot of businesses have a hard time getting quality links on their own, so when you have link building tactics at an agency that work, it can be a huge value add.  

      2. Optimizing internal linking structure on the business website. Most websites for small businesses are not structured properly, and making a few adjustments to internal linking can make fairly impressive changes in the search results. It also impacts both the local and organic search results, just like link building.

      3. Localizing content on the website. Taking existing pages on a business’ website and optimizing them for city, county, or state queries can have really great impacts on both local and organic results. We’ve also seen great results from optimizing for “near me” queries.

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      Blake Denman: Home Services

      For home services, identifying and reporting Google My Business spam/violations are the most impactful. Why? If you’re using accurate rank tracking and see that you rank #5 for a popular keyword in your target market BUT three of the listings above you are violating Google My Business guidelines, getting those listings updated or removed (depending on the violation) would move you up three spots. Knowing the Google My Business guidelines is crucial along with knowing how to spot violations. 

      The second most impactful marketing “tactic” is implementing and maintaining a review building strategy. You can’t outrank a sh*tty reputation. 

      The third most important marketing tactic is understanding who your customers are, where they live, how you can relate to them, and what they care about. From a strategic standpoint, the more information you have on your target customers, the more you’re able to get involved in the local community that they belong to. For local search, I’m of the opinion that Google wants to highlight popular companies from the offline world in the online world. Start focusing on building a better, LOCAL brand.

      Brodie Clark: Hospitality

      For restaurant and hotel listings in particular, there’s certainly a lot that can be done to stand out from other listings. With COVID, both categories have been impacted heavily. Many listings needed to either be marked as “Permanently Closed” or the newly created “Temporarily Closed”. Three tactics that are important to utilize right now include:

      1. Effective attribute usage: There are now attributes in GMB for “Health & Safety” and “Service Options”. Both are extremely important right now, especially the mask-related attributes, which can give customers a lot of reassurance. The same goes for how hospitality businesses are operating with respect to whether there are in-store or pick-up options.
      2. Google Post notices: Google Posts are an effective way of communicating important changes to operations. The COVID-19 update post is a great one to use because it never expires. But there is the downside that other posts are buried (COVID-19 posts are given prominence).
      3. Proactive updates: For hotel listings, GMB can be a complicated space with how booking sites are deeply integrated into the UI. As COVID regulations change based on your location, details on these sites need to be kept updated quickly to reach customers and avoid negative experiences.
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      Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

      Make sure that your GMB listings use the COVID posts to share information about how you are keeping your clients safe. Our financial client created COVID landing pages for both personal and business accounts. This client saw a 95% increase in organic goal completions from February to March. There was also a 97% increase in organic goal completions YoY. Google posts that focused on coronavirus-related services and products have also performed well.


      2. 75% of marketers agree that elements of Google My Business profiles (categories, reviews, photos, etc.) are local search ranking factors. Which three GMB elements do you recommend businesses focus on right now to influence their local pack rankings, and why?

      Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

      Number one: reviews.  

      Number two: categories — particularly the “primary” category.  

      Number three: getting your “practitioner” GMB pages right, by which I mean you’ve got a detailed “bio” page serving as the GMB landing page, a primary category that reflects the practitioner’s specialty, and Google reviews for each practitioner from their patients.

      Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

      There are only four elements inside Google My Business that really impact ranking.  Since the first one is the business name, I’d suggest focusing on the other three: Reviews, the page on your website you link the listing to, and the categories you choose. For example, in this article, I detailed the difference between the family lawyer category and the divorce lawyer category, and which keywords they correlate to.

      Blake Denman: Home Services

      Specifically for the home services industry, adjusting your primary category in Google My Business when seasons change. HVAC company? Winter is fast approaching, your primary category should be changed to a relevant heating category instead of your summer category, AC. Your primary Google My Business category is going to have more of a ranking improvement than secondary categories. 

      I hate to sound like a broken record, but take a look at all of your competitor’s listings for Google My Business violations. And finally, reviews are going to make or break your listing. If you haven’t implemented a review building strategy by now, you really need to get one set up ASAP.

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      Brodie Clark: Hospitality

      As a starting point, opening hours and whether a listing is marked as permanently/temporarily closed are major influencers of local pack rankings. Each is key to showing up at all, but incremental increases can certainly be achieved with gaining a high volume of positive reviews and making sure both your primary and secondary categories are set effectively. With categories, a great place to start is completing a competitor analysis with GMBspy Chrome extension.

      Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

      Reviews are one of the most important ranking factors, as well as being important for improving conversions. 

      Second is the proximity to searchers — are there ATMs or branches that currently do not have GMB listings? New listings can help increase visibility in Google Maps.

      Build local links. Now is a great time to work on link building. Try to find directories and organizations specific to your geographic location to join.


      3. 90% of our survey respondents agree that GMB reviews influence local pack rankings. What advice can you offer businesses looking to maximize the value of reviews?

      Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

      Stop going for easy, fast, drive-by email requests, and start trying to identify patients who might go into a little detail in their reviews. Lazy requests result in lazy reviews.  At the very least, don’t send “Dear Valued Patient”-type requests by email, but ideally you also find a discreet way to ask in-person, with a follow-up email to come later.  See my 2017 post on “Why Your Review-Encouragement Software Is a Meat Grinder”.

      These days, more than ever, patients want to know things like what safety and hygiene procedures you follow, what wait times are like, whether the standard of care has changed, etc. Longtime patients are in the best position to write crunchy, detailed reviews, but you should encourage every patient to go into as much detail as they can.  Try having a designated “review person” who knows a thing or two about any given patient, and will take a couple of minutes to make a personal and personalized request. Do it because you want “keywords” in your reviews, and because a five-star review that doesn’t impress anyone won’t help your practice much.

      Tweet this!

      Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

      Make sure you ask every customer for a review and come up with a process that is streamlined and easy to keep organized. We normally suggest using a paid platform for review management (we use GatherUp) because it can automate the process and send reminders to people who haven’t responded yet. 

      Blake Denman: Home Services

      Figure out the best method for earning reviews. Test email, texting, and in-person requests from your team, physical cards with a bit.ly link, etc. Test each one for a few months, then switch to a different method. Test until you find the method that works best for your customers. 

      The other thing that really needs to be considered is how to get customers to write about the specific services they used when working with your company. Little prompts or questions that they could answer when you reach out will help customers write better reviews.

      Brodie Clark: Hospitality

      Getting reviews on GMB has never been easy. You can always try to take the manual route, but that’s impossible to properly scale. I rely on and recommend using GatherUp for hospitality business with multiple listings that need an integrated strategy to gather reviews effectively. The upside of using GatherUp is that you can capture first party reviews to use on your website or as an internal feedback mechanism. 

      Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

      My number one tactic for reviews has always been to have an actual person ask for a review during key points in the customer journey. For example, an associate that helps someone open a checking account, a mortgage advisor who is helping a family refinance their home, etc.


      4. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 78% of local marketers agreed with Mike Blumenthal’s popularized concept that Google is the new homepage for local businesses. Do your observations and analytics data indicate that this concept is still correct? Has the role of websites for currently operational businesses grown or decreased as a result of the public health emergency, and what does that mean for those websites?

      Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

      I’ve never been too much of that school of thought, and have been even less so since roughly the start of the COVID era: See my March 26, 2020 post: “Is COVID-19 the End of “Google As Your New Homepage?”

      For casual, drop-in businesses, where customers or clients don’t need to do much research or make a big decision, I could see how maybe Google has made the SERPs an almost-suitable substitute for the homepage. That may also be true of medical practices to the extent they have current or returning patients who just want or need quick information fast on a practice they’re already familiar with. But when people’s health is at stake, they tend to dig a little deeper. Often they want or need to find out what procedures a practice does or doesn’t offer, learn more about the doctors or other staff, learn more about insurance and billing, or confirm what they saw in the search results.

      Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

      I agree that Google My Business is becoming a more important factor, as there are a ton of options that Google is pushing out due to COVID-19 that you can take advantage of.

      For example, you can use the online appointments attribute, which shows up prominently in the Knowledge Panel and the 3-pack. They also recently added online operating hours as an additional hours set. 

      I think it’s important, though, for people to realize that Google My Business is mainly there to provide the opportunity to share more about what your business does and provide ways for customers to contact you. Most of the fields inside Google My Business do not impact ranking. Traditional SEO factors are needed to make sure your business actually ranks on Google, and then Google My Business will help ensure those customers see the right information. Additionally, Google My Business has not replaced the need for a website — it’s simply another place that needs to be monitored and updated frequently. 

      Blake Denman: Home Services

      Yes, Google My Business might be the first interaction people have with before (or needing) to go to your website. Websites are still really important — not just for traditional organic SEO, but for traditional SEO signals that influence Google My Business rankings, too. 

      Since the public health emergency emerged, we’re seeing an uptick in traffic to websites. Yes, you can add certain attributes to your GMB listing to address public health concerns, but people need more information. What kinds of protocols are you taking? How far out are you booked? 

      Brodie Clark: Hospitality

      It really depends on the business type, but at the moment, many local businesses (especially in hospitality) are under a lot of pressure. This means they might not have the capacity to keep their websites updated or their GMB listings in check. So, they’re having to resort to food delivery services like UberEats — which has become far more mainstream in recent years, and I’m guessing there’s been an increase during 2020. And hotels, where I’m located in Melbourne, anyway, haven’t been able to operate for some time, but I probably wouldn’t be relying on their GMB listing to give the most up-to-date information.

      Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

      The role of the website has definitely grown for our financial clients. Websites are hubs for useful information, especially in the case of a crisis or for products and services that play a large role in your life. For many business categories, the information found on GMB listings is enough to get conversions. Consumers do significant research when choosing a financial product, and they need all of the information they can get to make a well-informed decision based on rates, fees, and policies.

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      5. Only 39% of marketers feel that Google’s emphasis on user-to-business proximity always delivers high-quality results. In the industry, does Google tend to prioritize proximity over quality for core search terms? Would you say they over-emphasize proximity in your experience?

      Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

      That’s truest in saturated industries, in my experience. But in more specialized fields, or for more specific (niche) terms, Google doesn’t seem to fixate on proximity as much. To some extent that’s because it can’t: Google needs to go a little farther afield to grab enough relevant results to fill up a page or a 3-pack.

      Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

      Absolutely. Proximity is one of the main reasons why spam is a problem in the legal services industry. Marketing companies will create lead-generating Google My Business listings and be able to get them to rank simply based on having keyword-rich business names. They create them in mass so they rank when people close to them are searching (due to the proximity factor).  

      Here is an example of some of the spam we see in the legal services industry. 

      Blake Denman: Home Services

      Proximity for certain types of industries (restaurants, coffee shops, dry cleaners, etc.) are great, but for others, like home industries, they are not. Most home service businesses should not be displaying their address since they are a Service Area Business, but this doesn’t stop some from keeping their address up to rank in that city. 

      Google does tend to prioritize proximity in the home services industry, unfortunately. 

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      Brodie Clark: Hospitality

      I think Google does a reasonable job at dialing up the proximity meter where necessary. If you were to pin keywords in a business listing name against proximity, keywords in the business name would win nine times out of 10. So in that instance, other signals should be dialled up further, but proximity may only be relevant in certain cases.

      Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

      Absolutely. With digital banking and the amount of trust we put into financial organizations, proximity isn’t a major factor when considering a financial service provider, but Google results don’t reflect that. 

      Proximity is a much bigger factor when you’re choosing a place to order takeout from than it is when you’re choosing who to trust with your 30-year mortgage. Reviews should definitely play a bigger factor than proximity for financial institutions.


      6. 91% of marketers tell us they have a strategy in place for capturing featured snippet visibility in the SERPs. Which featured snippets should businesses focus on most, and why?

      Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

      Focus on FAQs, particularly on your “service,” “treatment,” or “condition” pages. Focus on those sorts of pages rather than on blog posts or other purely informational resources, which generally are less likely to help bring you new patients.  

      Those FAQs and your answers, of course, should be specific to the service, treatment, procedure, or condition you describe on a given page. The questions should be phrased in the way your patients (or searchers) would phrase them, and your answers should be blurb-length and relatively simple.

      Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

      I have seen featured snippets for lots of really long-tail, commercial-intent keywords that probably shouldn’t have featured snippets. These can be really amazing sources of traffic if you get one of them (see photo below). Additionally, creating content around things like “can you sue for [insert information]” can be a great way to win featured snippets.

      Tweet this!

      Blake Denman: Home Services  

      With more and more personalization coming into the SERPs, I believe that featured snippets will become more and more regionally specific. If you do a search for “new water heater cost” you see a featured snippet for Home Advisor. If a company that is local to me published content around the cost and installation, why wouldn’t Google serve that snippet to me instead of what is shown nationally?

      Brodie Clark: Hospitality

      Featured snippets are a topic that I write about regularly. When it comes to hospitality businesses, featured snippets can be a lower-end priority. According to the MozCast, featured snippets appear on ~9% of all SERPs in the ~10K MozCast query set. I would expect it to be lower than that for most hospitality businesses. Focus on the featured snippets that provide the highest return for your time, and ensure you’ve got a tracking strategy in place. I wrote a post recently that described a method for using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to capture these insights.

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      Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

      We teach our financial clients to focus on educating their customers by making sure we research the right topics and provide the best possible answer. Paragraph, table, and carousel featured snippets are typically the types that we see financial websites achieving most often.


      7. We saw an increase in the number of consultants advising clients about offline strategy, instead of keeping strictly to online SEO consulting. What can businesses be doing offline right now to strengthen their chances of success?

      Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

      Don’t keep patients waiting anywhere close to how long they’d wait pre-COVID.  Patients should think, “I wish it happened under better circumstances, but I do like that I don’t wait around as much as I used to.”

      Make sure your patient-facing staff are always friendly, patient, and organized. Many practices get bad reviews online not because of the doctor(s), but because of complaints regarding staff. Yes, admins and other staff have a tough job, and no, patients aren’t always reasonable. Just the same, staff-patient issues can bring down a practice. Continually working with staff on soft skills is time well-spent.

      Get to know more doctors or business owners outside of your field of practice.  Occasionally they have great ideas that you can adapt to your situation, to your practice.

      Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

      I would focus on tactics offline that would increase branded searches on Google.  Branded searches are one of the things we’ve found that correlate with your business getting a place label on Google Maps. Our study on this is releasing later this year.

      Blake Denman: Home Services

      Start focusing on building a BETTER. LOCAL. BRAND. I’ve come across websites that have a horrible backlink profile or haven’t updated their website since 2010, yet they rank prominently in their market — why? They have been involved in their local community for a long time. 

      If you know who your customers are and have dived into your affinity categories in Google Analytics, you will have a really good understanding of what your target audience cares about outside of your service. 

      Brodie Clark: Hospitality

      Talk to your customers. Ask them questions and understand their concerns. Taking important conversations offline still plays an important role in your marketing strategy. 

      Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

      Review strategies should include offline tactics. Community outreach and involvement are crucial. I would argue that anyone who is consulting about online reputation management should focus on the company’s reputation offline as well.

      Tweet this!


      Every business is different and no tactic is one-size-fits-all. As with all good things in SEO, the key is testing. Whether you’re releasing a new product or service, upleveling your review management process, or changing the way you use Google My Business, we encourage you to try out some of these expert tips to see what will stick for your business.

      Have a local SEO strategy that’s working well for your business, or want us to feature your industry in our next post? Let us know in the comments below.

      Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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      Five excellent tips to optimize SEO for Bing – not Google

      30-second summary:

      • Bing isn’t the search engine with the largest market share, but it still serves millions of users every day. One-third of U.S. online queries are powered by Bing, most notably in terms of voice-assisted searches.
      • The five effective and easy-to-follow Bing SEO tips below will help you rank for the secondary search engine quickly.
      • A Bing SEO vs. Google SEO mindset is not productive, especially since both search engines use the BERT algorithm. Many optimization initiatives meant for Bing also work for Google, and vice versa.

      You read that right: we’re focusing on Bing SEO in this article.

      Did you know that Bing is the second biggest search engine worldwide? It also powers Yahoo!, the third biggest. In July 2020, Bing captured nearly 6.5% of the global search market.

      In any discussion about SEO, mentioning Google is unavoidable. However, the industry giant isn’t the only search engine that can send traffic to your website. You can make Google SEO your primary focus, but it shouldn’t be the only one in your marketing toolkit.

      A global market share of less than 10% doesn’t sound like much, but it translates to millions of users. Bing powers one-third of online searches in the U.S., counting direct searches and those done through Yahoo! or AOL. And as of August 2020, Bing controls over 13% of the U.S. desktop search engine market.

      How Bing is different from Google – and why it matters

      There are certain things that Bing does better than Google.

      For example, doing an image search using Bing is preferable due to the higher quality results. You can search for different layouts and see licensing information for each image without having to figure out where to look. Bing also pioneered infinite scrolling for image search results, though it’s no longer unique – Google now offers this feature, too.

      Video search is also more hassle-free with Bing, despite YouTube being a Google brand. When you search for a video on Bing, the results come up as a thumbnail grid. You can then watch the videos without leaving the SERP.

      Perhaps the biggest difference between Bing and Google is their amount of influence in a fast-growing subsection of online searching: those done through voice-assisted devices. In 2017, an estimated 35 million Americans used one of these devices at least once a month. Of those millions, more than 70% were Amazon Echo users – and Amazon’s Alexa is powered by Bing.

      Five Bing SEO tips to implement for optimization

      You will often find that optimizing for Bing SEO is much like optimizing for Google SEO. Both search engines use the BERT algorithm – which means keyword stuffing, manipulative link-building schemes, and other questionable tactics won’t work.

      However, there are certain things you can do to take your search engine optimization a notch up with Bing. Below are five tips you can apply to your current marketing initiatives.

      1. Claim and list your business on Bing Places

      Google has Google My Business, Bing has Bing Places. The goal of these two is similar: to deliver the best and more useful local search results to its users. Claim your business on Bing Places and create a listing to improve your local SEO ranking performance.

      Note that Bing rewards websites that put their location details on prominent display. Bing’s algorithm also considers information from third-party sources, such as social media platforms like Facebook. To optimize your Bing SEO presence, make sure you’re ranking in Facebook’s local search engine, too.

      2. Improve SEO through Bing Webmaster Tools URL indexing

      After claiming your business, use Bing’s Webmaster Tools to index your website.

      You will need to sign in to your Bing business account – which may use your Outlook, Hotmail, or Microsoft login – and verify ownership of your website using a back-end XML sitemap.

      Like any other search engine, Bing’s algorithm will better handle and understand your content if you employ categories and tags to make your website’s pages more discoverable. Should you work on this, you can expect Bing to deliver better search results and ad experiences involving your brand.

      3. Pay extra attention to on-page SEO for Bing

      While backlinking still helps with Bing SEO, clever and contextual keyword utilization is much more relevant. To rank for Bing, concentrate your efforts on on-page SEO rather than off-page SEO.

      However, certain tricks will work better than others. For instance, Bing seems to prioritize content with exact keyword matching in page titles, meta descriptions, and web content. You may want to sacrifice smooth readability occasionally for long-tail keywords verbatim.

      Using keywords in URL slugs, subheadings, and in the first paragraph of your content are also good practices to follow if you want to see your website nearer the top in Bing SERPs.

      4. Maintain a genuine online social media presence

      Bing’s webmaster guidelines tell us that social signals weigh heavily in its ranking algorithm. What this means is that your social media presence matters more to Bing than it does to Google. We touched on this briefly when we talked about claiming your business on Bing Places.

      How your social media performs helps Bing judge the quality of your content. So, make sure you’re not buying likes or follows, or posting without a clear brand voice.

      What does Bing mean by “social signals”? These are social media shares and interactions, typically on industry-leading platforms like Twitter and Facebook. However, you also need to match your social media presence to your target audience. Law firms probably won’t have much use for Pinterest or Instagram, for example, but these platforms could be indispensable for photography studios.

      5. Consistently produce great content

      Make sure that anything you publish is trustworthy, scannable, readable, and well-researched. Lots of related images to illustrate your points throughout the text content will help, too.

      Focus on quality and not quantity. Don’t try to maximize your content by splitting it into several short blog posts. In 2020, the ideal blog post length should be between 2,100 and 2,400 words – enough to thoroughly discuss a topic with authority, but not too long that fluff would be inevitable.

      Not yet convinced? Here’s why marketers should focus on Bing

      Bing, the second most influential search engine in the world, can be a very lucrative channel. You shouldn’t ignore opportunities for increased reach and growth. Besides, Bing SEO tips may often coincide with what you’re already doing for Google SEO.

      If you’re ambivalent due to Bing’s runner-up reputation, consider its parent company. Did you know that more than 1.5 billion devices worldwide are powered by Windows, and over 900 million of those use Windows 10? That last part is important because Windows 10 devices direct traffic to their built-in search engine: Bing.

      More than 85% of desktop computers run on Windows. When you ask Cortana a question or search from your lock screen, you’re using Bing. Bing also powers search functions with applications like Microsoft Office, Skype, or Outlook.

      One of the most overlooked audiences is over 65 million gamers on their Xboxes. Microsoft’s gaming console uses Bing, too. When players pause their games to search for something, they’re typically using Bing and not Google.

      Wrapping up: Bing SEO vs. Google SEO

      It’s not a good idea to think of optimizing your online presence in terms of Bing SEO vs. Google SEO. As we’ve touched on consistently throughout this piece, Bing is more similar to Google that many realize. Their algorithms may not be the same, but with delicate balancing, it’s not difficult to come up with a strategy that satisfies both Bing and Google.

      Any savvy marketer will find it a good idea to get in on both market shares. Despite the low percentage of people using Bing and Yahoo!, you’re still looking at a potential audience numbering in the millions.

      Justin Staples is a business entrepreneur who provides companies with results-driven SEO, custom web design, digital marketing, and content development.  He can be found on LinkedIn.

      The post Five excellent tips to optimize SEO for Bing – not Google appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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      10 Basic SEO Tips to Index + Rank New Content Faster — Best of Whiteboard Friday

      Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

      When you publish new content, you want users to find it ranking in search results as fast as possible. Fortunately, there are a number of tips and tricks in the SEO toolbox to help you accomplish this goal. Sit back, turn up your volume, and let Cyrus Shepard show you exactly how in this popular and informative episode of Whiteboard Friday.

      [Note: #3 isn’t covered in the video, but we’ve included in the post below. Enjoy!]

      Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

      Video Transcription

      Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I’m Cyrus Shepard, back in front of the whiteboard. So excited to be here today. We’re talking about ten tips to index and rank new content faster.

      You publish some new content on your blog, on your website, and you sit around and you wait. You wait for it to be in Google’s index. You wait for it to rank. It’s a frustrating process that can take weeks or months to see those rankings increase. There are a few simple things we can do to help nudge Google along, to help them index it and rank it faster. Some very basic things and some more advanced things too. We’re going to dive right in.

      Indexing

      1. URL Inspection / Fetch & Render

      So basically, indexing content is not that hard in Google. Google provides us with a number of tools. The simplest and fastest is probably the URL Inspection tool. It’s in the new Search Console, previously Fetch and Render. As of this filming, both tools still exist. They are depreciating Fetch and Render. The new URL Inspection tool allows you to submit a URL and tell Google to crawl it. When you do that, they put it in their priority crawl queue. That just simply means Google has a list of URLs to crawl. It goes into the priority, and it’s going to get crawled faster and indexed faster.

      2. Sitemaps!

      Another common technique is simply using sitemaps. If you’re not using sitemaps, it’s one of the easiest, quickest ways to get your URLs indexed. When you have them in your sitemap, you want to let Google know that they’re actually there. There’s a number of different techniques that can actually optimize this process a little bit more.

      The first and the most basic one that everybody talks about is simply putting it in your robots.txt file. In your robots.txt, you have a list of directives, and at the end of your robots.txt, you simply say sitemap and you tell Google where your sitemaps are. You can do that for sitemap index files. You can list multiple sitemaps. It’s really easy.

      You can also do it using the Search Console Sitemap Report, another report in the new Search Console. You can go in there and you can submit sitemaps. You can remove sitemaps, validate. You can also do this via the Search Console API.

      But a really cool way of informing Google of your sitemaps, that a lot of people don’t use, is simply pinging Google. You can do this in your browser URL. You simply type in google.com/ping, and you put in the sitemap with the URL. You can try this out right now with your current sitemaps. Type it into the browser bar and Google will instantly queue that sitemap for crawling, and all the URLs in there should get indexed quickly if they meet Google’s quality standard.

      Example: https://www.google.com/ping?sitemap=https://example.com/sitemap.xml

      3. Google Indexing API

      (BONUS: This wasn’t in the video, but we wanted to include it because it’s pretty awesome)

      Within the past few months, both Google and Bing have introduced new APIs to help speed up and automate the crawling and indexing of URLs.

      Both of these solutions allow for the potential of massively speeding up indexing by submitting 100s or 1000s of URLs via an API.

      While the Bing API is intended for any new/updated URL, Google states that their API is specifically for “either job posting or livestream structured data.” That said, many SEOs like David Sottimano have experimented with Google APIs and found it to work with a variety of content types.

      If you want to use these indexing APIs yourself, you have a number of potential options:

      • Richard Baxter wrote an excellent post on using SEO Tools for Excel with Google’s API
      • Google’s Indexing API documentation

      Yoast announced they will soon support live indexing across both Google and Bing within their SEO WordPress plugin.

      Indexing & ranking

      That’s talking about indexing. Now there are some other ways that you can get your content indexed faster and help it to rank a little higher at the same time.

      4. Links from important pages

      When you publish new content, the basic, if you do nothing else, you want to make sure that you are linking from important pages. Important pages may be your homepage, adding links to the new content, your blog, your resources page. This is a basic step that you want to do. You don’t want to orphan those pages on your site with no incoming links.

      Adding the links tells Google two things. It says we need to crawl this link sometime in the future, and it gets put in the regular crawling queue. But it also makes the link more important. Google can say, “Well, we have important pages linking to this. We have some quality signals to help us determine how to rank it.” So linking from important pages.

      5. Update old content

      But a step that people oftentimes forget is not only link from your important pages, but you want to go back to your older content and find relevant places to put those links. A lot of people use a link on their homepage or link to older articles, but they forget that step of going back to the older articles on your site and adding links to the new content.

      Now what pages should you add from? One of my favorite techniques is to use this search operator here, where you type in the keywords that your content is about and then you do a site:example.com. This allows you to find relevant pages on your site that are about your target keywords, and those make really good targets to add those links to from your older content.

      6. Share socially

      Really obvious step, sharing socially. When you have new content, sharing socially, there’s a high correlation between social shares and content ranking. But especially when you share on content aggregators, like Reddit, those create actual links for Google to crawl. Google can see those signals, see that social activity, sites like Reddit and Hacker News where they add actual links, and that does the same thing as adding links from your own content, except it’s even a little better because it’s external links. It’s external signals.

      7. Generate traffic to the URL

      This is kind of an advanced technique, which is a little controversial in terms of its effectiveness, but we see it anecdotally working time and time again. That’s simply generating traffic to the new content.

      Now there is some debate whether traffic is a ranking signal. There are some old Google patents that talk about measuring traffic, and Google can certainly measure traffic using Chrome. They can see where those sites are coming from. But as an example, Facebook ads, you launch some new content and you drive a massive amount of traffic to it via Facebook ads. You’re paying for that traffic, but in theory Google can see that traffic because they’re measuring things using the Chrome browser.

      When they see all that traffic going to a page, they can say, “Hey, maybe this is a page that we need to have in our index and maybe we need to rank it appropriately.”

      Ranking

      Once we get our content indexed, talk about a few ideas for maybe ranking your content faster.

      8. Generate search clicks

      Along with generating traffic to the URL, you can actually generate search clicks.

      Now what do I mean by that? So imagine you share a URL on Twitter. Instead of sharing directly to the URL, you share to a Google search result. People click the link, and you take them to a Google search result that has the keywords you’re trying to rank for, and people will search and they click on your result.

      You see television commercials do this, like in a Super Bowl commercial they’ll say, “Go to Google and search for Toyota cars 2019.” What this does is Google can see that searcher behavior. Instead of going directly to the page, they’re seeing people click on Google and choosing your result.

      1. Instead of this: https://moz.com/link-explorer
      2. Share this: https://www.google.com/search?q=link+tool+moz

      This does a couple of things. It helps increase your click-through rate, which may or may not be a ranking signal. But it also helps you rank for auto-suggest queries. So when Google sees people search for “best cars 2019 Toyota,” that might appear in the suggest bar, which also helps you to rank if you’re ranking for those terms. So generating search clicks instead of linking directly to your URL is one of those advanced techniques that some SEOs use.

      9. Target query deserves freshness

      When you’re creating the new content, you can help it to rank sooner if you pick terms that Google thinks deserve freshness. It’s best maybe if I just use a couple of examples here.

      Consider a user searching for the term “cafes open Christmas 2019.” That’s a result that Google wants to deliver a very fresh result for. You want the freshest news about cafes and restaurants that are going to be open Christmas 2019. Google is going to preference pages that are created more recently. So when you target those queries, you can maybe rank a little faster.

      Compare that to a query like “history of the Bible.” If you Google that right now, you’ll probably find a lot of very old pages, Wikipedia pages. Those results don’t update much, and that’s going to be harder for you to crack into those SERPs with newer content.

      The way to tell this is simply type in the queries that you’re trying to rank for and see how old the most recent results are. That will give you an indication of what Google thinks how much freshness this query deserves. Choose queries that deserve a little more freshness and you might be able to get in a little sooner.

      10. Leverage URL structure

      Finally, last tip, this is something a lot of sites do and a lot of sites don’t do because they’re simply not aware of it. Leverage URL structure. When Google sees a new URL, a new page to index, they don’t have all the signals yet to rank it. They have a lot of algorithms that try to guess where they should rank it. They’ve indicated in the past that they leverage the URL structure to determine some of that.

      Consider The New York Times puts all its book reviews under the same URL, newyorktimes.com/book-reviews. They have a lot of established ranking signals for all of these URLs. When a new URL is published using the same structure, they can assign it some temporary signals to rank it appropriately.

      If you have URLs that are high authority, maybe it’s your blog, maybe it’s your resources on your site, and you’re leveraging an existing URL structure, new content published using the same structure might have a little bit of a ranking advantage, at least in the short run, until Google can figure these things out.

      These are only a few of the ways to get your content indexed and ranking quicker. It is by no means a comprehensive list. There are a lot of other ways. We’d love to hear some of your ideas and tips. Please let us know in the comments below. If you like this video, please share it for me. Thanks, everybody.

      Video transcription by Speechpad.com


      Interested in building your own content strategy? Don’t have a lot of time to spare? We collaborated with HubSpot Academy on their free Content Strategy course — check out the video to build a strong foundation of knowledge and equip yourself with actionable tools to get started!

      Check out the free Content Strategy course!

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      New Moz Local Plans Unveiled — With Reputation Management & Social Posting!

      Posted by BarryYim

      With listing and reputation management so essential for local businesses — especially in 2020 — we’re introducing new Moz Local plans that give you more options for review monitoring, review management, and social posting, depending on your needs.

      While it’s always been important for local businesses to have accurate and complete online listings, it’s even more crucial in today’s environment. Google found that searches for “in stock” grew more than 70% globally in late Q1, indicating people were shopping locally more often, and Nextdoor found that 72% of their members believe they will frequent local businesses more after the crisis is over.

      But consumers often rely on reviews of local businesses when deciding where to buy. High quality, positive reviews can improve your business visibility, and when you respond to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback.

      Get started with Moz Local today!

      Why is Moz offering new plans?

      The new Moz Local plans — Lite, Preferred, and Elite — are designed to offer more features and flexibility to better meet the needs of local businesses and their marketers. Our previous plans limited reputation management and social posting to only the top-tier plan, and we wanted to make these features more widely available.

      Customers on any of the new plans can now monitor reviews via alerts, and depending on the plan, respond to reviews and take advantage of social posting. It’s never been more important to actively engage and listen to the needs and concerns of your current customers — and potential customers will take notice.

      We also wanted to offer flexibility with respect to local business aggregator submissions. While all of the plans include Factual, US customers can choose to add the other two major aggregators if they desire broader reach.

      What’s new?

      The new plans will help you maximize your online presence and engage with consumers more easily. Here’s what’s new:

      Review monitoring

      All 3 plans allow you to receive alerts and read reviews posted on Google, Facebook, and other sites in our partner network through a central dashboard. Since 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, you should be aware of what they’re saying.

      Review management

      Preferred and Elite subscribers can also respond to reviews posted on Google, Facebook, and select directories through the dashboard. Your ability to respond quickly can be the difference between keeping a customer or losing them to your competition. When it comes to negative reviews, 40% expect a response either immediately or within 24 hours.

      Social posting

      Preferred and Elite subscribers can share news, offers, and other content directly to Google, Facebook, and select directories from the dashboard.

      For example, news posts can be shared on Facebook, and Questions & Answers and COVID-19 posts can be posted to your Google My Business page. Sharing news and offers enables you to engage proactively with consumers and attract new customers.

      Local data aggregators

      All three plans now include location data submission to Factual for broader location data distribution. Preferred and Elite subscribers in the US can add the other two data aggregators — Infogroup and Neustar Localeze — for $40 per year, per location.

      Additional directories

      The Elite plan includes a number of additional directories for listing management and location data distribution, such as Tupalo, Where To?, Brownbook, Opendi, iGlobal, Manta, and Cylex, to name a few. And each of the US, UK, and Canada plans include some local directories relevant to that region. For example, the US Elite plan includes Yellow Pages, Superpages, and DexKnows. A complete list can be found here.

      The comparison grid below highlights the key features for each US plan. You can find all of the new US, UK, and Canada plans and pricing on our website.

      How do these new plans impact current Moz Local customers?

      If you’re a current Moz Local customer, you can either keep your existing plan or choose one of the new plans by clicking on “Change plan” and then “See plan options” in your Moz Local dashboard. Enterprise customers can contact their Account Manager to discuss the new plans.

      Get started with Moz Local

      The new Moz Local plans are designed to maximize your local online presence, increase consumer engagement, and enhance your visibility in local searches with minimal time and effort. You can get started with Moz Local for as little as $11 per month (billed annually). And if you want to learn more about best practices for listing and reputation management, check out our recent webinar on the ROI of Local Presence Management.

      Get started with Moz Local today!

      Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

      Read More