Blaine

The Keys to the Kingdom of Google Local

16 posts in this topic

Owning the top spot on google local is not nearly as hard as the talking heads that are trying to sell you their patented magic beans make it out to be.

And because the holidays are here and I’m in the giving mood I’m going to spill my guts on how I own google local for my clients and my lead gen sites. I’ve gotten a lot from the Spartan Marketing Academy since it’s been here so now I’m going to pay a little of it back.

First and foremost you have to forget all the noise about google local reviews being a ranking factor. Beyond having 5 reviews in place to get to the gold stars, they do next to nothing for your Google ranking in the local pack. You want the gold stars to make your ad stand out.

I’ve been doing this for 7 years now and have a local ad with 5 reviews. That's right, I said 5 reviews that ranks number 1 above two other ads in a very competitive market where the 2nd place guy has 484 reviews with a 4.9 rating and the 3rd place guy has 106 reviews with a 4.6 rating. I actually took it over with no reviews and maintained that spot for over 2 years that way (with no reviews). A couple months back I finally had time to get 5 reviews up there to get the stars to enhance the click through ratio to my site. Other than that reviews are pretty much worthless when it comes to a ranking signal. Yeah, yeah I know that you’ve read all kinds of articles about how important reviews are for ranking in google local. But I’ll believe what the evidence in front of me is instead of what a company that sells some type of automated review generating/managing utility is trying to sell me.

Google local is not about who you are. Google local is about what you do. If you’re a Carpet Cleaning company, then have the word Carpet and or cleaning in your domain name if at all possible. And what’s EVEN MORE IMPORTANT is to have it in your company name on your google local ad.

EXAMPLE: Had a guy owned a cleaning company hired me two years ago to build him a site and rank it for him. Primarily he wanted to rank for carpet and upholstery cleaning because those were his mainstays. His domain name was (fake name to protect the innocent ahead) christopherscleaning.com and he had the same name for his business on his google local ad “Christophers Cleaning”.

So carpet cleaning in a city of 1.5 million people is fairly competitive market so I told him to change his business name on his google local ad to “Christophers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning” that if he didn’t it was going to make it next to impossible to take one of the spots in the local pack for that. He balked and told me he wanted to keep it the way it was. So 9 months later he ranks for everything except Carpet and Upholstery cleaning which are his big money makers, and calls me grousing about it.

I told him flat out. Change your company name on your google local ad to “Christophers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning” like I told your ass nine months ago. Do it right this minute while we’re on the phone or I’m firing you as a client. I will not budge. Do it now or it’s over.

Now understand, this guy had never gotten calls from the internet till I took his stuff over and he’d already told me that he was getting more calls than he’d ever gotten in his life for buffing, stripping and waxing along with all the other noncompetitive stuff in the cleaning industry so I knew I had the leverage to be firm with him.

He changed the company name on his google ad.

He calls a week later all excited and tells me that he’s now in the number 1 spot on google local for carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning. That people are calling and wanting prices for it!

And that’s how easy it is. Google local does not care who you are. Google local cares what you do and it better be in your company name. Keywords matter bigly.

Only go with 1-2 categories when you set your ad up. Your description if google local still even has one should be very short and don't stuff links and keywords in it, they're meaningless.

I learned these two from Mike Friedman a few years ago. Citations and paid directories are hugely important and still rock it.

I like getting 100-200 citations per ad, this seems to work for domination very well. Get into the main aggregators first. Acxiom – Infogroup – Localeze – Neustar – Factual. Then pay a service like bright local to set the rest up for you. Costs like 3 bucks a citation. The citations from social media have a good authority so get them. Youtube - Linked IN – Facebook – Twitter are ones that I make a rule to get

After that you’ll need anywhere from 1-10 backlinks that are from decent sites that are geo or topically relevant to the site your trying to rank. I’ve actually ranked some with no backlinks other than what’s coming in from the citations and directory listings. Sure they’re no follow. But if you think google isn’t factoring them into their algo you’re nuts. Google lies.

And that’s pretty much it.

Proximity to your cities centroid? Yes that’s a factor. But if the guy ranking above you cause he’s two miles closer only has 15 citations for his business. Go buy 100 citations for 300 bucks and run over his ass. He’ll never know what hit him.

Good luck with it !!

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Thanks for the info..

Now a question for you. Say you are a Locksmith. (Very spammy niche) How could you do this? I mean Google frowns upon putting Keywords in your company name. If you are already out there and have citations and all would you go in and change your name. From Bobs Lock & Key to Bobs Locksmith?  You are taking about google places correct? They will probably flag you if you did that in locksmith niche. I am sure it would work good for other trades. Also Plumbers seem to be very spammy lately and my get flagged. 

 

Any thoughts on that?

 

 

Blaine and dons like this

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I can say that most of the "three pack" results for pretty much any major city have the word locksmith in both their listing and in their URL.

At the very least they have the word lock.

Lockservice

Locksmiths 

Lock and Security 

Etc....

 

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On 12/5/2016 at 9:11 PM, accessted said:

Thanks for the info..

Now a question for you. Say you are a Locksmith. (Very spammy niche) How could you do this? I mean Google frowns upon putting Keywords in your company name. If you are already out there and have citations and all would you go in and change your name. From Bobs Lock & Key to Bobs Locksmith?  You are taking about google places correct? They will probably flag you if you did that in locksmith niche. I am sure it would work good for other trades. Also Plumbers seem to be very spammy lately and my get flagged. 

 

Any thoughts on that?

 

 

With the lock smith business I wouldn't do it. Nor with The Attorney or Plumbing business. These 3 categories are notorious for getting whacked by the Google local Gods.

dons likes this

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In my experience if you want to get in the 3 pack you must have:

Citations

Consistent NAP

GOE tags Pictures in google listing

Keywords in title

Recently you must have reviews as well very important

We are currently number 1 for are SEO agency in Glendale

Anthony

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Wow! I feel like an idiot.  I just changed the title to include my keyword and walahhh from #10 to #4 (Google local).  Just did it this morning, and now it's 6:20 cst.  Going to wait a few days to see what happens before doing more citations.

Thanks Blaine!

Khemosabi and Blaine like this

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On 12/28/2016 at 7:21 PM, FBN said:

Wow! I feel like an idiot.  I just changed the title to include my keyword and walahhh from #10 to #4 (Google local).  Just did it this morning, and now it's 6:20 cst.  Going to wait a few days to see what happens before doing more citations.

Thanks Blaine!

So has it moved any further since the initial jump?

Terra likes this

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1 hour ago, Blaine said:

So has it moved any further since the initial jump?

Thanks for asking that question. I was wondering the same thing when I read this earlier today. :)

 

Terra

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On 12/28/2016 at 7:21 PM, FBN said:

Wow! I feel like an idiot.  I just changed the title to include my keyword and walahhh from #10 to #4 (Google local).  Just did it this morning, and now it's 6:20 cst.  Going to wait a few days to see what happens before doing more citations.

Thanks Blaine!

That goes for any SERP, not just local. Also... the keyword can just as easily be wrapped in a heading tag.

FBN likes this

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On ‎1‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 8:23 PM, Blaine said:

So has it moved any further since the initial jump?

It moved up to #3 it's been sitting there for about a week.  Going to create more citations.  I have 32 and the #1 spot has 93.

Mike Friedman, Blaine and Terra like this

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I now hold #1 and #3 for my main keywords.  2 different addresses.  Thanks a lot.

So how is everyone charging for this service?  Recurring fee w/a contract? One time fee?  I can see someone getting ranked, and then not paying.

Blaine and Mike Friedman like this

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On 1/26/2017 at 8:47 AM, FBN said:

So how is everyone charging for this service?  Recurring fee w/a contract? One time fee?  I can see someone getting ranked, and then not paying.

I do a one time fee (industry scan). And a monthly if possible.

They have to pay the one time fee (industry scan) to start, and I have to receive the money before I do anything for them.

Basically it goes like this. I charge them one fee to do what I call an industry assessment scan and I hit them with this 5 minutes into the first conversation so that they're not wasting my time. This scan shows them their positioning for their top 50 keywords, along with a back link scan, and citation report that lists their current citations and shows them where they are and if their NAP is consistent or not. I also do this for their top two competitors so that they can see who's beating them and how. This is a total of 3 assessments. I charge a one time fee of $1000.00 for doing this.

I don't start any work till their money clears my account. This industry assessment takes about a day and is not done for free. If they're a referral from a current client I reduce the one time fee to $500.00. The reason I hit non referred clients with a $1000.00 fee up front is to weed out the tire kickers and Chodes. If you're going to be successful (make money) at SEO you have to charge for assessing where they stand in their industry against their competitors before anything else. If they want to take my reports and try to do their own SEO or hire their nephews friend, that's fine with me cause I've been paid for showing them why they're not ranking and why their competitors are.

If they want to move forward with me then the fun starts.

Normally for a small business operating in a city the size of Louisville I charge a minimum (ranking fee) of $500 per month. Depending on the degree of competition of their industry I may charge as high as $1500 per month. Standard time to get them into the top 3 spots and in the local pack is 6 months.

This includes redoing their onsite SEO, placing new citations, paid directory listings, and back links from my network.

Once they're ranked it's $250.00 per month to keep them there.

If they stop paying I pull their back links from my network (5-15 links) and stop paying the annual fees for their directory listings. I make clear to them that this will tank their rankings and that for me to reinstate them would cost them a reinstatement fee of $1000.00 and then a monthly fee of $500.00 until I get their rankings back. Followed by the old monthly maintenance fee of $250.00 per month to maintain it.

I've never lost a client in the 4 years I've been doing it this way. And if it's not broke I aint fixing it.

Anyway. This is how I do it.

One last thing. I don't do contracts. It's all done on a hand shake. All my customers are set on auto pay.

The real key to being successful is getting them ranked for their industries top key phrases and keeping them there. If you do that they will pay their bill on time every month and brag to their business owner friends about your abilities. This is turn will get you all  the clients you need to be successful and have a decent income with a little money left over to invest in new ventures.

Hope this helps you !!

martino, Wunderkind and FBN like this

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I don't do any local SEO work... actually i don't any SEO work for others, (not to sound like one of those crappy spammers out there) but this was an interesting thread to read.

 

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hey there blaine,

what a great post on local seo - thank you. could you please share these tools you use to do this industry assessment scan .. ? :)

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