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SignatureWEB
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Tactics you need to stop doing

Google My Business gives its users the ability to set their radius of service around their physical address. This allows customers to see how far a business is willing to travel to visit a customer.

However, some business owners set their radius to its maximum in the hope of ranking across several locations. Unfortunately, in reality this doesn’t work and you’re still only likely to rank around the actual, physical location of your business.
The radius setting should be used realistically & needs to accurately show the catchment area of your business. If a huge service area is correct then that’s fine, just don’t expect any cross-location ranking boost to come from it.

The reality is that if you want to rank across several locations, you need a physical site in each major city that’s actually utilised and occupied by your team. Be wary of purchasing virtual addresses purely for the location pin as this goes against Google’s quality guidelines.

Similar to other aspects of SEO, local search is another area becoming increasingly clever. We need to remember that at Google’s core is a sophisticated machine learning algorithm, and attempting to cheat the system is becoming nothing short of pointless. Our local efforts therefore need to readjust from attempting to manipulate Google’s results, to concentrating on benefiting the end user.
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Focusing on high Domain Authority links

This should not be misinterpreted; links from high Domain Authority sites are invaluable towards your ranking potential.
They’re something any site, local or otherwise, should constantly strive for.
However, you shouldn’t disregard lower domain authority links.
From a local link building perspective, these are sites involved in your community, e.g. hotels, B&Bs, city information, libraries, churches etc. As a local business owner, you shouldn’t disregard such sites just because they have low Domain Authority.
As long as they’re run by a genuine team of people and provide actual value to your local community, then they’ll also bring inherent SEO value to your local business. Once indexed, these links will show Google that your business is actively involved in its surrounding community.
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Tactics you need to stop doing
Doorway pages were, once upon a time, a commonplace tactic for SEOs. Many sites still utilise this practise despite Google updating their position on them last year – in short Google either penalises sites or removes these pages from SERPs.
Doorway pages are defined as pages that have been created to expand a site’s “search footprint”, and usually contain the following traits:
They’re not contained in the user’s journey, rather they’re hidden off-track, deep within the sitemap
They’re purely used to capture a specific search query, usually long tail & with a specific qualifier (e.g. a location name)
They don’t offer any unique info to existing pages that are already available in the sites’ main navigational path
In the context of local search, doorway pages are usually pages which target a specific service/product keyword that is then followed by a location variable.
To use a similar example from earlier on, yoursite.com/electrician-boston, is likely constitute a doorway page.

Granted, the definition of doorway pages can be blurry and the argument of whether they deliver actual user benefit is in flux. However, if you’re convinced a doorway-style page is necessary, you need to ensure your page avoids duplicate content and delivers a specific purpose & value to a user.
You can get round localised doorway pages by offering unique content to the user; involve historical and cultural content related to that location and include local testimonials / case studies from past customers who live there.
This will indicate to both users and search engines that you have a genuine interest in serving that area.
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Tactics you need to stop doing

Region specific top-level domains (TLDs) allow users to end their website with their physical location, i.e. mylocalbusiness.london. Despite being aesthetically pleasing and a creative use of branding, these don’t come with any local ranking benefit.

Even if TLDs look region-specific, Google will still handle them like generic top-level domains, with no preference over ‘.com’ or any other typical gTLD.

Similar to exact match root domains, your website’s ranking efforts are better placed elsewhere within local SEO. Choose a TLD that allows for regional expansion and doesn’t require the need for another website.
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As local business owners we can sometimes be guilty of using boilerplate search practices.
However, it’s increasingly important to remember that local search is an ever-evolving landscape.
What was effective a few years ago is not necessarily effective today. It’s crucial to keep evaluating our optimization efforts in favour of adopting newer, more effective strategies.

Exact match domains with a location qualifier...

Arguably the most old-hat technique in this post is the use of exact match domains with location qualifier.
These are website URLs which use a combination of service–keyword + location in them, as opposed to the business name or brand.

These types of domains reek of manipulative search engine practices. They were very common a few years back, in the pre-Panda and pre-Pigeon era, but even today Google’s index is still awash with businesses using this approach.
Yes URL optimisation does carry some impact on search engine rankings, however as a local business your online efforts are best concentrated in targeting location-based keywords elsewhere on the site – e.g. visible content, title tags, H1 tags etc…
Using a brand-led domain is better. It’s more favourable in the eyes of Google and it conveys more user trust and will make your link-outreach and promotion efforts far easier.
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Online Review Survey Research- Key Factors

84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they're asked to
90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business
54% of people will visit the website after reading positive reviews
73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant
74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important
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If your business has more than about 10 Yelp reviews, Yelp now will try to summarize them in 2-3 sentence-long blurbs at the top of your page.

This appears to be new. At least for Yelp. Google’s been showing the same kinds of summaries for over 2 1/2 years.
Unlike with Google’s review-sentiment summaries, Yelp lets you see at least some of how the sausage is made. If a specific keyword appears often enough in the (unfiltered) reviews, it will probably end up in a sentiment snippet.
Click on one of the blue hyperlinked keywords and you’ll see where in the reviews Yelp grabbed that word. Similarly if you click on one of the gray “# reviews” links; Yelp will show you which specific reviews it bred together to beget the review-sentiment lovechild.

Keywords in reviews have always seemed to help your local SEO in indirect ways. They affect your reputation – or at least the “first impression” – in obvious ways. Add another way.
I’m guessing Yelp rolled out these summaries as a way to make large bodies of reviews easier to digest for users of the mobile app. In theory it may also be of minor use when you’re looking at a business with hundreds of reviews, though in a case like that I doubt Yelp’s summaries will satisfy most people.
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Google My Business drops ability to edit business description field

Google has removed the ability for businesses to edit their introduction/description field in the Google My Business portal. Google posted a note about this in the http://ow.ly/MjhJ3032sdS featured document.

This feature was removed on August 1, 2016, and Google wrote:
The Introduction/Description field is no longer editable in Google My Business. It only displays to users in Google+, and may still be edited there. Editing of attributes, coming soon to all Google My Business views, will be an improved way to describe your business to users on Google Search and Maps.

This has not been shown on Google Maps or the Google local knowledge box for some time now. But now you can no longer edit it in the Google My Business portal. Google said you can edit it in Google+.
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Search engine optimization — SEO — may seem like alchemy to the uninitiated. But there is a science to it. Search engines reward pages with the right combination of ranking factors or “signals.” SEO is about ensuring your content generates the right type of signals.
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As local business owners and local SEOs, we can sometimes be guilty of using boilerplate search practices.
However, it’s increasingly important to remember that local search is an ever-evolving landscape.
What was effective a few years ago is not necessarily effective today. It’s crucial to keep evaluating our optimization efforts in favour of adopting newer, more effective strategies.

Arguably the most old-hat technique in this post is the use of exact match domains with location qualifier.
These are website URLs which use a combination of service–keyword + location in them, as opposed to the business name or brand.

These types of domains reek of manipulative search engine practices. They were very common a few years back, in the pre-Panda and pre-Pigeon era, but even today Google’s index is still awash with businesses using this approach.
Yes URL optimisation does carry some impact on search engine rankings, however as a local business your online efforts are best concentrated in targeting location-based keywords elsewhere on the site – e.g. visible content, title tags, H1 tags etc…
Using a brand-led domain is better. It’s more favourable in the eyes of Google and it conveys more user trust and will make your link-outreach and promotion efforts far easier.
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