Hit Blog Post but No Local Traffic or Rankings? 7 Ways to Make That Post Help Your Local SEO Effort

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You heard you were supposed to blog or pump out other “content.”  You heard Google likes it, or local customers like it, or you can earn some links from it.  At least one of those things didn’t turn out as planned.  Now it all seems like a big waste.

But your toil in the sun did yield at least one post that may not have been a complete waste.

You can’t tell whether you’ve got a single customer or phone call or link out of it, and pretty you’re sure it hasn’t help you rank for any local search terms you care about.  But it does seem to account for a good chunk of your traffic, so you have reason to believe something is there.

Blogging seems too much like a hamster wheel for you to stick with it much longer, but you want to squeeze some benefit out of that one hit, if possible.  How can you use that one solid blog post to help your local rankings a little or to help you rustle up a few more local customers?  Below are 7 ways (most of which I’ve used to good effect for clients):

1. Put a call-to-action at or near the top of the post. Gear it to locals – people who could become customers. Consider making the call-to-action big and shameless.  Not only might that bit of content help you pick up some local organic rankings, but also any customer you get out of the deal might eventually review you – which also helps your local SEO in a variety of ways. What about the non-local readers?  Well, people who want only to read the post can keep reading easily enough.

2. Plop down internal links to relevant pages on your site. Any time you mention a service, product, location/city, or even an FAQ entry or other blog post, link to it. One recurring problem I find is a weak internal-linking game.  Outside of the main navigation menu, often there aren’t many trails of breadcrumbs to pages the site owners want people to see.  Also, I’ve found that generous internal linking can help rankings pretty significantly, in particular if your site already isn’t brand-new and has at least a few solid inbound links to rub together.  Don’t be heavy-handed, but do use a butcher’s thumb.

 

3. Analyze the stuffing out of your post with Google Search Console and Mouseflow. The former will tell you (among other insights) exactly what terms your post ranks for and gets clicks from. The latter will show you (among other insights) video replays of specific visitors’ browsing sessions, allowing you to see exactly how local visitors behave on your post.  You’ll get a sense of what brings local people to your blog post, which can tell you how to get more people like them and what you should ask them to do.

4. Create spin-off pages. Let’s say you’re an auctioneer and you’ve got a blog post with good visibility and clicks (according to Search Console) for a term like “selling Barber Quarters,” even though your post is about “appraising early 20th Century US silver coins” and only a section of it is about Barber Quarters. In that case, make a page all about Barber Quarters.  Make it clear to local readers that you can auction their coin collections.  Link to the new page it in your hit post and elsewhere on your site.

 

5. Make a “local” version of your post. (Preferably it’s a page or a YouTube video, or it could be another blog post.) Let’s say your one hit is a post called “Accused of Feline Theft: What to Do Now.”  Now consider putting together a page called “Accused of Stealing a Cat in Wisconsin: Local Laws to Know.”  You’ll get all the local cat burglars who need legal representation.

 

6. Or add a “local” section to your post. Same idea as what I described in point #5. You’d opt for this if you don’t think you’d have enough to say in local-specific spin-off version of your post.  By the way, it’s fine to add to or update your blog posts well after the publish date.  It’s not an anachronism; it’s a service to the reader.  (I even do it from time to time.  Hope you didn’t notice.)

7. If the post received some good inbound links, use it as a temporary link magnet: later on you transplant its content into another page, and 301-redirect the post URL to the page URL. I don’t expect you’ll have too many occasions to want or need to do that kind of footwork. But you’ll want to consider it if eventually you have a “money” page that you really want to benefit from the links your post has, and if you don’t think the post’s content would look to weird as part of that page.  (Of course, the reason you haul over the content is so the people who linked to the post don’t remove the links because the page you redirect to isn’t relevant anymore.)

I’d still suggest most of those practices even if you’ve got several relative “hit” blog posts, or if blogging or other content-creation consistently works pretty well for you.

Which of those suggestions has helped you turn a solid blog post into local SEO/marketing mojo?

Do you have a blog post that you wish you could translate into some local visibility?

Any strategies I didn’t mention?

Leave a comment!

Hermit Crab SEO: a Google Maps Ranking Tactic That Should Not Work

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“Hermit crab SEO” is my name for the local SEO tactic of moving to a new place of business, creating a Google My Business page at the new address, and leaving up your old Google My Business page (which still uses the old address) until Google removes it or your body assumes room temperature, whichever comes first.

The idea is to get both (or several or many) Google My Business pages ranking, or at least to keep one ranking while you do what you can to float up the other(s).   Like the hermit crab, you move to a new shell.  But unlike those scrappy little guys, you still benefit from the old shell, and you don’t have that vulnerable period when you’re between shells and a bigger critter can eat you.  To use old addresses as empty shells is safe.

It probably shouldn’t be safe, though.  Hermit crab SEO is against the Google My Business guidelines in multiple ways, particularly in the guidelines that say your address should represent your “actual, real-world location,” and that service-area businesses should have “one page for the central office or location and a designated service area.”  Whether your business is bricks-and-mortar or service-area, you’re not supposed to dot the local map with GMB pages that use addresses where someone else now works or lives.

Still, I know for a fact that it’s possible to maintain Google My Business page at an address you haven’t been at in years.  (Don’t ask exactly how I know.)  Unless maybe you’ve got overlapping service areas or use the same phone number, it’s unlikely your new page or your old page automatically will run into problems.

But Google still does the rounds to make sure everyone’s GMB address is inhabited, right?  Wrong.  At least I’ve never seen anyone comb the beach and tap on the shells.

 

That’s the task of people who do what I call “spam patrol”: do-gooders and business owners (or their SEOs) who want to make competitors work for any Google Maps rankings they get.  As I’ve written, Google has crowdsourced most of its Maps / 3-pack quality-control to you and me, giving us little besides the “suggest an edit” button.

The trouble is Google often can’t tell the good “suggest an edit” edits from the bad, so most legit edits aren’t accepted, or take too long to get accepted, or get accepted and are immediately undone by the business owner.  It doesn’t help that Google now allows anyone to “hide” his or her GMB address simply by removing the address after the page has been verified, so often there’s no way to tell what the real or current address is.  Because you can’t get the address changed, you need to try to get the page removed.

Which “Remove this place” option do you select?  I’d go with “Spam, fake, or offensive,” because in my experience Google’s most likely to approve that option.

But is it a “fake” address?  If you’re Google, that depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.  A business once did exist there – and apparently still does if you’re Google and you take into account the address listed on the other sites in the local search ecosystem, and perhaps on the business’s website.  The business itself still exists, of course.  Perhaps it even runs PPC ads for that location and gets a steady stream of customers who write 5-star reviews.  You and I know the old GMB page shouldn’t stay put, but Google sees all the right signs of life.

What can you do about hermit crabs?  Pretty much only the aforementioned spam patrol and maybe asking for volunteer beachcombers.  Even then, the tactic is hard to detect, especially if 5 of your competitors slip in 1 extra “location” apiece, rather than 50 no-longer-inhabited GMB pages.  I wish I had some surefire suggestions.  You’ll probably get some of the shells tossed into the water, but not all.

To what extent is “hermit crab SEO” a problem in your local market?

What have you tried that’s worked – or hasn’t worked?

Leave a comment!

How to Move Google Reviews between Google My Business Pages Far Apart

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Believe it or not, Google’s pretty good about transferring Google Maps reviews from one GMB page to another.  It’s hard to tell that from Google’s guidelines, which have a dash of Justice Stewart: “If you’ve made changes to your business, your existing reviews may be kept, moved, or removed from your listing, depending on the […]

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10 Better Ways to Do Keyword Research for Local SEO

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3 main problems with most keyword research methods, especially for local search: They tell you what searchers search for, but not what customers search for They rely too much on third-party tools They give you analysis paralysis Most people’s keyword-research strategy is this (more or less): Use the “Keyword Planner” in Google Ads Use a […]

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Google Maps Reviews Now Include “What Do You Like About This Place?” Prompts

In what is at least a test, Google now asks Google Maps reviewers to select attributes they like about the business they’re reviewing.  When I went to post a review yesterday, Google asked how I liked the “Quality,” “Value,” “Responsiveness,” and “Punctuality” of the business. I haven’t been able to replicate that for other businesses, […]

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The Local SEO Data Jackpot You Missed: Google Analytics – Search Console Integration

If you’ve never done so, log into Google Analytics, then go to “Acquisition,” “Search Console,” and “Landing pages.”  There you’ll find a mashup of (1) Google Analytics data on landing pages and (2) Google Search Console data on how specific pages perform in the search results.  Whether you do local SEO yourself or you do […]

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Hardest Truths of Google Maps Spam

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It’s hard enough to keep a lid on competitors’ Google Maps / Google My Business spam.  That’s even harder if you don’t know what to expect, or or if you give up because you assume you’re doing it wrong. It’s easy to get your spirits crushed. As with Google reviews, you know Google isn’t too […]

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10 Basic Parts of an Effective Local SEO Audit

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There’s no shortage of info on the “ultimate” local SEO audit, and on all the checklist items big and small that people insist should be in your audit.  But there are two intertwined problems: a. Good SEOs aren’t necessarily good at doing audits.  Most audits are overblown and disorganized. b. Their audits often are tough […]

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Your Bunker Plan in Case Google My Business Pushes the Pay-to-Play Button

It may not happen soon – or suddenly or permanently – but the chances are good that sooner or later Google will monetize more of the Map.  Maybe all of it will become ad space, or maybe certain features of your Google My Business page will require you to load quarters into them.  Probably a […]

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Does Google Look the Other Way When a Local Pack Advertiser Spams the Google Maps Results?

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For better or for worse, you can “buy” your way to the top of Google’s local 3-pack if you have a Google My Business page that already ranks OK, and if you use AdWords, enable location extensions, and meet a few other criteria. It appears that’s also how you can buy wiggle room to spam […]

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