Google My Business Posts Shelf-Life Hack: How to Keep Your Posts from Expiring Soon

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/1721746230/

The jury’s out on how useful Google My Business posts are, but they have promise.  I like ‘em so far.  They’re quick and easy to create, and they show up in one of the very few areas of the brand-name search results that you can control.

The annoying thing is you have to keep adding posts.  They expire every 7 days.  What if you like the post you put up last week, and want to keep it around for longer?  Nope.

You could always re-post the same thing, but you’d lose the all-too-basic stats Google shows you on each post.  Also, an endless string of the same post would look odd to anyone who pulls up your older posts.

Having to come up with a new post every 7 days is an understandable reason not to bother with GMB posts at all.  You don’t need another hamster-wheel activity.

Isn’t there any way to keep a post afloat for longer than 7 days?

Yes, there is.  It’s a clever workaround courtesy of Brendan Bowie of My Guys Moving & Storage.  It involves choosing the “Event” type of post when you create a Google My Business post.

As some observed a while ago, the “Event” type of post does not expire after 7 days.  That’s been the case for as long as I’ve paid attention to GMB posts.  What I didn’t know were 3 facts you can use to your advantage:

(1) you can call anything you post on an “event,” (2) the end of the “event” can be months away, and (3) if you do those things your GMB post won’t look strange in the search results.

The call-to-action button can be anything on Google’s list of calls-to-action.

 

The expiration date – the day the “event” ends – can be up to a year away. (Hat tip to Ben Fisher – see his comment.)

The even-smarter part is that Brendan first tested other types of posts, with different content and calls-to-action.  The one that worked best (to date) became the “Event” type of post, with the far-off expiration date.  Also, you can edit your post after you publish it, so that you’re not stuck with exactly the same stinkin’ thing for months.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/andyhay/3034947087/

What type of Google My Business post has worked well (or badly) for you?

Have you tried this “hack” yet?

Leave a comment!

Local U Boot Camp in NYC: New Local SEO Event

The Local U crew is putting on a new event for business owners and marketers who want to learn the ropes of local-search marketing.

It’s called the Local U Boot Camp.  It’s a one-day event in New York City on September 29, 2014 – the day before SMX East.  In fact, it’s one of the SMX workshops.

If you want super-practical advice on getting visible in the Google Places results and elsewhere, consider going.

When co-founders David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal told me about the new Boot Camp recently, I had a few questions.  David more than answered them.

Is the Local Boot Camp geared more toward business owners or toward local-search geeks? How do you make sure people learn plenty, but don’t get lost?

David:  We’ve designed this event to be right in between our typical four-hour small business and full-day advanced events.

It’s geared towards people with a good background (although not necessarily expert-level understanding) in traditional SEO, but who are comparatively new to Local.  Perfect for solo consultants who are getting an increasing number of locally-focused clients, entry- and mid-level agency employees who are looking to add some Local expertise to their arsenal, and in-house folks who perhaps traditionally haven’t had the bandwidth to tackle their local search presence.

 

Why should a business owner make the trek to the Boot Camp when there’s so much good free info online?

David:  Two primary reasons, in my opinion.  Number one is the level of personal interaction you get with people with a deep background in the field.  You basically get to look over the experts’ shoulders as they perform their SERP analyses and learn a very structured process you can just take back to your team (or your clients) and implement immediately.

And two, at least for me, there’s only so much information I can actually internalize online.  I learned a lot of my own background in SEO and online marketing from reading the Moz blog, SEO Book, and participating in a number of fora back in the mid-2000’s.  But for me, there’s something about the level of curation that happened at events analogous to ours (although I think we’re really the first to do this in Local) that really took my grasp of what was happening to another level.  It’s the difference between learning and absorbing, if that makes sense.

Oh–and speaking only for myself–I actually never put my presentations on Slideshare or similar sites.  So if you wanna see all my best slides, “must be present to win.” 😉

 

What made you want to offer the Boot Camp now? (And why not earlier?)

David:  Well, we’d already done an Advanced event in Philadelphia earlier this year and wanted to continue our partnership with the SMX brand.  We figured that many East Coast folks might have already attended the Advanced event, so wanted to target our content at a little bit different level.  Additionally, the East audience traditionally has been a little more beginner (not surprisingly) than the Advanced crowd in Seattle, so we though targeting our content more to that level might help us attract a few more attendees.

 

How much hands-on / one-on-one attention do I get if I attend?

David:  There are tons of “formal” (there’s nothing formal about Local U 😉 ) opportunities to have your questions answered throughout the day–over two hours, in fact–and if there are still more questions that the sessions don’t answer for you, you’re definitely encouraged to grab one or more of the faculty members for a private conversation in the hall during the sessions.

 

Let’s say I’ve been to a couple Local U events before, and loved them. I’m practically a groupie. How much brand-new info can I expect at the Boot Camp?

David:  I’d say there will be about 50% new content at this one relative to our earlier events.  We’ve basically added three more training modules, with the goal of giving you a complete Local Search Manual of sorts at the end. And obviously a lot of our content will be updated, with the latest Pigeon algorithmic shake-up.

 

How much opportunity will I have just to yak with some of the Local U speakers?

David:  See above.  Even though Professor Maps won’t be able to make this event, the rest of us are more than capable of filling his yakkin’ shoes 🙂  We LOVE talking all things local and the interactions with our attendees are among the primary reasons we even do these events in the first place.

Sounds like a pretty good boot camp to me.  I think you’ll even come away with some razzle-dazzle.

 

What do you think?  Any questions for David?

Here’s the link if you’re considering the Local U Boot Camp:

http://searchmarketingexpo.com/east/local-university

By the way, if you plan on going to SMX East the next day, be sure to stop by the “Super Therapy Session for Advanced Local Marketers” session on October 1.  Several of the Local U crew – plus This Recruit – will be speaking there.  Say howdy!

Why Does Your Business Deserve Success in Local Search?


What’s really different about how you’ve represented your business online?

  • Do you have 100+ blog posts that help make a potential customer’s life a little (or a lot) easier? (Update – January 2014: here are 100 practical ideas for blog posts.)
  • Do you have better reviews, more reviews, and reviews on more sites than your competitors do?
  • Have you done anything to earn a mention or write-up in the local newspaper – and can you do something like it again?
  • Do you describe each of your services on a separate page and in so much detail that your potential customers might (temporarily) think they don’t even need you?
  • Do you produce videos that are informative enough you’d send them to relatives who want to know exactly what it is you do for a living?
  • Do you practice any other forms of RCS?

Give people a reason to click, pay attention, and get in touch.  Give Google at least one concrete reason to rank your business well.  Worry about them in that order.

You might say, “But my competitors don’t stand out in any way.”  Well, they may do the boring stuff better than you do.  There’s also nothing to say that their rankings will last, or that they get many customers out of the deal.  Above all, it doesn’t matter much what your competitors do or don’t do if your goal is to outrank them.

Start working on at least one of those standout factors at the same time you work on (or ask for help with) the rest of your local SEO.  You’re more likely to get visible, and for that visibility actually to bring phone calls.

(If you find that I went too Seth Godin on you just now, please leave a comment and demand more explanation.)

Best "Events" Sites for Local Search Citations, Links, and Visibility

People say “publicity stunt” as though it’s a bad thing.

But it can be a great thing for your local-search visibility – particularly your local rankings in Google.

Maybe stunt is too strong a word.  What I mean to say is holding any kind of public event at your business is a great way to get more visible to customers in the local search results.

I wrote this post to answer a simple question:

If I hold a public event at my business and want to spend a little time publicizing it, which “events” sites can help my local search rankings?

A public event you hold at your business can be a great source of citations and links, which can help your local rankings big-time.

It could be it a charity fundraiser, an hour-long how-to workshop, or an informal pow-wow with other business owners in your area.

Events like those are good to do anyway simply because they help people and because – even though hosting one will take a few hours of your time – they almost always end up being fun and worthwhile for everyone involved.

Still, you’ll want every quality citation and link you can get, especially if you’re in a really competitive local market.

Your event doesn’t need to be Woodstock 2012.  You don’t even need to buy a box of those irksome “Hello, my name is ___” nametags.  It can be a production that 5 people show up to.

What’s important is (1) your event actually helps people and isn’t a sales pitch, (2) you hold it at your business location, and (3) you list your event on sites that can help your local-search rankings by providing citations and (preferably) links.

I’d just like to point out that this post probably won’t apply to you if you run your business from your home address.  Then again, unless you’re related to Hef and are in line to inherit the Playboy Mansion when he croaks, you probably won’t have the space or desire to hold many “events” at home anyway.

Anyway, if I were putting on a little (or big) public event today and wanted to get the maximum local-search bang from it, here are the “local events” sites I’d try to list my event on:

Best "events" sites for local-search citations and links

(Download the Excel spreadsheet)

Here’s the list as a bunch of links – because we all know how grueling it is to type a URL into the address bar:

UpComing.Yahoo.com

EventBrite

Yelp.com/events

Patch

TicketLeap

Festivals

Schmap

EventSetter

Cityseekr

Eventseekr

Eventful

ZVents

EventCrazy

TicketBud

 

A few notes:

  • The website of your local newspaper would also be an excellent place to get your event listed.  I’ve noticed that having citations on local sites can be a boon to your Google rankings.
  • Obviously you don’t have to list your event on all the sites to get build some good citations, links, and local karma.  But the more, the better.  I’d start from the top and work my way down the list.
  • Many of them are free to list your even on, but I don’t believe all of them are.
  • My ranking of the sites is approximate, but just let me know if you want me to describe how I ordered them.  (*Of course, you can get a pretty good sense of this just by looking at the chart.)
  • Some of them have a bent toward tourist-y or nightlife events, but all of them accommodate a pretty wide range of events – and businesses hosting those events.

What should you do now?

Just think of the simplest, easiest-to-plan, most informal event you could possibly put on and make open to the general public.

If you find this daunting, think for a minute about how pathetic and lazy your competitors are compared to you, and how awesome you are for putting together an event that helps other people, wins you some old-fashioned publicity, and grows your local-search visibility.

Then actually work your plan – meaning you’ll probably need to spend a couple hours sorting out the logistics.

Submit your event to as many sites on the list as you can.

Now you’re committed, and there’s no way to wiggle out of it 🙂

By the way, if you’re not sure what type of event you could host, just ask me in a comment and I’ll see if I can come up with a couple ideas (obviously, let me know what type of business you run).

(Thanks to Zachary Palmer of DivotAgency.com for telling me about several of the sites on the list, which helped spark the idea for this post.)