I know it took over a week to get to my post about Local U Advanced in Williamsburg, VA, but it is now time. There was so much information swimming around in my head after yet another great conference that I wanted to narrow it down to a few high priority takeaways for those that keep up with the blog. To cover it all would be impossible, but I think taking a few things and baking them in to your current process can help you tremendously if you are still trying to do this on your own.
Take home #1: Use structured data and use the Google version: The industry has been pushing this for a few years and some people built it in to their sites and their are plugins for this stuff but it is becoming more and more important. Google is trying to keep people on the Google page more and more and keep them from going away to your sites. Making sure your information is in a structured form that Google can pull off and incorporate in their search results is extremely important. Hard to measure but extremely important. Especially for local businesses, make sure all of your local info and reviews are structured properly. Though all of the engines were supposed to agree on the same format at schema.org, I’m told that Google strays from that at times so I would recommend following their rules here.
Take home #2: Reviews still matter and probably matter even more than ever. I have been saying for a while that I think reviews will become the new SEO links but they already have tremendous value. Make sure you ask for them and get them spread about. Start with getting a review and then ten on Google for local search. Make sure you get Yelp reviews and some reviews on important industry sites like healthgrades and avvo. If you bake in asking for reviews and managing reviews in your regular business process, most of these will come organically. We have a great tool that help you set up and manage your process just by entering an email address and hitting a button. If you need help, give us a call.
Take home #3: Links still matter a lot, but Google is able to see them in more places. Links being opened in gmail are thought to be part of the equation now. Make sure you have an email program going as this can actually help with search strength.
Take home #4: Your presence is becoming you or your business as an entity and the specific website isn’t always the ending location for people looking for your service. Your social media, reviews, website, structured data showing up in search, emails, etc. all blend in to the equation and although we are still catching up on how to measure all of this, you may lose website traffic in coming months but still have more interaction with your clients and customers through your online entities. Keep this in mind. It all matters in some way. You want to still use your website and boost its strength but make sure you can get that info in search and elsewhere to be found.