2021 Local Search Summit – Day 3 Action Items & Recommendations

By Darren Shaw
on October 1, 2021

The #WLSS is officially complete and our final event day covered E-A-T, Google Justifications, reports, effective copywriting and more. We opened the day discussing Diversity and Inclusion in Digital Marketing – this is a very important topic. We implore to download the guide below to learn more. 

If you missed out on the event but would like to get access to all of the recordings, simply click the button below and sign up for our Video Bundle. You can also catch up on the content through our Day 1 & Day 2 recap posts.  Jump right into content from your favourite Day 3 speakers:

1. Areej AbuAli, Rejoice Ojiaku & Shani Gwin
2. Kevin Kapezi
3. Lily Ray
4. Claire Carlile
5. Joel Klettke
6. Susan Staupe
7. Joy Hawkins
8. Rachel Anderson
9. Noah Learner
10. Dani Owens
11. Jason Brown & Ben Fisher
12. Greg Gifford

Areej AbuAli (Women in Tech SEO)

Rejoice Ojiaku (B-Digital UK)

Shani Gwin (Gwin Communications)

Diversity and Inclusion in Digital Marketing

What Does Representation in Digital Marketing Mean to You?

Rejoice:Representation to me is normality. Where I go to work, what I do should be reflective of my actual day view, I want an actual life view. If we’re working in a media or advertising company, the content we put out should be reflective of people’s realities and not just the realities of white people. It should represent the worldview of everybody. It’s not just seeing the one black person at work, it’s also seeing multiple black people, multiple Asian people, and multiple people of different nationalities/races. I should be able to see that wherever I go, including work. That’s what representation is for a lot of people.”

Shani: “When I talk to a lot of our staff or our team, they always say, I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for me until I started working here. That speaks out. I don’t even have words for that. Yes, you are supposed to look for you, because we are part of the society too. We can do things just as great if not better. My hope is that people start looking at ways to decolonize how they hire people, and look beyond AI/screening that they have. There’s some really, really incredible people waiting to be hired and contributing to the team.”

Areej: “A lot of it comes down to diversity of thinking. If your leadership team all looks the same – digital marketing is such a creative industry – how are you going to have that creativity and diversity when it comes to making decisions? When it comes to producing those campaigns? For me representation is just being able to look up to people who are in roles that I would love to be in one day, and be inspired and motivated that I could be there because there are people who look like me who’ve made it there.”Download the Diversity and Inclusion Guide that accompanies this talk. The guide incorporates the ideas shared by Areej, Rejoice, and Shani to help you create an inclusive workplace, plus suggested resources to help you take action to Listen, Watch, Learn, and Commit to Change.What can companies do to become more diverse and to support a more diverse workforce?

  • Start internally – get a deeper understanding by asking for feedback from your staff and taking surveys. Gather your own data to create a benchmark. It’s helpful to ask questions like
    • How do women feel versus men?
    • How do non binary people feel?
    • Where does the challenge seem to be?
    • What does our salary data look like? Are we equally paying people or not?
  • Support and listen to diverse people on your team, find out what they need. Engage with your team members and actually implement what they’re telling you they need.
  • Be sensitive to their cultures, beliefs, values, and family structures.

Kevin Kapezi (Growthack Digital)

Getting Started in E-Commerce: Key Lessons from Brands that Pivot

In the past 18 months you’ve likely been dealing with pivoting your business to digital-first.

There are 3 conditions for a pivot:

  1. Long term trends created or intensified by an event.
  2. An extension of existing capabilities cementing your intent.
  3. A sustainable path to profitability that enhances brand value.

If you’re thinking of pivoting to e-commerce, ask if there is an opportunity to solve a problem and if your business can be the solution. 

Start by Learning to Spot Rising Trends

  • For example, you can use Google’s Rising Retail Categories.
  • Do further research into trends to see if it’s long-term viability and if you can sustain demand over a long period of time.  
  • Do keyword research using SEMrush to better understand how people search for the product. 

When you utilize rising trends 

  • Determine if you create a new business or expand an existing one? 
  • Stay ahead of competitors, forecast demand, and source more stock partners to ensure you can meet demand.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of your customers’ needs.

Leverage Your Business’s Existing Capabilities with Strategic Intent

  • In terms of e-commerce this can come in the form of extending online capabilities to include experiences, tools that enhance engagement, investing in an exceptional landing page from the content to interactive features and brand assets.
  • Develop a strong understanding of what your customer hopes to achieve within their journey.
  • What kind of content relates to your customers’ journey that you can include on your landing pages? 

Lily Ray (Amsive Digital)

Creative Strategies for Local Businesses to Convey Expertise, Authority, and Trust

How does E-A-T apply to local SEO?

“A GMB profile can serve as an entry point to getting your business entity listed in Google’s Knowledge Graph” 

What features does Google offer local businesses to improve or convey E-A-T? Well, it’s a lot of the same local ranking factors and best practices. How You Can Improve Your Businesses E-A-T

  • Your GMB reviews are one of the primary drivers for how Google evaluates E-A-T on the local level. 
  • Build robust author/business owner pages on your website (see Crystal Carter’s Person Schema tip from Day 1)
  • One of the BEST ways SMBs can improve their E-A-T is to employ an expert-led content strategy throughout their website. 
    • Your brain is the best tool to provide entirely unique content ideas. We repeat. The human brain – your expert human brain – has insights into knowledge that is not necessarily available in common keyword research tools. 
    • As a business owner or employee, you work at your company everyday – you are the expert. You know the ins and outs of your products and services better than anyone else. 

=Filter pages by UTMs in GMB to identify search queries used to potentially generate Justifications in GMB – add these to your descriptions, services, etc. These are often high converting keywords driving people to your store and they are often different than what you would expect or currently presenting on your GMB profile.

Claire Carlile (Claire Carlile Marketing)

The Quick Guide to Justifications in GMB

What are Justifications On Google Search

“Search justifications help searchers better connect results with their query”  Joel Headley

A Justification is content highlighted in search. Justifications are when you have a search term and Google highlights the words, for example in a meta description, that match the search terms. In search results, these display a “justification” to explain to the searcher why a particular result is chosen, highlighting the user’s search query.GMB Justifications that Queries Can Trigger

  • Website Mentions
  • Posts
  • Provides 
  • Reviews
  • Menu Highlight or On the Menu
  • Sold Here
  • In Stock

Here’s a few examples of what justifications look like:Why Do Justifications Matter? 

A study conducted by Dr. Pete at Moz found that over 57% of the Local Packs featured justifications (1,175 of 2,063 local packs)!

“We’re aiming to be the business that stands out in a dense field of options. If any aspect of our listing signals to a customer that our business is the one that can best fulfill their intent, it’s such a win. ” Miriam Ellis, Moz

How Can I Get Justifications? 

Claire shared 6 ways you can work towards getting justification. We’re sharing 4 of her tips below! 

#1 Monitor SERPS for your important keywords (across devices).

You can use Mobile Moxie to automate this process.

#2 Use Google Search Console to see queries that your GMB listing is appearing in.

  • Select the time frame you want to analyze.
  • Filter out your brand queries (you want to see non-branded).
  • Then drill down your GMB page – as you only want to see pages that have your UTM tracking for your listing.

If you have a brand name that is commonly misspelled you can use Regex within GSC to add filters.

#3 Use GMB Insights 

GMB Insights is often overlooked as it is difficult to pull the data into any third-party tools, but it is quite possible that when you filter out your brand, it is going to give you insight into what people are searching for when it comes to the products and services your organization offers. 

#4. Go Beyond Your Core Search Terms

You need to know your long tail keywords, potential opportunities you aren’t taking advantage of. Expand your keyword queries to include modifiers for:

  • Buying
  • Audience
  • Location
  • Questions
  • Comparison
  • Zeitgeist
  • Time

Pro Tip – Check out the Know this Place Questions that Google is asking. This will give you an idea of what Google is interested in for the attributes with your business because that’s what people are interested in knowing. 

Joel Klettke (Business Casual Copywriting)

The Total Idiot’s Guide to High-Converting Copy

Joel shared a ton of great tips and tactics that you can use to whip your content into shape in 5 days.

  • Day 1 – Gather intel
  • Day 2 – Add context
  • Day 3 – Write ugly 
  • Day 4 – Edit wisely
  • Day 5 – Avoid stupid

We’re sharing his suggestions for how you can gather intel through internal interviews with your team, yourself, and then the utilizing analytics or ad data.

Answer key questions about your customers 

  • Who are they?
  • What do they really want? (What outcome?)
  • Where are they coming from?
  • Why wouldn’t’ they buy? (What objections do they have?)

A lot of times you think about conversion in terms of fixing problems, but often it’s more about scaling your successes.

  • Who loves us now? 
  • Who buys from us now?
  • Who are we actually closing? 
  • Where do they come from?
  • What objections are we hearing?

Context changes everything. Awareness level changes the way we communicate with people. How do we know where our customers’ awareness level is? 

  • Check GA reports (sources, keywords, landing page + second landing page report)
  • Ad targets
  • Inquiry emails/chat 

Susan Staupe (Juris Digital)

Serious Client Retention: How to Keep Your Digital Clients for 10+ Years

Client retention is one of the hardest parts of your job as account managers, digital marketers, and SEOs, because you constantly have competitors and other people reaching out to them trying to sell them their services.

  1. Listening – Be an active listener. Hear what they’re saying, don’t be thinking about what you want to say next. Pick up on bits and pieces that are going to help you put together a solution to solve whatever problems they’re facing.
  2. Identifying Their Pain Points – After you listen to them, you have to be able to identify their pain points and roadblocks.
  3. Responsiveness – Standard response time is 24 hours in most businesses. I respond almost immediately to every voicemail and email I get, even if it’s just to tell them I’m looking into this and I’ll get back to you shortly/tomorrow. It’s just acknowledging them, making them feel like they’re a priority to you, and then actually answering their questions/fulfilling what they need.
  4. Transparency – Complete and total transparency, honesty is key. Don’t just sugarcoat everything and tell them that everything looks good. If there’s issues, you have to address them head on.
  5. Customer Service – You do this by providing exceptional customer service day in day out, week over week, month over month, year over year. You do that by creating not just a happy customer, but a raving fan. You have to consistently go above and beyond what the client is expecting from you.
  6. Valued Partner – There are three areas for showing your value.
    • Setting the right expectations from the beginning.
    • Discussing tough questions with them.
    • Being transparent. Tell your client every month, what you worked on for them last month, everything that was completed, everything you did to move the needle for them, and then what your strategy and tactics are for next month coming up.

Joy Hawkins (Sterling Sky)

Make Your Images Worth A Thousand Words

When it comes to images, SEOs spend a lot of time and effort on the wrong strategies that don’t result in accomplishing their goals. 

Your goal with images should be to:

  1. Look Good
  2. Rank Better
  3. Get More Leads

Strategies to help make your images look good:

  • Make sure your image doesn’t get cut off
  • Limit the amount of text you are adding to images
  • Do not use stock photos – they do not perform well
  • Focus on highlighting award and coupons
  • Use square images
  • Image placement is important – the higher the better on a landing page
  • Customize your GMB cover photo because Google will often use it in local pack results

How photos can help you rank better 

  • Alt-text can help search engines understand what your images are and Google can use the alt-text in your images as a “Website mentions” justification in local pack results. Alt-text is a minor ranking factor – so don’t skip over this, it’s worth doing.  

How you can track the impact of your images

  • Use Search Console to see how well your images are performing and if they are converting leads.
  • Don’t forget to measure your assisted conversions.

Rachel Anderson (Local SEO Guide)

How to Not Suck at Enterprise Local SEO

Rachel takes you through 3 different levels of Enterprise Local SEO that include Basics, Mastering, and To The Moon. Today, we’re sharing the basics with you, because if you don’t have these nailed down, you’ll never make it to the moon.

The Basics – AKA The Bare Minimum

Data Maintenance

  • Do you actually have location pages? They all need to have unique URLs for every location.
  • Do they suck? Poor formatting, missing info?
  • Are your pages broken? 404s, widgets not populating, non-indexed?
  • Is the information you’re sharing accurate? Do you have the correct details on services offered, name, addresses, phone numbers and hours?

Signs of Poor Data Maintenance

    • Is there a fire every time a new location is opened or closed?
    • GMB and third-party listing sites do not align with your website.
    • Poor reviews on first- and/or third-party sites.

Setting and Tracking KPIs 

  • Define what is a good KPI for the business:
    • Clicks
    • Purchases
    • Calls
    • Appointments

Now Monitor Their Ongoing Performance

  • Single domain; national/international presence and adjusting traffic by population.
  • Multi domain; being able to see all the information at once.

Check out Rachel’s presentation from last year where she shares technical audit tips you can apply to your location pages and how to adjust for population to determine which pages are performing and which aren’t. 

Reputation Management 

  • Most enterprise businesses use third-party solutions for reputation management but that doesn’t mean it’s hands off.
  • Reviews need active management by the business and should not be owned by a marketing company. 
  • Operations needs to be involved, and maybe public relations too.

Noah Learner (Two Octobers)

Google Search Console API + Google Data Studio: Big Data + Laser Focused Context for the Win

Google Search Console is a treasure trove of valuable data for search marketers, but did you know that you’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg when you use Google’s web interface for accessing Search Console data?

Noah explained how you have access to much more data through the Google Search Console API, and how you can mine that data for insights that drive real business results.

Some of the limitations of the basic Search Console are:

  • You only have access to 1000 rows of data
  • It’s slow and cumbersome to work in
  • You can only analyze the data in the ways they provide in their interface
  • You only have access to 16 months of data

The Search Console API allows you to break free from those constraints. Start pulling in your Search Console data through the API and you get:

  • Access to 25,000 rows of data
  • Lighting fast speed
  • Complete control and flexibility to segment and filter the data in meaningful ways to give you data you can take action on
  • The ability to store the data forever so you can keep a historical record of it

To get started, you need to pull your search console data into BigQuery, and then connect BigQuery to Google Data Studio.I know what you’re thinking: “That sounds great, but I’m not a programmer”.

Noah explained that you don’t have to be. A system like Jepto can connect all of these for you for only $10 per month. Noah also showed us the incredible user interface that he and his team at Two Octobers have built that will allow you to analyze your data as well as they do.Click here to check it out and sign up to get notified when they go live with it!

Dani Owens (Pigzilla)

Google Review Basics and Best Practices


The Impact of GMB Reviews

  • Potential to increase your GMB Rankings
  • Help improve your business operations
  • Lead to better conversion rates

Review Advice and Tips to Help Your Business

  • Data mining your GMB reviews helps you identify common themes or issues your business may be experiencing. 
  • GMB review content can help you gain insights about overall customer experience and strengthen customer relationships to build loyal customers and solve complaints. 
  • Engagement is key – respond to ALL reviews. 
  • Don’t be reactive to negative reviews. Replying in anger isn’t professional and won’t help the situation. Instead offer to rectify the situation, thank them for sharing their experience, and try to move the conversation offline.
  • Many businesses do not have amazing customer service. So when you’re replying to reviews, that’s another indicator that you care about your customers.
  • Embed reviews on your website to build trust and add social proof.
  • Tell a story with your reviews by sharing them on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Jason Brown &

Ben Fisher (Steady Demand )

How to Combat GMB Spam


How to Identify Fake Listings

  • The first thing to look at is the business name. An indication of a fake listing is if the name is a city and keyword. For example it’s going to be something like  “Toronto Garage Door Repair”.
  • Look for certain characteristics such as suspicious looking reviews. If the business has a handful of reviews that look a little suspect, for example, reviewers using fake names.
  • Does it have a GMB website? Google allows you to create that free website in your GMB listing easily and it is frequently used by spammers. 
  • Look at the telephone number. Is it actually a call tracking number? Fake listings will often swap telephone numbers out.
  • If you’ve been tracking, does the name of the business or business information change approximately every 3 months?
  • What you’re going to see is what looks like a brand new listing. You can notice factors such as they have three reviews that all popped up within the past month or two and no older reviews. There isn’t longevity for fake listings.

How Do You Get Rid of Spam Listings?

1. Document everything in a spreadsheet; name, address, phone number, etc. Tom Waddington has this great tool to access the company information on Google. It’ll harvest the information from a GMB profile into a CSV, then you can just copy the CSV in five seconds or more.

2. You need to have two real strikes in order to be able to report a fake listing – it can’t be based on hunches.

For Example: You can’t use “business.site URL” as a reason. You can’t use the phone number as a reason, unless you call that phone number and they answer “garage door” or something where they didn’t answer as the name of the GMB profile, that would be one strike. That is an actual piece of evidence you would include in your report.

3. Some businesses by law are required to have a business license. Look at the company and what they sell. For example, if a garage door supplier requires a business license in that state/province, then you can cite that law and have a link. There are licensing authorities for locksmiths and garage door companies so you would have to go by the state or the city.

4. The next step is going to be Secretary of State (US businesses only).

  • Is the business registered with the Secretary of State?
  • Does the GMB listing address match the business registry with the Secretary of State?
  • Do they have a fictitious name?
  • Did they register a Doing Business As (DBA) name?

These are all questions that you need to ask yourself and find out. However, there are a lot of inconsistencies from state to state and industry to industry, so it’s not 100% reliable.

5. From there you will submit it all your evidence with the GMB listings’ CID links and fill out the redressal form. If you have more than 10 listings, you will have to submit a spreadsheet. In that spreadsheet, give all your reasons, summarize it, and cluster your listings together by spam type and then you can use one redressal. Write out your description, hit submit and done. Hopefully you will get some traction within the first few weeks after submission.

Greg Gifford (SearchLab Digital)

Ruby Rhod’s Guide to Local Search Reporting (What to track, how to track it, and why)

A lot of agencies try to just coast along giving customers generic or really crappy reports. 

If your reports sucks, you’re going to blend into the background noise of all of the other things going on with your client. Which means you become kind of invisible to your clients, you don’t really have any value to them, and they don’t really know what’s going on with what you’re doing. 

Have no fear! Because Greg is going to help you make your reports awesome. With his help, your reports will tell a better story. 

  • Stop tracking the wrong metrics
  • Stop overloading clients with far too much information
  • You’re not connecting anything to your clients’ business goals

How to Make Your Reports Super Green

Your report shows your value to clients – prove you’re worth it. They are paying you so that you can help them understand what’s going on, what opportunities are available, and how they are doing better from your help.

Monitoring stuff isn’t reporting. Just because we care about something as SEOs and marketers, doesn’t mean the client cares or that it’s important to them. Bad past experiences results in client mistrust (direct or indirect). 

  • The best reports are simple and easy to understand 
  • The data needs to tell a story
  • Layout and presentation are critical
  • The report should tie in to the clients’ bottom line – make it clear that your SEO efforts result in more sales. You can do that by concentrating on the activities that lead to organic traffic and all leads.
  • Share the most important metrics on the first page of your reports for owners/uninterested clients. Share organic traffic and all your leads (total conversions – phone calls, form fills, etc.) here.

Below is an example of a report Greg uses:

  • Include more details on subsequent pages for clients who want/need more. Provide a deeper analysis of everything you are working on based on the business goals.  
  • Customize your reports. Don’t give the exact same report to every client. Make the report reflect each client’s specific goals. 

Thank You! That’s a Wrap on the 2021 Local Search Summit

We hope that you enjoyed a look into the 2021 Local Search Summit. We only shared a small amount of all the local search learning that was provided by every speaker. If you want to get the most out of all the content and were not able to attend the live event for free, you can still unlock full access by purchasing our Video Bundle.We would love to hear about your experience at the summit or the top tip you learned from the event in the comments below. ⬇️

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