Our SEO experts attended Whitespark’s Local Search Summit. It was three full days jam-packed with speeches from the industry’s thought leaders. We endured 6 am wake up calls, lots of infographics, and even some math equations to further develop our SEO skills.
If you were too busy treating patients to attend, don’t worry we’ve got you covered! We’re highlighting our favorite insights and takeaways from the most important topics.
A common theme across most of the sessions was that Google My Business was one of the, if not the most, important part of your SEO. When aiming to rank locally, Google My Business holds the most weight - 33% to be exact.
Speakers throughout the three days touched on optimizing Google My Business through review attributes, keeping the most up-to-date photos, and posting on the platform regularly. However, these qualities alone will not rank you number one. Keep in mind that phone calls and online submissions are more important. But how do you get patients to convert from Google? Founder of Whitespark, Darren Shaw, left us with these key points:
SEO experts have a special place in their hearts for data, but that isn’t to say that it’s always accurate or easy to read. In Dana DiTomaso’s talk “Level Up Your Analytics,” she discussed common metrics that are often pain points and not reliable. She shared with us how to use Google Tag Manager to better optimize for how your customers interact with your website.
You can collect more data than ever imagined with Google Tag Manager including fetching IP geolocation, using events to record form fills, and using the same “trigger” for multiple destinations. For more information on how to implement these tactics, please visit Dana's Resource for step-by-step instructions.
Schema markup is a form of communication to help your content be better understood by both people and search engines. For instance, schema markup will create rich snippets. Three new Schema types worth focusing on are FAQ, How To, and Q&A Schema, all of which create eye catching and engaging opportunities to increase site traffic. In Martha van Berkel’s speech “10 Tips For Local Business Schema” we went over the basics and some additional tips to use schema to grab priceless Google real-estate.
Some basic guidelines that most SEO’s know is that Schema markup needs to be tailored to what’s on the page and not applied to every page of the website because (hopefully) each page on your website is unique. SEO’s should use the correct type of schema from schema.org optimized to the correct field - the more specific the better!
One important piece of advice that Martha gave was that no schema markup should be an island! Meaning, schema should establish strong connections and relationships. To do this you must nest or structure your schema. Structured data should represent relationships between objects. Using additionalType schema is a great option and will paint Google a better picture as to what your web page is definitively about.
Lastly, our favorite highlight was to use Wikipedia and Wikidata to more explicitly explain the web page that you’re using Schema markup with. Let’s walk through an example using a local business, and our favorite type - dentists! Let’s say you are a dentist, but more specifically, an orthodontist. Using Schema App, you can use Wikidata’s definition of orthodontists in your markup language and provide better context. Remember, with Schema, context is key!
It’s no surprise that quality content is important in the world of SEO and this was touched on by almost every speaker at Local Search Summit. Simply, SEO and content cannot successfully work in isolation. Quality content can help generate backlinks, provide a great user experience, and allows you to incorporate keywords. This brings us to the significance of relevant anchor text. In “Creating The Content Machine,” iPullRank’s Founder and Managing Director Mike King addresses that anchor text is a great opportunity to incorporate keywords with some creative liberty using related anchors, long-tail anchors, or generic anchors. Avoid using exact keywords in your anchor text, especially for internal linking, and distribute different types of anchor text strategically.
Last, but not least, the most tried and true SEO practice still reigns: the use and optimization of title tags and headers. On-page SEO accounts for 32% of the ranking factor pie when it comes to local organic, and 15% when it comes to ranking for the local pack. It’s a huge ranking factor that is relatively simple and should be implemented by all SEO’s, if it hasn’t been already.
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