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Local Search Expert Panelists Speak at Annual Conference

Rocks Digital 2018

Local Search Day Expert Panel With Cindi Aldrich, Kevin Clark and Chaz Edward – Rocks Digital 2018

It’s a conference tradition for Bernadette Coleman, the #QueenofLocalSEO to moderate the Local Search Day panel each year. Just like every other year she comes up with just the right questions to get the panelists to open up and share their expertise. Keep reading for what transpired.

Meet the Local Search Day Expert Panelists

Chaz Edward – Founder of Web 2.0 Ranker

Kevin Clark – Vice President of Revenue for Synup; brands monitor their listings and track analytics; previously at Yext and BrightEdge

Cindi Aldrich – President and CEO of the Association of Directory Publishers (ADP)

Questions and Answers from the Local Search Day Panel Discussion

Q: Right now Yellow Pages is still a billion dollar industry. What kind of businesses do you currently work with?

A: Cindi – It’s true, but the one thing we are proud of is that we have our finger on the pulse of the SMB (Small Business Owner). We are hearing they don’t have the time to keep up with the technology. We are seeing nothing but an opportunity to help them and we are excited to help them. That is where our heart is, with the SMBs and we are going to be there to help them.

Q: Will reviews still matter in 2020?

A: Kevin – Yes they will matter. The policies for the large search engines have changed. If someone is doing a search for “who has the best tacos” they are not going back to a person’s website. Google is going to look at the reviews and they are going to phase out the companies that are gaming the system.

Q: What do you think about chat box reviews? Is anything coming that will change how reviews are done?

A: Chaz – There are many companies that are kind of automating their processes. Reviews, specifically. Google is using reviews from other websites way more. Responding to reviews is key, but some people are not responding to their reviews. The responses to reviews may be even more important in the future, and you will definitely need to use more keywords. For example: “We are so glad that Bob’s locksmith was able to come out and unlock your car.”

A: Kevin – If you serve clients locally, then using a general review could work, but if the company you own and the people who wrote your reviews are like 500 miles away, that may not work. You can even get in trouble for leaving malicious reviews.

Q: Voice search is going to be very important. Does anyone have any comments on what can be done to optimize for this?

A: Kevin – I was excited this morning to find out there is a schema that you can use to turn something into speech.

A: Chaz – I think voice search is going to affect different industries differently. If you are looking for a locksmith, then you are going to use voice search. If you are looking for a house, then you are not going to use voice search.

Q: Does anyone know what “Google Answer Box” is?

A: Kevin – One of the things we want to encourage small businesses to do is get their content out there. Google Answer Box can really help out with that.

A: Chad – Consumers expect that answer to be on their first click. Consumers are impatient, and they want that one click to give them what they want.

Q: A big trend is personalization. What tools are available for a small business that could help with that on a budget?

A: Kevin – If you don’t have a big budget, then use what is out there. The best ROI right now is retargeting. It helps to personalize your message. You can personalize to a group.

A: Chad – Getting the leadership to work on responding back is important. 79% of search will be video; Google recently changed their carousel thumbnails from pictures to videos.

Q: Do I need an app? Should I get an app?

A: Chad – They talk about how consumers are on their apps about 90% of the time. Personally, I don’t want my plumber sending me a push notification. But something like when spring comes around, you can have a notification that lets you know you need to service their air conditioner would be good.

Q: What about the future for personalization?

A: Chaz – Google has already personalized a map. That Google map app is going to be personalized to your history. Based on your specific actions. If you take a look at the history of search, it was all about online signals. You start talking about your brand, your location. Who is leaving more reviews? Who is uploading more pictures? How can I get more people interacting with my business? They know all this already.

I’m not saying online signals aren’t important because they will be. You might be a roofer and want an online presence and off. We give people tools to be able to be seen and go from there.

Q: How do you know it is a real person?

A: Chaz – I have multiple accounts on my phone. And my employees have multiple accounts. This can be useful. Even with a fake Google Guide account, if you are giving information that is helpful, then Google is going to reward that account. And there are real timing methods. You have to use real actions.

Q: Is it really important to have your listing 100% accurate?

A: Chaz – The critical thing is that when Google sees information, it has to know it is your business. It is still important to make it as consistent as possible, but don’t pull your hair out if it is not exactly the same. You will want to make a comment when you change your address.

A: Kevin – We all have experiences where we go to an address, and it has moved. You will want to make the best effort to make sure your information is right.

Q: (from audience) – I’m still confused as to what 2020 will look like?

A: Kevin – People are going to expect that answer to be only one click away.

In conclusion, local search is constantly evolving and businesses and marketers have to stay on top of the changes. One way to do that is to stay connected to Rocks Digital throughout the year and make plans now to attend the next Rocks Digital Marketing Conference.

Edgar Griggs

Edgar Griggs loves to learn about new technologies and high tech gadgets! You’ll find him at local events around the DFW Metroplex and sometimes blogging for websites like The Interestingly Cool Stuff Blog and his TrendHunter page at TrendHunter.com/CoolTrends!

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