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Talking Local SEO at WordCamp Europe

Jen Miller Travels to Paris to Speak on Local SEO at WordCamp EuropeThis summer I had the opportunity to travel to Paris to speak at WordCamp Europe on Local SEO. I met WordPress users from all over the world in every capacity, and it was a fabulous experience. Due to the community nature of WordPress events, this tech conference with thousands of attendees, felt comfortable even though I was far from California. New friends were made as easily as if I’d been at home in Orange County. Long-time friends were easy to find, as well.

My natural inclination is to study those around me and I quickly noted cultural differences and made generalizations when assessing my surroundings. Parisians do not take photos of their meals or sit and scroll through social feeds in public. Parisians are efficient and confident. As a people, they are quick to assist and slow to smile, testing the waters before sharing themselves openly. Parisians value effort and honor historical significance. Even if your waiter does not personally eat escargot, he will appreciate you when you order it, urging you to welcome an edible adventure into Parisian culture.

Fun with Friends at WordCamp Europe - Jen Miller Talks Local SEORecognizing these differences helped me to understand the complexities Parisian businesses encounter in their marketing efforts. I spoke with a restauranteur who explained that while a good portion of her business came from word of mouth, a travel review site was really the answer behind every table being filled. I talked with busy private chauffeur drivers who had continual ride requests because they signed up for every transportation app and company possible. I discussed the importance of maintaining loyal clientele with a restaurant owner who delivered excellent service and was a favorite local hotspot. I learned that marketing and Local SEO was as much of an art in Paris as it is in Tampa, Florida.

If you’d like to read or listen to the transcript of my talk, you can do so below. Would love to know your thoughts!

Transcript from WordCamp Europe on Local SEO

Bonjour.

Talk on WordCamp Europe on Local SEO by Jen MillerI’m Jen Miller and I own a content marketing and web development agency in the United States. You may know us as NeedSomeoneToBlog. I wrote my first website in 1996 and I’ve watched SEO take on many forms since then. Today I will explain the uniqueness of Local SEO, and how simple changes in the way you think about content can make all the difference.

I hear way too often from future clients and people I meet for the first time, “My website does not do anything. It looks great but nobody comes to it.”

This has got to change.

As the people who create in WordPress, we need to deliver websites that not only look great but perform as well. Many of us in this room can create an aesthetically pleasing, well-functioning website, however launching with Lorem Ipsum text is never the key to an optimal result.

Why is the question of content often reserved until the final stage of website development?

Is it because you create content to fit the design? I think that’s what many of us tell ourselves. But it’s simply not true. Copy can be edited or augmented to fit the desired container but it should be well developed as its own entity.

Is it due to a perceived lack of importance? Often in discussions of copy, design and code, copy or content is the most undervalued. And yet, website content is driver of website performance.

Is it because it’s the “client’s responsibility”? This mindset is very limiting. When you accept the role of providing your client with a website, the end result (which includes copy) is YOUR responsibility. Website developers must adjust their workflow to assist clients in creating local, relevant content.

I am not suggesting that developers create or write the website’s content.

Not at all.. Those who write code and those write copy utilize two very different talents.

By a raise of hands, how many bloggers and writers do we have in the room? Perfect, use them.

Content development is not about lining up strings and hooks.

It’s about utilizing hooks and stringing together phrases that engage your reader. The goal is to transport them to the scent of the cafe 4 blocks away or remind them that white sand beaches are only a day’s journey away. Content helps the reader to visualize the dream that propels them to click on the Call to Action which sets the appointment with the hairdresser, air conditioning salesman or mechanic. Localized website content focused on the user pulls them in and transforms a “user” into a person with specific needs and desires that can be solved by that business. That is the goal and that is why we need Local SEO.

Local SEO isn’t a foreign language – you can learn it without Duolingo.

Jen Miller Speaks at WordCamp Europe on Local SEO SEO is acronym that stands for search engine optimization. It is a universal term that transcends language barriers. SEO can used as a noun, a verb, an adverb and an adjective. SEO really is a transformative phrase. It is a method of evaluating websites, causing scrutiny of code,design, and ultimately each word used on every page and post.

SEO causes us to look at words as unique identifiers, similar to puzzle pieces. In many ways, Local SEO places the puzzle in your home. Once you arrange the puzzle pieces correctly, images begin to appear. As more puzzle pieces connect, the more the end result takes shape. The more concentrated time and effort applied, the more quickly a masterpiece is achieved. The same can be said of Local SEO. The key to creating relatable localized content is crossing over subject barriers to where topics intersect and ideas match up, returning a broader vision of the website in search.

This is not about inserting or stuffing keywords. It’s about consensus and community. It’s about bring validity to that website’s particular content by giving it relevance in the community.

Local SEO without community is just keywords.

Learn About Local SEO From Jen Miller at WordCamp Europe TalkKeywords by themselves do not deliver results. They must be woven into a message that speaks to the reader on a local level. Locality does not have to be geographical. It can be defined as an industry segment. You have the power to change client results by viewing their website as a community resource. Explore with them how their website topics relates to their audience. Then connect your clients to the people who can write that conversion-oriented copy in-house or nearby. Teach your clients that their website is the hub for all their advertising, emailing and discussion efforts and is critical to their success. Your clients can train their customers to deeply value their website when it contains quality material, causing them to want to share it. Encourage your clients to become active in targeted Facebook Groups. Suggest they produce videos or podcasts as a way to showcase their talent and websites. Quality writing, consistency, social promotion, relevancy and area-sensitive keywords are essential to converting generalized text into content that matters. You’ll discover that the content will elevate their website as it connects with other portals such as YouTube, iTunes and Yelp.

It’s important to understand that in your client’s mind Local SEO may refer to both paid and organic search results. The quickest way to be seen (literally overnight) is through paid advertising (whether in search engines or social media) while typically organic SEO takes several weeks or months to really shine. It’s important to remember and teach that Organic SEO is a process; not a get rich quick scheme. Organic SEO is about creating a system for getting found in search engines, allowing your website to rank higher for certain terms.

WordCamp Europe - Local SEO Tips from Jen MillerWhen businesses use advertising and organic search as companion pieces in audience targeting, they discover their ads deliver more closely-matched real audiences and real revenue increases. Increases that are sustainable, not ad dependent, as customers who are local tend to refer more often and become repeat buyers. Local viewers return to local websites, feel more connected and are more likely to share by word of mouth or through direct url with a large regional audience.

To keep the connection with a local audience, one must consider several aspects.

Layer one is speed. Reducing image size, resisting the urge to call on too many external resources, utilizing a cache system and keeping SPAM comments under control are some ways to enhance speed.

Layer two is the technical details of the code. What platform is the website on? Where is it hosted? Does it have a security certificate? Are there redundancies in plugins or the theme code that may be limiting?

Layer three is the website design. Does it lead the viewer to conversion, meaning do the colors, structure and forms make it simple for a user to take action? Is the website attractive, responsive and easy to follow? Does the design inspire?

Layer four is the website copy or words and images. These must be fine-tuned so that the topic is readily understood from both a technical and creative standpoint. When the text and images on a website clearly identify subject matter and keywords, each page and post can be indexed in search engines. This means adding the right header titles, applying attachment details – such as alt text and a description, including internal and/or external links and creating custom copy that engages readers. If the content is interesting and meaningful, it leaves a longer impression.

Lastly, layer five relates to the domain – does it have a history of integrity? If a domain is established, meaning not new, it performs better. On the other hand, if that same domain was used questionably at some point in its past, the opposite could be true. Evaluating and knowing the history of your domain can help you to avoid issues post launch.

The website design must be evaluated from a technical and creative standpoint.

New leads come to the site for 3 main reasons.

  1. Action – They want to complete something now.
  2. Knowledge – They want to learn.
  3. Direct – They are looking for a specific page (these leads typically are return visitors though they could come through direct mail attempts, such as a postcard campaign).

Local SEO allows leads to narrow all three of these and search on a location-based level which leads to the most relevant results. These results are evolving as voice search becomes more popular. When I mention voice search, I’m referring to virtual assistants on devices, more commonly known as Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Now. How many of you have used these as search tool in the last 2 weeks?

Jen Miller Shares on Local SEO Tips at WordCamp Europe You may find it interesting to see that Cortana has actually been shown to have the highest accuracy rating. I’m not here to talk about voice search, but I bring it up, because it is quickly becoming an essential tool for neighborhood businesses in local SEO.

A February study of voice search users conducted by HigherVisibility.com showed that after other phone functionality the highest number of voice searches related to business addresses, followed by the second highest which was the search for local business information. After that sport score requests and movie times were next in line for search results. It’s time to make sure your website is accessible via voice search.

Voice search goes hand in hand with semantic search as it relates to local results.

Location is essential in semantic search because the search looks beyond the words said or typed and considers the intent of the user and their location. Rather than focusing on typical SEO based on keywords, semantic search takes a holistic approach, broadening the search and even offering search suggestions to help the user. This opens the playing field even more, in terms of keywords and related terms. In many cases people use different words when speaking than when writing. For instance if I were writing that sentence I would likely have used the term language instead of words… see what I mean?

Localized Content steeps you in your community – in intent and in environment. You create this by tying geographic references to your industry keywords.

  • Montmartre + Dry Cleaning
  • Emergency Spot Removal + 75007
  • Laundry Service + 4th arr.

Localized Content creates you as an expert in your community. Blog posts focused on current events, neighborhood hot spots and favorites and nearby locations show that you know the area while at the same time tying geographic references to your industry keywords.

  • “The spring hunt takes place near Vannes homes on…”
  • “Pick up treasures to decorate your Lorient real estate.”
  • Or my favorite… “Tonton Maboule is one of the summer secrets to La Rochelle living.”

Combining local events and places with industry keywords creates a blog worth reading (that is also seen in search engines).

Be aware that Meta Matters

Local SEO Yoast Plugin Developer Joost de Valk Visits with Jen Miller, Bridget Willard and Autry JohnsonWhen you take the time to create a localized blog post, you must pay attention to the details beyond the actual content. Use your chosen localized keyword phrase in your metadescription, title, headings and alt descriptions. There are SEO plugins that will assist you in adding these elements. One of them actually helps you to “show” your client that your work is optimized! This can be key in distinguishing yourself as a content provider.

Once the content is created, correlate them to your social posts if possible and keep it interesting.

Earlier I mentioned intent. If your post seems boring, it likely is. People and search engines recognize this – don’t lose views due to a lack of enthusiasm (aka passive voice). Link up. Writing on City Hall? Incorporate a link to the city’s page. This adds value for your readers and may help your link ratio. Also, if you’ve written on another topic in that city in another post, mention it and build an internal link. Build yourself up to be THE local resource. Link to other valued resources

Consider what words your customers and competitors use to describe you. Think on the fastest and most technical way to describe your service or product. I will tweet out some tools and resources for you to explore after this talk that you can use to evaluate competitor search results on your topic, check that your search terms are the best to use, explore and discover alternate phrases. Ask Consumers, Friends, Experts, Thesaurus, Search Tools for help.

Remember a web property requires attention, like any other valued property. Once LIVE, the property must be maintained. New friends can be welcomed in and older relationships nurtured. Changes and updates will need to be made. Stories and history of the property will be told. The property will influence those who enter in and change lives. The web property should be a place where answers are shared and safety is felt. Think of Local SEO as the welcome map to your web property. It should attract an audience and keep them coming back.

Please – Share what you know and do on social media and email (use all your website urls).

I’m Jen Miller and I’ll be local until the end of June or find me on Twitter and LinkedIn at jenblogs4u.

Merci Beaucoup.


Jen Miller has been writing since she was a child and spent her early career years soaking up all the information she could discover as a journalist of newspapers and magazines. Getting out the message and spreading truth has always been a high priority for Jen. Jen began writing website content for clients in 1996 and started blogging in 2008 for Today.com. That experience created a love for the blog and she has been an avid blogger ever since. Today she writes for her clients on a variety of topics as a ghostwriter/ghostblogger and connects their messages with personality through social media to deliver the most impact possible.

Posted in Blog, Community, From the Stage

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