I sit with Danielle to discuss SEO challenges, tips, and tricks to dominate Local SEO. Danielle is the person Hello SEO.
Her SEO journey started when she opened up an eCommerce store and quickly realized that driving traffic to your site is the most critical thing. She tried to hire SEO people – but they could not get the results she wanted, or they tried to push her into expensive marketing options unsuitable for her needs.
At Hello SEO, she helps businesses achieve greater visibility through Google My Business Reviews with Perfect Review.
What is Google Local Search?
Good afternoon. We are here with Danielle Philips from Hello SEO from down under. Thank you for joining us. Tell us a bit about Hello SEO.
Hey Mike, thanks so much for having me. SEO is my business, and I started it 18 months to two years ago. My background was as a hair and makeup artist who realized I didn’t want to face another bride again. I was totally over them.
I know they’re hard work. So I wanted to find a way that I could make money online. I did the whole thing. You know, dabbled with multi-level marketing and failed spectacularly. The entire thing blew upon us, and then I started selling on amazon. I needed a website, and I had no clue about websites. I had to learn how to build a website, make it work, drive some traffic, etc.
As a result, I got interested in ranking and renting websites to build a site, rank it and then rent it to a local tradesperson. I liked doing that, but along the way, we found that because we’re going for local SEO, that’s what I concentrate on, that we needed them to look great, and Google reviews really matter, and they also help local rankings.
Google My Business Reviews from the Web
That’s how we ended up talking today. We spoke of local searches and how Google reviews help it all happen, and there are some 200 plus factors that Google looks at, so how important is local in the ranking for SEO?
It comes down to this – what we’re finding is it’s more that you have to pay to play on Google’s platform, and most local or small businesses will not rank organically. We thus focus the local SEO effort on the map pack. That’s where it’s still free, and that’s where the best results happen. Something like 57% of all local click-throughs can come from that Google map pack. It’s much lower, like in the 30% or something that comes through from organic rankings.
Because what Google likes to do is put directories there. Google’s all about trust and credibility; it’s always going to show the more trusted platforms first like Yelp or Angie’s List, or in Australia, it’s High Pages. for a small business to rank organically, it’s difficult because you’re not going to outrank a directory site. Still, you can rank well in the Google Maps pack. So that’s where all the fun is!
We also know that many searchers will ignore paid advertising despite their positioning and ignore banners; we call this Banner Blindness. Instead, they’ll skip right past the paid ads sitting at the top and look at the organic searches. And, of course, if you’re not on the first page, you might as well be dead. But if you can get on the first page within the first three or four listings, you have a chance of being seen at least.
I don’t click on Google ads because I know companies paid to be there, but when I see that it’s in the map area, I know well that the business is there for a reason – it must be close to me, or they’ve got good reviews. So I’m more likely to look at the map, especially on my phone.
If I need something now, then the map area is where I’m going to be because I can see how local it is and the reviews straight away.
And you can get directions to get there.
Absolutely and I can click to call and everything. I do not have to click through to a website. For me, Google My Business acts a little like a staging website, so everything’s there.
Google My Business Reviews from the Web
Those who have been in SEO for a while have seen our competitors; that’s the most excellent word that I can call those people, which will make all kinds of promises about ranking you number one. What do you think of that kind of promise?
Ranking number one for what? A keyword that’s only got two searches a month or for a keyword that will make a difference to a website’s traffic? The trouble is Google keeps changing the rules on organic rankings, and what works one year all of a sudden stops working. We’ve seen that. Some of my rank and rent sites took an absolute beating last year.
That’s the beauty of using Google My Business; Google will not penalize itself. So if I send backlinks to Google My Business, ensuring it’s all optimized, I’m doing something right.
One of Google’s other trends is capturing all that information, never leaving Google.
Right, they’re not driving traffic to your website. What they’re doing is they’re driving traffic to Google my business or Google maps and then connecting you directly from there. So you are not found if you don’t have a presence on those two profiles.
Google is not trying to present you in Google maps to click on your website. Instead, you need enough information on those platforms so people can access you directly.
Oh absolutely. We all know Google loves Google. So even when I am directing traffic, I use YouTube. I use Google sites. I use Google Maps. I drive many of my links to. Then I can link from there to the actual money site. So if I push everything to these Google properties, I will drive traffic and strength and look after their money site because I’m using the Google sites as all buffers from their competitors.
What is the best way to do that? How do you help your customers do that?
Build buffer sites to get more rankings, or make sure you appear on maps and Google My Business. When you appear in the places that Google wants to present
Google loves itself, so when I’m setting up a website, I ensure that Google’s business is set up correctly and has the correct categories. This is where so many companies go wrong. There is a primary category, but there are also all these subcategories,
Someone like an electrician might have an electrical contractor as their first category. Still, there’s also HVAC; there’s air conditioning installation; there are about four or five different categories that an electrician can have. So you’ve got to make sure that you do all of those.
Then whatever that category is called in the Google My Business; I make sure that a page name is a service page with the same category name; if Google recognizes that as an electrician, then I’m going to have a page called electrician a website.
It’s an easier way to join the dots and use Google My Business as a social media site; if you’re posting on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, post excellent content on your Google my business keywords in the posts. If you want more ranking with a particular keyword, ensure that keyword is in the post. Use all of Google’s tools that they give you.
Google My Business Reviews from the Web – Dominate Local SEO with a Google My Business Listing
One of the problems that we typically run into when we’re working with our clients is when you’re doing your keyword research, it needs to have enough traffic, and then naturally, if it has enough traffic, it’s too competitive. So how do you get around that? You can’t win.
Well, for me, luckily in Australia. I use a lot of location words. I’m in Brisbane; look it up on Google; it’s an amazing place, but I’m using things like Brisbane plumber and Brisbane electrician. There are going to be around a thousand searches of them a month. But I know that’s organic. If I’m working local, there will not be those local guys around me or my clients, and we’ll be smart enough not to do the same things. We focus on Google My Business, and then that’s where I can do all those posts – local electrician, Brisbane electrician, and backing those up with what we were talking about with reviews. Also, ensure those keywords are in the reviews and the responses you give to the reviews. You’re just constantly reinforcing the right words in the right places.
But reviews are hard, right? So we ask our clients to beg them; please give us a review, and they don’t, so what do you do there?
Okay, so apart from getting arrested for being a stalker – because you know there’s only so many times you can chase a client down the road or send another email or a text message – this is where we were getting stuck as well with my rank and rent websites and also with the client sites. So it’s like, can you please get some more reviews, and they would say, but I’m asking. So I asked them, and everyone promised.
Is it like have you sent an email? Here’s your short link. The short link that you can create. I’ve done that. I’m putting it on my invoices, and the customers are still not giving us reviews.
I’m in this little SEO accountability group, and one of the guys there said I’d created this little review link you can send to customers to ask them for a review, but it’s more than Google. It’s also like Google and Facebook, and there’s a checker trade TripAdvisor trust pilot in the UK. So all these different review platforms all matter.
Even though Google loves itself, it’s also monitoring what’s going on on the more prominent platforms like Trustpilot or TripAdvisor. So if you’re busy and active and you’re well represented, it’s still connecting the dots to your company and brand. He said, all right, I’ve got this link, so we tried it. We sent these review links out in text messages, but it still wasn’t the uptake. That’s when he said, okay, last option, let’s try a tap card or QR codes.
Do you have the tap cards in the US? or even Apple Pay, where you can tap your phone against something and open up your website? That’s what these cards are.
This is one here that we made a little earlier. It’s a tap card. It’s got a QR code, but it will also open up a phone, the newer phones anyway. So if you’ve got an old brick, it’s not going to work, but if you’ve got a more recent android or a newer iPhone, it will open up on the phone.
We found that our face-to-face clients – like tradespeople or service providers like hairdressers or dentists – see clients face to face if they ask the client if they would do a review. The client says yes, then gets them to review there and then on the spot, making it easy and awkward. Then the review rate would go up a lot higher, especially before you’ve done the blowout right.
Yeah, exactly; when they say later and then go home, never do. If you ask them on the spot while they’re in love with what you’ve just done, provided, or sold to them, they’ll do it if you make it easy, and that’s what we did. We stopped that bottleneck.
If you like I can show you how easy it is.
This is my phone; it’s an android. If this were an iPhone, you would tap at the top. That’s where the card reader is. On an Android, you tap at the back. Okay, so it’s opened up my internet. You can now see the review platforms on the phone, and I can choose from Trustpilot or Google. I can follow myself on LinkedIn or leave a review on Facebook.
Now all of a sudden, a client has the opportunity to review right there on the spot. Imagine if they said, all right, I’m going to leave your google review, and they said to you, but what do I write, and then that’s where you can go? Well, how about you put in that I’m a local plumber that just unblocked your drains
I’ve got the keyword, local plumber, in there, and I just got unblocked drains as another keyword. They said, okay, and I’ll write that, and then imagine if you said to them, hey would you take a photo of my van in your driveway or take a picture of your new hairstyle or whatever it is? So I’ve just provided add that to the review. Now the review is even more potent because you like pictures.
We typically do things when we’re looking for keywords, and we’re looking, especially if we’re about to write something if we go down to the frequently asked questions. Do you guys use that?
I make sure that people ask those questions. I also put them into my client’s Google My Business. If I’ve got an electrician and frequently asked, “how much does an electrician charge?” I will ask that question to my clients on Google My Business. What do you charge as an electrician and then respond to that, so I’m putting that information into their Google My Business profile?
I’m also writing articles using those questions as your main topic or h1 headers anyway because you’re answering a question that google wants you to answer.
What difference are you seeing from using these types of techniques?
From an SEO perspective, it’s taken a lot of pressure off me because, as you know, when you’re doing SEO for a client, they’re ringing – I haven’t seen any difference. Where’s my extra traffic? Where are the phone calls? That guy is still beating me, they’re still on number one, and I’m number 10.
I’ve got a straightforward metric that a business owner can measure by concentrating on Google Reviews. For example, I just got a message today – I’ve got a removal company using the cards, and he messaged me, and we got five Google reviews today.
At the rate these cards work, he will be the highest-ranked Google Reviewed removal company within a couple of months. So he’s wrapped because he’s getting reviews. It’s a vanity metric for him. So you can see that it’s working.
Then being smart about it by making the responses and everything like that, he will naturally start to rank anyway, and I’m not having to do a lot of the hard work because the client’s the one getting the reviews, and the client is the one controlling it.
All I’m doing is making it easier and making sure that they do it the best way possible, and then if they need me, I can go in and do some of that reputation management stuff by answering the reviews and doing the posts for them.
I’m hoping some of these smaller SEO agencies could see that they could add a whole other service to their clients with a system like this. This is an easy way to get reviews. There’s no tech stuff. There’s no software needed. There are no emails or text messages.
Ask to get the review, and then I will answer for you. So it’s an excellent extra service that SEO agencies can offer to their clients.
Where would they get these cards from?
Me, of course.
Yes, from me, you have to come to Australia, and I will give you the cards. No, not really. We post them worldwide. I’ve given you the info Mike, so I’m hoping that you might put a link up somewhere so people can go and check
The cards are fantastic. We only launched this back in October. At the moment, guys jump on because there’s no subscription it’s a one-off price. These cards will work forever. Or until Google or Facebook change the rules about reviews or phones, stop using QR codes or tap cards.
So you will go figure out the next generation, whatever that is.
We’ll come up with something. When you’ve got the other review platforms out there, you know they’re between one and two hundred dollars a month to use those services, and they’re using text or emails, which, as we know they’re okay, but you’re not always going to get the reviews or the responses that you want. So by getting them in person, you’re controlling the whole aspect of it.
You and I have previously discussed where even some of these review platforms are pay-to-play.
Yes absolutely. Your reviews won’t be shown if you don’t pay to be on their platform. So not very nice at all, no.
We very much appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today from down under. have you looked at the links to find out where you can get one of your cards and start this process? Of course, if you need any help, Danielle is always available.
Perfect Review’s Google Review cards take the difficulty of leaving a review.