I sit down with Danielle to talk about SEO challenges and some 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 single most important thing. She tried to hire SEO people – but they could not get the results she wanted, or they tried to push me into expensive marketing options that were not suitable for what she needed.
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 of Hello SEO.
Hey Mike, thanks so much for having me. Hello SEO is my business, and I started it coming up 18 months to two years ago. My background was 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 to it, etc.
As a result, I got interested in rank and rent websites where you build a site, rank it and then rent it to a local tradesperson. I found 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 they’re not going to 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 come from can come from that Google map pack. It’s a much lower amount, something it’s like in the 30% or something that it 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 really, really 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 they will ignore banners; we call this Banner Blindness. 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.
Personally, 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 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 in the map area, especially if I’m 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 I can see the reviews straight away, as well.
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. Google My Business acts a little like a staging website, for me, so everything’s there.
Google My Business Reviews from the Web
Those of us who have been in SEO for a while have seen our competitors; that’s the nicest word that I can call those people, which will make all kinds of promises about we’ll rank 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 about using Google My Business; Google’s not going to penalize itself. If I send backlinks to Google My Business, making sure it’s all optimized, then I’m doing something right.
One of the other trends that Google is doing is capturing all that information, never to leave 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 if you don’t have a presence on those two profiles, you are not found.
Google is not trying to present you in Google maps so that visitors click on your website. what you need is enough information on those platforms so that people can then get a hold of you directly through those platforms
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. If I push everything to these Google properties, not only am I going to drive traffic and strength, I’m also looking 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 that you appear on maps, and you appear on Google My Business. when you appear on the places that Google wants to present
Google loves itself, so when I’m setting up a website, I make sure that Google’s business is set up right and got 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. 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 on 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 or Twitter, or Instagram, post excellent content on your Google my business keywords in the posts. If you want more ranking with a particular keyword, make sure 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, is it needs to have enough traffic, and then naturally, if it has enough traffic, then it’s too competitive. 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 the city of Brisbane; look it up on Google; it’s an amazing place, but if I’m using things like Brisbane plumber Brisbane electrician. There’s going to be around a thousand searches of them a month. But I know that’s organic. If I’m working on local, then there’s not going to 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, make sure those keywords are in the reviews and the responses you give to the reviews that come in. you’re just constantly reinforcing the right words in the right places.
But reviews are hard, right? I mean, we ask our clients, we beg our clients; 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. It’s like, can you please get some more reviews and they would say, but I’m asking. I asked them, and everyone promises.
It’s 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 in there said I’d created this little review link that 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 in the UK, there’s checker trade, TripAdvisor trust pilot. All these different review platforms because of all matter.
Even though Google loves itself, it’s also monitoring what’s going on the more prominent platforms like Trustpilot or TripAdvisor. If you’re busy and active and you’re well represented there, it’s still connecting the dots back to your company and your brand. He said, all right, I’ve got this link, so we tried it. We were sending these review links out in text messages, and it just 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 up 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. 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, then it will open up on the phone.
We found that for our face-to-face clients – like tradespeople or service providers like hairdressers or dentists – where they’re seeing 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 they go home, and they never do. If you ask them on the spot while they’re in love with what you’ve just done or 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 that the review platforms are there on the phone, and I can choose from Trustpilot or Google. I can follow myself on LinkedIn, or I can 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 I’ve just provided and add that to the review. Now you 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, is we go down to the frequently asked questions do you guys use that.
I make sure that those questions that people ask I also put them into my clients Google My Business. If I’ve got an electrician and frequently asked questions or ask, “how much does an electrician charge?” I will ask that question to my clients 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 is the difference that you’re seeing as a result of 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.
By concentrating on Google Reviews, I’ve got a straightforward metric that a business owner can measure. I just got a message today – I’ve got a removal company using the cards, and he messaged me and goes we got five Google reviews today.
He will be the highest-ranked Google Reviewed removal company within a couple of months at the rate these cards are working for us. So he’s wrapped because he’s getting reviews. It’s a vanity metric for him. 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 clients 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 that some of these smaller SEO agencies could see that they could add a whole another service to their clients with a system like this. This is a really, really easy way to get reviews. There’s no tech stuff. There’s no software needed. There are no emails and 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 for their clients as well.
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. By getting them in person, you’re controlling the whole aspect of it.
You and I have discussed in the past where even some of these review platforms are pay-to-play.
Yes absolutely. If you don’t pay to be on their platform, your reviews won’t be shown. 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 look 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.