Get Your Local Search Answers: Experts and Resources

Garrett SussmanLocal, Local Marketing, Review Marketing, SEOLeave a Comment

Local Search is a challenge for newbies and experts alike. Google frequently makes changes to their ranking factors, display, and SERPs. Keeping track of all of Google’s changes, let alone the diverse citation and online review site ecosystem that’s evolving, is like trying to pat your head while rubbing your stomach while twirling a baton–it’s harder than hard. And even the most minor alterations can have a significant impact on small businesses.

Fortunately, there’s a strong neighborhood watch of Local Search experts, companies, and forums that are helping to keep us informed.

So where do we start?

Most blog posts become obsolete in mere months. There are many types of articles and forum posts out there that can still be useful, but always be wary of the post date when implementing the advice of a Local SEO article.

This collected assortment of experts, forums, and blogs will aid you in your quest for local search dominance.

Foundational Local Search Knowledge


The first place to start, if you’re just getting into local search, would be Bernadette Coleman’s Local Presence Management Before it was Cool. It’s a fun historical look at how local presence management has evolved in the digital age.

For local search basics, there are a load of high quality guides to help us get the fundamentals under our belt, both strategically and tactically.

But before we dive into Local Search, it’s essential for us to understand SEO basics. What better guide than one of the Kings of SEO, Moz:

It’s a long read but more than worth it if you’re new to SEO. Go ahead and check it out. Maybe even download the PDF and print it out. I’ll wait 🙂

Now that we feel better about our SEO fundamentals, we can begin applying it to Local.

One of the best (and recent) comprehensive guides for Local Search comes to us from Neil Patel’s How to Attract Local Customers: A Complete Guide to Local SEO. Patel delivers 3 overarching ‘steps’ to follow, backed up by tactics and examples.

  • Step 1. Ensure that your NAP is consistent across the top-ranked directories.
  • Step 2. Build credibility for your business.
  • Step 3. Create local content for earning links, social media following and press mentions

Patel also includes a “bonus” for extra credit: How to create an optimal local landing page.

Getting more advanced, look to Brent Carnduff, Chief Optimizer of Advisor Web Marketing, who recently put together a nice compilation of specific actionable advice for our local search presence. Carnduff addresses a few advanced strategies to include in our efforts:

  • Advanced Strategy 1. Optimize for Voice Search
  • Advanced Strategy 2. Acquire Backlinks to Your Content
  • Advanced Strategy 3. Add Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to Your Website

From the e-commerce perspective, Retail Content Specialist at Shopify, Humayun Khan, created a statistics supported retail focused Local Search article that encourages us to focus on 3 important facets of Local:

  • Focus 1. Local Citations and Listings
  • Focus 2. Online Reviews
  • Focus 3. On-site Optimization

And finally, Marcus Miller, managing director of the UK SEO and digital marketing company Bowler Hat, wrote an amazing guest post for Search Engine Land:

Miller’s deep dive addresses Local ranking factors and signals (both positive and negative) that will significantly impact search results.

When we’re ready to assess our current local search, it’s time to ask the question posed by Powered By Search, a fantastic Marketing Agency, based in Toronto:

Are you the king of your neighborhood or just another lemonade stand?

While much of local search applies to small businesses, larger enterprises need a local search playbook as well. Don’t worry, Powered By Search has you covered.

They even provide a nifty self assessmentReport Card for both enterprises and SMBs.

With a solid understanding of the methodology, philosophy, and strategy behind local search, we’re armed to utterly dominate the market–or at least better serve our local clients.

Getting Our Local Search Questions Answered


With so many nuances and unique cases in local search, where can we go when we have pressing questions about evolving best practices or the specific problems we run into?

Local Search Forum

When I joined Grade.us as the content marketing manager, one of my first priorities was to get to know some of the wonderful contributors over on Local Search Forum.

Started by Top Google Contributor, Linda Buquet, Local Search Forum is frequented by many very helpful Local Search experts. Almost every day, I see a new forum member posting specific local search related questions and mere moments later, one of these resourceful experts chimes in with anecdotal or evidence supported advice.

Linda also does a fantastic job curating local search related news, so we never feel out of the loop. And best of all, the forum is completely free!

Who are some of these fantastic people that you can find on the forum?

Don’t be intimidated by starting a thread. For those of us that tend to lurk, more than we contribute, asking a question doesn’t need to be scary. The people on the forum are incredibly gracious.

Google My Business Community Forum


Not only do a ton of local search experts frequent the Google My Business Community Forum, but you’ll also see support from Google employees.

You’ll want to make sure to check in frequently for new posts, and there’s already a wealth of information when you search for a specific topic.

While this community is significantly bigger than Local Search Forum and can feel like a subway station during rush hour, it’s worth signing up since it is the center of all things Google My Business.

Local U


If we’re willing to spend a little money on our local search education, Local University might be an excellent option worth considering.

The organization has put together a 4 hour program that covers all of the basics of local search. Additionally, their forums provide wonderful access to an impressive list of thought leaders in the local space that are available to answer questions.

The site also produces frequent video seminars, accessible to anyone.

Local U

Local Search Experts


Since the local search industry is frequently bombarded by changes that affect our jobs, we need to stay informed.

The best channel for instant updates is twitter. So rev up your twitter lists and prep your follow fingers for this assortment of key experts to digitally shadow.

(Hover over the cards on desktop and touch on mobile to see the back.)

Joy Hawkins

Every. Single. Tweet. Jam packed with value and insight. Local search curation queen.

Imprezzio Marketing

Google My Business Top Contributor, @SMX Speaker, @Moz Local Search Ranking Factors Contributor, Product Consultant at @ImprezzioMktg.

@JoyanneHawkins

Mike Blumenthal

A look inside the mind of the godfather of local search. A variety of tech and local search centered, with a side of world events.

blumenthals.com

All local, all the time. What else is there?

@mblumenthal

Barry Schwartz

Possibly the most reliable twitter account to follow when it comes to feature changes to the local search ecosystem. A must follow for important updates.

RustyBrick.com

Search Geek

@rustybrick

Darren Shaw

Tapped into the local influencer community, Darren’s energy and friendliness comes across in his tweet. He feels like the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back.

Whitespark.ca

Founder of @whitespark. I pretty much just spam twitter with SEO RTs, usually about Local Search & Local SEO.

@darrenshaw_

Ashley Faulkes

Faulkes runs the gamut of everything social. He’s a twitter socialite with a great eye for useful content from social media, to content creation, to local search.

Mad Lemmings

SEO and WordPress Specialist. Helping small biz, solopreneurs and other awesome peeps. Eats too much swiss chocolate.

@madlemmingz

Mike Ramsey

An evangelist for everything local, all local search influencers love this guy. Fun and friendly, Ramsey is very active in the local search community.

Nifty Marketing

President of Nifty Marketing and NiftyLaw. Speaker, Author & Investor working to put Burley, Idaho on the map.

@MikeRamsey

David Jenyns

Local Search isn't upside down, down under, and Jenyns is the man to prove it. The Australian knows local businesses, and runs a mean webinar.

Melbourne SEO Services

Founder of melbourneSEOservices.com , MelbourneVideoProduction, AuthorityContent.com and SystemHUB.com.

@DavidJenyns

David Mihm

This man speaks his mind! Whether it's political or local search related, you won't want to miss Mihm's opinions and commentary on other's thought pieces.

DavidMihm.com

Local search optimization specialist. Sign up for weekly newsletter at link below.

@davidmihm

Ramon Ray

Talk about ear to the ground. Ray knows what's happening when it comes to local. Always appearing at various search related events, keeping us in the loop.

Smart Hustle Magazine

LOVER of small business, keynote speaker, author #SmartHUSTLE! Subscribe to @smarthustlemag - www.smarthustle.com

@ramonray

Phil Rozek

When Phil says it’s good advice, it’s good advice. Expect blog post updates and recommended reads.

Local Visibility System

Local Search Consigliere

@philrozek

Dan Leibson

Honest, unfiltered opinions on the state of local search. If Dan sees an issue, he’ll let you know!

Local SEO Guide

Data driven marketer & head of local search & product @ Local SEO Guide. Beer & whiskey geek, nerd and foodie.

@DanLeibson

Bernadette Coleman

Fun and friendly, Bernie keeps her followers updated on Social, Mobile and Local, with her RocksDigital daily news.

Advice Interactive Group

SEO, Local Search, Engaging Content Enthusiast & CEO of Advice Interactive Group a Inc500 Digital Agency.

@BernieColeman

Andrew Shotland

Opinionated when it comes to SEO (in a good way), Shotland sprinkles a cornucopia of amazing articles and humor into his tweets.

Local SEO Guide

Sorting the cesspool daily

@localseoguide

Martin Shervington

The British Gentleman represents everything local search, but he also is a huge proponent of the future of VR. A nice spattering of tech and local.

Plus Your Biz

Business Consultant, Speaker, Community Builder, Tech Blogger. Official Google Small Business Advisor, Google Partner, VR/AR geek.

@MartinSherv

Eric Enge

The central hub of Stone Temple, Enge lays the smackdown when it comes to local search video content. His team at Stone Temple conducts experiments and shares their insights.

Stone Temple

Direct Marketing Excellence Practitioner

@stonetemple

Andy Crestodina

Local Search, fun nostalgia, impressive article finds, video content. Crestodina is a gem of a tweeter. A must follow (especially for agencies).

Orbit Media

Co-founder of Orbit Media (@orbiteers), marketing speaker and author. See you at Content Jam, Chicago's content marketing event, Aug 4 http://contentjam.com

@Crestodina

Evan Prokop

A great follow for Agencies. Prokop and the Top Rank team curates those articles you know you should be reading. They help set the tone for industry standards.

Top Rank Marketing

Modern Digital Marketing Agency serving B2B & B2C companies in North America. Our marketing strategy: Be useful! Read our latest post: www.toprankblog.com

@TopRank

Conrad Saam

The great nerd sleuth, Samm lawyers up on twitter. In other words, Saam offers unique tidbits Law firms should apply to their local search marketing efforts, but many of the suggestions apply to many industries.

Mockingbird Marketing

Mockingbird Founder - Dad - Zymurgist - SEO - Lawyer Proponent

@ConradSaam

Best Industry Blogs To Follow

Of course, you’ll want to go deeper than 140 characters on many topics. And when you do, here are some of the best industry blogs covering a range of topics:

Local Visibility System

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

Phil Rozek, who runs Local Visibility System, has been one of the de facto experts on Local Search for the past 8 years. His blog posts provide actionable strategic tactics as well as a wealth of resourceful lists to guide the Local Search practitioner.

Local SEO Guide

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

Andrew Shotland, complemented by Dan Leibson, crank out blog posts that examine recent changes to the local search ecosystem and how to utilize new features as they’re released. Without hesitation to get technical, their articles are useful for those new to the field as well as the long time veterans.

Street Fight Mag

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

StreetFight Mag, co-founded by Laura Rich and David Hirshman, produces a highly active blog that combines new updates to local search, investigations of useful hyper local marketing tools, to “the dynamic disruption taking place in the local marketing ecosystem.”

Advice Local

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

Launched by Tom and Bernadette Coleman in 2009, Advice Local’s blog does a fantastic job of taking the technical fears out of Local Search and explains them in a way that anyone can understand. Another reason to frequent their’ blog: they address specific verticals with relevant advice.

Search Engine Watch

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

While not 100% focused on Local, Search Engine Watch is grounded in the technical aspects of SEO. The blog offers “tips and information about searching the web, analysis of the search engine industry and help to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines.”

Search Engine Journal

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

Founded by Loren Baker is 2003, Search Engine Journal “spotlights the important trends, news, strategies and personalities in the industry. ” Everything from Local Search, to Social Media Marketing, to advertising, their posts are informative and useful for any level of expertise.

Search Engine Land

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

Founded by Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman, Search Engine Land (Sister site to Marketing Land) provides fantastic in-depth posts offering strategies, tactics, and experiments for any marketer or search expert to implement for their own business.

Moz Local

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

Moz, founded by Rand Fishkin, covers everything search related. Their posts are comprehensive, and Rand’s Whiteboard Friday videos are always an internet favorite. Moz is easily considered one of the top thought leaders when it comes to SEO.

WordStream

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

Larry Kim, founder of WordStream, obviously found a gem in Elisa Gabbert who runs the Wordstream Blog. her writers match amazing personality of the Wordstream brand (which is evident via their twitter feed).

Without sacrificing utility, the WordStream blogs take practical information and infuse some pop culture fun to the content. Their posts are always a fun read.

Whitespark

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

While Whitespark, only posts once a week, founder Darren Shaw, writes helpful, well thought out posts that most often apply to local marketing. And they have some other great contributors to the blog, too–like Joy Hawkins!

Grade.us

Website:
Recommended Post:
About the Blog:

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our online review marketing and management blog, The Voice of the Customer. Our weekly blog posts focus on the increasing value of online reviews for small businesses.

Since Online Reviews are an essential piece to any Local strategy, we hope you agree that our inclusion is relevant and helpful!

A Few Bonus Local Search Focused Videos

SEO Best Practices 2016 | Local Search Engine Marketing Optimization

Google Maps Local SEO Training Video (2016 Edition) – Google My Business Optimization Tips

How To Sell SEO Services to Local Businesses (NO BS)

Takeaways


If you’re just getting into Local Search, the time’s never been better. With a slew of active experts in the industry, new tools being developed, and comprehensive blog posts intimating the insights to take our businesses to the next level, all the resources are truly at our fingertips.

The value of these resources is undeniable, but finding them can be tricky. We’ve tried to take all the grunt work out so you can get down to business.

And since we’ve assembled here the best living experts who are always learning and sharing, this blog post won’t be outdated in 3 months–I hope!



Which experts did I miss?

Which blogs absolutely should be included in this post?

Let me know in the comments below!


About the Author

Garrett Sussman

Twitter

After 6 years of San Francisco living, Garrett has returned to his roots in New Jersey to manage Content Marketing at Grade.us. He infuses his writing with humor, authenticity, and thoughtfulness. He also happens to be a fan of graphic novels, Philadelphia sports, and content marketing.