Year: 2020

The Year in Local Search – 2020


2020 has nearly come to an end (cue sighs of relief!) 

While this year presented many challenges, especially for local businesses, it also created the opportunity for triumph. Google My Business introduced more new features than ever, and we saw the good side of many organizations that strived to provide extra resources and relief to those in need.

Although we may all be glad to see the back of what’s been a pretty hectic year, we’d be remiss not to look back on all the exciting things that have taken place. For us, it’s been a year filled with GMB news, updates, and changes, and we even had some laughs along the way too, (Four Season Total Landscaping anyone?)

So, before we say “so long” to 2020 for good, we invite you to join us in reflecting upon the year in local search.

What would a year in review be without GIFs? Keep your eyes peeled throughout and let us know how many TV shows or films you recognized in the comments below!

January

Suffice to say, the year started out strongly, if not a little stressfully (when isn’t that the case for local SEOs?) We saw the introduction of new features in Apple Maps, as one of Google Maps’ biggest rivals strived to achieve feature parity through the introduction of “Collections”, real-time transit information, and indoor maps.

Arguably, what shook the local SEO community more though, was news of a featured snippets shakeup

Originally spotted by Mark Barrera, it was later announced by Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan that sites ranking in a featured snippet position would no longer be able to rank with that same URL on the same page of SERPs. 

Sure, this is old news now (literally), but at the time it shook the local SEO community and raised a whole host of questions, such as “are featured snippets worth getting?

Here’s what local SEO Twitter had to say at the time:

February

The Year in Local Search - 2020

In the month of Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, and of course, National Ukulele Day (yep, it’s a thing apparently!) local SEO news was uncharacteristically quiet. Perhaps Google was recovering from the unprecedented excitement that the featured snippets shakeup caused?

What we did notice, however, was a big change in the local SERP display for users in Europe

On February 21st, what’s known as the “find results carousel” was spotted across European SERPs. This new feature saw third-party directories such as Yelp, Yell, and Tripadvisor appear front and center in local search results, like so: 

Dentists in Brighton EU SERP

At the time, there was some speculation that this update might have been Google’s response to the EU’s hefty antitrust fine

So far, this SERP feature has stayed firmly in Europe, but one BrightLocal reader did suggest they’d like to see it rolled out elsewhere:

It would be nice if they released this everywhere. A lot of people choose not to use directories, yet they take up a large portion of the SERPs. This way would allow them to be separated and other, more useful, websites to populate those positions.

Sarah, BrightLocal Reader (New Local SERP Display Puts Directories Front and Center)

March

The Year in Local Search - 2020

As Spring rolled around, so too did the first effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on local businesses.

While the month got off to a positive start with the launch of our very own Local Search Industry Survey, we were soon brought down to earth as Google announced the suspension of many of its most popular features.

In a post published on Friday, March 20th, Google announced that it was temporarily disabling and limiting some key features in Google My Business.

During the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, we are taking steps to protect the health of our team members and reduce the need for people to come into our offices. As a result, there may be some temporary limitations and delays in support as we prioritize critical services. 

Google

Among the features suspended were: new reviews, review responses, Q&A, adding/claiming/verifying listings, and editing business information.

At first, it’s safe to say that this came as a huge blow to local businesses, many of which were relying on new reviews to help tide them over and keep them front of mind in hopes that they’d be a top choice to customers when they reopened. (See the #5starchallenge below…)

Additionally, GMB Product Expert Jason Brown noted at the time that Google Posts were also “failing”, due to being disabled. 

That said, GMB by no means left us high and dry. While some features were suspended, new ones were introduced, such as ‘mark this business as temporarily closed’.

April

The Year in Local Search - 2020

Sadly, we’re now firmly into the Covid-19 territory of the year. As the impact of March’s news and local business closures worldwide continued to be felt, we reached out to our customers to see how they had been impacted.

We don’t need to tell you, but at this point, the landscape was looking pretty bleak. 

How local businesses are handling covid-19

Additionally, local marketers were now feeling the effects of nationwide business closures, with many of our respondents reporting losing clients and revenue.

The impact of Covid-19 on local marketers

Despite these dark times, our poll respondents remained optimistic and full of insightful tips to help each other out. Just take a look at some of the responses we received:

In down markets the most successful companies do not stop marketing, they push it. When everyone else is cutting back, it’s the perfect opportunity to move forward.

We recommend keeping calm, kind, and in contact. The worst thing that could be done is panic. Everyone is scared and the future is murky at best, but if we stand strong and craft messages of acknowledgment and hope, then the customers and clients alike will bounce back from this time of uncertainty stronger and more profitable than ever.

Fortunately, things didn’t stay this way for too long. But it’s important to look back and see just how far we’ve all come despite the obstacles thrown our way. 

Here’s to the resilience that local businesses and marketers alike have shown this year!

May

The Year in Local Search - 2020

In the month that we saw Google reviews begin to return (hooray!) Google My Business rolled out three new attributes for local businesses to take advantage of.

Potentially another way to help local businesses bounce back amid difficult times, the attributes allowed local businesses to highlight how they were adapting and continuing to provide services with stay-at-home orders (and the like) in place.

As of May, businesses – namely restaurants – were able to specify whether or not they provided curbside pickup, no contact delivery, or dine-in. 

Sure, this may not have been the most exciting update of the year, but it provided a great deal of help to keep consumers informed and help to keep businesses in service!

Plus, we were kept busy with news of the second broad core algorithm update of the year and high flux caused by a bug with Google.

June

The Year in Local Search - 2020

As June rolled around, along came more features provided by Google to help local businesses in a continually challenging time.

In an attempt to help businesses speed up their recovery from the impact of Covid-19, several new features and support measures were introduced, including: 

  • Smart campaigners getting free promoted pins in Google Maps
  • ‘Grow My Store’ report providing tips to help local businesses improve visibility
  • New details on Google’s shopping tab
  • International Small Business Week

Since Google’s announcement in June, there hasn’t been a huge amount of chatter about these items.

That said, this change definitely did signify the start of Google’s big push in getting consumers to shop local (see: the ‘Shop Local’ adverts airing in the UK right now). 

July

july by GIF CALENDAR

Remember when local SEO expert and contributor Andrew Cock-Starkey predicted that Google My Business would introduce paid aspects in 2020? It may have seemed less likely to some at the time, but in July of this year we saw a pretty controversial test taking place on GMB profiles.

On July 22nd, GMB Product Expert Tom Waddington spotted that GMB was offering the opportunity to upgrade your listing for $50 per month and get a coveted Google Guaranteed badge.

In what was arguably the biggest news of the year thus far, this news did not come as a welcome surprise to many…

In fact, the controversial test sparked concern that this potential paid option would lead to businesses not worthy of ranking simply “buying” their way into the top slot.

Meanwhile, some thought that this option could give Google too much power:

That said, the reaction wasn’t all bad. This change did spark some thought that paid-for Google Guarantee profiles could help to reduce spam somewhat, which I’m sure we’d all agree would be welcome.

August

The Year in Local Search - 2020

After lots (and lots, and lots…) of Covid-19 related-local SEO news, August finally brought with it some good old fashioned Google My Business news in the form of GMB’s direct edit.

Interestingly though, this feature wasn’t entirely new.

In 2017, Google announced that users would have the ability to edit their GMB listing without leaving search. In August 2020, we simply saw an update to this existing functionality.

So now, without needing to login to the Google My Business site, GMB owners can do the following directly from search results:

  1. Update profile information
  2. Create posts
  3. Reply to reviews
  4. Add photos

While a version of this feature had existed for a while, news of the Direct Edit experience did seem to raise some concerns, such as “does the Direct Edit experience pose a threat to agencies?”

It seemed that some feared this could lead to clients trying to make edits to their listing more frequently, as well as blurring the agency/client relationship line.

Fortunately, any concerns were soon put to rest and seemed to blow over pretty quickly.

September

The Year in Local Search - 2020

September was yet another filled month for local SEO news, with the highly anticipated Local Search Ranking Factors survey being released by Whitespark. We also witnessed many changes to the fast-evolving Local Services Ads by Google.

Google’s Local Services Ads have been around for a while now, and they continue to be a popular choice for local businesses to gain more paid exposure in SERPs.

And if 2020 showed us anything, it’s that LSAs are showing no signs of slowing down. During September we saw two major changes to Google feature…

Firstly, bidding was introduced to a select few beta testers. While LSAs had previously been available at flat sums — making them an affordable and accessible option to many SMBs — this news meant that LSAs became even more competitive.

It’s safe to say that this news wasn’t welcomed with open arms by the local SEO community, who often found LSAs to be an affordable, low-maintenance way to help local businesses gain visibility.

By some, the move to auction-based bidding seemed like Google prioritizing profit over user experience:

Soon after, LSAs were finally rolled out across Europe. Previously, the ad option had only been available to the US but as of September 2020 LSAs are now available to 10 countries throughout Europe: Germany, UK, France, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain. 

In 2020, it’s clear that Google’s been placing even more emphasis on LSAs, so keep your eyes peeled for yet more changes in 2021.

October

The Year in Local Search - 2020

In the spookiest month of the year, yet more exciting GMB news emerged.

Spotted by Sterling Sky’s Colan Nielsen, Google began beta testing ‘Preview Call History’ in the GMB dashboard.

In the past year, call tracking has become even more popular and encouraged, with services like CallRail fast gaining popularity.

And, although call tracking is important, it’s definitely a function that has caused some confusion in the past (Where does the call tracking go? Does it interfere with NAP? And so on.)

So, the introduction of native call tracking (even if it does have limited reach) could be very much welcome. 

Regardless, it seems like this is very much early doors right now, but watch out for call history previews next year.

November

The Year in Local Search - 2020

As if 2020 hadn’t been stressful enough, in November we had elections, holidays, and lots and lots of local ranking fluctuation.

While November might have been a pretty quiet month for local SEO, there was one local business that took center stage, occupying headlines globally…

Enter: Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

The unsuspecting gardening firm based in Philadelphia made headlines when it was chosen to host a press conference by Donald Trump and his team on November 7th. 

Naturally, that’s not where the press conference was supposed to be hosted – but somewhere along the line, it had gotten mixed up for the Four Seasons premier hotel chain.

What might have begun as an awkward scheduling snafu was an absolute success story for this small business. 

Sure, it might have resulted in some negative GMB reviews (which have since been dealt with) but the press that Four Seasons Total Landscaping received was priceless.

And, as we know, press pays! According to Business Insider, the small gardening firm has made a whopping $1.3 million in merch sales alone.

In what’s been a testing year, this piece of lighthearted news among tense times can surely be seen as a triumph for SMBs.

December

The Year in Local Search - 2020

With the holiday season upon us and the end of year in sight (cue more sighs of relief) you’d think that local SEO news would take a day off and give us a rest, but alas!

Always trying to keep us on our toes, Google rolled out its third and final broad core algorithm update of the year on December 3rd, leading to rankings flux and all-around stress from the local SEO community.

Although the dust hasn’t quite settled yet, we can expect that (as always) there will be winners and losers from this algorithm update.

In the meantime, all we can do is hold on to our hats and not make any drastic decisions before we know what’s changed (however tempted we may be!)

Here’s to 2021!

So, among everything else, it’s been yet another busy year for local SEO. But importantly, it’s heartening to know that in testing times the local SEO community, agencies and SMBs alike, are able to overcome the hurdles thrown their way.

From all of us at BrightLocal, we sincerely hope that 2021 brings with it a brighter, better year for local businesses and marketers. No matter what, we’ll be here bringing you the latest news, guides, and support through it all. 

What was your favorite news item of the year? Let us know in the comments below!

P.S. Want to test your local SEO news know-how from each month? Check out our Local Quizness series – the ultimate challenge for local SEO news lovers.

Stephanie Newton

Stephanie is responsible for managing BrightLocal’s community outreach and engagement, as well as producing and managing content to help inform and educate the local SEO community.





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The basics of kitchen remodelling

The kitchen is one of the most important areas of a house, and one of the most expensive, in case you want to remodel it. Here are the basics of kitchen remodelling. Montclair roofing and their trustworthy workers manage kitchen remodelling services as well as carpentry, painting, contracting, house restoration and renovation services.

That’s why it’s important to consider all the options before proceeding with a project of any size. Whether you are designing simple designs for your dream space, or you are trying to design a major remodel, below you will find clever ideas and tips for kitchen renovation.

You should know that kitchen remodelling costs a lot of money. After all, a good return on investment means that the space must be purposeful: bright, organized and stylish.

1. Colors for the kitchen

With all the different types of colors on the market, choosing one color can end up being a very difficult choice. In general, white kitchens, but also kitchens in beige shades are the most popular ideas for the color of the specific space.

Of course, black also seems to be the new trend for the kitchen. Although it is a daring color and we avoid it, it gives an elegance to the space, especially if we handle it properly. We are not used to black in the kitchen. Especially if the kitchen is small or not well lit, black is a risky choice. But we have compiled the most modern black kitchens for inspiration.

The good news is that paint color can change easily, so if you want a bold one, you may want to prefer color over tile (which is more expensive and harder to replace). Before you choose the color of your kitchen it will be good to examine your space and choose a shade based on the overall style.

2. Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinets make up one-third of the average renovation budget. They are the ones that essentially determine the whole decoration of the specific space. Whether you love modern or classic style, there are plenty of options. Some materials and colors, however, add clever touches creating a special decorative effect.

While replacing all cabinets can be very rewarding, it can be extremely costly. But there are other ways to renovate cabinets. Some of them are adding lighting, adding wallpaper or stickers or just a paint job. In these ways you can revitalize your old cabinets.

Tips on how to choose the right cabinets

There are many styles of cabinets that are suitable for traditional or modern kitchens. It is important to choose cabinets that match the overall color and style of the kitchen. First, choose what the closet doors will look like, as they are the most visible design elements in the kitchen. So, the style of the door is one of the most important decisions you have to make.

If you have a small space, then you should look for cabinets that offer extra space savings. Some of these are corner carousel cabinets with traditional doors. Next, choose what material your kitchen cabinets will be made of. There is a wide range of materials used to make cabinets. You can choose from stainless steel, melamine, metal or wood. One of the most popular choices for cabinets is solid wood.

3. Kitchen floor

There are a number of different options when it comes to choosing a material for the kitchen floor. Does the space have a lot of traffic? Is your budget tight? Consider our tips for choosing material for kitchen floors, and choose the material that fits and works best in your space.

Wood flooring is the most popular choice and provides a more classic look, compared to other materials. In addition, it is a cheap and alternative to the floor. Materials such as cork and bamboo, among others, are just as economical as kitchen flooring ideas.

If you like the classic style, then you can choose the tiles that give the space a sense of cleanliness, while being extremely durable over time. Ceramic tiles are difficult to get dirty and, at the same time, they are waterproof. If you select this option, select non-slip tiles. An option that is ideal in case you have small children at home.

4. Kitchen counters

Like the floor, the choice of a kitchen counter is based on various factors, from appearance and aesthetics to cost and maintenance. A variety of materials that can be used for kitchen countertops are granite, marble, glass, stainless steel and processed quartz.

Granite

Granite is a 100% natural material, which is cut into manageable sizes for easy processing, and then gets a fine finish. As a natural material it has a high purchase cost. It needs special attention and care. A daily cleaning with water and a mild household cleaner would help maintain them. In addition, it has great resistance to temperature and abrasions.

Quartz

Quartz countertops are gaining in popularity, in relation to granite, due to the variety and uniformity of its colors. Its forms are many and different, in contrast to natural rocks. Like granite, quartz needs special attention and care. However, it is worth noting that this option may cost more due to the fact that quartz plates are sold in small dimensions (functional issues).

Glass

The glass bench is technologically the most advanced there is. Aesthetically it is a very good solution. It is durable and you can find glass in many shades, thus giving a unique style to the kitchen. It has high resistance to heat and stains. It is easy to install and clean, and generally costs relatively little.

The basics of kitchen remodelling

Before you start a kitchen remodelling, it is good to ask yourself what you want to change from the space. Do you have an outdated kitchen that requires a total change? Are the materials old-fashioned and in need of renewal? Can you do it yourself? Are you looking for easy changes to give new life to the space?

Once you have identified the problems in the kitchen, determine what your budget is and decide if you are going to do the work yourself or hire Montclair Roofing for an excellent result.

Read more about kitchen remodelling:

Elie Orgel On Data For Creating Link Bait Pages (Part One)


Elie Orgel has been doing SEO for about ten years and I actually have some connections that go way back. He currently works at the Rosenblum Law firm as the director of marketing there. He got into SEO by making web sites for local businesses and then started to learn about SEO over time. He then got a part time job at Rosenblum Law firm and then moved to Search Interactions for a while, then he went to the American Kennel Club (which was founded in 1884) and then came back to Rosenblum Law firm.

We then started talking about how to get links by creating link bait pages. He said you can use really good data to create pages that people will want to link to and reference in their web pages. He gave some examples of types of data that worked for the Rosenblum Law firm. Specifically he said you can find data that is available online but yet not indexed, if you can leverage that data, you can achieve a lot of success in creating link bait pages. Elie added that he believes unlinked citations can help you rank better into Google.

You can learn more about Elie Orgel on LinkedIn or ElieOrgel.com.

You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here so you don’t miss the next vlog where I interviews. I do have a nice lineup of interviews scheduled with SEOs and SEMS, many of which you don’t want to miss – and I promise to continue to make these vlogs better over time. If you want to be interviewed, please fill out this form with your details.

Forum discussion at YouTube.



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Tips for effective disinfection

Autumn is here and germs, bacteria and viruses will begin to make their presence felt again. Here we have tips for effective disinfection at home, but if you want professional work you can call Αποφράξεις Περιστέρι. You need to take all the necessary measures to leave the microorganisms out of your door! To rid your home and business space of germs, disinfection is the solution you need.

Materials you will need for disinfection:

Vinegar, which is a natural disinfectant, for use mixed with hot water.

Antibacterial detergents, which kill bacteria and fungi that can grow.

Bleach that destroys the majority of viruses and germs.

Clean towels

 

1.Disinfect surfaces and objects with a high concentration of bacteria and germs.

You should know that germs love the points and objects that many hands touch. Remote controls, telephones, knobs, switches, towels and taps are hotbeds of germs and must be cleaned on a regular basis with a bleach solution. On the other hand bacteria grow where there are stains. Therefore, use the antibacterial disinfectant immediately on any carpet or tablecloth that is stained.

2.Ventilate all rooms

It would be good to ventilate all the rooms in your space at least 2 times a day for 10 minutes, even on the coldest days of winter. Research has shown that regular ventilation fights germs, repels bacteria and refreshes the room air.

3.Carefully disinfect the bathroom

The bathroom is a place where germs can accumulate very easily. Take care of the hygiene of your basin on a daily basis, cleaning it with bleach and leave the toilet lid closed so that the droplets are not transferred to the area. A source of germs that you may not have imagined in the bathroom is the washing machine.

Inside the washing machine there is intense humidity resulting in the growth of microorganisms that are transferred to the clothes from washing to washing. To clean it, wash with vinegar and clean with a dry cloth the hose of the washing machine where the mold collects.

4.Clean the toilet

As long as the desiccant works, you can freshen the basin which should always be clean. With the toilet bowl your toilet will be cleaned, it will be perfumed. Just pour a small amount into the toilet and around it, leave it to act for a few minutes (with the lid of the basin closed) and after a few minutes just pull out the cistern. To do, in fact, two jobs in one you can leave the pigtail in the toilet as long as the basin fluid is active. This will clean the pelvis and the pelvis at the same time.

5.Disinfect your bathtub or shower

You can clean the bathtub, shower and siphon in the few minutes left, which is often responsible for the unpleasant smells in the bathroom. Απoφράξεις Βύρωνα are here to help you disinfect your space quickly and efficiently.

6.Clean sinks and exterior surfaces

So, after pouring plenty of water in the sink, bathtub, and after pulling the toilet bowl, now all that remains is to wipe with a cloth all the surfaces that are left and need a little freshening .

7.Put the bathroom curtain in the washing machine

The bathroom curtain covers a large area of ​​the space and if it is dirty, the whole image of your bathroom is degraded. Most curtains fit normally in the washing machine. Add 2-3 towels to the wash for best results and use laundry detergent, as you always do.

8.Get rid of the bathroom salts

While the curtain is washing, you can effectively fight the salts in the bathroom that also “spoil” its image. All you need is a sponge and Endless Bath-use, an anti-fouling bath liquid. This liquid is so easy to use that it will become your favorite cleaning product. Pour a small amount into the bathtub, sink or other places where salts and dirt have formed, leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse with water. So easily remove all water stains and soap residues. Your bathroom stays clean and shiny for longer.

9.Disinfect the bins

It would be good to empty the rubbish bins every day. At least once a week you should clean the bucket with vinegar and hot water to remove any germs from the surface.

Be sure to wash all covers at high temperatures and iron them. Objects such as the mattress or pillows that can not be washed, it is worth applying on them a spray that kills mites, otherwise it would be good to ventilate them regularly.

10.Disinfect the kitchen

As you can imagine, the kitchen is a place where microorganisms will party. Do not forget before you start cooking and after you finish to thoroughly disinfect your counter with bleach. Remember to follow the same procedure every time you leave the shopping from the supermarket on the counter.

11. Make the most fragrant aromatic space

For extra essence put in a jar of essential oil of your choice, fill with baby oil, and put in the jar bamboo sticks. The whole space will be filled with the wonderful aroma you have chosen. All you have to do now is complete the shower curtain and once you hang it up again in your super sparkling bathroom, you will be able to relax and enjoy the rest of your day. We hope that our tips for effective disinfection are helpful for you.

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When in Santorini, stay in Fira or Oia?

When in Santorini, stay in Fira or Oia?

Santorini Santorini car rental is one of the most popular and beautiful islands in Greece. If you want to visit this island but you have no idea where you would like to stay, then we are here today to help you decide. Fira and Oia are the two well-known regions of Santorini where most people choose to book their accommodation.

Both villages are considered to be the center of the island so the whereabouts is not really something that should bother you.

Some of the questions that you need to ask yourself in order to decide on whether you are staying in Oia or Fira, are the following:

  • Are you looking for a vivid stay in Santorini?
  • Do you want to be in the center of tourists?
  • Are you aiming at having a fine dining experience?
  • How much money am I willing to spend?

Prices for accommodation in Oia and Fira

Answering to the questions above, further down we will discuss about the vividness and the exact location of the two villages. Regarding the amount of money that you’re willing to spend in Santorini, you should bear in mind that it is not a cheap island.

You will probably spend a medium to high budget, depending on the days of your stay. It also depends on your hometown, as many flights to Santorini are quite expensive (European countries tend to have cheaper airport fares than USA or Australia for example).

Accommodation in Santorini is also quite expensive, as most hotels are offering a great view of the sea and the sunset, and of course they are offering great services such as spas, gyms and many more.

Fira

Fira is the capital off Santorini and it is a very popular destination for people from all over the world. Regarding the nightlife and the number of people that you are going to encounter, this is the most vivid village of the Island and it includes many nightclubs too.

This village is located in the center of the island and if you are going to stay there it is easier to visit the southern part of the island. If you are planning to move around with public but transport means, it is better to book your accommodation there, as many routes are starting from Fira.

If you’re planning on booking a car from the car rental company then he will not have an issue as you can stay in Oia too and move around the island easier. Nevertheless, renting a car in Fira is easier and you can also pick up your car from the Santorini airport car rental.

Oia

This village is a more luxurious one than Fira and you will enjoy your vacation there if you are going to visit Santorini with your significant other. Not that Santorini is generally suggested for vacation with your family, but Oia will for sure keep your romantic sparkle alive.

There are many romantic restaurants there, and you are able to go for some high and expensive shopping. It is located approximately 30 minutes away from the Island’s port and airport so you would probably want to pick your rental car at the port or the airport so you would not get into the buses.

Food

Both villages have a great variety of restaurants and traditional taverns. The gastronomic experience in Santorini will be one that you will remember for the rest of your life. Especially when you’re staying in Fira and Oia, you will enjoy the traditional dishes of Santorini with a great view of the sunset and the sea.

Of course, Fira has more casual restaurants and taverns, and there are some fast foods too, where you can enjoy the Greek gyros while Oia will offer you a more fine dining experience.

Beaches

Both villages are close to beaches around the island. As we have mentioned before, fear is more tourist friendly because of the central bus stations, where you can take a bus to practically all the regions of Santorini. When you are staying in Oia, you will need to change buses in Fira out which makes it more difficult and more exhausting.

Oia is a little bit farther from most beaches but it is very close to Ammoudi where you can swim and taste some of the greatest seafood in the island. Fira is close to Imerovigli, Perissa beach and Kamari beach.

Sunset

The sun set of Santorini is one of the most well-known sunsets around the whole world. Many people are traveling to Greece only to experience the amazing sunset from the highest points of the island. When you will visit Santorini, either you’re staying in Fira or Oia you will need to watch the sunset.

Fortunately, the sunset is visible from both villages so you will not need to worry about missing it. There is also a great view of the caldera

Overview

We have presented to you the most amazing features of each village but it is quite difficult to decide where to stay when in Santorini. The outcome is that you should stay in Oia if you are planning a more high-end vacation and in Fira if you are interested in exploring the southern part of Santorini while enjoying the traditional food in a more casual environment.

Nevertheless, you will need to rent a car in Santorini as it is hard to move around with the buses. Whatever you choose, we can promise you that your vacation in Santorini will be unforgettable.

See more about Santorini Rent a car:

The Beginner’s Guide to Local Marketing


Local marketing can be simply described as any marketing activity which puts your business in front of consumers within a certain radius of your location. While that’s straightforward enough, there are lots of different types of activity that fall under this neat umbrella.

Local marketing is especially important for small and medium businesses which rely on clients physically visiting a brick-and-mortar location to make a sale or access a service: dentists, physiotherapists, and chiropractors for example or retail stores without an e-commerce presence, bars, and restaurants, locksmiths, plumbers, a builder’s yard or car dealership. Our research confirms that within the last 12 months, 90% of consumers have used the internet to find a local business. Local marketing is therefore vital to connect your offering with those in need of a local service provider or retailer.

By its nature, local marketing is highly geographically specific. This means it’s important to carefully consider your strategy as you need to be sure that all of your efforts are being directed at exactly the right person within what could well be a small geographic area. The danger with local marketing is that you think too big and waste budget on incorrect location and consumer targeting.

Casting too wide a net means your precious funds (and time) will likely be spent trying to gain the attention of people who are too far away to ever convert – 93% of consumers say they won’t travel more than 20 minutes from home to make an everyday purchase, so if you are targeting too big an area with any of your local marketing tactics, anything outside of that 20-minute radius represents a waste of time and money. Likewise, it’s also pointless targeting absolutely everyone within your locality because some just won’t need or want your products or services.

As mentioned, local marketing can take multiple different forms. We’ve outlined the main categories for you, and broken each down into its own individual tactics. You’ll find a clear example of each action and an outline of how it can benefit your local business. Feel free to use the jump links below to head straight to a section that interests you!

Local SEO

Advertising

Content Marketing


Local SEO

Build citations for your business

The mention of the word ‘citation’ may bring back nightmares of essays and term papers but in local SEO terms, it simply means that your business name, address, and phone number is referenced online.

Citations are beneficial to your local marketing in a number of ways. First and foremost, they provide a local SEO boost which means, if you build enough citations, you could start to see an increase in local search visibility. This in turn means that you’re more prominent when local consumers take to their chosen search engine to find a specific product or service.

Citations can also help consumers to find your business on other websites, aiding discovery. If you create a directory listing for example in order to create a new citation, users of that directory could easily come across your business address or website and then proceed to your store or website. In this way, they function as new pathways to your actual or virtual door.

Finally, citations can be used to confirm a key detail about your business, such as your address, before the local consumer jumps in their car and sets out to visit you. If they come across the same name and address in a few different locations, they can feel confident that the information is accurate and trust that they’ll end up in the right place.

Optimize your Google My Business listing

Google My Business feeds information about local businesses to the search engine results pages and search engine users – optimizing this listing means confirming your information is up to date, the correct category selected and that all settings and data fields are accurate and relevant.

The information that you provide in your Google My Business listing is known to impact on where your website ranks for appropriate keywords. The actions that you perform during optimization determine what information is presented to search users and how your business is perceived. Creating an optimized description for example gives Google a clue as to what to rank you for, and can entice search users to visit your store or give you a call.

Selecting a main category and sub-category is also part and parcel of optimization and is known to strongly influence where your site ranks in Google search. That alone can impact your overall local visibility and generate more traffic.

The process of optimizing your listing also includes uploading appropriate images to your profile, which can immediately make your business stand out and capture the eye of local consumers.

Generating reviews and responding to them naturally comes under Google My Business optimization activity. Online reviews strongly influence the consumer decision-making process and can actively determine whether a local consumer chooses your business or a competitor.

Monitor local search rankings

Monitoring local search rankings as part of your local SEO campaign is as straightforward as it sounds; it’s simply the process of tracking where your keywords appear in the search engine results pages. This doesn’t have to be done manually and there are lots of affordable tools available that automate this process for you.

While monitoring changes in your ranking position can be hands-off, the insight that this data offers is invaluable. The most obvious advantage of tracking any changes in your search position is that you can determine whether your local SEO activity is generating ranking improvements or causing positions to stagnate or worse, decline. In the latter two scenarios, just having that data to hand gives you concrete proof that you need to revisit your strategy. In turn, this means you aren’t wasting precious time and resources on actions that aren’t working.

Ranking data can also help you to decide if you need to assign funds to other areas such as advertising to be visible to your target audience.

If you use a rank monitoring tool, you may additionally be able to add in competitor domains to keep an eye on how your rivals are performing. This should give you a clear picture of where your business stands in comparison with others in the local area.

Monitor and grow business reviews

Reputation is everything in business so you’ll want to ensure you’re proactive about monitoring what people are saying about you, and encouraging customers to share their experiences of working with or buying from you online for others to see.

One of the key benefits of monitoring your reviews as part of your local marketing activity is that they are a huge source of valuable customer feedback. Each review you read is an opportunity to pinpoint what customers appreciate about your product or service and identify any recurring issues that need to be addressed.

While no one likes to read a bad review about their businesses, monitoring means you know sooner rather than later when something negative appears. This gives you a chance to react quickly, respond to the reviewer, and take steps to put things right.

Many businesses hesitate to be proactive about growing reviews but, if you make this a regular part of your local marketing routine, you’ll be rewarded with better search engine rankings and increased consumer trust. The number of reviews you have along with how often new reviews are published all influence your search position therefore, the more you can grow your review profile, the better your local SEO visibility is likely to be.

Online reviews have replaced traditional word-of-mouth recommendations for modern consumers. They expect to see plenty of recent reviews, make a habit of reading around 10 reviews before developing a sense of trust, and tend to discount older reviews. You’ll, therefore, need a steady stream of fresh reviews to generate inquiries and sales.

Optimize your website for mobile

Given the popularity of mobile browsing and Google’s much-publicized mobile-first indexing, ensuring your website is quick to load and highly functional for visitors from a smartphone or other mobile device is a must in any local marketing strategy.

As with all optimization, making sure your site is optimized for mobile is no small undertaking but this investment does unlock a wealth of advantages for your business. It’s no secret that the majority of search users now go online from a mobile device. Traditional websites are optimized for desktop computers, often connected to high-speed broadband. The smaller size screen and often slower internet connection make navigating a desktop site frustrating and awkward. A site optimized for mobile gives the mobile user a seamless experience. Pages are quick to load and forms and shopping carts designed for ease of use by someone wanting to input information or checkout using the smaller screen of their phone.

Consumers expect a slick mobile experience as standard. If you fail to meet that expectation, in all likelihood that potential client will leave and go to a competitor who has taken the time to make their products and services accessible from a mobile device.

To put this into financial terms, last year’s Black Friday saw more than $2.9 billion of sales originating from mobile devices. Shoppers are spending money like never before on their smartphones and tablets – but you can only get in the running for that if your site is optimized to work well on a mobile device.

Keep in mind too that mobile optimization (ensuring pages are quick to load, that forms are easy to complete, that information is easily navigated, etc.) is also a core requirement for local search visibility. Google’s primary index is mobile-first, meaning your position in the local rankings is dependent on mobile optimization.


Advertising

Run a pay-per-click ad campaign in the local 3-pack

If your local marketing strategy calls for immediate visibility, a pay-per-click ad campaign allows you to buy advertising space within the organic search results.

For many businesses, the major benefit of running a local search PPC campaign is the speed with which you can get your products and services to the top of the search results pages. It is possible to set up a small ad campaign and see your adverts live in a matter of hours – in comparison with local SEO activity which could take several months to bear fruit.

Local pack search ads also give you targeted exposure which can lead to a rise in in-store visits and calls. If someone searches for ‘mechanic near me’ for example, they could see your advert at the very top of the search results just when they needed you most.

Local search ads can feature your business locations, which can lead to more foot traffic. They can also provide directions and offer call options.

Run Google Local Services ads

If your business is a service provider, you can run a Local Services ad that displays your business details at the top of the search results. The ad will show when a consumer in the local area searches for a service you offer.

There are several business benefits to running a Local Services ad campaign as part of your local marketing strategy. These ads immediately give you the opportunity to be found right at the top of Google search results, meaning local consumers don’t have to search too hard to find and book your services.

With these ads, you can also earn a Google Guarantee or Google Screened verification on your advert. This tells consumers that Google has verified your business licenses, insurance policies, and carried out employee background checks. This is an easy way to build trust and showcase the authenticity and quality of your service offering to win new business. Becoming Google Guaranteed also opens up the possibility of a free listing on voice search as a service provider.

Local Service advertisers can use an app to communicate with clients so you can reply to messages on the go, track the progress of leads, and manage bookings.

Local print advertising

You may decide to add an offline element to your local marketing efforts and if that’s the case, placing an advert in a print outlet such as a local newspaper is a tried-and-tested strategy.

Print advertising has been overlooked in the last few years as digital options have taken off but that’s not to say that investing some of your local marketing budget in a targeted ad campaign with a local newspaper or magazine should be discounted. In fact, adding a physical print dimension can bring you additional benefits.

One clear advantage of local print advertising is that your business is assured of visibility within a specific, relevant geographical area. Local print media is naturally highly targeted, meaning they often serve as important local hubs of information for households within that town or city.

Competition for local ad space is arguably less in print than online, with many businesses having migrated to digital options. This gives you a great chance to stand out, without as much competition as you may find on social media for example.

Because of their physical nature, your print ad may also endure longer than a digital equivalent. Whereas a PPC ad will disappear when your budget runs out, older copies of the local newspaper or magazine may stick around for weeks in the doctor’s surgery, library or nail salon.

If you have the budget for it, you could make a positive contribution to your local community while ticking off some of your local marketing tasks by signing up to sponsor a local event such as a high school football game or a charity like your nearby non-profit animal shelter.

There are a number of compelling arguments for sponsoring local events or charities. Being a shirt sponsor of a local youth team for example brings both brand recognition and a higher profile within the community – each time that team hits the field, all spectators can’t help but see your business represented.

Sponsorship of a local worthy cause or organization could also help to bolster your local SEO efforts by earning you a backlink (or several) in recognition of your donation. You can build on this further by creating press releases to announce your sponsorship and commemorate key events – such as reaching the playoffs in the case of the youth team of holding a family fundraiser in the case of the animal shelter. This adds to your local profile, can result in favorable local media coverage and earn you even more backlinks to propel your local SEO efforts.

Hyperlocal Facebook advertising

Just as the name suggests, hyperlocal Facebook advertising is a Facebook advert which is targeted at a small, specific local area. This could be as hyper-targeted as specifying your ads only be shown to people within a certain zip code.

Being able to narrowly define who sees your ads can make your budget go further and work harder – as you can be sure you aren’t wasting cash showing adverts to people who are outside of your catchment area. By the same token, hyperlocal ads are laser-focused on consumers within your immediate vicinity, which is ideal if you want to drive foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar store.

Get listed on lead generation sites

Depending on your service or trade, it may be possible to get your business listed on lead generation sites such as HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List. This is often as simple as registering, creating a profile, listing your specialisms and then waiting for people interested in those services to get in touch to request a quote.

Adding a lead generation presence to your local marketing is a smart move as it puts you in a prime position in front of credible buyers and those actively looking for your specific service. Lead generation sites are attractive to consumers as they remove the need to research, contact and request quotes from dozens of different service providers. The consumer simply inputs details of their project, which is then sent to relevant service providers to quote. You have access to leads which you wouldn’t otherwise know about.

While you’ll typically have to pay a membership fee or commission to the lead generation platform, it’s a great way to get quick access to projects to quote on and build your local reputation and reviews.


Content Marketing

Email marketing

Email marketing involves sending an email (often with a special offer or deal) to a list of email contacts. This places your deal or news directly in the inbox of everyone who has opted in to hear from you, typically previous clients and leads.

Email marketing is a highly effective medium, loaded with business benefits. Studies show that for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can expect to generate $38. That’s a ROI of 3800%.

Email is especially effective for small businesses because it provides a fast, cost-effective way to communicate with customers and prospects. At the same time, it can directly generate visits to your website, calls, and foot traffic.

You can additionally use email marketing to deliver useful, informative content to your pipeline, which helps to cement your reputation as a trusted authority in your field.

Today’s email marketing platforms are very advanced and most offer automation. This makes light work of time-intensive sales tasks that you may not always be able to do yourself, such as emailing someone who has added items to their cart on your website but left without completing the order or, contacting someone who has enquired about your service but then never picked up the phone to your customer service team following up.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is the practice of using social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to build your profile, engage with your audience, and drive traffic to your site or brick-and-mortar location.

When leveraged properly, social media marketing is a very effective local marketing tactic. Social media usage is prolific and today’s consumers, from baby boomers to millennials, are accustomed to using their preferred networks to look for deals, find businesses, source recommendations, and increasingly, shop.

No matter the size of your team, social media provides an accessible real-time forum to engage and communicate with prospects. You can use platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to have meaningful discussions with your audience, bring them closer to your brand, answer questions, and share local promotions.

If your local marketing budget is a little tight, social media marketing is also low-cost and at its most basic level, requires no investment at all. For those who want to go further, you can use the many paid advertising options offered by social networks to raise your visibility while also specifically targeting local consumers thanks to the wealth of demographic information social networks hold on their users.

Think of links as roads into your website – the greater the number of links you can convince third parties to share back to your site, the easier it is for consumers to find you online.

By their very nature, building links creates greater visibility for your site. If you write a press release for example about an award you’ve won and this is published on a local blog, all of the readers to that blog could click the link to be transported directly to your website.

If you partner with a local influencer and they offer a link back to your site within their post, you not only get the benefit of exposure to that influencer’s audience, you also get a direct way to draw that audience to your site.

Links remain a key currency for SEO because, in addition to aiding discoverability, they are also a signal of trust. Someone willing to share a link to your site is essentially giving your domain a vote of confidence. The more relevant links you have, the more traffic your site is likely to see and the better your search engine rankings.

Create relevant local content

Writing and sharing relevant local content is a targeted form of content marketing that can bring a range of benefits as part of your local marketing campaign.

As with the other tactics on this list, it is a tried-and-tested way to reach, engage with, and hopefully convert local consumers into confirmed clients. Focusing on community or local topics is a smart way to attract local readers and simultaneously reinforce your expertise or authority in a particular area. To ensure that your content really hits the mark, you can use tools such as Google Trends to research what people in your area are most commonly searching for on Google within your niche.

Creating original, useful content also adds a great deal of value to your own site. It provides optimization benefits to aid in search rankings but it can also make your website a destination in its own right and give visitors a reason to remain long after they may otherwise have flicked back to the search results. Marketers often refer to this as making the site ‘sticky’.

Over and above giving local consumers a reason to visit your website regularly, good quality local content is highly shareable, which can lead to more links (again helping SEO and overall visibility), an elevated social media profile and peer-to-peer recommendations.


Conclusion

Local marketing is a broad field and, as a local business owner, you have a wide and varied range of tactics at your disposal. Broadly speaking, the three core pillars of a local marketing campaign are local SEO, advertising and content and social media but, within those three categories, you’ll find multiple tactics and approaches which can be mixed, matched, and adapted to suit your budget, your objectives, and your audience.



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Google Not Showing Fresh Content In Search Results Again?


Something is off with Google search this morning. It seems Google is not showing some fresh content in the search results. Site commands for this site and Wall Street Journal, as well as many other sites show little to zero new content in Google’s search results in the past hour. Some content I search for on this site is showing up and some is not.

Here are some site commands restricted to show the past hour of results:

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I know I’ve published numerous stories here in the past hour but Google says no:

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Some other sites seem to show content but the content seems off, like here is NY Times:

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Even when you restrict it to Google News, Google is showing some but not all the stories in the past hour:

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Hat tip to @nishu_kadian on Twitter for the heads up.

I am not sure what is up but something seems off this morning with Google indexing or displaying fresh results in search.

Google had indexing or display issues in May 2020, April 2020, we saw it a several times last year with several cases of this last year but maybe one this year that was not serious.

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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Local Search Clinic with Jason Brown – Recap


On Wednesday, April 22, Sterling Sky’s resident spam fighter and GMB expert, Jason Brown, joined BrightLocal CEO Myles Anderson for another action-packed hour of Local Search Clinic.

This week our expert was tasked with answering your questions on Google My Business (GMB) — and boy, there were a lot of questions to get through!

Of course, our pro had to cover the current state of Google My Business support and reviews, given the Covid-19 situation, but he also deep-dived into broader topics surrounding GMB, such as identifying and reporting spam, setting categories, and raising rankings.

For those who missed out on the live Q&A, the full video recap is available to watch down below. And don’t forget to join us next week for Phil Rozek’s Local Search Clinic!

Recording

Resources


Our Expert Panelists

Jason Brown

Jason Brown

Jason Brown is known for his expert knowledge of spam and spam removal in GMB. Currently he holds the role of SEO Specialist and Spam Hunter at Sterling Sky.




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Marketers in a Car after JTank with Ari Zoldan


I was privileged to be asked to sit as a “mogul” on JTank, the Jewish version of SharkTank and this was a video throughout the day. I was not allowed to share information about the pitches, so that you will have to read about when that is published by Ami Magazine. But here is some footage throughout the day without revealing too much confidential information.

Ari Zoldan, the CEO of Quantum Media Group, was a mogul also on the show, at least for half of the day (as well as previous JTanks), and he offered me a ride home from Brooklyn. It took about two hours to get home, so we decided to do our own version of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and named it Marketers in a Car after JTank. It was getting darker and darker as we drove, so the lighting did not work out too well but the content was fun.

In this video, you get to hear not just about digital marketing but also about some personal information about the two of us, since we are neighbors.

Ari Zoldan is the CEO of Quantum Media Group, a firm that focuses on business development – much through digital marketing campaigns and other business initiatives. You can learn more about Ari at AriZoldan.com.

Topics we discussed in the car include:

  • 3:20 – JTank – Jewish SharkTank
  • 4:34 – Secret Sauce In Media
  • 6:01 – Jack Of All Trades Or Industry Expert
  • 7:01 – Public Perception
  • 8:10 – How To Become An Industry Expert
  • 9:54 – Social Media Popularity
  • 11:35 – Hair & Confidence
  • 14:11 – Undandy & Hillel Fuld
  • 15:10 – Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee by Jerry Seinfeld
  • 15:41 – Coming Up With A Creative Format
  • 16:50 – 368
  • 17:22 – #teamtrees
  • 19:32 – Tombstone
  • 21:13 – Is SEO A Sham
  • 21:50 – Black Hat SEO

You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here so you don’t miss the next vlog where I interviews. I do have a nice lineup of interviews scheduled with SEOs and SEMS, many of which you don’t want to miss – and I promise to continue to make these vlogs better over time. If you want to be interviewed, please fill out this form with your details.

Forum discussion at YouTube.



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