Webinar: Local SEO for Dog Service Businesses

by | Nov 19, 2022 | Pet Business Marketing, SEO, Video

Webinar Text Transcription

Okay folks. So we are gonna share the presentation now. It, uh, is sharing through the webinar, so it may not have some of the, the animations that we’re used to, but we’re gonna go ahead and make do with it. Uh, so thank you so much for joining. We are very excited about this webinar. We’re talking about local SEO specifically. Um, and pretty much our agenda today is going to be what is local seo. We’re gonna cover what it is, why it’s important, uh, how does local search work and how to get found locally, uh, actionable tactics and tools that are available to you. And then open q and a where we can answer any questions, uh, regarding either local search or anything you have regarding marketing. We actually have had three people submit questions that we’re going to cover at the end, and they are not related to local search.

They’re, uh, related to some other elements. So feel free to ask any questions you have. We do have the chat available, so feel free to to hop in there and ask any questions. So, just real quick before we get started, uh, who we are, uh, signature W Studio. We are a marketing agency. Uh, we’ve got 15 years of experience with just SEO specifically, and myself, our founder director, we were, uh, the director of SEO for a top three US agency when it comes to seo. So we’ve got a lot of experience. We also love dog industry. We love the businesses that service them, and we run a marketing agency that works specifically with dog businesses. So we work with a lot of local pet businesses. Uh, we’ll show you a couple examples during this presentation of local search. And then, uh, we also, we’ve got proven results for over 15 locations now across the US that do boarding any number of services, et cetera.

So, uh, we work with both local and national franchises. So we’ve got a pretty good level of experience when it comes to SEO and specifically SEO as it relates to dog businesses and folks that do boarding, daycare training, et cetera. So we’re gonna start out with kind of what is local seo and local SEO is any search that results in a location specific serp. So whenever we talk about ser it always stands for search engine results page. So a, a local search is really anything that contains specific modifiers or location specific modifiers, like doing a search, for example, dog daycare in Charlotte. And if you ever see me mention Charlotte during this presentation, it’s, it’s because we are in Charlotte, North Carolina, so we are relevant to a couple of the businesses here. But anytime someone does a search, for example, like Dog Day Charlotte, or dog boarding in Charlotte, or even near me searches, which are extremely popular, so somebody searching for dog boarding near me or dog training near me or anything, Google deems as local.

So this is more interesting is the fact that Google has a lot of searches that you might not need to add near me or even need to add in Charlotte or in your location for it to come up and show as a local search. And that’s one thing that it kind of opens up the door of the importance for local SEO overall. If you look at, on the far right, dog daycare, dog day near me as a search volume has about 128,000 monthly searches, uh, which is way more than just the phrase dog day in way more than just a location specific phrase of dog day, Charlotte, North Carolina. So even looking at something like Dog Day, Charlotte, North Carolina, that is a very long tail phrase. It’s a longer search term, but still having 700 monthly searches, that’s a lot of local search activity. And even looking at phrases in a larger market, you’re gonna see a lot more search.
And then looking at the growth of near me searches, uh, 900% growth between the years 2015 and 2017, it’s a small window. And that’s even, uh, you know, four or five years ago now we’re looking at 62% of all search traffic coming from mobile devices. And with that level of traffic, the fact that the mobile is winning the search traffic battles, and we are getting a ton of search that’s happening from mobile, pretty much every device search that is on mobile is gonna be reflective in a mobile search. You’re gonna get a map listing, you’re gonna get proximity related searches. And to show the growth of that in, in quarter one of 2015, there were only 31% of mobile traffic users that are one third of traffic has been driven by a mobile device. So we’ve increased 75% since 2015. That’s a lot of growth in the mobile space.

Obviously everybody has mobile devices. It’s with a majority of people are searching for specifically near me searches, specifically location searches. So it’s very important to get found for these location searches to make sure that when someone’s searching for either near me or relevant, relevant searches to your area, you’re getting found in that you’re available. So how does local search work? Local search takes into consideration really three different things. And those three things are Google’s algorithm, which is a number of search, and it will link to our other presentation that we ran on just seo, where we cover a lot more of these signals. But Google uses over 200 ranking signals to position any website or where it places a website in their index. Google uses those same factors for mobile search, but it also takes into account proximity where the searcher actually is. And it, it really has a lot to do with, again, mobile becoming so relevant and a lot of people that are, that are running searches and looking for things that are closest to them or searching for the things that are the most near them.

But it also will take into account local signals and we’ll talk what those local signals are. But local search uses a mix, or Google uses a mix of all three of these things to position people locally and to, to figure out what businesses that they feel are most relevant for that local search. So let’s dive into a little bit about some of these local signals, starting with the most important, and this is with a Google business profile. Now, Google business profile is the only way to get found in the local map pack. So when we look at the local map pack, that is a search that takes place. Going back to the, this initial slide of local search, anytime you see that, that results with a map and then the local business listings, those are the local specific search that a business profile will show up in.

Without a claimed business profile, you can’t be found in search. So every business should have one of these profiles created and claimed. So if, if you go to Google and do a search for your business, you’ll sometimes see your business may already be listed in the, in the the Google business profile area. You can claim that listing or you can use the link, uh, that we’ve included on the, um, on the page here for, uh, for creating and claiming your Google business profile. So it’s one thing to claim it to make sure we have it. That’s step one. The next is optimization of the the Google business profile. And there’s three key optimizations that will help you get found above competition when it comes to local search. And the first one is add every bit of information inside your Google Business profile. When you have it claimed, there will be a a slew of information that you can fill out and optimize about your business.

You want to make sure that you have everything filled out from the business name to the categories you service to the description of your business. Other things will be contact information. What are your business hours, your phone number, your website. You will wanna make sure that all of this information is filled out in its entirety. You will also wanna make sure that you add photos. We will cover a little bit more about photos later on as a location signal, but we will wanna make sure that we add photos to your business. You’re adding your logo, you’re adding a cover photo, you’re showing, um, behind the scenes of your business. You’re gonna show all of the information about your business that you want people to be able to see when they go to your profile. And also adding these photos shows Google that you’re optimizing. It shows Google that you’re using their tools and they really like to see that they will act more favorably on businesses that add photos, but also businesses that post, it’s extremely important to post on Google business.

Now, it’s one of the things that, that local businesses often forget about is they make a very keen, uh, focus on posting on social. They wanna post on Twitter, they wanna post on Facebook, they wanna post on Instagram, Snapchat, all of the different things that a business can post on. They’re actively creating posting schedules and content. One thing they leave out is posting on Google business profile, which they give you the ability to do, and you could also create links from that profile back to your website. The nice thing about Google Business profile posts is that they last for almost six months, I believe is is the timeline. But they generate a ton of traffic back to your website. And if you use location and service specific phrases, you can get found for a lot more searches. So if you’re posting about dog boarding or you know what’s happening within your business on dog boarding or daycare, what’s happening on doggy daycare or your latest post, share it on on your Google business profile. So when you have a Facebook post or an Instagram post, make sure you head over to Google Business profile and post because that will allow Google to show your business more often. Show your active in the Google business profile and favorably position you above potential local competition. If there is a competitor that is very close in proximity to you and you’re more active, you have got more photos posted, you’ve got more reviews, which again we’ll talk about later, you will be shown over that competitor.
So let’s talk about another local signal onsite references. So these onsite references are, are a bunch of different things that we can do on our website to help local search. And the three key optimizations you can run are location modifiers in content, and that’s adding location to headlines, sub-headlines and within your content where it becomes natural. If you can add, or your headline for a section is dog boarding, and you’ve got the ability to add dog boarding in Charlotte, or if your sub-headline is uh, or if your headline is dog boarding, adding a sub-headline for something like the best dog boarding in Charlotte, those location modifiers can help your business get found locally. And it helps Google know that within your content that you’re actively in that area, you’re talking about that area. We just wanna make sure that we don’t stuff keywords and make them unorganic.

And we also don’t want to use the phrase near me. It’s not the way to get found for near me searches by using the phrase near me and your content. Try to avoid that. Just talk about local specific items and using where your location is within your content. The next one you may hear me say a lot is na uh, but adding your na, which is your name, address, phone number onto sections of your website where it makes sense or is relevant. So adding your contact information to your contacts page to the footer of the website so it appears on every page or relevant sections of your content is a great way to get found locally. It’s a great way for Google to know where you are as well and to verify the information. We will also talk about citations a little bit later in the presentation.

And it’s very important to make sure that your NA is validated and also accurate across your website and across a bunch of different citations and publications. Another great onsite reference for content is to embed a Google map with your location on your site, get it on any relevant pages, your location pages as you’ve gotten multiple, as well as your contact pages. Adding that Google map will show Google specific local signals to your page and to the search engines. Uh, there are instructions on this page, and again, we’ll share this presentation with you after, after it’s over, but you can use these instructions to embed that map on your site. It’s very easy to do.

The next step, uh, regarding onsite elements and local is local content. And creating local content that speaks to your geography is very important. And I just have two examples here of local content we’ve created for a client in Charlotte. You’re gonna see Lucky Dog a lot. They’re one of our, our longest clients in the dog space. Uh, they, they trust us with all of their, their services and uh, one of the things that we do for them is blogging. And when we create local content, we wanna make sure that we address things that are local. It shows you that goo or shows to the search engines that you are relevant in the area, that you’re creating content in the area, and that you are a local source for people. So just for example, two instances of content that we created, pet friendly places to see the changing leaves near Charlotte, A great post that talks about where they can go in the local area.

It mentions Charlotte a ton. It shows local addresses of different things in the area, uh, and then dog Day, why they’re everywhere in Charlotte, the explosion of dog daycare. We address that as a content topic. And those two post very well for us in feeding different elements of our website. When we talk about dog daycare and we talk about local search, uh, a few other content topics that are really good that you might want to add or just friendly places to take your dog in a local area or just different elements about Charlotte. You could talk about breweries that are dog friendly or why, you know, those different elements are dog friendly and, and it really helps build that local scene or, or great places to take your dog. Just, just fantastic content that you create that’s local to the area is always gonna be a a bonus.

The next one gets into a little bit more of a technical, uh, element, but it’s adding location schema. So schema markup is what allows search engines to understand content on your website, and it’s what allows you to get found in search in a lot of different ways. It it ties different things together and allows Google in the search engines when they call your website to understand what your name is, your address, your phone number, other relevant items. Now since it is technical, we wanted to make it as easy as possible. And if you do a simple search for how to add schema markup to different, um, uh, elements or different word presses or different wickes or square spaces or the different content management systems, there is a plethora of information on how to copy and paste this schema markup. Uh, we have a couple clients that use Wix that we work with.
It’s a very simple process. Uh, WordPress is even easier if you’re familiar with that platform and that’s what your website is built on. We’ve included three links here that are extremely helpful. Uh, if you’re using WordPress, there is a plug-in that we use, we swear by it, it was what we install on every one of our client websites that allows you to easily point and click to add your schema mark up to the website. Um, and then there’s also a schema generator that we have here. So you can add in all your information, it will give you a copy and paste code, and then you can paste it on your website. And then after you have it on your website, there is a, uh, validator that we’ve added where you can plug the URL in and it will show you the schema markup that is on your website if there’s any errors or things you might want to correct. Uh, schema markup is important because there are a ton of different sche that we can run, but local business is the most important when we’re talking about local search. And there is a, a local business schema you can use that tells Google all of the different things about your, your business and where it’s located.

Again, for multi-location businesses, uh, this is important to have location pages for each of your locations. This is one thing we always recommend. If you have a boarding facility in Charlotte and you have one in Charlotte and one in the northern area, and then one in the southern area. And each of those locations have different phrases that that are used in the local area to address them. You may want to add location pages that have a different address for each location and have links throughout your website to these different locations. You can also create different Google Business profiles for each of these locations and link to all of the individual location pages. It’s a great way to show Google all of the different places that you’re located in Charlotte. This can also be a helpful tool for folks that are mobile and work in multiple different areas within a location. They can create service area pages that we’ll talk about the different areas they service within a location. Uh, this is really helpful in large metro areas. Uh, for example, like in Atlanta where there are tons of different highly populated suburban areas that you can call out specifically with locations you operate in. So having location pages for either remote or mobile businesses or multi-location businesses is a really good way to get found in search.
So the next one is what takes place offsite, but it is an important signal we call citations. So citations are local elements that validates your business online. Sop p again is that name, address, phone number, but a local citation is all of the different things that validate your business. And there’s just some examples here, some old ones which are like Yahoo, Bing, Yelp is a great example. Yellow Pages, anything that exists online that shows your business links to your business, includes your phone number and includes your, your address. Really important to make sure they’re accurate. Let me give you an example why. Oftentimes there are businesses that they, they move or they take over a different location. And in some of these older directories, for example, like Yellow Pages, the location you took over may still be listed with that address in your, uh, in your bus or your building.

And if Google looks at your building and they see that an old business is still tied to that address with a different phone number and a different business name, it may devalue your business in Google search. So you wanna make sure that your business is accurate and listed in all of the local citations. Now, it can obviously be pretty daunting to think about the hundreds of citation building that you have to do. Uh, there is a tool that we use, we have all of our clients in it, so we make sure they get added to clean that up. But one of them is, is called Yext. Uh, we recommend it. What it does is you plug your business information in and it will, it will push out your business information to all of the primary directories on the web. Uh, there’s a link here. You can actually plug your business in and put the phone number or the address in, and it will give you a full rundown of how your business is listed on the web.

If there’s any duplicates or errors, if anything is incomplete, it’s a great tool to just level up your local search. So when it comes to offsite signals, again, we always want to talk about local publications. Now, local publications are important because they have a very strong presence in your local area, they’re trusted by local businesses. And a couple things we can use local publications for. Local publications like expertise.com builds out pages for all of the different, uh, businesses in that area. So, uh, dog daycares in Charlotte or, um, those different elements or dog boarding in Charlotte, you can be listed as a a provider in these local pages and directories, specifically that are vertical industry specific. Really important to get listed in those areas. Really important to make sure that those very heavily local publications are listing you. And even like a, an Axio Charlotte, a great way to, um, to get listed is to find articles that are written about your business.

Local blogs that are looking to interview local business owners. Finding ways to have really rich local content. Mention your business is a great way to get founded search. It’s one of the best ranking signals for Google. And just doing a simple Google search for like the best doggy daycares in Charlotte will pull these publications that you, you could reach out to or it’ll pull these lists like an expertise.com that has all of those businesses listed and you could pull a bunch of local blogs and you could reach out to them. For example, if you are a new dog daycare in Charlotte and you see that they have an article with a 14 top doggy daycares in Charlotte and you’re not listed but you’re brand new, they love to update this content, they can reshare it and they can publish it. You can reach out to them, let them know that you’re new, you are fantastic, and that they should add you to the article. And nine times outta 10 they will. And all it takes is just a quick email and a quick ask. So it’s definitely a recommended strategy to get your business listed in. Publications like this.
This one is kind of, uh, straightforward, but getting Google reviews, making sure that your business is reviewed heavily on the Google is on the Google business profile is important. We wanna make sure that those reviews are also location specific if possible. Encouraging people to leave notes about the location they visited or you know where they’re at or mentioning their location is important. It’s a lot harder cuz we really can’t control what people are running in reviews, but soliciting them, asking for them is a great way to boost local search and making sure that Google looks at us as we are a legitimate business.
And the one of the last offsite signals is Geotagged images. We talked about adding images to Google business, but one thing that we can do with images is adding geo information, which is coded in the back of an image. May seem very technical but it’s not. There’s a great tool that we have. Uh, it’s called Geo Imager. Uh, it’s free. You can do five images a month for free and then, uh, anymore you wanna do than that it is paid. But making sure that any images you upload to your Google business profile or any, um, any images you add to your website, even you upload to this tool, you can put coordinates in for your latitude longitude. You can put your business address on it. You can even put location keywords on this image if then attaches that location information to tags on the image, the metadata that exists behind images that we can’t see.
But codes and search engines can, will pull that location data, it will help your Google business profile. It will also help your website, um, publish that information, get found in search, et cetera. So that’s a great tool. One thing that we also recommend is, uh, encouraging customers to take images with their phones and then upload them to your Google Business profile. Google Business Profiles, uh, have a have a the ability to, for a customer to add photos and when they take it with their mobile phone at your location, it’s a great way to get that, that location data because your phone will actually tag that location data to those images. And it’s a great way to get that location data embedded under your website and embed it under your Google business profile and allowing the, the search engines to see that location data. It’s also a great tool, um, for, let’s say again mobile or remote dog trainers.

They can, wherever they’re training all over a local area, start taking photos where they’re at and posting it to the Google business profile from their phone will show Google your local in all those different areas. Great tool that’s very underutilized. And uh, even, uh, let’s say for example, you run a dog bar or something along those lines or, or a dog park, you can use, uh, signs and post in your area with your, uh, with your, your QR code to your Google Business profile and encourage people to upload images to be featured on your Google business profile. People love sharing photos of their dogs. They, they will put it wherever they are allowed or wherever people want. And encouraging them to do that will get a lot of great location data tagged to your business on your Google business profile. And then even if you run a dog daycare and someone’s coming to pick up having them, you know, take a photo and share it, share their pickup or maybe after their first day or them holding up their first temperament test report card or something along those lines would be a great way to encourage customers to share location data on your Google Business profile.

But really, when it comes down to it, the key to the key to Google Local is relevance. And you wanna make sure that you are, this is just a graphic, I found the line, but being there, making sure that you are mentioning local, being present, being, you know, in these local publications, being where your clients are is really important. Be useful, make sure your content is helpful. Make sure that people are looking for, they are going to find it is gonna be local specific. It does include all the information they’re going to need. And one thing also be quick. Uh, one of the things when people are searching a lot on mobile phones, Google wants to see speed on your website and that will help out your mobile search tremendously, is making sure that your, your website is fast, your website is, is kind of snappy.

It loads quickly because some people in areas that may not have their best coverage, they want that website to load fast. And if they’re searching on mobile Google, we’ll favor faster websites over slower websites. So I appreciate, uh, everybody’s time today. Oh, when it comes to, uh, questions. I’ve got a few we’ll cover, uh, I know a few folks joined late. Um, we will share this presentation with everybody so you may see the things that you didn’t get to see previously and that there’s a video of this, uh, that you can use after the fact. Um, if you have a question now while I’m answering these previous three, don’t hesitate to, uh, put it in the chat. We will answer any of these questions, uh, regardless of whether it has to do with local search, pay per click, whatever. But one of the questions that we get, uh, regularly, and this is uh, kind of a common one, is I am getting leads.
How can we close them more? This is, uh, something that happens quite a bit and let me kind of take you through why this happens. And it seems kind of strange, but we, we generate a lot of leads for a business, especially a lot of new leads and they come in quickly and those leads start to, uh, start to enter in, but their, their clients are having a hard time closing them and turning those leads into a temperament test or into a, um, into a new customer and getting them to come in and actually spend that money and they need help doing that. And one thing that I recommend here, two answers to this question. One, make sure you’re ready and you’ve got a solid sales process. When you’re ready to start getting more leads or investing in digital marketing or local SEO or search, make sure you’re ready for that influx of leads because being able to handle them effectively is important.

The next element to, uh, getting leads and closing them more. Making sure your process is very well detailed. Uh, making sure you’ve got communication ready to go. Having autoresponder on forms that detail what the next steps in your process are. Having pre templated emails that you can send out to new customers that explain the process for signing up in, uh, your system. There’s a ton out there. Pet exec is one that we use quite regularly with clients. Uh, there’s a few others that are very popular in the pet industry, but making sure you’ve got the steps outlined. Creating a short video that explains how to come on and do business. And then also having content that’s ready to send out to people that are interested in coming in for doggy day. Cause a lot of times when you get new leads, they are new customers, they are not prepared for, um, for, they don’t maybe have any idea of what the vaccine requirements are or if you allow Nere dogs or what, you know, how the process works with, uh, temperament tests or, or first day trials.

We wanna make sure that you’re ready for that. So having that content is important. But also, uh, making sure you’ve got content that’s ready to follow up and you have a funnel to work. Uh, we’ve helped develop a lot of content for customers that work them through a funnel and give them emails and template of things to send out because you may get a customer that fills out a form, but you may be one of four people that they’ve filled out a form for looking for a daycare boarding facility. You wanna make sure you’re nurturing those leads and then having content and good information to send them. So, uh, that was a good question that we got leading up to the presentation. Uh, it’s also a question that we help out with regularly. So it’s one thing we definitely help a lot of clients with that are, that are new to generating digital leads and getting a lot of leads is how to cultivate those leads into new customers.

This is a great question that we get probably more than any other question question. And it’s, how much should I spend on PPC monthly? And this is a, a multipart answer, but really it starts out with what you’re comfortable with, what you, what you would like to, to spend and what you’re available to spend. And we always recommend making sure that you’re, you’re tracking your return on investment. You know that whatever you’re spending, you’re also returning into new customers to your business. That helps with understanding, you know, knowing your value of a customer. When you get one new customer, what is their average lifetime value? What is the, the, the spend that you’re willing to, to, to put into Google for your ads to make sure that you’re getting that return? And it’s also important to make sure you’ve got a system that works, that is optimizing your return on ad spend so that you’re not wasting revenue or wasting money into the Google systems.

But start with comfortability, whatever you’re comfortable putting into the ad systems and making sure you know how to track that return. One thing that’s really important when it comes to digital marketing is making sure that you can look at it and be able to say, okay, this is the, the actual dollar amount that I’m getting back for this, or this is the, the results that I’m seeing for, for this spend. Uh, another recommendation that I always make from a, a PPC standpoint is also look at, uh, what markets you’re in. Are you in a very popular crowded market like in Atlanta? Or are you in a smaller market like a Bozeman, Montana? Gonna make a big difference in your, uh, in your, your spend and how much competition you have. But a real quick baseline that we like to use when it comes to how much you should spend on PPC is looking at how many dollars should you have to spend to get to 500 clicks.

It’s a good baseline to be able to gauge traffic, figure out how many those folks are, uh, converting into visitors, but using that as a baseline will really help. And I think my, my camera just died, so, uh, we’ll do this just audio the rest of the way. I believe there’s only one more question we need to answer. But, uh, the next one is, does posting on social media help with seo? Uh, this is often debated among folks that are in the, the SEO space. And with that, to answer your question or to answer this question, posting on social media can help with branded seo. It’s not a, a ranking signal that Google uses to help rank you over competition, but posting on social media will help your Facebook do better when it comes to so, or organic search, it will help Google, uh, pick up on your content more, but it doesn’t influence search often.

I always recommend people posting on social especially cuz it’s a great way to distribute content. It’s a great way to help influence someone making that buying decision. And that way, that way we can really focus on getting those folks in, seeing that you’re active, seeing that content you’re posting and allowing them to make a decision on or whether or not they wanna do business with you. Cuz a lot of times when someone is, you know, trusting you with the care of your dog or the care of their dog, they’re checking a lot of different things. They’re checking out, um, your social, they wanna see your Instagram, they wanna see all those different things that help make a buying decision or help influence that buying decision. And it’s important to keep posting on social because it will help with that. It can also help with distribution of media, uh, having other sources pick up on your content and potentially sharing that does help with seo.

So can we directly say that posting on social media helps with seo? No, but it will help with several other factors that can influence SEO and then also, um, influence the buying decisions. So there’s some things that, that social media will help doing, but it is not a ranking signal. It is not something that Google uses to help position a website. So those were the three questions that we got leading up to the presentation. Uh, we have, um, some more time we can, you know, wait to see if anybody else poses anything in the chat. But we definitely, uh, appreciate everybody, uh, signing on looking at the presentation. Uh, we will go ahead and send this out to everybody after the fact. And even if you want to ask your question later, don’t hesitate to, um, to send uh, questions to us either in our Facebook group or uh, directly to us via email. We’d love to help folks out. We’d love to answer questions. So, uh, if anybody has any questions, feel free to reach out. But again, we thank everybody for attending and we hope you’re all ready to optimize your websites and get found more in local search.

Bill Reinhart

Bill has been an active marketer for over 15 years with experience leading teams in web development, SEO, and lead generation. Bill founded Signature W Studio in 2018 in Charlotte, NC. Bill's goal with Signature W Studio is to create lasting partnerships with his clients.

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