It was a busy week for some of us here at 1SEO. Departing on a cross-country trip early Sunday morning, I made my way to Seattle to attend Mozcon Local, an industry conference all about Local Search and the value it has for small businesses.

Attending the two-day conference created lasting memories and I brought back a ton of information to share with my team and implement into our client campaigns.

Fresh off the conference and back to Philly, I’m ready to put some of this new knowledge to work.  I took away a lot from Seattle, and here’s what I think to be most important for local search.

Customer-Created Content

When it comes to gaining new business, you rely on comments and reviews from previous customers. As we move forward and trends continue to shift, we’re going to be looking at quality over quantity when it comes to reviews.

In a workshop presented by Aaron Weiche, he went into great detail about customer created content and how it plays a role in your local SEO efforts. Here are the factors that are taken into account:

  • Overall star rating.
  • Sentiments of reviews.
  • Recency of reviews.
  • Quantity of reviews.
  • Length of detail.
  • Does company respond?

I took away some valuable points when it comes to CCC. What your customers think of your business is more important than what you think.

One of the examples given was Amazon, where in the product description you can describe the specs and provide product information, but the reviews actually describe the product’s uses better. This customer created content can have a drastic effect on your sales and conversions.

The best moment a customer has in the ‘That’s Me’ moment, when you’re looking at reviews and can relate to one of those reviews, influencing your decision. Don’t underestimate the value that customer created content can have on your business. For all local businesses, CCC is a way for your potential customers to learn that you care about how they feel.

On-Page Optimization for Local Search

When it comes to proper on-page optimization, you must control as many facets of your website as possible. In recent years there have been more tools and features included in SERPs that give users answers without navigating away from the results.

In a world where 49% of queries don’t have clicks, you need to take advantage of providing your information in as many ways as possible. In Mary Bowling’s presentation on on-page optimization for local search, she laid out ways additional ways to improve your on-page.

  • Improved Internal Link Text
  • Use Place Actions & Rich Snippets
  • Nested Schema
  • Store Locators (Multi-Location Businesses)
  • Expert Content Not Known by Others
  • Enhanced Site Attributes

These are all things that we can help you with here at Digital Agency. Through our web developers and local SEO experts, we’re able to set up your on-page correctly, covering all facets of search marketing to improve your visibility and helping your business land in answer boxes and perhaps featured snippets.

Putting everything in place from an on-page standpoint leads to higher visibility, more brand awareness, increased traffic, and more business.

Proof Terms

While you should already be using proof terms in your content, the analogy and example that Paula Keller French used in her presentation was one of the biggest takeaways I had in the entire event.

Proof terms are synonyms of your core keyword. They’re “like phrases,” plurals, and variations of the word. Some keywords may have two meanings, which was evident with the example we were presented.

For the term wedding band, you could be referring to a band you need for your wedding or the ring you’re going to buy. Within the page for a wedding band, you could include these proof terms to help Google and other search engines understand what the page is ultimately about.

  • Proof Terms for wedding band (music) would be: cover band, playlist, etc.
  • Proof Terms for wedding band (ring) would be: prices, sizes, wedding rings, etc.

When writing content, identify the anchor topic and then find proof terms and relevant terms. We use Search Console to see which terms you’re already receiving clicks and impressions for, find new ranking opportunities and track its impact.

Find the proof terms and work them into the content, don’t just rely on the core keyword you’re tracking. Track the proof terms too. You’re covering a bigger umbrella using semantics and these proof terms.

Out of the Box Ad Ideas

For local companies, running ad campaigns on social media around the immediate area of arenas and stadiums during large events can help you reach thousands of people at limited cost. Think about Facebook and Instagram.

As we’re attending local sporting events, concerts, or other locations, we’re constantly opening up our apps and scrolling through our timelines and news feeds. For the two to four hours during that event, you can be advertising throughout that stadium or arena, bringing your brand in front of more eyes.

  • Sports
  • Concerts
  • Fairs & Community Events

It’s cost-effective due to its limited timespan and can help you grow your business. Think outside the box. Expand your reach.

Net Neutrality

Rand Fishkin went into net neutrality in his closing keynote and really opened my eyes to what the internet could look like in the future. In his slides, which can be seen on his Slideshare, he calls net neutrality an uncertain future. And to be honest, we don’t know what the future of online media consumption holds.

Right now, we see the most reputable news outlets in the country, namely the New York Times and Washington Post, limiting the amount of free articles users are exposed to each month.

Fishkin estimates that the main ISPs will demand a cut from every website in order to funnel that content to their customers. From blogs and social media to email, games, and videos, ISPs would like to earn more money from these sources.

In his presentation, he went on to discuss what this might mean for site owners. Here’s what was said:

  • ISPs will charge subscribers more to visit sites outside the included bundles, lowering traffic opportunities.
  • Google may show sites’ status with the ISP in the SERP.
  • A lot of SEO will shift to sites included by ISP defaults.
  • Sites targeting top 20-30% earners will be less affected.
  • Paying ISPs may be required to achieve the most traffic.

The Future in Local Search

While much was discussed regarding local search and citations and links, Ashley Berman Hale touched on what the future of local SEO will look like. The three main factors brought up were:

  • AMP
  • Instant Apps
  • PWAs (Progressive Web Apps)

AMP has been around for a little while now, and includes Accelerated mobile pages help mobile users access articles, news, blogs, and other web pages instantly. It provides a unique experience and cuts distractions and annoyance from ads or long load time. Hosted on Google, AMP pages are designated with a lightning rod, letting users know they will be directed to an accelerated page.

Instant Apps for Android are used to help break up native apps and web apps. It gives users the speed of a light web page with the benefits you’ll find inside a native app. Similar to AMP, Instant Apps are in the early stages and continue to be tested and perfected.

Progressive Web Apps are used to combine the best of apps and web pages. The pages are built using web technologies but have the look and feel (and actions) of an app. As a local business with an app, you want repeat engagements and interaction with your app. PWAs act like apps that don’t need users to download and install your app, yet still interact with your brand. PWAs have resulted in improved user retention and performance.

My Biggest Takeaway from Mozcon Local

It was a great trip filled with loads of information. Some new and some a refresher, but all valuable. I’m glad I got the chance to network and connect with a great group of people, and listen to the outstanding speakers present on all topics from local search.

I learned that only 5% of queries result in an ad being clicked. Google would rather sacrifice short-term revenue for a long-term addictive behavior. Reason for Google Answers. That was my biggest takeaway. It was an exciting experience, and I’m looking forward to being involved in these conferences in the future.