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EPISODE 1 – Gerry White

The Untapped Potential of Local SEO: Lessons from a Search Marketing Veteran

Getting your website to the top of Google for relevant search terms is a crucial part of capturing demand for many businesses. While many marketing teams concentrate on ranking for broad online searches, they often ignore their rankings on a local level. But with almost half (46%) of Google’s search traffic believed to have local intent, making sure your business is optimised for local SEO can give even national brands and B2B businesses an advantage.

In this episode of the Marketing Freed podcast, SEO expert Gerry White joins me to share his insights on local SEO gained from a career in search marketing that’s spanned the likes of the BBC, Riverside.fm, Just Eat, Austin Reed and most recently, Mirador, a SaaS local SEO management solution.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The importance of local SEO for businesses beyond local B2C brands
  • Good practice for your Google Business Profile so that your business is seen as relevant and accurate
  • How effective internal linking architecture gave Just Eat an edge over its competitors
  • The role of reviews in local SEO and tactics for getting more of them
  • How Google uses third-party review data, not just its own reviews
  • What to do if you receive a negative review
  • How you can get certain reviews removed by Google
  • The evolving role that AI has in local SEO

 

CONNECT

Gerry White – https://www.linkedin.com/in/dergal/, X/Twitter – https://twitter.com/dergal 

David Richter on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-richter-clickpop/ 

Find out more about local SEO tool Mirador at https://www.miradorlocal.com/ 

 

OTHER

Stat about 46% of Google searches having local intent: 46% of Google’s search traffic has local intent: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-46-of-searches-have-local-intent-26529.html 

BOOK RECOMMENDATION

In every episode I ask the guest to recommend a book that marketers should read. Gerry’s recommendation is How Minds Change: The New Science of Belief, Opinion and Persuasion by David McRaney.

The book explores the dynamics of changing beliefs in a polarised world. The book delves into the psychology and neuroscience behind why and how beliefs are formed and changed, offering insights from encounters with individuals who have dramatically shifted their worldviews. With a blend of real-life stories and scientific research, McRaney illustrates the potential for conversation and empathy to bridge deep divides, providing an optimistic take on influencing and understanding human thought processes.

Episode Transcript
Episode transcript

Hey, Gerry, how’s it going?

Hi, David. How’s it going? It’s all going good. Yeah, good. Great to have you on the podcast. Thank you very much. Absolutely. Great to be here. As part of the intro, everyone’s familiar about your stellar career that you’ve had spanning all sorts of phenomenal brands during your time in SEO.

just be great if you could look back at some of that and maybe pick out some of the highlights that stand out in your mind. Sure, long story short, did a bit of time with the government, which was working on site search, and various kind of, campaigns and bits and pieces, working for people like DirectGov, which no one remembers anymore, but it was the predecessor to UKGov, joined companies like the BBC, Razorfish, and then JustEat is the more famous one, joined a Norwegian supermarket for a little bit of time, and finally I’m working Building a sass company called mirador local at the moment.

So yeah, the last I’m hate to say it probably 25 years. Every time I do an interview, it seems to have gone up by a year or so, but yeah, 25 years, never stands still, but just eat what a phenomenal brand. I’d say it’s relatively rare that someone in freelance would get to work on such a big brand.

How did you go about landing that gig? Yeah. combination of things, basically I was already doing quite a little bit of freelance work at the time and somebody basically came over to me and says, Oh, they’re looking for a consultant for three months and I said, yep, that sounds great.

Three months sounds perfect. It was full time contracting consultant and I thought that was a. great kind of opportunity for me to learn about a company and do bits and pieces. I thought it was a very small role initially, but then three months later it carried on and it was another three months and another three months and, it just rolled on for two or three years nearly actually.

it was a couple of years. that was four years actually at the end of it. It was, quite a long time basically, but yeah, eventually they made me permanent for a couple of while because they couldn’t keep employing freelancers for longer than two years. That’s why it had to go to permanent for a little bit of time.

But absolutely brilliant opportunity. And yeah, I think it was one of the most, enjoyable jobs I’ve ever had. And what a fast paced growth story they’ve had as well. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. When I left them, they’d just been merging with takeaway. com. So they went from half the world to nearly all of the world.

And part of me would love to have stayed and carried on doing bits and pieces, but it did feel a bit like no one was quite sure what was happening. And I got an opportunity to join a agency and do some fun stuff there for about a year. Yeah. Okay. look, your time at Just Eat is probably a nice segue into what we’re going to focus on today, which I know a lot of your work now is really solely focused on local SEO.

I would assume that nearly everybody listening is going to be familiar with what local SEO is, but perhaps for anyone who’s not, maybe you could set the scene and some of the ranking factors that are super important now. Yeah. it’s one of those things where for every company is a little bit different.

The reason I say that is that, for some people it’s such a local experience. But one brand that we worked with quite a lot when I was there was KFC. And one of the fun things was experiencing that, when I searched for it. just eat was number one for various kind of key terms are related to just eat.

Sorry, KFC takeaway and other bits pieces. But if somebody in Brighton search for it, then it would be a different experience local. Google have basically said that 90 percent of search results will have come with the. The number actually off the top of my head, I should know this, but basically a huge number of search results have got a local intent.

So if I search for something like a ramen or if I search for anything, the results for me are going to be very different to the results for somebody, even 10, 20 miles away. Google knows so much about you and where you are. And it’s just understanding that all of the results are different.

this basically means that you’ve got to make sure that you’re Your kind of search results your what’s the word for it website your kind of content Everything is relevant to why somebody should be Finding you in your particular area. So a good example is the fact that I currently live in redhill And you know if i’m searching for a chemist then a chemist in redhill will come up My favorite search result for some reason is ramen and every time I do a search for ramen It’ll be like six different restaurants.

It’ll also come up with some recipes and other bits and pieces. But, a core factor of the search results is always local. And I think it’s important to note that, if you are trying to rank consistently for everybody, local will play a key part to it. Yeah, I agree. And it’s amazing, actually, how many search results Google does feel are relevant for a local kind of listing.

And in the past, in my career, I’ve had, I’ve worked for a software company, a B2B software company, which, in all honesty, ought to have absolutely nothing to do with the locality. Where somebody is searching from other than maybe a country level and even then, depending on where you were searching from, you’d get either this particular company that I was working for, or maybe some of its competitors.

If you’re searching elsewhere. and another one of my clients currently, they’re a, video production agency. they’re not interested in producing things like wedding and bar mitzvah videos. they produce things like, animated 3D explainer videos or corporate, interviews.

So again, it shouldn’t, it’s the sort of search term that I personally wouldn’t expect to be, necessarily restricted in terms of relevance to a local area. But absolutely all of them tend to be, it’s a set of local listings for them. and your point about making sure. About the relevance as well.

I had a mini heart attack the other week because I did a check over the weekend. I can’t help that. I’m a bit of a worker workaholic. I did a bit of a check for how this particular organization was ranking. And of course being a B2B business, they work pretty standard office hours. So Monday to Friday, nine till five 30.

and conducting that search on a Saturday morning when they’re closed and Google knows that they’re going to be closed cause you’ve got that information. on their listing in, Google business profile, it ranked them. I can’t even remember what it was, but they’d gone from being like position one or two to basically invisible.

But then by Monday they were back again. fascinating. Opening hours seems to be a big, signal at the moment. And, if you’re open at the right time with somebody searching, you’re far more likely to rank in that sort of number one slot. another good example is when I was working for a Norwegian supermarket.

We have this classic CTR curve. We expect number one to get something like 80%, 60%, 30 percent of the clicks. As you go down, it drops right down really quickly. But what’s interesting is if the map pack is above you and you’re still at number one, you can get a tiny proportion of the clicks.

And that was something that when I was working for a Norwegian supermarket, you’re going to ask me what Norwegian for supermarket is. And I can’t remember for the life of me, even though it was only a year or so ago. We ranked number one for a lot of terms. And I remember when an agency came in, we had a conversation with them and they basically said, ranking number one will get you this many clicks.

And I fired up Google search console. I went, no, it doesn’t. It’s one of those kinds of conversations that we all expect to have been in a certain, statistically consistent way, but we know full well, it just doesn’t now. So yeah, absolutely. Yeah, that’s interesting. You mentioned about the supermarket as well, because I think, I guess an observation is that a lot of people think that local SEO is really only relevant to very small local businesses like your local takeaway or maybe a window cleaning business or something like that.

But actually, it really is relevant to much larger organizations and not just consumer facing either. No, it just seems strange how often I’ve looked at kind of major websites and they don’t seem to have landing pages for their key stores.

It’s almost like they’ve got one list of stores and no kind of particular pages for each. So if I search for, I’m trying to have a good example, but basically a particular store in a particular location, it’s amazing how often that just doesn’t even rank. Google hasn’t even seen the landing page for it or a landing page for it.

So of course, it means that it’s. It’s twice as likely to not, sorry, it’s, far less likely to rank than you’d really expect it to. building out these core landing pages is such a simple task in, theory, and it makes such an impact, but I’ve experienced it myself. when I was at Just Eat, one of the biggest competitors, I won’t mention who they are, but it begins with D.

One of the things that I noticed was their internal linking to their landing pages for their city areas was terrible. It seemed to get to any of these pages, you need to type in a postcode, whereas we had a good link architecture where I remember basically speaking to, to like the team, basically the marketing team and said, at the moment we’re doing quite well because they’re doing quite badly rather than the other way around.

I didn’t want to say I was doing a bad job. I just wanted to raise the risk. So it’s very interesting that example you gave with Just Eat then. Presumably it is possible for third party, companies that sit in between the, the supplier business and the person conducting the search to actually outrank them, on local search terms as long as they are set up appropriately.

Yeah, KFC is the example I used before. We would never rank number one for KFC, but we would often rank number one for KFC takeaway, KFC delivery, KFC, to be honest, I’ve run out of kind of expressions, but basically those kind of key terms, basically, or KFC in X, Y, Z, so it is important that you It’s about that keyword research and understanding consumer intent So if my intent basically is to order something online and get it delivered to me Then it might not be that the main website is the right place. We’ve seen this many times with fashion brands and similar kind of companies where You know if you search for a particular brand, tesco’s or waitrose or amazon amazon is the one that we all love and hate but you know as a consumer we love it As a seo guy, it’s frustrating that they’re often like Two positions ahead of you even on your own search brands and it’s just something where you go like How is it that amazon are just so dominant?

But it’s because we understand this kind of intent that when I want to buy something straight away Amazon fulfill that and the fact that a lot of the time our own websites It’s almost like it’s a flag waving site to say now go buy it somewhere else So it just doesn’t work as a user kind of journey Yeah.

And you touched earlier on some of the, I suppose really the importance of making sure that you are relevant for the intent of the search as signals to, let’s just be honest about it is nearly always Google when we’re talking about SEO at the moment. it’s what signals are there that Google are going to be picking up that will give you a sort of outsized return on your effort, for making sure that you are appearing for those relevant terms.

As you mentioned before, basically, it’s that, map pack side of it, which is always right at the top of the page. And even if it’s not the map pack, Google’s using that information to basically make sure the right kind of businesses are ranked in the right places. make sure your Google.

I still want to call it Google My Business, but it’s now called Google Business Profile. Google keep renaming everything, which is frustrating because I actually wrote a book a couple of years back on Google Data Studio, which no one’s ever going to buy because it’s now called Google Looker Studio.

But going back to the point, I’ve Think that they’ve renamed, Google, my business or Google business places about four or five times relatively recently. At one point, they had it with kind of Google plus local or something similar to that. And of course that died, but basically they’ve just renamed it GBP, which as a.

British person means that, when we search for GBP great British pounds comes up. I’m going off on a bit of a rant here, but basically, yeah, making sure you’re, your listings are up to date and perfect. It’s amazing how often I’ve done a search for a company or done a search for something and it says things like the hours might be wrong.

Or this business might be closed or something similar. And I will never trust that business if I don’t believe it’s going to be open. I might actually call them up or do something, but I’m not as likely to go visit them if I don’t believe that the opening hours are correct and similar.

making sure all this information is correct. The other side of it is reviews. We do spot that. Nine times out of ten, the top results have got the good reviews. And even if they don’t, the amount of times that I switch into the maps and then filter it to being the top reviewed one.

So if I want to find a local business, I, that review information is so critical. And it’s surprising how often, you look at it and they’ve got a few bad reviews and they’ve never replied to them. They’ve not even looked at them to look at why or what’s happened. So replying to the bad reviews is so important.

In fact, replying to all reviews is important. But if you reply to the bad reviews, it means you can make sure that, you share your side of the story if they’ve said something like the, I don’t know, I ordered a coffee and the coffee was cold, you can explain why or do something like that.

But yeah, so yeah, totally the map pack. The other side of it is local relevance. And this is on page and off page. So make sure you’ve got a good landing page. And if you’ve done anything of the local community sponsorship or something like that, then, highlighting that is always a good thing.

Google takes their signals from so many different places and off pages is as much of a relevant signal as on page. So it’s not just about saying, you’ve got a store in, I’m trying to think of a. having pages linked to it and other companies talking about your store and Burton on Trent really boosts you up when people are searching for it.

So there’s so many different factors and off page on page internal linking, making sure the right place is there. And again, one of the sort of fun things is I live in a place called Ellswood. And nobody’s ever heard of or knows it, but it’s just outside of Red Hill. So if I created a doctors, in Ellswood, I would probably name it Ellswood next to Red Hill or something similar to that.

So make sure the local big town is literally there. So it’s making sure that all other kind of key information, how people search for things is there. This is so important in London because, London is a place where every single part of London is called slightly different by everybody who lives within that part of London.

yeah. That’s great. Thank you. I want to come back to reviews in a moment, but just for the time being, just want to pull up that thread of relevance and signals that We might be sending Google that perhaps, we may be unaware of, we touched on, Google’s responsiveness to things like opening hours.

Do you have any evidence or even just a gut feel for the importance of keeping that profile information accurate and up to date? for example, a local business might be expected to close down over Christmas and Boxing Day, but it might forget. To update that information. In doing so, is that going to be negatively perceived by Google as opposed to just the end users?

You might look and go, actually, I don’t trust what you’re saying anymore. Yeah, it’s that kind of end user part of it that is important. if a user goes along and basically reports the hours as being incorrect, that kind of flags it up to Google, and if lots of people do it, then Google’s kind of knowing that this information’s incorrect.

it happens like that, basically. Google looks at all of these kind of different sources of information and goes, Actually, we don’t think these hours are correct. We don’t think this is correct. Up to date, special hours is something you can enter into your Google business location quite easily we’ve got told to do it a bulk but you can do it on an individual basis which means that, you literally go one by one and say actually for this particular bank holiday, or if you’ve got Extra opening hours for maybe Valentine’s Day or something which is coming up.

Basically, any opportunity you’ve got to make sure your information is a little bit more correct is 100 percent worth it. And I strongly recommend doing it because of that factor. because Google will try to prioritize businesses it’s sure are open at the right time. And we’ve seen this quite a few times where businesses are closed.

you mentioned it yourself. Businesses that are closed tend to drop out or drop down. And when I do a search for a local thing, especially when I use Google Maps, If it’s a relevant to now type search, so if I’m looking for coffee shop for now, and if six o’clock and all of them are closed at five o’clock, it will prioritize the ones that are open for me.

So yeah, absolutely. Great. Thank you. And then going back to reviews and completely understand the importance of them. Almost from a conversion rate optimization perspective when it comes to getting people to actually see and trust and want to contact your business by having a lot of positive reviews.

And even if they’re not actually showing that someone’s there responding to them getting their side of the story across. Is there an element actually of the reviews themselves, the content of the reviews containing keywords increases the relevance of a particular listing or is that not the case for local?

It does work a lot, actually, and I think the evidence of this is if you ever search for something, I chose the word ramen earlier on. Even if a restaurant doesn’t mention the fact that they sell ramen on their business listing, or they don’t mention it anywhere else, if it’s mentioned positively in the reviews, it’ll come up.

Especially if they talk about it, like I say, positively, it really does boost up. I’ve often searched for things like breakfast and stuff. It will come up really highly if a lot of people mention the breakfast. You’ll actually see some black text which says Google says a lot of people talk about the breakfast in this particular cafe or something similar.

So yeah, the reviews content really, good. Yeah, great. And it feels to me, with from what I’ve seen, at least, that for local listings, probably more so than the generic national, searches, that’s probably not the correct term, but there’s a non local SEO. That actually the content is of greater importance for the ranking of those profiles.

And the reason I say that is I’ve definitely seen examples of profiles that are outranking others. The ones that are in position one in the local pack, in the map pack, will have one maybe review, often it’s zero. The content of the listing is quite poor, there’s no imagery, it’s just shot from their Google Street View car of the business, that sort of thing.

And then there’s competitors of theirs with really strong domain authority, loads and loads of relevant backlinks. But they’ve named themselves something that’s a bit more generic. So it’s a very much strong brand name search, whereas they’re being outranked by somebody with, on the face of it, a poorer quality profile, but they just happen to mention, I don’t know, Chicken Takeaway Ilford.

And that’s their business name, and it then seems to increase massively, in an outsized way, the relevance to that particular local search. I don’t know if you’ve seen the same. Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of similar bits of pieces where, you know, an exact match domain or an exact match kind of search will Often ridiculously outrank where it should be at.

I’ve got an example where a brand actually, I’m not going to mention it, but I did used to work on it in my last agency. And they closed down. And if you search for their brand now, it’s weird that despite the fact that Next bought them and everything’s redirected, this random no name company that does drop shipping comes up and I’m looking at this kind of going, this shouldn’t be up to rank.

There’s an absolutely no way this. Brand with no backlinks with no actual physical location on the pages with nothing on it. But for some reason, Google’s kind of gone, Oh, this is the brand that’s associated with the search term. And despite the fact that, the brand is, definitely not connected to it anymore.

it’s managed to come at number one, number two is for a lot of key product terms. And I think the same thing with local basically is like, if it’s amazing how many taxi companies, for instance, don’t have the word taxi in their results, they. For some reason want to make themselves look a bit more premium.

So when I’m searching for taxi My eyes naturally drawn to the ones that say taxi and you know The results will tend to come up with the ones that have taxi in the brand name So yeah, it is important to make sure you’ve got the actual product As much as you can within the listings, the information and the actual domain and other bits and pieces.

Because of always it will, you will, might find that, you’re losing against it. That said, I have seen a hilarious kind of meme going around that somebody decided to call their restaurant, Curry Near Me. And, I think that’s a great restaurant name. But I don’t think that works anymore. That said, I, don’t know.

I, I, wonder how much that traffic that restaurant actually gets. Yeah, they’re number one everywhere. That’s brilliant. I love it. Yeah. Great. Thank you. just going back to reviews and we’ve already covered the importance of them. have you got a process in mind or that you might advise people take for getting reviews so that they happen at scale rather than just at random?

Yeah, I think you do have to ask for them. You have to suggest and positively encourage them to be left. part of the problem is the fact that there’s a lot of keyboard warriors out there that the people who, their coffee comes out and there’s the wrong type of sugar. It’s brown sugar instead of white sugar or something.

I don’t just leave a one star review because they’re just really angry about it. And there’s a lot of people out there who you give them a little bit of a bad service. You spill a cup of tea, do something. And they immediately will not give you a good review that said, if you ask people to leave review, they’re twice as likely to give you a positive review.

So I see that a lot of the businesses out there with positive reviews, you can see the fact that they’ve clearly suggested or clearly encourage people to leave a review for them. You’re not in, you’re not doing anything like paying them or you’re not doing anything to incentivize the reviews.

You’re just basically. Suggesting, almost asking for them to leave a positive review and it counteracts all of the negative reviews that just the kind of the random people who are angry about everything will leave. one of the fun things is when I’ve been looking into the, kind of the reviews for a lot of our clients and, how they’ve set up and have a bit spaces the people that leave a lot of one and two star reviews have after often left A lot of bad reviews for other companies out there I mean I have to be honest if I ever leave a one star review I try to leave at least three or four five star reviews for other companies out there because I’ve always Have a little bit of guilt kind of thing, but I do still feel like you know I still feel like I want to make sure that everybody else knows if it’s a not a good experience.

state agents, whoever it is, basically. Yeah. so yeah, basically get, encourage people to leave a review. The other thing is it’s also worth remembering that there’s more than just one place to leave a review. in fact, an internal conversation, basically, we’ve been talking about the fact that how do we encourage people to leave reviews everywhere?

One of the things that we spotted is a company can have a 4. 6 on Google, but a 1. 2 on another service. and it is interesting that we’re seeing like these reviews that are so Completely diametric and the way in which the reviews are calculated and distributed and other bits pieces some reviews or tools Only count the last six months reviews and X number of reviews and other bits pieces Some of them it goes back a lot longer and it’s important to maintain this flow of good reviews to Different, different, services.

we all kind of check TripAdvisor before we go and book in a hotel, or at least I do now. I’ve learned my lesson. But basically, we all check these places. And these reviews are being brought into Google search results. They’re being brought into Google’s own kind of algorithm to check how good a quality a place is.

We would see Just Eat reviews, for instance, being pulled into Google search results. not just for the, not just in the SERPs with that kind of like golden triangle, golden stars that you see in the, underneath the listings, but also in the sort of the knowledge panel part of it for each restaurant.

So Google was actively pulling in Just Eat’s own reviews because it trusted them so well. So if Google trusts the source, it will pull them into its own kind of algorithm, its own kind of displaying of the knowledge panel. Oh, that’s fascinating. I hadn’t realized that Google did that. I had assumed that they were trying not to rely on third party sites for that sort of information.

That’s really interesting. Thank you. just thinking, then ahead to, in terms of, Mirador. So you, let’s, imagine a scenario. You get a new client looking to, they’re working with you. They want to improve their local SEO. Where would you advise they start? I think that’s exactly it.

Reviews is always a good place. one of the things I do is I would suggest that they do a comprehensive kind of top level audit. If they’ve got a hundred locations, check daft things like the image that comes up. one of my favorite kind of examples, it’s not a customer of ours at all, but Baskin Robbins in Crawley.

If you search for it, it comes up with a underpass, and I look at this kind of picture of the underpass, and it’s I don’t want to go have a milkshake there, definitely not going to buy some cookies from there, but actually it’s because for some reason it’s taken a street view image from outside, and I look at this street view image, and it’s completely different to the store that’s inside, it’s a ten minute job for them to create, upload a logo, upload a couple of photographs, get the lighting right, it can even be a bad iPhone for, I find photos are actually pretty good, but bad camera phone kind of photo.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be better than the underpass image to start with. So go through that. Basically, you can look at all of the different images that get pulled into it. we have a tool basically at Mirador Local, which allows us to pull out the main image for all of them.

We dump that into a spreadsheet and we can look at it for all of the images across hundreds of them. And, it’s, that’s the kind of first up second part, as you mentioned is opening hours, just making sure that none of them are flagged up as being wanting to be to Google suggesting changes.

We call it Google suggested changes basically where Google said, Oh, this is what we think it should be. do you want to accept or reject them? So what we’d recommend doing is making sure all of those are accepted where the correct or rejected where they’re wrong and making sure that kind of is up to date.

And of course, as you mentioned, like reviews, basically having a look at the number of views that you’ve got going back to some of the bad reviews, making sure that the kind of reply to correctly and of course, making sure that all of that kind of key information is all done. The other thing that people don’t take advantage of is posts, which is interesting.

I don’t know if you’ve come across it, but basically in a Google business profile, you can add in a post and it’s quite easy. Basically, if you’ve got a special offer, if you’ve got a in store sale or something, you can just create it as a post. It’s a relatively simple task. You create a post, you post it.

And anybody searching for a particular thing will see this often as a big label, which says, there’s a special offer here. He’ll have the codes or anything else that you want to go through to him. And you can do this at scale so you can do it to all your different stores. And if you’ve got a e commerce or a fashion store or something, you’ve got some in store offer.

It’s a great quick win and I don’t understand why more people aren’t doing these things. We’ve not seen very many businesses taking advantage of all the opportunities in that space. And then finally, as you mentioned, the reviews, I saw something really cool on Etsy actually a couple of days ago.

I was looking for something completely different, but Etsy had these kind of little plastic QR codes where you can just say from, for the store, scan this or NFC and tap this and it will go to leave review. I think that’s a great idea. I’ve suggested it to the developers that we need to figure out how to have, the abilities to connect to a printer to print these off to distribute out to the stores.

cause that’s quite a fun challenge, but that’s down the line. They’ve keep telling me that I can’t keep putting more things into the pipeline for a week or two. It’s such a nice touch though, isn’t it? Building that process to gather things like reviews or keeping your content up to date because yes, you might have some internal champion who’s just a wizard and is really diligent with keeping that information up to date, but eventually they’ll be sick or they’ll go away on holiday or they’ll move jobs or whatever it is.

I’ve seen examples of, companies where they’ve got a really Decent profile in place and a lot of it is manual, but they are actively seeking reviews, not just from their customers, but from other stakeholders as well. And I think that’s absolutely valid. It might not be how most people intuitively interpret who the reviews are being left by, but it’s absolutely relevant for a supplier to say actually what it was like working with you.

Did you pay on time? For example, you’ve got a particularly good relationship with a partner or supplier. Make the most of it. I agree completely on that one. it’s surprising how often, you go and look at the reviews and you go, Oh, that’s interesting. Like you mentioned the videographer customer, it’s basically, it’d be clients and people that they’ve worked with, the actors and all of those different people.

There’s lots of different opportunities for people who work with a brand to leave a review or a positive review or a bad review. I’ve seen people leaving reviews for companies saying, don’t touch them. it’s, they don’t pay kind of contractors or something like that. it’s, there’s a lot of opportunities for people to leave bad reviews.

at the same time, there’s a lot of opportunities for you to encourage people to leave a good review if you’ve had a positive experience with them. a lot of places, they’re not open to the public in the same way you’d expect. it’s people that visit them and want to go, actually, the offices are really lovely to work in.

Good example of that, for instance, is Just Eat, the head office. a lot of people would basically say about the fact that the offices were great, spacious, great environment, everything. I quite, I did appreciate the fact that, the office before I turned up there actually was a good place to work.

Yeah, absolutely. I think everything that you’ve mentioned, I think that the way that I’ve managed to organize it in my head is actually is all about making sure that the user, the searcher gets the relevant information and has a good experience interacting with your profile. And I think that’s quite a nice way of capturing everything there.

Because if we were thinking back to the point about making sure that the name is relevant, you gave an example of taxi companies not including the name taxi in their name. that probably impacts the click through rate, as it does with having an image of an underpass for a coffee shop. That’s going to impact the click through rate, as it would for, the click through rate if you’ve got loads of unresponded to.

One and two star reviews associated with your business and surely Google are going to be taking that kind of interaction into account Yeah, exactly And I mean if you are a business and you’ve got a lot of reviews just upvote the ones that are positive it’s a really quick win basically get a couple of people to upvote the positive ones and they’ll come up before the Unhelpful ones the ones that kind of describe the bad experience and and it’s amazing what I’ve seen some of the reviews that are bad for I mean my There’s a, there’s one of the strange things is there’s a, an aquatic shop that’s got hundreds of kind of locations around.

And I remember an internal conversation when I basically said, this aquatic space has got 500 store locations. And when I was looking into it a little bit, one guy basically left a one star review and basically the comment was didn’t visit. it is important that, you do bury these kind of bad reviews and you positively upvote the good reviews just to get that positive experience going.

Yeah, and Google aren’t going to remove anything, regardless of how irrelevant it is, right? They will, actually. If you complain or say something, we’re seeing them being quite proactive recently. In fact, I saw a tweet from somebody quite recently, and he basically was saying, they are actually removing reviews that If there’s a reason why they shouldn’t be there.

A good example is if they mention somebody’s name or something like that. So if there’s a reason they’re violating Google’s own terms and conditions, then they can be proactively removed. And you can get them reviewed, removed quite easily by basically just saying, look, reporting their reviews.

So I would definitely be reporting reviews that are. Irrelevant or not relevant to the business at all and if you don’t believe that the review is fair just report It’s not something which you shouldn’t do. I’m not saying please go around and Report all of the kind of reviews you don’t agree with because they said, a two star because the place was cold and drafted the music was too loud but if it’s a two star and they basically complain about a Irrelevant business because I’ve seen that a few times where somebody’s got the business wrong.

And we’ve all seen it Basically, somebody’s got the wrong business. They’re leaving bad reviews. I nearly did it myself I left a review for a plumber after he came and it was a good review I said to him, oh, I left a good review and he went now you actually left it for my competitor down the Road, there’s two with a similar name and I I wonder how many reviews for him are wrong and how many reviews for the other guy are wrong.

I fixed it. I gave, in fact, I think I left the good review for the other guy up actually. I felt bad taking it back down again. But basically, yeah, you can get reviews removed if they’re for the wrong business or the wrong person or it’s unhelpful or if it’s just totally off topic.

So yeah, definitely look at getting the bad reviews removed. Thank you. and just briefly, can we touch on maybe the evolving role of AI in local SEO as well? Oh, yeah, absolutely. It’s scary. I was just at a Conference talks, yesterday, something called search and stuff. It’s great, event thing.

And I was joking about the fact that literally every talk somebody has to mention a local SEO. there’s so many opportunities. if you’re creating a hundred different locations or pages, and you want to give it something a little bit extra, one of the things that I would do is I’d put all the information into AI and just spin out a little bit of content for each one of them.

it, You can usually do it by just chucking in some keywords. When I say keywords, it doesn’t have to be SEO keywords, but keywords relevant to it. So you’re talking about, I mentioned before the fact that people have different names for different places. So if your town is slightly outside of a main town, I’m trying to think of a place, that, would be relevant.

But basically, if you’ve got multiple names for your town, make sure they’re all in it. And you can then spit out some content and, just talk about it. AI is great for content, it’s great for analysis, it’s great for kind of replying to reviews. So if you’ve got a lot of reviews and you want to hit a thank you for the great review instead of having a hundred kind of things, which says thank you for the great review, you can literally just put something into kind of a AI thing, which says, pause, give me a better response than thank you for the great review almost.

And there’s lots of ways of doing this kind of thing. So AI is terrifyingly good at a lot of these kinds of tasks. And I’m. Every time I see somebody doing a talk on AI, I nearly always learn something. The image generation stuff is phenomenal as well. I write a lot of blog posts for, Mirador Local, or some of us do.

And if there isn’t a relevant image, I’ll just chuck something into a image generator like Firefly or something. It gives me a great image straight out the back. Yeah, it’s incredible how quickly it’s evolving and the quality of some of the imagery, and even video now that’s able to be produced through AI, is absolutely mind blowing.

I’ve not played with videos yet. That’s my next job. okay. Okay. it’s, it’s worth a look. and even things like, podcast production as well. There’s just examples of being able to put some pretty ropey, pretty tinny and echoey audio through, Adobe have got a tool that’s able to make it sound really rich and warm.

pretty much at the click of a button. They’ve got an example on their site where you flick a switch and the audio just goes from pretty amateur to actually that’s really good quality. And it’s instantaneous as well. But Joe, it’s time to start thinking about wrapping this up. before we go, I’m asking everybody for one marketing book that you feel everyone should read and what it’s taught you.

Oh, There is a book which I recommend to everyone. I’m literally trying to remember the guy that’s written it now. And it’s basically How Minds Change by David McHenry. The reason I recommend this one so much is it explains why, as a marketer, our job basically is to convince somebody about something, or convince somebody that a service or something is important.

But it’s amazing how often, no matter how many times you say something to somebody, they will Be really obstinate. And it talks about things like cults. It talks about how people who believe the earth is flat. it’s almost impossible to change their minds. People who believe in conspiracy theorists and things like that.

I think the same thing applies in our jobs. Basically, we’re trying to tell people that, They’re looking, they’ve got a set of beliefs, and trying to change their beliefs is nearly impossible. And this book basically explains how to do that, in so many different examples. And it explains why people have such strong opinions.

there’s a great bit which talks about the infamous dress, which is why some people see it as blue, and some people see it as gold, and how everybody argued on the internet. And it explained that basically that’s down to How we believe it looks based on our experiences and it’s a fantastic book.

So 100 percent I’ve even bought it for a half a dozen of my friends now already because it’s just so good I’m probably gonna send it to a load more people next Christmas Yeah There’s a very small number of books that I’ve bought more than once But that tells you something about the quality and how much I rate the content and how much I’ve learned from them But look Gerry that has been absolutely brilliant.

I’ve learned a lot from this conversation. I’ve really enjoyed Catching up with you as well. Thank you for your insights. if anyone wants to connect with you afterwards, how could they go about doing that? Where would they find you? best thing is Twitter or LinkedIn. Drop me a message on LinkedIn. just Google Gerry White SEO and if I don’t come up, then I’m doing something wrong.

Brilliant. Thank you so much, Gerry. Great to see you. You too. Thank you for your time.