After a period of bigger events such as BrightonSEO and Digital First, it is nice to take a breather with a smaller-scale event like the SEO Benelux Meetup. After the previous edition in the Netherlands, it was now up to Belgium, and in particular Brussels, to host a new edition of the SEO Benelux Meetup. Special for this edition was that besides the usual sponsors Universem was now counted amongst the new sponsors.
Micro and Macro Local SEO
The first presentation of the evening was given by Liesbet De Vylder of VDAB. She gave a detailed presentation on Google My Business (GMB). Tips such as using verifications “in bulk” for locations, using landing pages based on locations and many others, were alternated with personal experiences and examples of what really works, and what doesn’t. The importance of “real world signals”, already referred to in the earlier blog post on BrightonSEO as an important SEO trend, was highlighted in this presentation once again by pointing out the importance of the reviews and the “Questions & Answers” features of GMB.
According to Ken Derwael of Bpost, however, Google My Business is only one part of local SEO, especially if we look at it at international level. In countries where Google is not the most widely used search engine (think of Russia with Baidu), GMB remains useful at international level, but it is important to play on other elements as well. In these cases, tools such as social media, often forgotten to have a strong localization feature, and websites such as Trip advisor and Booking.com are important to take into account Keep. Speaking from his background in the hotel industry, he gave some tips for local SEO tools like Yext, localistico and localyse.
After a pizza-break (sponsored by Universem), it was time for the panel. Participants were Olivier Tahir (Verbolia, co-sponsor of the event), Nikolaas De Geyndt (Clicklinks), Xaveer Rumbaut (Invisible Puppy) and our Universem Senior SEO Consultant, Stéphanie Dumont. Two interesting questions to mention:
What are the pillars in a local SEO strategy for a large company (eg. an auto giant)?
- Google My Business: Verifying locations and involving management at local level are key
- Local content: Publish content referring to the location, about eg. specific events and actions that take place in that location
- Local links: Put external links from your location webpages to related other companies nearby
- Keyword analysis: Some locations are much more searched for in Google than others
It is sometimes difficult for a large company to vines against small local businesses. How can this be better?
- Much depends on the authority that the big company has within Google for those specific search terms
- Optimize structured data and long-tail keywords with attention to what your target audience is really looking for