Help Your Customers Find You With Local Search
Josh Smith (00:03):
Hello, and welcome to the sharpest tool where we take the sting out of marketing and bring you all the things in between. So this is Josh Smith, your host, and I'm really excited that I got the vice president of franchise marketing here at scorpion dash Shen burger, everyone, and the booth. Welcome dash. Thank you. Awesome. Well, we're going to be talking about some great stuff today with local search, but before we do that, why don't you give the listeners a little insight into what your day looks like as a vice president of franchise marketing? Yeah, I'm glad to, I appreciate the introduction. I'm going to try to up my level of energy here so I can match your, your bigger. I love it. You can get there dash I'll try to not talk so fast and just have all energy. So yeah, I've been at scorpion now for a little over six and a half years currently.
Dasch Schenberger (00:43):
I'm the VP of franchise marketing, but I've worn a lot of hats here at scorpion. And one of the things I like to tell people about my story at scorpion, more than anything is that I didn't come from a digital marketing background, came from a history background. I thought I wanted to teach. And a lot of people think that concepts like search engine optimization, SEO, or PPC are really unattainable and can't be understood. And I'm a great example of how that's just not true if you're able to read and digest information, which I'm sure most people can, they can pick this kind of stuff up. Cause as smart as Google and all these surgeons are ultimately at the end of the day, they're based off very basic data that we can control and influence. So that's kind of where I started here at scorpion and in today's world.
Dasch Schenberger (01:18):
You know, my day to day is really interfacing with franchise owners and franchisees both at a corporate level and at the home office. And then I'll set, they're just individual offices and making sure that goals are hit and really expectations or exceeded. I could go into a lot more detail about that, but to sum up that's pretty much what I do. I'm a communicator, I'm a strategy setter or strategic, I suppose, an analyst, but with the primary responsibility and goal of making sure that your targets are hit revenue's up. I love that. Well, we're going to do a little back to the future moment because we're going to go back to the future to what you did when you first started. Absolutely. Here at scorpion, when we're talking about local search SEO, data aggregation, these are all words that really don't mean a whole lot until dash is going to make them make sense to us.
Dasch Schenberger (01:58):
So we're going to talk a bit about online profiles, you know, SEO search engine optimization, the famous acronym that gets thrown out all the time, day out has evolved. It's changed over the years and you've seen a big part of that change doing what you did when you were first here at scorpion. So let's talk a bit about the online local ecosystem. Want to give us a good definition of what that is and what's contained in that. Yeah, the best way to think about the online local ecosystem has all the major platforms and channels that you need to be listed on or to be found by search engines. So a lot of people have the misperception or the misconception that your website is how you rank. And while that is true, that's only one part of the SEO factor. Another big part of that is all the online profiles.
Dasch Schenberger (02:40):
And these are platforms like Google, my business, Yelp, Facebook Thumbtack Angie's list. The list goes on and on and on. And that's actually one of the big reasons we're talking today is to talk about how that list is so expansive and how we interact with it because there are new directories being built every single day. And if you're not submitting records to them, how does your business found, how do these places know about you? So there's a lot of variables and tangibles within that and we're gonna kind of hit each piece. But the local ecosystem is basically that in a nutshell, all of the platforms and channels you need to be listed on online outside of your website to make sure that you're visible, why all necessary search partners, what makes online listing so valuable to Google when it comes to getting somebody's website to rank?
Dasch Schenberger (03:22):
Sure. You can think of it almost to the third party source of information. If your website is generated and controlled by you, that's great. And Google likes that understands the message, but at the same time, they can use third party online sources to verify that message and make sure that you're credible, not just, oh, Hey, I'm dash and I believe X, Y, and Z. So that's truth. It's not just that. I have one website showing me this is that I have all these other platforms that I don't control at all. I have no influence over telling you the same message about me. Sure. So consistency in name, consistency, and all the information to the business. Absolutely building trust with Google timidly 100%. And you said the key buzz word when it comes to online listing, which is consistency, and you mentioned your name, but your name, address, phone number and website link are the three slash four primary buckets.
Dasch Schenberger (04:03):
You want to make sure are consistent. And the reason you want to make sure that there's consistent is it goes back to what I said earlier about Google being very smart, but at the same time using base level information, your name, address, phone number are fixed records about you. They shouldn't change. Your name stays the same, where you're located, stays the same, how to contact. You stays the same. It's easy for Google to know for a user looking for a service that this business that has their name, address, phone number, consistent across all these platforms is legitimate. Whereas I'm a business that has maybe three records out there where my address is different than the others that causes confusion for Google and confusion is just distrust. They can't say that service a is as good as service B because there's some inconsistency with just basic information, not even on your website, but on online profiles.
Dasch Schenberger (04:44):
Absolutely. So you mentioned the name, address, phone number, all that stuff. And I've heard this from clients before and from business owners and they say, you know, I never signed up for that directory. I would never did that. My marketing company never did that. Or my marketing company is to blame. And they're like, well, you never did it. So it seems like over time, some of these directories with incorrect information can just pop up out of nowhere. Absolutely. You keep that consistency over the years. Sure. So what you're talking about is the matriculation of information online, which happens all the time. And you mentioned data aggregators, which we'll get to in a little bit here, but that's how those records are being out there. If you've registered your business with your state or your city, which you have to do, that means that an online entity can buy that business record and start building profiles for you.
Dasch Schenberger (05:28):
And one of the things that's interesting about online profile world versus the online website world is that directors are not judged on their validity in the sense that having an accurate profile does not mean anything to Yelp, Yelp, having three records for the same business doesn't mean anything to them. They're judged on volume. Yeah. How many listings do you have? How valuable are you to me as it search engine that has a database worth of information? Sure. So that's an important part of this as well is that these platforms online, they don't mind so much about inconsistency. That's why you need people like scorpion or some type of online marketing to help you make sure that that data's maintained because another common misconception online is that data is solid. It's not data is fluid. I can go to any website right now, go to Google and say, Hey, this business, actually, isn't located here. It's move. And Google will publish that. And now I've changed your name, address, phone number for all website users having really no authority whatsoever. Yeah.
Josh Smith (06:19):
Wow. Wow. There's so many implications there, especially competitors I'm sure. Yeah. So what's a data aggregator. I want to make sure we understand fully what that is and why it's important. Okay.
Dasch Schenberger (06:28):
Yeah. So the best way to think about data aggregators is almost kind of to equate them to phone books. They're basically a data hub online that houses a bunch of records for businesses. There are four major data aggregators online. There are more, but there are four major ones. And these four major ones are the players that Google trust the most. So for example, Google has their own directory. It's called Google, my business. We're all part of it. We all use it. Google my business we'll create records the same way Yelp does. You don't have to go to Google to submit it. They can purchase these things and they want to, wow, just like Yelp. They want to have volume two. If there's a record out there, they want their users to see it because that's what we as Google users want from them. So Google Yelp, all these platforms go to the aggregators and buy records. Whether you want your listing on there or not, not up to you, your record is public information. They will buy that and publish it definitely.
Josh Smith (07:12):
So years ago, there didn't seem to be as much emphasis on actually making sure you were physically located. You could set up directories wherever you want. And we've seen to see over the past couple of years, along advent of verification, you know, the need and the importance of verification. Why is that so important to so many of these directories and to Google, to ensure and verify those things? Sure.
Dasch Schenberger (07:35):
It's a bit of a twofold answer. The first of the fact is proximity. The fact that we're such a mobile base and highly mobile society nowadays made proximity a pretty big ranking indicator for Google. They kept getting increases in searches for things like near me or close to me. So they realized that in my search results, I should be showing people these results without them asking me what's near me. This is just 1.2 miles away. This is 6.6 miles away, whatever it might be. So that was step one was the fact that we were demanding it from them. So they wanted to make sure that they could show it. The second part of that is credibility. Yeah. Anyone can claim an address. You can claim a ups store, you can claim a PO boxes and address, but that doesn't mean that it's legitimate and having a physical address helps you rank. So people were kind of gaming the system a little bit ranking in areas where they shouldn't necessarily rank as strongly because they're not physically located there. So Google and other platforms really upped their game. So to speak in terms of how do we verify this? How do we make sure that these are credible addresses? So we're not misleading our users. Yeah.
Josh Smith (08:32):
We talk about address a little bit. I know scorpion deals with a lot of home service companies. They deal with attorneys. They deal with people, small operations, big operations, the whole gamut of business owners. And some of those business owners might share an office or they might not have a need, a physical meeting spot. So they do a virtual officer or something to that degree. Why has Google taken such a harsh stance against that? And why is that not preferred when you're sharing an office suite with another business?
Dasch Schenberger (09:00):
Sure. It's to differentiate the services that are there. It's about the fact that goo can only understand so much information that can almost think, but they're not quite able to do that yet. So I understand where you're coming from on the franchise side, we work with many home services that they don't have an office or a need for one. And so there are alternatives to it. You can use your home address and hide addresses online, but things like PO boxes. For example, Google's taken a very strict stance and said, no, you cannot use that as legitimate form of address. And that's because technically that PO box is owned by the PO box company. That's their address. So now you're creating records saying two different things and you've got inconsistency. And the PO box company is always going to outrank you because they own that space.
Dasch Schenberger (09:38):
You can make the same kind of connection with virtual offices, where if I'm a plumber in a virtual office in suite a, and you're a plumber of a different company in virtual office in suite a will, when someone's doing a search as a user to Google, which one did they show? Which address is legitimate? You guys both can't technically be there. That's not a thing. So what they're trying to do is differentiate the service and differentiate the level of results that you're getting. What is applicable and what can be done is for example, if you're a plumber at suite a and electrician at suite a Google's okay with that because there's a difference in vertical. But when you have two plumbers or two HVAC divisions, whatever it might be trying to share the same office, one will always outrank the other or they almost cannibalize each other. Definitely.
Josh Smith (10:20):
Let's talk about hyper locality a bit. Once you give us a real short summation about why and how that became so important to Google.
Dasch Schenberger (10:27):
Yeah. Hyper-local goes hand in hand with proximity. The fact that people were always wanting things close to them. And the fact that your cell phone knows where you are at all times really changed the fact from, Hey, instead of saying that I'm in Los Angeles, which scorpion is here in Los Angeles, we're actually in a town called Valencia and the Lindsey a little bit north of Los Angeles. And I live in Valencia and I could tell you right now if a Los Angeles Palmer wanted to come out to me, I'd be like, okay, cool, I'll see you an hour and a half. And we have terrible traffic here in Los Angeles. So that, that aside though, it doesn't quite connect the same way from a hyper-local standpoint, am I in Los Angeles county? Absolutely. Natalie guys serve me 100%. What I'd rather get the Valencia guy, you know, it,
Josh Smith (11:01):
It was down to the experience that they're providing for the end user. If the experience is solid and it's something that people are going to want to come back to. And that's what Google's most
Dasch Schenberger (11:10):
Sure. And it's pride and community as well. You know, people think about with car dealerships all the time, but what I rather buy a car from my community, it, my local town, or go down to Los Angeles and help the economy down there. So it's very, very expansive in terms of why this is happening, but it really comes down to cell phones.
Josh Smith (11:25):
Yeah. Yeah. You know, we have a interesting thing in home services, right? Where we have a lot of business owners who actually tackle a lot of different areas. So how does this largely local search ecosystem, so to speak positively and in some ways negatively impact results from an online perspective for these business owners who tackle a large service area.
Dasch Schenberger (11:44):
Yeah. So your location is a fixed variable. You can't really change that. So if you want to serve someone, that's 50 miles away from you and that's legitimate. That's okay. That's not something that Google's until you can't rank for are. Can't do so what you do with Google and all these other online platforms is you feed them your service area. You don't just say, Hey, I'm located here. And I serve people at my business. You say the opposite ham located here. And I serve people in either these lists of zip codes or X miles away from my business, whatever it might be in terms of your parameters. And that can help you rank in all those areas, because then you're telling Google and Facebook and Yelp that, Hey, I might not be physically located there, but I'm still hyper-local in terms of my service. I'll be there in 20 minutes.
Dasch Schenberger (12:22):
I'm from the area. I understand it. My business just happens to be a town over. Awesome. So what should you do if your business does actually have more than one location, what's a proper strategy there. Sure. So the greatest thing you can do with having two locations is making sure that each location is consistent and that you're never muddying the waters in the sense that if I've got three locations, a, B, and C, I've got three records on all platforms for AB and C. And none of the information on AB or C is the same with the exception of the name. If you're a home service, you have one name and you're expanding, expanding, spending that's okay. Google is forgiving of that. They are smart. They understand that every time you're going to have a unique DBA or something like that, you know, years ago, there was always this debate when people had multiple locations, the big question of whether or not you should have one website or multiple websites, where do you stand currently with that dash and your expertise, knowing all that?
Dasch Schenberger (13:09):
Yeah. You know, I actually kind of have a different opinion on the website and DBA, for example, I'm very much a fan of the one website approach in general, it's easier for Google who gets thousands of websites submitted to them every single second and really every minute to digest. When you have one credible source of information, instead of 15 sources of information, I'm also kind of big on the fact that DBA is nowadays are a little bit unnecessary in the sense that before you had to have geo plus service for Google to understand what you needed. Yeah, no plumber in Los Angeles. So a lot of people want to be the, you know, Josh has plumbing service of Los Angeles to try to glom onto that nowadays, Google knows exactly where you're located and they know where your users are located. So do you need to be call it Los Angeles plumber or just plumber?
Dasch Schenberger (13:48):
Yeah. It's really just plumber. Yeah. People aren't even searching for Los Angeles plumber any more than one plumber near me. Yeah. So the one website model consistent DVA is a lot easier for Google to digest because we don't need it. The, my favorite example about it is pizza hut. Yeah. Pizza hut has one website. They have one name and there's no confusion for anyone including Google on where to find the information about them and where to send user if you want to contact these guys. Yeah, absolutely. And especially when you combined that with a strong brand presence, it just feeds into that consistency of what you're delivering things. So well, dash this has been awesome. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us about local grapes. So really appreciate your time. Ma'am well, thank you. I appreciate it. I love it. I hope to be back. Awesome. And we'll definitely have you back. And for all of you listening, if you found this valuable, definitely punch that subscribe button wherever you might be at. And from all of us here at the sharpest tool, once again, my name is Josh Smith. We will catch you next time. Thanks. [inaudible].