In this episode of the I’ve Heard That podcast on the Hurrdat Media Network, host Max is joined by Business Development Director Abby Farrens and Account Manager Carlee Dlouhy to discuss Hurrdat’s website and local SEO solution that’s designed to help small and medium-sized businesses get found online.
What is Hurrdat’s Website & Local Search Optimization Solution?
Farrens: When you’re searching for things, that digital presence is really important—especially for small businesses right now. So what we developed was a packaged solution that is really great for small to medium-sized businesses that offers them a digital presence through a new website and local listing management and optimization so that more customers have a chance to find them locally.
Max: This has been in testing and development for many years. As the internet changes, our solution has continued to grow and change. This all started when we saw a need for business owners who had to choose between investing in their site or other services. Often their site would be turned over to them after creation and then atrophy because their budget was already spent and they couldn’t invest in other tools. But we know that local search and the website go hand-in-hand. You need to have both a solid website with all the elements of SEO and user experience along with local search. So it’s going to be an investment in order to get that local visibility in places like the maps pack.
How Does Being Online Actually Benefit a Business?
Farrens: If you create an online presence that shows up organically in local search listings, you’re taking up online real estate while being visible to possible customers. Google goes out and looks at all those listings to find the best choices to show to people. Google cross-references all of those listings to ensure consistency and accuracy because Google wants to be right. Google wants to serve certain things up to its users to make sure it’s a good experience, so having consistent business data across platforms will show Google that your site is reliable and the best choice for search users.
Max: Without this package, it’s a full-time job for these business owners to wear multiple hats and to always be checking that their information is updated and accurate across all platforms. So approaching both website design and local search with one solution is why we’ve seen such success with our small to medium-sized businesses.
Dlouhy: Right, we are here to help these businesses make sure all of their information is consistent across the board. We’ll update everything they need because this is how businesses will rank well with Google and show up consistently for search users. Consistent local listings and a high-quality website connect to create higher visibility for businesses with an online presence.
Farrens: And with mobile, it may not always be top-of-mind to make sure that your website is mobile-responsive, but many search users will be searching from their mobile devices. So businesses will want to show up in mobile search results for greater visibility.
Who Does This Solution Work For?
Farrens: The first that comes to mind is restaurants. Having this package really helps businesses put their presence out in front of potential customers. Beautiful visuals, usability, and optimization on their website really give these businesses visibility online. Additionally, keeping their Google My Business listing updated with accurate business hours, menus, carryout options, and other data also helps business continue to come in.
Dlouhy: The first that comes to mind for me is banks. Often hours change or there are different hours between lobbies, drive-thrus, and ATMs. Another one is dentists. What are their services? Do I have to wear a mask for my appointment? Which insurance do they accept?
Max: I think some of my favorites are those with their own brand—real estate agents, insurance agents, and lawyers—because their brand is already tied in with a bigger brand. Fight for your market share because you’ve worked on personalizing your own brand and serving your customers, so make it easy for them to find you with a personal website.
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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to I’ve Heard That, the podcast from Hurrdat Marketing that discusses digital marketing trends, tips, and more.
Welcome back. I’m so excited to have you both on the show, since you’ve never been on, and we have lots of great things to share today. So, welcome Abby and Carlee. Tell me what you do at Hurrdat.
Yeah. Thanks so much for having us on. Super exciting. I am the director of business development and I’ve gotten to work with Carlee for quite a while, while I’ve been here.
Yes. Carlee, what do you do here?
Yeah, I’m an account manager here at Hurrdat, and I love it. It’s awesome. Get to work with a lot of clients and build relationships with them and just help them grow their business.
Yes, you both do awesome taking care of our clients in different stages of course, but today I’m so excited to talk about one of our core solutions that we’ve developed, our website and local search solution. Also, we have a self-serve version of that local search field, but today we can focus on our website and local search solution and how it can help small to medium size business owners. So tell me a little bit about it. I’ll start with you Abby, give me the nuts and bolts of it.
Yeah, of course. So really, just even thinking about how you use the internet yourself, really when you’re searching for things, that digital presence is really so important, especially for these small businesses. And especially right now, when we’re looking at everything kind of, I wanted to say post COVID, but we’re really not there yet. We’re still in COVID.
It’s continually changing for sure.
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. But that digital presence is really so important. So what we wanted to develop was kind of a package, if you will, that was really great for these small to medium size businesses that offered them that website, that digital presence, but then also offered those listings as well. So people could find you locally. So if they were searching for something with your services, coffee near me or pizza near me, something that they could easily find.
I think to back up, cause this has been in development and testing and development for many years. Definitely as the internet changes, our solution continues to grow and change. But I think a lot of this will go all the way back, started with where you saw a need that business owners had to choose investing in their site, or most of them didn’t know about local search so I don’t know that they were choosing between that. They were investing in their site $10,000, $20,000 up front, and then their site was turned over to them and it would kind of atrophy, like it would not be touched. They’d have to wait for budget, their marketing budget to come back up for renewal the next year. And they’re like, okay, now I can do social media. Now I can do paid search. And by then maybe their website needed some extra love and there’s no room in the budget.
So outside of that, we know that local search and website go hand in hand. Your website has to have all of the elements of SEO and user experience. We’ve talked about this on other episodes. You have to have a solid website. So it is going to be an investment for a business.
On top of that we’ve had local search episodes. Of course, you have to be visible in that maps pack if you’re a local business trying to be found. So if you’re not doing both simultaneously, before that was budget prohibitive, then you may have a great looking website that no one can find, or maybe you do know what you’re doing with local search, or you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing, but someone clicks on it and they go to this website and it’s not mobile friendly and they don’t know how to … they give up, they go back right to the results. So you have to have both to get that local visibility for these small to medium sized businesses. And again, like how do you do that when you have like a $10,000 budget?
Right. Yeah. Having local search, like you said, along with with your website, they do really go hand in hand. And local search does offer that opportunity that you were talking about to have both the great looking website and your local listings, your Google My Business listing, and other listings that go hand in hand that have all of your business data consistent across the board. You have your phone number, so people can reach you, your directions, all that important information on your listings to direct back to your good looking website.
Yeah. And I think what a lot of people may not realize is that there’s two separate algorithms, just an algorithm for paid search too. But if we’re breaking down what search results look like, it’s paid search usually on top or sometimes, we get varied results. It could be organic on top [inaudible 00:04:38] search, but that maps pack is local search. And that’s a different algorithm than your website, an organic ranking. And how like you get your website to show in search results. They’re separate algorithms, but both algorithms have certain elements that they’re looking for. Like local search isn’t just listings. They’re actually looking at signals from your website and your website isn’t just, well, it is your website, but how do you get this traffic to your website? It can be click through rate from other places to your website. Those behavioral signals aren’t just in a vacuum with your website.
Exactly. I think that’s such a huge thing that behavioral signal and taking up just extra real estate really, that’s such a big thing, having the listings there so you’re taking up that space. You’re there, you’re visible, you’re in front of people, but again, making sure that you’re showing organically. They’re hitting both of those algorithms doing, what’s going to keep Google happy in both places. Like we were talking about where they’re just so closely related to each other, they really go hand in hand. It’s thinking about, on those local listings, making sure that information’s consistent.
Carlee, like you were talking about, think of Google [inaudible 00:05:51] and I’m sure you guys have talked about this in the local search kind of pieces too, or the kind of that local SEO pieces that with that information being consistent, like Google goes out and looks at all of those listings. Hey guys, what’s our best choice here. What do I want to show to people? And Google’s making reference out to all of these pieces to say, Hey, is this information correct? Is it consistent? Can I really show this to people? Because Google wants to be right. Google wants to serve certain things up to its users to make sure that it’s a good experience for the users and they’re getting what they need.
Now Google’s also looking out then of course it’s all just in a split second, but also looking out to the website then, Hey, does this information match? Is this all correct? Is this all consistent? And it can really be a lot for those small to medium size business owners to take care of, for them to figure out, for them to understand and how these different pieces work together, how those algorithms really, really kind of play with each other.
Well, it’s really a full-time job. That’s why we have the solution. Because to that point, you have to put on your SEO hat to optimize your site and put on your UX hat or designer hat to like optimize your site for local search. You have to know what directories need, what pieces information. And I guess you could manage it by Excel sheet, but that sounds really painful to go through every month and say, Hey, I’m still here. I’m still here. This is still right. Still my menu. And I think approaching them both with one solution is why we’ve seen such success for our small to medium size business clients because we’re saying, Hey, your menu also needs to go on your website. And then we take that link and we put it back on your listing. And whether … that’s just an example for restaurants. It could be appointments. It could be information about their business. You mentioned COVID, there’s been so much that needs to be communicated or updated regarding [crosstalk 00:07:36]…
Especially hours too.
Regarding their COVID. Yeah. Like guidelines like, oh, we’re sanitizing between visits, we are required to wear a mask. Our hours changed. Our lobby’s not open anymore, but you can still use drive through.
It takes a lot of time to update those hours. Especially if you have multiple locations, you have to update that. And that’s what we’re here to do. Make those updates help you help that business, make sure that those are updated and ready to go. So when people are looking to find your information, are you open at nine? Are you open at 10? We have that there for you.
Yeah. I think we all know that’s like one of the most frustrating things is when you like, look it up on Google and you’re like, okay, they’re open and you go and you’re like, they are not open [crosstalk 00:08:21].
That is horrible. And that is exactly what Google wants to avoid. Trying to give relevant local suggestions to help you pick and choose. Again, proximity. We mentioned all these are near me. So we’re looking for a salon near me. And even if you don’t use near me in the search, Google knows where you are searching from. You’re probably doing it from a mobile as well. And it’s going to give you relevant results based on your past search history as well.
And I’m glad that you brought up mobile though, too. I think that’s such a big thing that … I feel like a lot of people are used to it, but some people don’t … it’s not necessarily top of mind maybe for them. But again, making sure that your website is mobile ready, that it’s mobile responsive.
And that’s part of our solution. So again, it’s all the fundamentals, all of the foundation for our small to medium size business clients. So they’re not like, Well, I had someone build me this square space site, but it’s not really great on mobile and it’s slow to load. All of those pieces are part of our process. We have content writers that have been trained for keyword research and have SEO backgrounds and, Carlee, you’ve even had a background in local search. So like our team is cross trained so that when we’re producing or creating this website and optimizing for local search, it’s a holistic approach. It’s not just in silos, these one piece, one offs.
Exactly, exactly. And again, I think that takes us back to why this, why this product was really created was we didn’t want to silo anything. Everything does just play so much into the next piece that we just wanted to make sure that everything was able to seamlessly flow in there. You were able to, to kind of use what you were earning with one algorithm to play into the next algorithm and that everything is working well to just kind of keep moving your business forward.
To like really leverage it. And back to the piece of being an affordable solution. I think that’s what’s super important too, because back in the day, or even now you could invest $10,000, $20,000 as a small business, really easily into a site. That’s not unrealistic. That’s actually pretty affordable still. But if you had to choose, do I do my website or do I do this local search thing? And you have to decide, then you’re going to do neither, probably great. One will trail off before you start the other one. And so our solution wrapping them together allows our business owners to invest a similar size budget, depending on how many locations you have and what you need on your site. Maybe you need more than a five to seven page website. Maybe you need to port a blog over, or you need to add a scheduling function. We can do that on top of this, but still relatively within budget.
And we can spread that out over 12 months. So we’re financing it so you can get started. And it’s not $10,000 upfront, $10,000 when we complete the site. That’s how it’s been done and we have just found, to get business owners where they need to be, we have to do it all upfront and it has to be consistent. And the repetitiveness of what we do over 12 months works.
I think it’s great. And just working with a lot of our clients too, you just hear a lot from them, how it is affordable. It makes sense for them. It’s not stressful to have those payments because it is spread across those 12 months. So it just really is a great solution. There’s so much room to grow. It’s a great place to start with that bundle that we offer. And then you can grow even more. There’s more opportunities that also go hand in hand, but it’s just that great starting piece that is affordable for a business.
I almost forgot for a moment. We’re a digital agency. So once you’ve mastered these fundamentals, we can layer on social. We can layer on paid or any of the other awesome services that may fit your need because you’re not saying I’m doing this for year one and then on switching tactics for year two.
And I love that we have all of these different experts here, which I think is so great because as you know, even if this is just your first step and you do want to continue to grow your business and you need to like continue to grow that digital presence, our team is continually looking at that for you. I always like to say like you do what you’re good at. You run your business. Let us do what we’re good at. Let us help with this digital presence. So we’re continually evaluating too, for you. So if something new comes out in your industry that we’re like, oh, Hey, this, this would be really great for you. We feel like there’s some opportunities here. We’re definitely going to share that information with you. We want to see you and your business succeed.
And yeah, to tag onto that because we do have this ongoing monthly reporting that’s included, tying these pieces together so you can see a bigger picture. It does allow you to have that additional time and head space, entrepreneurs, to run your business, do what you’re great at and let our team handhold this process. So, Carlee, that’s like in your wheelhouse. Tell me a little bit about the reporting process.
So like you said, it’s included in that package. We love to touch base with our clients every month to see what results are happening and that data. So each month as an account manager, I love to schedule monthly reporting calls. We grab that data, write out notes, so that it’s visible for them. And then we schedule that call and we talk through it and we look at where your traffic is coming from. You know, those clicks on your GMB listing to go to your website and calls and directions. And that’s just so important that we look at that. And then, like you said, it’s building blocks onto more that gives us a pathway into more opportunities and seeing how that all is going to connect together.
And seeing how it plays on what you’re do within your business and within the real world. We’ve seen so many times that business owners are like mentioning six months out, Hey, we’re going to be opening another location. We’re like, okay, great. We need to start planning for that. Or we just launched this new product. We’re like, okay, cool. So you want to add E-commerce on next month? Hearing back from them, it’s definitely a two-way conversation. These reporting calls, we want to show our business owners what we’ve seen in the data. And we want to hear from them to hear what they’ve been doing within their business and how we can help support that online. Cause again, Google’s trying to replicate the real world into search results.
It’s great to have that like you said, two-way conversation with our clients as well. See how they’re feeling, see what they’re seeing in their store. If you have that storefront that people are coming to, we see the data on our side, but we like to have that conversation, hear from them. What are they experiencing? Different things like that. And it really helps bring a full picture that we can tell each month and then looking at it year over year or a quarter, just to see how those data points, those transitions are happening from time to time.
Yeah. See the progress. That’s awesome. And I love that. We keep throwing the word data in there. It’s so good though. I mean a lot of times with small to medium size businesses, it’s hard to understand all of that data. It’s hard to really comb through it, figure out what it means, why you need to care. But again, that’s what we’re here for. That’s what Carlee’s here for, the account management team, is to be able to go through those pieces and say, Hey, we see X, Y, Z, which means A, B, C. So we can really use that data to help you make decisions moving forward. And I will preface it with, we have a reporting dashboard. So if you are a data driven business owner, many of you are, you can log in 24/7, take a look, assess it yourself and know that we’re here to answer questions and that we do at least have one monthly call to go through what we’ve seen month over month.
I love those emails that I get or phone calls like, Hey, I was digging into my data and I saw this. Let’s talk about it. Let’s dig in a little more. What does this mean moving forward? Or how does this relate to what we’re working on right now?
And because this is one of our solutions that we have really refined over the years, our team has seen quite a bit. We know what is happening within different industry verticals. Offers are working really great for your business or Hey, hours are like a really big tripping point for this type of business or reviews are critical. I know we’ve talked about reviews before on the show. So our team is able to see the horizon and then refine it and tailor this solution to what your business needs are, within like a certain scope, because we know you don’t need a hammer to kill this fly. We’re just offering a fundamental, let’s get started. This is the building block upon which small businesses is need to build their digital presence.
Exactly. We’re going to use this package to set you on the right path, get you on the right foot and just get moving forward.
So share with me a little bit. You guys have both been really experienced. I just mentioned we’ve worked with a bunch of different clients. Give me some use cases, give me some examples of where this has really worked and what industries [crosstalk 00:17:33] .
Yeah. So one that comes to mind again, unfortunately COVID is at the top of mind right now, but one that’s been really big at restaurants. Of course. So having this package there to really, again, kind of put that presence out there for them. So they’ve got this website, looks beautiful, showing off all of the different food items, menus, everything like that, having the optimization there. So when someone is looking for carry out, if they just aren’t at a place that they want to go eat at a restaurant, making sure that we’re optimizing for that so that someone knows, Hey, we have these options available. You can call us, you can order whatever. And then also making sure that the listing is updated, because that was a huge thing for this particular restaurant that I’m thinking of, that we had the information optimized so that someone, searching for tacos near me, it could show up and they could see, oh, I can order right here. Oh, I can look at the menu right here, just directly from that Google My Business listing without needing to go any further into the process. So that was huge for them to not lose business during COVID and to just have that right there for people to be able to click through too.
And I’m sure we could do a whole episode on the zero click moment. Google’s trying to not steal your website traffic, but a little bit, because it wants to answer that question as fast as it can. So if that’s saying that you don’t need to go all the way to someone’s website to do an online order, then it’s going to pull that information out and put it on your listing. And it just depends on the [inaudible 00:19:05] industry. Google My Business is different for different industries based on your category. However, it’s saying, we need to know your site, but your customer may not need to go all the way to your site. And so optimizing your site, so it has that information and optimizing your listing, they go hand in hand so that your user doesn’t even need to know. They’re like, oh, taco’s cool. Click. Ordered.
Right, exactly. One or a couple that come to mind for me first would be banks. A lot of times those hours change or hours are different from the lobby versus drive through, different things like [crosstalk 00:19:39]…
Plus they have an ATM that’s over here in this grocery store.
Yes. Yes, exactly. So that’s one where I’ve really seen it come to light, super, super helpful. And another would be dentists too. And I just think, Abby, you mentioned COVID. Dentists, do I have to wear a mask in there? What are your hours? Different stuff like that. That’s all available. That’s all stuff that we can update for your business.
What are Your services? What insurance? How can I book an appointment? Sometimes you can see a calendar, just book your own appointment.
Yeah, all that stuff. Just to, like you said, take up more real estate. Communicate with people who are trying to find you and use your services.
Yeah, definitely. And I know you just mentioned banks. So to back up and answer this question, you don’t have to have a website, local search solution. We actually know that there are some business cases where you designed a supercharge enterprise level website. You can still benefit from local search. You still need to do both. And so we have another solution for that, just local search optimization. And we typically like to only pull that out of our bag if we feel like the efforts are still going to be supported with your current site, your site’s already pretty well optimized and it serves a bigger purpose. And so, Hey, you just need a local search piece. But again, that’s why our solution works so well because it can be scaled up, scaled down, to meet these businesses needs. But this website, local search solution, is like the one two punch for these small to medium sized businesses.
I think some of my favorites personally are when you’re your own brand. So I’m talking to you real estate agents, insurance agents, lawyers, because you are maybe already tied in with a bigger brand. So I’m a RE/MAX agent and RE/MAX has its own office with its own listing. But every time somebody calls that lead is going to be distributed amongst the team. I actually need my own listing and maybe I need my own site. Maybe that’s not allowed because RE/MAX already has a page for me as an agent. And we set up your listing to go to that page, but fight for your market share because you’re your own brand and you’ve worked on your own brand, personalizing it and supporting your customers. So make it easy for them to find you. Or refer them to their friends. That’s the other thing is this is great for validation.
So I don’t just Google any dentist. I was new to Omaha at one point, maybe I did Google for dentists. But I also asked around and I was like, Hey, who do you go to? Who do you go to? And then I’m Googling. And I want to be able to find them. And then I’m looking, are they near work? Are they near me? Do I have to drive all the way downtown? Where are they?
And those are other reasons, again, make sure everything is optimized because if that information’s not right, think about, I’m thinking like a bank, a dentist, anything like that. Or even if you were just looking for a real estate agent in the area, if your information’s not correct again, even if we’re just at that first spot in the funnel there that Google My Business listing, think about the lifetime value of a client or a customer, and that you could completely lose them at that point because your phone number’s not right. Or your address isn’t correct. Or your pin’s not right so they think it’s not close to their office [crosstalk 00:22:53].
Or not even lose them, like you’re probably losing them to your competitor. Because Google’s not going to just show one and be like, I don’t know, sorry, searcher. They show multiple results, of course. And we want to help you put your best foot forward. I guess that answers a whole other question. Do we work multiple brands within, say Omaha? Yes, because you already have a unique selling proposition. You already have competitors in the marketplace. We’re not the ones deciding who’s ranking. Google is. And we want to just help you put your best foot forward. If you’re not found you’re not even competing. So let’s help get you in the game. Or if you’re starting up a new business, you don’t want to wait for Google to find out about you. Let’s spoonfeed Google the information.
Exactly, exactly. And spoon feeding them for all kinds of things. I was actually just thinking of a new client that we have that’s coming on soon that it’s a new business. That’s just starting. So why this is all so important for them is they’re looking to hire new employees. So that’s another piece too, just like you said, for validation, being able to go and look at the listing, figuring out, Hey, where are these guys located? So I can go for an interview or, is this too far for me to drive? Do I really want to work there? That kind of thing. But then having that website that really represents the business and has all of that information there.
And we can help through that transition. You can do Coming Soon Google My Business listings. You don’t have to wait until you’re open. That used to be like a guideline where like you can’t be on Google until you’re open. Well, Google has realized you might need a plan a little ahead. And so you can do a coming soon listing. We can help you put that information on your site. And in your case, oh, let’s do the application process online and make this super easy for people and help you transition to the opening day. Okay, cool. You’re an open business and now that’s no longer the focus we have our team hired. And now the focus is to drive leads.
Yep. Exactly. And I love that we have that option available to work with them and we can, okay, you’re opening. You’re ready for it to be this day that you are here. You’ve been coming soon. Now you’re here. Now we have that opportunity to work with you and help you update that. So people know you were coming soon, now you’re here. Now you’re open that business information is available to you.
Back to obviously, this is our baby, this is our humble brag. Like I know that there’s competitor options out there. I know we’re not the right fit for every single small business. And sometimes you have to get started with what you have. Sure. We’re here to help you transition no matter what stage in the game you are, because we know that maybe you had a square space site, maybe you WordPress site, but you did it yourself and it’s not fully optimized for search. We cover all of the foundation for SEO, copywriting, UX, web design speed, and hosting, like all of that’s in this package of a seven to 10 page site with these add-ons to make it customizable to your business’s needs. Plus the add-on of local search. And ongoing for that.
Exactly. Yeah. I love that we have that solution. And two, another piece that I think is super important with local search is a review aspect. We haven’t touched a lot on that today, but reviews are so important with local search and people seeing those reviews, they’re reading more and more. And once they see those reviews, those positive reviews, then they’re, okay, now I’m ready to go to the website and check out more about them. So that’s just another piece that we like to stay on top of too and share with you that reviews are important, make sure you’re focusing on those. And then that will then send them [crosstalk 00:26:24].
Two options there can definitely influence both the person searching and your reviews of existing clients influence those potential searchers as well as support their experience. And just to clarify, it’s not included in our package, but it is something that it allows you as a business owner, frees up your time to be able to respond to that. We set it up. If you haven’t set it up before and/or we offer it as a service, if it’s something that’s like, Hey, we get a [inaudible 00:26:51] restaurants, man. And they get a large volume of reviews. So definitely we have both support options, but it’s definitely getting them started.
I think what a lot of it boils down to is that we really want to be partners with you. We aren’t a … and I love to be unicorns and rainbows, but we don’t just like build it and like, Hey, here you go. See you later. Bye. Have fun with this.
And in local search, we’re not a set and forget it exactly [crosstalk 00:27:16] my gosh. You can put your information into a lot of tools, but it’s only as good as the tools only as good as the user behind it. If you’re setting it and forgetting it, it’s really not a strategy.
Exactly. So we want to be partners with you. We want to see you succeed. We want to see your business do well. So I, think that’s definitely what sets us apart from the competition, for sure, from the other people in the area that we really want to watch you grow and we want to be there with you along on that journey.
We’ve seen that time and time again. We have some lifelong clients that we’re happy and proud to support for sure. So thank you both for being on the show. I’m so excited that we finally got to talk about one of our greatest solutions, in my opinion, for small to medium sized businesses.
Thanks for having us.
Thank you so much.
Be sure to like, rate, review and subscribe. Again, we get new episodes, new guests dropping every other Wednesday. So twice a month. And thanks again for joining me.
Speaker 1 (28:15):
I’ve Heard That is a part of the Hurrdat Media network for more information follow Hurrdat, on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram, or visit hurrdatmarketing.com.
Speaker 5 (28:23):
A Hurrdat Media production.