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Compare Apples to Oranges (In This Case, It’s the Smartest Thing to Do)

We’re having dessert before dinner this week — and it’s a healthy bite too: apples and oranges. While my post…

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Google Ads Editor update includes support for Discovery campaigns

Version 1.2 is now available.



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The Unique World of Franchise Marketing [Guide Sneak Peek]

Posted by MiriamEllis


Image credit: Dion Gillard

Can franchises make good digital marketing agency clients? There are almost 750,000 of them in the US alone, employing some 9 million Americans. Chances are good you’ll have the opportunity to market a business with this specialized model at some point. In this structure:

The Franchisor grants permission to others to operate under its trademark, selling approved goods and services supported by an operating system and marketing.

The Franchisee is the person or group paying the franchisor for the right to use the trademark and the benefits of the operating system and marketing.

Seems simple enough. But it’s this structure that gives franchise marketing its unique complexities. For your agency, the challenge is that you can’t enter these marketing relationships equipped solely with your knowledge of corporate or local search marketing.

You need to deeply understand the setup to avoid bewilderment over why implementation bogs down with franchise clients and why players lose track of their roles, or even overwrite one another’s efforts.

In this post, we’ll give you some quick and useful coaching on the franchise model, but if your agency just got a phone call from Orangetheory or Smoothie King, you can get the bigger playbook right away.

Download The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing

Roles and goals make franchises unique clients


Image credit: woodleywonderworks

Imagine a post-game locker room scene. On the field, all players seemed united by the goal of winning. But now, at different press conferences, the owner is saying the coach failed to meet standards, the coach is saying the owner should keep his opinions to himself, and several of the star players are saying they didn’t get the ball enough.

Franchises can be just like that when there’s confusion over roles and goals. Read on to get a peek into the playbook we’ve prepared to help the team as a whole work better together:



This post is excerpted from our new primer: The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing.

Franchise marketing is a unique kind of activity. It does share a lot of qualities with corporate marketing (on the awareness side) and with SMB marketing (on the local side) but as we noted earlier, it’s sort of a joint custody arrangement that — like all custody arrangements — can get contentious at times.

Everyone wants the best for the brand, but everyone’s “best” is very much a matter of their own perspective and goals. Typically in this arrangement, there are at least two stakeholders, though sometimes there are more. The stakeholders and their goals tend to play out as follows:

Corporate Franchisor goals

  • Creating a strong brand to license more franchisors.
  • Controlling that brand so it isn’t negatively impacted.
  • Supporting franchisees with strong branding and resources so they succeed.

Master Franchisor goals

  • Working with corporate to protect the brand.
  • Licensing more local franchisors.
  • Supporting franchisees with resources so they succeed.

Regional or Area Franchisee goals

  • Driving customer traffic and revenue at individual locations.
  • Growing their portfolio of locations.
  • Supporting location managers with resources so they succeed.

Owner/Operator Franchisee goals

  • Increasing location(s) foot traffic.
  • Increasing location(s) revenue.
  • Building customer loyalty at the location(s).

In what ways is franchise marketing different from corporate or standard SMB marketing? There are some unique challenges that franchisors and franchisees face which are worth unpacking. Some of them are:

    • Conflicting goals between franchisor/franchisee
    • Faster turnover of locations and addresses
    • Different opening hours, menus and promotions from location to location
    • Unique local sales and marketing opportunities and challenges
    • Competitors on both the brand side but also among local SMBs
    • Lack of clearly defined marketing roles causing work to be overwritten, duplicated, or even neglected


    Getting your agency’s head in the game


    Image credit: yourgoodpaljoe

    Your agency can be a better coach to franchises by having a playbook that respects how they differ from corporate or SMB clients at the very outset. But differences don’t have to equal weaknesses. Are you ready to draft a game plan that draws from the strengths of both franchisors and franchisees? 

    The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing

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    Uber Eats readies ad sales for restaurants

    Could it become a rival to Google and Yelp over time?



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    Get the Bingeable & Shareable MozCon 2019 Video Bundle!

    Posted by FeliciaCrawford

    MozCon 2019 was an absolute blast. There were endless snacks. There were Roger hugs. There were networking opportunities and Birds of a Feather tables and search epiphanies galore. And there were a ton of folks in our community who watched it all unfold from the perspective of a Twitter hashtag — fun to follow along with, but not quite the same impact as seeing the talks unfold in real-time.

    If you’re still wishing you could’ve joined us in Seattle this past July, you’ll be happy to know that you can recreate the MozCon experience from the comfort of your home or office (or your home office, but hopefully not your office-home — seriously, Karen, the quarterly reports will still be there in the morning!).

    Yep, you got it: the MozCon 2019 Video Bundle is available for your purchasing and viewing pleasure!

    Get the MozCon 2019 video bundle


    Tell me about the video bundle!

    For those of you who attended in-person, good news: you’ve already got access! The video bundle is always included in the price of your MozCon ticket, so you can relive your three jam-packed days of learning as many times as you want — and if you aren’t too bummed that they already made you share your MozCon swag with them, be sure to share the vids with your team!

    For the rest of us, the video bundle lets us enjoy the presentations at our own pace. It’s condensed MozCon-caliber information in a neat, on-demand package that you can — have we mentioned this? — share with your team. Seriously, we think they’ll like it. We were humbled to host some of the very brightest minds in SEO and digital marketing on our stage. With topics ranging from content marketing to technical SEO, PPC to local SEO, and just about everything in between, there are presentations to inspire just about any role in marketing (and your web dev just might be interested in a few talks, too).

    What’s covered in the videos:

    1. The Golden Age of Search, Sarah Bird
    2. Web Search 2019: The Essential Data Marketers Need, Rand Fishkin
    3. Human > Machine > Human: Understanding Human-Readable Quality Signals and Their Machine-Readable Equivalents, Ruth Burr Reedy
    4. Improved Reporting & Analytics Within Google Tools, Dana DiTomaso
    5. Local Market Analytics: The Challenges and Opportunities, Rob Bucci
    6. Keywords Aren’t Enough: How to Uncover Content Ideas Worth Chasing, Ross Simmonds
    7. How to Supercharge Link Building with a Digital PR Newsroom, Shannon McGuirk
    8. From Zero to Local Ranking Hero, Darren Shaw
    9. Esse Quam Videri: When Faking it is Harder than Making It, Russ Jones
    10. Building a Discoverability Powerhouse: Lessons From Merging an Organic, Paid, & Content Practice, Heather Physioc
    11. Brand Is King: How to Rule in the New Era of Local Search, Mary Bowling
    12. Making Memories: Creating Content People Remember, Casie Gillette
    13. 20 Years in Search & I Don’t Trust My Gut or Google, Wil Reynolds
    14. Super-Practical Tips for Improving Your Site’s E-A-T, Marie Haynes
    15. Fixing the Indexability Challenge: A Data-Based Framework, Areej AbuAli
    16. What Voice Means for Search Marketers: Top Findings from the 2019 Report, Christi Olson
    17. Redefining Technical SEO, Paul Shapiro
    18. How Many Words Is a Question Worth?, Dr. Peter J. Meyers
    19. Fraggles, Mobile-First Indexing, & the SERP of the Future, Cindy Krum
    20. Killer E-commerce CRO and UX Wins Using A SEO Crawler, Luke Carthy
    21. Content, Rankings, and Lead Generation: A Breakdown of the 1% Content Strategy, Andy Crestodina
    22. Running Your Own SEO Tests: Why It Matters & How to Do It Right, Rob Ousbey
    23. Dark Helmet’s Guide to Local Domination with Google Posts and Q&A, Greg Gifford
    24. How to Audit for Inclusive Content, Emily Triplett Lentz
    25. Image & Visual Search Optimization Opportunities, Joelle Irvine
    26. Factors that Affect the Local Algorithm that Don’t Impact Organic, Joy Hawkins
    27. Featured Snippets: Essentials to Know & How to Target, Britney Muller

    What you’ll get:

    For just $ 299, you’ll get all of the MozCon education and inspiration with none of the air travel or traffic. The bundle includes:

    • 27 full-length presentation videos chock full of leading SEO innovations, thought leadership, and tips & tricks
    • Instant downloads and streaming to your computer, tablet, or mobile device
    • Downloadable slide decks for all presentations

    If we could include a download of a Top Pot doughnut and some piping hot Starbucks, we would in a heartbeat. Alas, they don’t have the technology for that… yet.

    Free preview - Running Your Own SEO Tests: Why It Matters & How to Do It Right by Rob Ousbey

    Speaking of doughnuts, we wouldn’t expect you to buy a dozen sweet treats without taking a little taste first to see if you like ‘em. It’s important to know that your doughnuts are both delicious, shareable, and relevant to your everyday work as an SEO — almost exactly like the MozCon video bundle. And just like the feeling of warmth and goodwill you receive when you come back to the office with a fragrant baker’s dozen, your teammates will thank you when you’ve got twenty-seven highly actionable talks to share with them — presentations that’ll hone your skills and level up your understanding of modern SEO and digital marketing.

    That’s why we’ve released a talk we’re super proud of as your free preview of all the juicy goodness you can look forward to in the video bundle: Running Your Own SEO Tests: Why It Matters & How to Do It Right, presented by our very own Rob Ousbey. 

    Google’s algorithms have undergone significant changes in recent years. Traditional ranking signals don’t hold the same sway they used to, and they’re being usurped by factors like UX and brand that are becoming more important than ever before. What’s an SEO to do? The answer lies in testing. Sharing original data and results from clients, Rob highlights the necessity of testing, learning, and iterating your work, from traditional UX testing to weighing the impact of technical SEO changes, tweaking on-page elements, and changing up content on key pages. Actionable processes and real-world results abound in this thoughtful presentation on why you should be testing SEO changes, how and where to run them, and what kinds of tests you ought to consider for your circumstances.

    Gather the team, grab some snacks, and get ready to binge these presentations Netflix-Original-Series-style. 

    Get the MozCon 2019 video bundle

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    This Is What Happens When You Accidentally De-Index Your Site from Google

    Posted by Jeff_Baker

    Does reading that title give you a mini-panic attack?

    Having gone through exactly as the title suggests, I can guarantee your anxiety is fully warranted.

    If you care to relive my nightmare with me — perhaps as equal parts catharsis and SEO study — we will walk through the events chronologically.

    Are you ready?

    August 4th, 2019

    It was a Sunday morning. I was drinking my coffee and screwing around in our SEO tools, like normal, not expecting a damned thing. Then … BAM!

    What. The. Hell?

    As SEOs, we’re all used to seeing natural fluctuations in rankings. Fluctuations, not disappearances.

    Step 1: Denial

    Immediately my mind goes to one place: it’s a mistake. So I jumped into some other tools to confirm whether or not Ahrefs was losing its mind.

    Google Analytics also showed a corresponding drop in traffic, confirming something was definitely up. So as an SEO, I naturally assumed the worst…

    Step 2: Algo panic

    Algorithm update. Please, please don’t let it be an algo update.

    I jumped into Barracuda’s Panguin Tool to see if our issue coincided with a confirmed update.

    No updates. Phew.

    Step 3: Diagnosis

    Nobody ever thinks clearly when their reptile brain is engaged. You panic, you think irrationally and you make poor decisions. Zero chill.

    I finally gathered some presence of mind to think clearly about what happened: It’s highly unusual for keywords rankings to disappear completely. It must be technical.

    It must be indexing.

    A quick Google search for the pages that lost keyword rankings confirmed that the pages had, in fact, disappeared. Search Console reported the same:

    Notice the warning at the bottom:

    No: ‘noindex’ detected in ‘robots’ meta tag

    Now we were getting somewhere. Next, it was time to confirm this finding in the source code.

    Our pages were marked for de-indexing. But how many pages were actually de-indexed so far?

    Step 4: Surveying the damage

    All of them. After sending a few frantic notes to our developer, he confirmed that a sprint deployed on Thursday evening (August 1, 2019), almost three days prior, had accidentally pushed the code live on every page.

    But was the whole site de-indexed?

    It’s highly unlikely, because in order for that to happen, Google would have had to crawl every page of the site within three days in order to find the ‘noindex’ markup. Search Console would be no help in this regard, as its data will always be lagging and may never pick up the changes before they are fixed.

    Even looking back now, we see that Search Console only picked up a maximum of 249 affected pages, of over 8,000 indexed. Which is impossible, considering our search presence was cut by one-third an entire week after the incident was fixed.

    Note: I will never be certain how many pages were fully de-indexed in Google, but what I do know is that EVERY page had ‘noindex’ markup, and I vaguely remember Googling ‘site:brafton.com’ and seeing roughly one-eighth of our pages indexed. Sure wish I had a screenshot. Sorry.

    Step 1: Fix the problem

    Once the problem was identified, our developer rolled back the update and pushed the site live as it was before the ‘noindex’ markup. Next came the issue of re-indexing our content.

    Step 2: Get the site recrawled ASAP

    I deleted the old sitemap, built a new one and re-uploaded to Search Console. I also grabbed most of our core product landing pages and manually requested re-indexing (which I don’t fully believe does anything since the most recent SC update).

    Step 3: Wait

    There was nothing else we could do at this point, other than wait. There were so many questions:

    • Will the pages rank for the same keywords as they did previously?
    • Will they rank in the same positions?
    • Will Google “penalize” the pages in some way for briefly disappearing?

    Only time would tell.

    August 8th, 2019 (one week) – 33% drop in search presence

    In assessing the damage, I’m going to use the date in which the erroring code was fully deployed and populated on live pages (August 2nd) as ground zero. So the first measurement will be seven days completed, August 2nd through August 8th.

    Search Console would likely give me the best indication as to how much our search presence had suffered.

    We had lost about 33.2% of our search traffic. Ouch.

    Fortunately, this would mark the peak level of damage we experienced throughout the entire ordeal.

    August 15th, 2019 (two weeks) – 23% drop in traffic

    During this period I was keeping an eye on two things: search traffic and indexed pages. Despite re-submitting my sitemap and manually fetching pages in Search Console, many pages were still not being indexed — even core landing pages. This will become a theme throughout this timeline.

    As a result of our remaining unindexed pages, our traffic was still suffering.

    Two weeks after the incident and we were still 8% down, and our revenue-generating conversions fell with the traffic (despite increased conversion rates).

    August 22nd, 2019 (three weeks) – 13% drop in traffic

    Our pages were still indexing slowly. Painfully slowly, while I was watching my commercial targets drop through the floor.

    At least it was clear that our search presence was recovering. But how it was recovering was of particular interest to me.

    Were all the pages re-indexed, but with decreased search presence?

    Were only a portion of the pages re-indexed with fully restored search presence?

    To answer this question, I took a look at pages that were de-indexed, and re-indexed, individually. Here is an example of one of those pages:

    Here’s an example of a page that was de-indexed for a much shorter period of time:

    In every instance I could find, each page was fully restored to its original search presence. So it didn’t seem to be a matter of whether or not pages would recover, it was a matter of when pages would be re-indexed.

    Speaking of which, Search Console has a new feature in which it will “validate” erroring pages. I started this process on August 26th. After this point, SC slowly recrawled (I presume) these pages to the tune of about 10 pages per week. Is that even faster than a normally scheduled crawl? Do these tools in SC even do anything?

    What I knew for certain was there were a number of pages still de-indexed after three weeks, including commercial landing pages that I counted on to drive traffic. More on that later.

    August 29th, 2019 (four weeks) – 9% drop in traffic

    At this point I was getting very frustrated, because there were only about 150 pages remaining to be re-indexed, and no matter how many times I inspected and requested a new indexing in Search Console, it wouldn’t work.

    These pages were fully capable of being indexed (as reported by SC URL inspection), yet they wouldn’t get crawled. As a result, we were still 9% below baseline, after nearly a month.

    One particular page simply refused to be re-indexed. This was a high commercial value product page that I counted on for conversions.

    In my attempts to force re-indexing, I tried:

    • URL inspection and requesting indexing (15 times over the month).
    • Updating the publish date, then requesting indexing.
    • Updating the content and publish date, then requesting indexing.
    • Resubmitting sitemaps to SC.

    Nothing worked. This page would not re-index. Same story for over one hundred other less commercially impactful URLs.

    Note: This page would not re-index until October 1st, two full months after it was de-indexed.

    By the way, here’s what our overall recovery progress looked like after four weeks:

    September 5th, 2019 (five weeks) – 10.4% drop in traffic

    The great plateau. At this point we had reindexed all of our pages, save for the ~150 or so supposedly being “validated.”

    They weren’t. And they weren’t being recrawled either.

    It seemed that we would likely fully recover, but the timing was in Google’s hands, and there was nothing I could do to impact it.

    September 12th, 2019 (six weeks) – 5.3% gain in traffic

    It took about six weeks before we fully recovered our traffic.

    But in truth, we still hadn’t fully recovered our traffic, in that some content overperformed and was overcompensating for a number of pages that were not yet indexed. Notably, our product page that wouldn’t be indexed for another ~2.5 weeks.

    On balance, our search presence recovered after six weeks. But our content wasn’t fully re-indexed until eight-plus weeks after fixing the problem.

    Conclusion

    For starters, definitely don’t de-index your site on accident, for an experiment, or any other reason. It stings. I estimate that we purged about 12% of all organic traffic amounting to an equally proportionate drop on commercial conversions.

    What did we learn??

    Once pages re-indexed, they were fully restored in terms of search visibility. The biggest issue was getting them re-indexed.

    Some main questions we answered with this accidental experiment:

    Did we recover?

    Yes, we fully recovered and all URLs seem to drive the same search visibility.

    How long did it take?

    Search visibility returned to baseline after six weeks. All pages re-indexed after about eight to nine weeks.

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    3 Resources for When You’re Ready to Take Control of Your Writing Career

    The struggle when I started my freelance writing service business looked like this: I was fascinated with crafting words that…

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    10 Ways Specificity Helps You Build a Profitable Audience

    If you’re building a business with content marketing, you’ve probably noticed that the attention span of your audience is shrinking…

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    Internet Wayback Machine Adds Historical TextDiff

    The Wayback Machine has a cool new feature for looking at the historical changes of a web page.

    The color scale shows how much a page has changed since it was last cached & you can select between any two documents to see how a page has changed over time.

    You can then select between any two documents to see a side-by-side comparison of the documents.

    That quickly gives you an at-a-glance view of how they’ve changed their:

    • web design
    • on-page SEO strategy
    • marketing copy & sales strategy

    For sites that conduct seasonal sales & rely heavily on holiday themed ads you can also look up the new & historical ad copy used by large advertisers using tools like Moat, WhatRunsWhere & Adbeat.

    Categories: 

    SEO Book

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    Have Your Agency’s Clients Considered a Local Product Kiosk? Google Has.

    Posted by MiriamEllis

    File this under fresh ideas for stagnant clients.

    It’s 10:45 at night and I’m out of:

    • Tortillas
    • Avocados
    • Salsa

    Maybe I just got off of work, like millions of other non-nine-to-fivers. Maybe I was running around with my family all day and didn’t get my errands done. Maybe I was feeling too sick to appear in a public grocery store wrapped in the ratty throw from my sofa.

    And now, most of the local shops are closed for the night and I’m sitting here, taco-less and sad.

    But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if I could search Google and find a kiosk just a couple of blocks away that would vend me solutions, no matter what time of night or day?

    Something old is becoming new again, just like home delivery. And for your agency’s local business clients, the opportunity could become an amazing competitive advantage.

    What’s up with kiosks?

    Something old

    The automat was invented in Germany in the late 19th century and took off in the US in the decades following, with industry leader Horn & Hardart’s last New York location only closing in 1991. These famous kiosks fed thousands of Americans on a daily basis with on-demand servings of macaroni, fish cakes, baked beans, and chicory coffee. The demise of the automat is largely blamed on the rise of the fast food industry, with Burger Kings even opening doors at former automat locations.

    Something new

    A couple of weeks ago, I was watching an episode of my favorite local SEO news roundup in which Ignitor Digital’s Carrie Hill mentioned a meat vending kiosk. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know more about this. What I learned sparked my imagination on behalf of local businesses which are always benefitted by at least considering fresh ideas, even if those ideas are actually just taking a page from history and editing it a bit.

    Something inspirational

    What I learned from my research is that the Applestone Meat Company is distinguishing itself from the competition by offering a 24/7 butcher shop via two vending installations in the state of New York. They also have a drive-up service window from 11am–6pm, but for the countless potential customers who are at work or elsewhere during so-called “normal business hours,” the meat kiosks are ever-ready to serve.

    CEO Joshua Applestone says he was inspired by the memory of Horn & Hardart and he must be one smart local business owner to have taken this bold plunge. The company has already earned some pretty awesome unstructured citations from the likes of Bloomberg with this product marketing strategy and they’re planning to open ten more kiosks in the near future.

    But Applestone isn’t alone. A kiosk can technically just be a fancy vending machine. Check out Chicago startup Farmer’s Fridge. They recently closed a $ 30 million Series C round led by one-time Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors. Their 200+ midwestern units provide granola, Greek yogurt, pasta, wraps, beverages, and similar on-the-go fare, and they donate leftovers to local food pantries.

    Americans have long been accustomed to ATM machines. DVD and game rental stations are old news to us. We are nowhere near Japan, with its sixty-billion-dollar-a-year, national vending machine density of one machine per 23 citizens, and its automated sales of everything from ramen to socks to umbrellas. Geography and economics don’t point to the need to go to such a level in the US, but where convenience is truly absent, opportunity may reside. What might that look like?

    Use your imagination

    My corner of the world is famous for its sourdough bread. There are hundreds of regional bakeries competing with one another for the crustiest, lightest, most indulgent loaf. But, if you don’t make it to the local stores by early afternoon, your favorite brand is likely to have sold out. And if you’re working the 47-hour American work week, or gigging California night and day but don’t want to live on fast food, you’d likely be quite grateful to have your access to artisan baguettes restored.

    Just imagine every bread bakery around the SF Bay Area installing a kiosk outside its front door, and you can hear the satisfied after-hours crunching, can’t you?

    Applestone is selling unprepared meat, Farmer’s Fridge is selling prepared meals, and almost anything people nosh could be a candidate for a kiosk, but why should on-demand products be limited to food? I let my imagination meander and jotted down a quick list of things people might buy at various off-hours, if a machine existed outside the storefront:

    • Books/magazines
    • Weather-appropriate basic apparel (sweatshirts, socks, t-shirts)
    • First aid supplies
    • Baby care supplies
    • Emergency electronics (chargers, batteries, flashlights)
    • Basic auto repair supplies (headlight bulbs, wipers, puncture kits)
    • Personal care products (bathroom tissue, toiletries)
    • Office supplies (printer ink, paper, envelopes, stamps)
    • Household goods (lightbulbs, laundry soap, pantry basics)
    • Pet supplies
    • Travel/camping/athletic supplies
    • Basic craft supplies, small games, gifts, etc.

    What if customers who do their morning bike ride at 5 AM knew they could stop by your client’s kiosk to fix a punctured tire? What if night workers knew they could pick up a box of light bulbs or bandages or cat food on their way to their shift? Think of the convenience — in some instances even life-saving help — that could be provided to travelers on the road at all hours, members of your community who are housing-insecure, or whole neighborhoods that lack access to basic goods?

    Not every local business has the right model for a kiosk, but once I started to think about it, I realized just how many of them could. I’m initially envisioning these machines being installed at the place of business, but, where the scenario is right, a company with the right type of inventory could certainly place additional kiosks in strategic locations around the communities they wish to serve.

    Kiosk Local SEO

    Clearly, kiosks can generate revenue, but what could they do for clients’ online presence? The guidelines for representing your business on Google already support the creation of local business listings for ATMs, video rental stations, and express mail dropboxes. But I went straight to Google with the Applewood example to ask if this emerging type of kiosk would be permitted to create listings. They were kind enough to reply:

    Twitter DM from Google rep: kiosks are able to create listings, as per guidelines

    The link in the Twitter DM reply just pointed to the general guidelines, and I can find no reference to the term “Food Kiosk listing” in them. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard this terminology. But, clearly this representative is naming food kiosks as a “thing.” Google, it seems, is already quite aware of this business model. And the proof of their support is in the Maps pudding:

    My, my! Talk about having the ability to hyperlocalize your local search marketing to fit Google’s extreme emphasis on user-to-business proximity. Enough to make any local SEO agency see conversions and dollar signs for clients.

    Tip #1: Helpline phone numbers

    I’ve written about ATM SEO in the past for financial publications, and so I’ll add one important tip for creating eligible Google listings for kiosks: guidelines require that you have a helpline phone number for kiosk users. I would post this number both on the listings and on the units, themselves. Note that this will likely mean you have a shared phone number on multiple listings, which isn’t typically deemed ideal for local search marketing, but if kiosks become your model and you avoid any semblance of creating fake listings, Google can likely handle it.

    Tip #2: Unique local landing pages for your kiosks

    I can also see value in creating unique location landing pages on client websites for their kiosks, especially if they aren’t stationed at your physical location. These pages could give excellent driving and walking directions for each unit, explain how to use the machine, feature reviews and testimonials for that location, and perhaps highlight new inventory.

    Tip #3: Capitalize on your social media

    Social media will also be an excellent vehicle for letting particular neighborhoods know about client kiosks and engaging with communities to understand their sentiments. Seek abundant feedback about what is and isn’t working for customers and how inventory could better serve their needs. And, of course, be sure every client is monitoring reviews like a low-flying hawk.

    Is there an appetite for kiosks?

    Image credit: Ben Chun

    I’m a longtime observer of rural local SEO. I’ve learned that being intentional in noticing small things can lead to big ideas, and almost any novel concept is worth floating to clients. The tiny, free book lending kiosks sometimes officially branded “Little Free Libraries” are everywhere in my county, have become a non-profit initiative, and are driving Etsy sales of cute wooden contraptions. Moreover, my region is dotted with unstaffed farm stands that operate on the honor system, trusting neighbors to pay for what they take. I’d say our household purchases about half of our produce from them.

    Within recent recall, the milkman and the grocery delivery boy seemed as distant as the phonograph. Now, consumers are showing interest in having whole meal kitsentire wardrobes, and just about everything delivered. The point being: don’t discount anything that renders convenience; not the traveling salesman, not the automat.

    The decision to experiment with a kiosk isn’t a simple one. There will be financial aspects, like how to access a unit that works for the inventory being sold. There will be security questions, as most businesses probably won’t feel comfortable operating on the honor system.

    But if the question is whether there is an appetite for the right kiosk, selling the right goods, in the right place, I’ll close today with a look at these provocative, illuminating reviews from just one location of Farmer’s Fridge:

    Screenshot: Multiple positive five-star Yelp reviews praising existing kiosks

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