This weekend I had the opportunity to visit Local U Advanced in Baltimore.  As a self-proclaimed local SEO nerd I was excited to enhance my knowledge and network with the best of the best of local search.  As an attendee of other conferences like MozCon and SMX I was curious to see how this would compare given that it only had about 50 advanced attendees. For me, Local U Advanced ended up being the best marketing event I have ever attended. Having the ability to share so many one on one sessions with the experts at happy hours and round-tables was an experience that’s hard to get at the bigger events. If you have the opportunity to attend a Local U Advanced event I would suggest that you take full advantage.

Now, let’s get into the goods:

Advanced Local Tactics from David Mihm

David Mihm who now works for SEOMoz was the second speaker to hit the state of the day and had a great 20 minute presentation on advanced Local tactics.  In a nutshell he believes the overall rankings factors for your Google Plus Local boil down to:

  • 25% Website
  • 25% Citations
  • 25% Links
  • 25% Reviews

These are broken down to the tactical tips below:


You can find competitor’s citations through a tool such as Whitespark or by doing a Google Search for your competitors NAP in Google.

Get more citations through event hosting. David spoke about how you can easily build citations by hosting an event and posting the event details on different websites. Eventbrite, Eventful, Local Newspapers, and city based sites are just a few ideas. You can put the NAP format at the end of your event description.

Get more local exposure and citations through schools, parent organizations, neighborhood organizations, etc. If you sponsor them ask them to post your info.

Want a powerful citation? Your state’s Secretary of State’s office may have your business information in their database searchable online. However, it’s probably not crawled by Google. If your state has the option, find your business and link to it from your website. It will now become a powerful citation source.

Make sure your listing in Google Map Maker is complete and up to date.

If you’re in the hospitality industry you may be able to get an easy citation from nearby hospitals that will show nearby hotels.


As a rule of thumb always try to get at least 10 reviews on Google Plus and at least 10 on other sources. That’s a good starting point, but also research the competition to see how many reviews your competitors have. You should focus on exceeding review thresholds.

You can also work on finding likely reviewers and build those relationships.

Find Elite Yelp Reviewers by searching the following in Google:

“Title=ELITE 2012”” CITY site:yelp.com/user_details

Use FollowerWonk to find likely reviewers.


David talked about how to get more inks to your site. I also talked with him in a Q&A and he mentioned that you SHOULD NOT build links to your G+ Local Page, but rather to the location page on your site.

Sponsoring a local charity is a good way to get a link. Search queries that will help you find local charities:

site:.edu baltimore supporters

site:.edu baltimore sponsors

site:.org baltimore supporters

site:.org baltimore sponsors

site:.k12.md.us supporters

site:.k12.md.us sponsors

Partner with charities for press releases. Instead of publishing a press release about your business that is unlikely to get good pickup, consider partnering with a charity. If their story is the main point, its much more likely to get picked up.

Guest blog locally. Focus on popular local blogs with good readership. Try to guest post locally and build those relationships. Look for niche guest blogs Search for Niche blogs by using the following search queries:

allintitle: ”teeth whitening” submit article

allintitle: ”teeth whitening” guest author

allintitle: ”teeth whitening” guest post

allintitle: ”teeth whitening” columnist

site:.edu teeth whitening baltimore (with Blog Search, News Search, etc)

When looking for guest blogs make sure you are using Google Blog search.

Check your current citations. Do they have links? If not, ask them to add a link


Bonus Video!

If you don’t like reading, I’ve covered everything from this post in the below G+ Hangout.

March 11, 2013 | Local SEO

Share This Post

  • http://www.parkseo.net Gary Downey

    I concur. I also attended the Local U advanced training this weekend in Baltimore. It was by far he best training event I have yet to attend. For those of you reading this that were not fortunate enough to attend the training I suggest you keep an eye out for the next advanced Local U training session. It will be money well spent.

  • Susan Staupe

    I agree with Casey, I also attended the conference and it was hands down the best SEO training conference I’ve attended. Love that the panel is so diverse and knowledgable. The round table collaboration ROCKED! If you haven’t been to a local u event, I highly recommend it! for more info visit their website http://localu.org/

    Great Blog post Casey!

  • http://www.sixthmanmarketing.com Ed Reese

    Thank you very much for the review, Casey! We really appreciate the comments. It means a TON to us to know that you found such value in coming to LocalU. It was great getting to talk with you at our “Birds of a Feather” agency roundtable as well. I look forward to seeing you again. Cheers!

    • http://www.caseymeraz.com/ Casey Meraz

      Ed, You’re very welcome. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it. Keep up the great work. Thanks again I hope to see you soon.

  • http://www.searchinfluence.com/blog/ Will Scott

    Thanks for the great review Casey!

    I’m really impressed by the way you take the learning back to your team in real time. From your team’s comments it’s clear you’ve got a pretty smart crew out there.

    I wanted to clarify the “centroid” discussion. The new centroid is more of a weighted centroid by category. In other words, doctors tend to hang out around hospitals, lawyers tend to hang out around courthouses. So, if you search in a given geo for a category e.g. doctors, lawyers, pet groomers, whatever you’ll find they tend to group in a given part of town.

    So, I totally agree with Matt (?), on your team, that it would make a great set of visualizations if you wanted to identify the weighted centroid by category in a set of cities.

    In other words, I’d link to that!

    Again, thanks for the great review. You and the other attendees really helped make this a huge success and we appreciate you coming and sharing so freely of your own knowledge.

    • http://www.caseymeraz.com/ Casey Meraz

      Will, thanks for the compliments and feedback! The clarification on centroid is very helpful and interesting. Keep up the great work and I appreciate all you do for Local U!

  • http://www.localsitesubmit.com Todd Bryson

    nice tips. thanks for posting them. Its great to get inside info for those that cant get to these events. As the owner of a citation building service its nice to get current info on what are the most important factors in Local SEO. and great ideas for getting new citations from event sites.