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September 17, 2018
Posted by MiriamEllis
Change is the only constant in local SEO. As your local brand or local search marketing agency grows, you’ll be onboarding new hires. Whether they’re novices or adepts, they’ll need to keep up with continuous industry developments in order to make agile contributions to team strategy. Particularly if local SEO is new to someone, it saves training time if you can fast-track them on who to follow for the best news and analysis. This guide serves as a blueprint for that very purpose.
And even if you’re an old hand in the local SEM industry, you may find some sources here you’ve been overlooking that could add richness and depth to your ongoing education.
Who reports fastest on Google updates, Knowledge Panel tweaks, and industry business?
Sterling Sky’s Timeline of Local SEO Changes is the industry’s premiere log of developments that impact local businesses and is continuously updated by Joy Hawkins + team.
Search Engine Roundtable has a proven track record of being among the first to report news that affects both local and digital businesses, thanks to the ongoing dedication of Barry Schwartz.
Street Fight is the best place on the web to read about mergers, acquisitions, the release of new technology, and other major happenings on the business side of local. I’m categorizing Street Fight under news, but they also offer good commentary, particularly the joint contributions of David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal.
LocalU’s Last Week in Local video and podcast series highlights Mike Blumenthal and Mary Bowling’s top picks of industry coverage most worthy of your attention. Comes with the bonus of expert commentary as they share their list.
TechCrunch also keeps a finger on the pulse of technology and business dealings that point to the future of local.
Search Engine Land’s local category is consistently swift in getting the word out about breaking industry news, with the help of multiple authors.
Adweek is a good source for reportage on retail and brand news, but there’s a limit to the number of articles you can read without a subscription. I often find them covering quirky stories that are absent from other publications I read.
The SEMPost’s local tab is another good place to check for local developments, chiefly covered by Jennifer Slegg.
Search Engine Journal’s local column also gets my vote for speedy delivery of breaking local stories.
Google’s main blog and the ThinkWithGoogle blog are musts to keep tabs on the search engine’s own developments, bearing in mind, of course, that these publications can be highly promotional of their products and worldview.
Who can you trust most to analyze the present and predict the future?
LocalU’s Deep Dive video series features what I consider to be the our industry’s most consistently insightful analysis of a variety of local marketing topics, discussed by learned faculty and guests.
The Moz Blog’s local category hosts a slate of gifted bloggers and professional editorial standards that result in truly in-depth treatment of local topics, presented with care and attention. As a veteran contributor to this publication, I can attest to how Moz inspires authors to aim high, and one of the nicest things that happened to our team in 2018 was being voted the #2 local SEO blog by BrightLocal’s survey respondents.
The Local Search Association’s Insider blog is one I turn to again and again, particularly for their excellent studies and quotable statistics.
Mike Blumenthal’s blog has earned a place of honor over many years as a key destination for breaking local developments and one-of-a-kind analysis. When Blumenthal talks, local people listen. One of the things I’ve prized for well over a decade in Mike’s writing is his ability to see things from a small business perspective, as opposed to simply standing in awe of big business and technology.
BrightLocal’s surveys and studies are some of the industry’s most cited and I look eagerly forward to their annual publication.
Whitespark’s blog doesn’t publish as frequently as I wish it did, but their posts by Darren Shaw and crew are always on extremely relevant topics and of high quality.
Sterling Sky’s blog is a relative newcomer, but the expertise Joy Hawkins and Colan Nielsen bring to their agency’s publication is making it a go-to resource for advice on some of the toughest aspects of local SEO.
Local Visibility System’s blog continues to please, with the thoughtful voice of Phil Rozek exploring themes you likely encounter in your day-to-day work as a local SEO.
The Local Search Forum is, hands down, the best free forum on the web to take your local mysteries and musings to. Founded by Linda Buquet, the ethos of the platform is approachable, friendly, and often fun, and high-level local SEOs frequently weigh in on hot topics.
Pro tip: In addition to the above tried-and-true resources, I frequently scan the online versions of city newspapers across the country for interesting local stories that add perspective to my vision of the challenges and successes of local businesses. Sometimes, too, publications like The Atlantic, Forbes, or Business Insider will publish pieces of a high journalistic quality with relevance to our industry. Check them out!
Here, I’ll break this down by subject or industry for easy scanning:
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What an easy way to track what industry adepts are thinking and sharing, up-to-the-minute! Following this list of professionals (alphabetized by first name) will fill up your social calendar with juicy local tidbits. Keep in mind that many of these folks either own or work for agencies or publishers you can follow, too.
How about your voice? How do you get it heard in the local SEO industry? The answer is simple: share what you learn with others. Each of the people and publications on my list has earned a place there because, at one time or another, they have taught me something they learned from their own work. Some tips:
Local SEO is a little bit like jazz, in which we’re all riffing off the same chord progressions created by Google, Facebook, Yelp, other major platforms, and the needs of clients. Mike Blumenthal plays a note about a jeweler whose WOMM is driving the majority of her customers. You take that note and turn it around for someone in the auto industry, yielding an unexpected insight. Someone else takes your insight and creates a print handout to bolster a loyalty program.
Everyone ends up learning in this virtuous, democratic cycle, so go ahead — start sharing! A zest for contribution is a step towards leadership and your observations could be music to the industry’s ears.
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