As the needs of businesses have evolved to effectively market to their customers, so has local SEO. At one point, things were quite simple. Have some good links, lots of citations, and an optimized site, and chances are you’d have a chance to show up in the map pack. But as with the rest of the digital marketing world, things aren’t so simple anymore. Local ranking factors now include several elements, and their importance continues to change. Businesses need to be agile in their response and engagement with customers. They need to provide accurate data and messaging consistently across several platforms. Back in the 2000s, being on Yellow Pages was enough. Now, you need to be included in smart assistants. You used to just need a good Yelp rating or BBB page; now you need keyword rich reviews across Google Business Profile and visibility on niche directories.
To aid in our client’s local SEO services, we’ve teamed up with Birdeye. In the following post, we’ll talk about some of the most important ranking factors for local SEO, which Birdeye has the potential to address, as well as other features that might improve your customer experience.
What Ranking Factors are Important for Local SEO in 2022?
Image via https://whitespark.ca/local-search-ranking-factors/
In 2022, local ranking factors can be broken into about seven categories.
Since the beginning of Google, links have been a key ranking factor. It’s no different now: search engines will value the number of links, the quality of links, the anchor text, and who YOU externally link to.
This focuses on how users are interacting with your website. This can range from clicks to call, click through rate in the search results, bounce rate, session duration, and more. If users are effectively engaging with the entirety of your website, you’ll see your rankings improve.
Some elements will always be out of the hands of SEOs. In this case, search results can change depending on where the search is happening (proximity), what they’ve searched for in the past, and what type of device you are using.
Citations can generally be considered as a webpage referencing the Name, Address, and Phone Number of a business. Google crawls these similar to links to help confirm that a business listing is accurate. The more listings on trustworthy sites with consistent information, the better.
Content is still king. Search engines want to make sure they are providing the most relevant and best quality page for users.
Review factors include first and third-party reviews, the quantity of reviews, the frequency of reviews, review diversity, as well as keywords being used within the reviews themselves. Engaging and responding to your reviews is important as well.
Google Business Profile (Formerly Google My Business)
A lot has changed to Google My Business, including its name! Google Business Profiles that are completely fleshed out with rich content and correct information are always going to do best. Think of your GBP as your digital storefront. Categories, keyword usage, proximity, service and product details, images… all of these will play a role.
What is Birdeye and Why Use it?
Birdeye is a “customer experience” platform that aggregates useful customer services under one roof. This includes review generation, listing management, and much more. The following is being provided to serve as an unbiased overview regarding Birdeye. You’ll find a list of pros and cons, and further resources if you would like to dive deeper. Since Today’s Business is first leveraging the platform for listings, additional focus is placed here. We encourage you to follow up with any additional questions you may have.
Pros of Using Birdeye
Core Listing Management
Birdeye allows you to manage the majority of the most valuable listing sites, map tools, and directories on the worldwide web. This includes:
With Birdeye, what used to take a month to update and required follow-up verifications, now updates nearly immediately. If you have the need to update hours, change addresses, and update staff listings, this can save you from months of falling behind on Google Maps, and also ensure that no matter where your patients are looking, the information is the most up-to-date possible.
Voice Assistant Integration
In addition, Birdeye provides data to all the key Voice Assistant tools used in the US:
- Google Assistant
- Samsung Bixby
- Microsoft Cortana
When someone asks their phone, “Find me a knee doctor,” an orthopedic clinic with its data in a smart assistant will be more likely to see inclusion.
Direct Access to Healthcare Listings
For healthcare businesses, listings management is becoming increasingly more difficult for anyone other than the doctors themselves to manage. The exception is listing management platforms such as Birdeye. The healthcare add-on allows efficient management of many of the most frequented medical sites:
Note: The healthcare listings are an additional cost.
Ownership of Listings and Listing Cleanup
Yext is currently the biggest listings management provider in the industry. While their service is very effective, Today’s Business has always avoided working with them because you do not have legitimate control of the listings Yext generates. Canceling the service can be a challenge, and listings will not be easily transferred to you when you’re done using the service.
They will suppress bad listings and duplicates in addition to generating accurate listings. If you cancel, duplicates and inaccurate listings reappear, and you don’t retain control of the listings you were getting access to exclusively through Yext.
Birdeye enables better ownership of your listings and better potential for transferring your listings management, should you ever want to leave the platform or part ways with Today’s Business. In other words, the investment into Birdeye is retained at a much better level than Yext if you cancel.
Instant Verification for New Listings
The one-time cost for verification of a new Google Business Profile is less than the time it would take to have your team or ours send the postcard out and hopefully get it verified. When you combine that with the fact that you’re saving yourself potentially months (sending postcards once every two weeks adds up very quickly) of postcard attempts.
Avoiding this downtime can mean hundreds of additional leads generated annually.
EHR and CRM Integrations
Birdeye can integrate with different tools to centralize customer experience management. Currently, there are over 1,000 systems that can be connected. New ones should be possible through our enterprise relationship with the platform.
Birdeye is HIPAA compliant.
Listings Management is One of Many Tools
The listings management system will make a difference on its own for listings in search, but the platform also has the potential for a lot of great enhancements to a practice focused on value-based care:
- Can aggregate reviews from 150+ review sites
- Provide direct communication with customers via text, messaging tools, and responding to reviews, as well as as a website chat tool.
- Effective review generation.
- Referral generation tool to increase word of mouth
- Survey generation
- Individual listing pages that can rank in Google – the pair from both Google and other websites
- Provide data based insights based on your reviews and competitors, and even create tickets to address any issues – it can create tickets from mentions on social networks as well!
Note: These have additional costs. But the potential here is to get more positive patient-based information out to the public, improve the patient experience between visits, and mitigate any issues that might be happening and administration isn’t aware of.
We’ve Seen Legitimate Results
Birdeye is currently being utilized by several different businesses in our most popular industries. In many of these cases, we’ve seen businesses that leverage Birdeye have up to 4x the number of reviews and tend to be more consistently visible within Google Maps.
Will Birdeye take you from not ranking to the top 3 results in Maps on its own? No. You are still going to need a technically sound website with great backlinks, great content, and a great experience. But as mentioned above, Birdeye provides great solutions for review generation, listings management, and customer experience. These are a very large part of the puzzle. When you combine Birdeye’s efforts with a holistic local SEO strategy elsewhere, results can happen fast. Since adding only listing management, we’ve seen non-branded clicks improve as much as double in under two months with limited changes implemented elsewhere during this time.
Customer Service is a Strength
Birdeye is usually the highest-rated platform out there of its kind when you take a look at technology review sites. A consistent positive has been customer service. Since we’ve started collaborating with them, they have been very solutions oriented and approached everything in a transparent fashion. Custom solutions are not out of the question.
Cons of Birdeye
A single citation update – i.e. through a building service – is going to be more expensive in the short term but less long term. You pay for the updates, and you’re done. If you aren’t needing to update listings more than once every few years, you may end up spending money in a way that isn’t as cost-effective.
Tack on that the healthcare provider cost is 3x the base listing cost, it can get pricey quickly.
Yext has More Robust Listings Management
Yext started as a listings management platform. They have more direct access to data aggregators and more listings under their control. Their APIs and connectivity has been developing for longer. Their listing management and optimization software are still superior to Birdeye, while Birdeye is superior in other aspects of the product offerings.
Keep in mind, though, that Yext will likely be 130-150% the cost per listing, annually. True enterprise clients, however, would likely stick with Yext for listing management as the lone service.
Software Still Improving
Birdeye has a lot of people that praise it for ease of use and ease of setup. But if you look at the complaints that people tend to have, it’s usually because they’re missing a feature here or there. Some others called the software clunky at some points. In our experience, this has been our biggest issue. There are a few too many instances of needing to log out or go to a different page in order to see any changes reflected on your dashboard.
Birdeye Doesn’t Guarantee Success
There’s no question that Birdeye will improve performance in local SEO. However, it’s not going to solve a competitor being closer to the searcher than your brick-and-mortar location is. Proximity is arguably Google’s number one factor in local search right now.
Listings are also less valuable than they used to be. In 2015 the person with the most and most accurate listings was probably number one in Google Maps. Now, your website, reviews, who is linking to you, and other factors matter as much or more.
Maximize the Benefits of Using Birdeye With Today’s Business
As with many situations of using new technology solutions to help manage or augment your digital marketing efforts, Birdeye is a tool that when used correctly can provide effective results. You shouldn’t, however, go in thinking that all you need to do is set it up and never think about it. Birdeye requires constant updates, maintenance, and strategic implementation. It also is a legitimate financial investment that can add several thousand in overhead for businesses with several listings.
Luckily for those reading this, Today’s Business does provide legitimate solutions and support to ensure that you maximize your choice to use Birdeye. We can offer you exclusive rates to help you save big on your subscription. Our multi-channel services can also help maximize Birdeye by integrating it into our other campaigns.