Google’s Biggest Local Search Update in Five Years

Many local businesses may have noticed huge fluctuations in their local search rankings over the last few weeks, with Google now confirming an important update to the local algorithm.

Rolling out between November 30th and December 8th, this update has been named ‘Vicinity’. This is the largest change to the local algorithm since Possum in 2016 and has caused widespread ranking disruption.

What Is Vicinity ?

This update is named after the fact that it seems to primarily target proximity as a ranking factor.

Although proximity has long been an important signal for local search results, it’s also been the case that businesses can optimize to successfully rank far from their actual business location.

Through the Vicinity update, Google now appears to be clamping down on this, which will naturally make local search results more relevant to the user. In terms of the benefit to businesses, this gives them a greater chance to rank well in relevant local searches, as they’ll be competing less with businesses that are further away.

When it comes to adding keywords into the business name of a Google Business Profile (GBP) listing, the update has decreased the potential advantage of doing so.

Businesses using keywords (inappropriately) in their name have now largely seen a drop in search rankings. This is likely to be a win for the businesses who have consistently followed Google’s guidelines on keyword stuffing, and for those who have invested their time in fighting name spam.

What does Vicinity mean for local business owners?

In the tweet confirming the change, Google said, “General guidance for businesses remains the same”, alongside a link to guidelines on how to improve local rankings.

The guidelines explain that the algorithm determines results based on relevance, distance, and prominence—so nothing’s changed here. Within this advice, Google also suggests that in order to boost visibility, local businesses should:

  • Enter complete data
  • Verify locations
  • Keep opening hours accurate
  • Manage and respond to reviews
  • Add photos

As Google continues to develop the local search algorithm, it’s to be expected that the user experience is always going to be at the heart of any resulting changes.

Local businesses will have to continue to adapt to the landscape and closely adhere to the guidelines in order to achieve sustainable search success.

On-Page SEO Optimization

Being indexed and ranked on the search engine results pages(SERPs)depends on many factors, beginning with the different elements on each of your website. Optimizing these factors helps search engine crawlers find your website, index the pages appropriately, and rank it according to your desired keywords.

On-page optimization plays a big role in ensuring your online marketing campaign’s success.In this definitive guide,you will learn how to successfully optimize your website to ensure that your website is indexed and ranked on theSERPs. In addition you’ll learn how to make your web pages convert.


Having clean codes, optimized HTML tags and metadata helps search engines crawl your site better and index and rank your pages according to the relevant search terms.

Source Codes
Make sure to check the following:

Your source code is the backbone of your website. The crawlers finds everything it needs in order to index your website here. Make sure your source code is devoid of any problems by checking the following:


Mark-Ups and Tag
Adding mark-ups improves the look of your SERPs listings and contributes to trust signals. The most basic snippets are:


Other specialized snippets are available and may be applied based on your specific needs and industry. These include snippets for recipes, people snippets (different from authorship mark-up because it shows a person’s position and affiliations, not the Google+ profile), music album snippets, to name a few.

We will also need to check your HTML tags and optimize all titles and header tags making sure your main keywords are part of your title.

Optimizing metadata helps crawlers interpret your site content better. It’s important to include the following details



When planning your landing page, we understand that for most instances, you should be able to drop paid traffic onto that landing page and still see good results. An optimized landing page will work great for both SEO and PPC purposes. When your organically optimized page is not a good landing page which converts, you will be throwing away valuable traffic, and bottom line, you’ll be throwing away your money

In order to get this mix right,we focus our efforts on optimizing landing pages for search engines and for your potential customers. We go through a process of understanding how your audience thinks when they are searching for products and services online. That information helps us determine which interests and needs need to be addressed during the customer journey. Here’s how we do it:

Captivating, Keyword Focused Title Tag
On your landing page, this is the most important 8–10 words we’ll write. We keep it both keyword focused and compelling enough to be clicked on above your competitors.

Eloquent Description
This text is the very first point of contact in search engine results and is thus a crucial component of your landing page optimization. We create descriptions that receive clicks through strong call-to-action.

Keyword-Focused, Powerful Headline
We make sure that the user experiences continuity when making first contact with the website. The headline contains the optimized keywords and gives your potential customer a reason to stay on the page and engage with whatever is on offer. It also gives search engines the topical focus of your page.

Topically & Keyword-Focused Content
It’s very important that the content on your landing page focuses on the topic and goals your website sets out to be achieved. We use the correct keywords and related phrases, but more than that, make sure that the content will be useful to your users. We use code to properly structure content for easy reading.

A good landing page doesn’t leave the user feeling unsure about the next step to take. It is clear and concise in providing the user with a motivation to take the next step. We create a clear goal and desired action for the user to take.

Site Structure
When grouping your keywords and creating the site structure, we consider the website topics,what keywords you want to rank for, and what the general purpose of the site is. We also consider the customer journey and make sure that the site structure will make sense to your customers.

The importance of social signals shouldn’t be understated insignificance when it comes to search algorithms. We make sure that your website pages are easily shareable by your users, making sure your visitors engage with your offerings.

Implementing a good on-page optimization strategy will bring paying customers to your doorstep. Even though it’s only the first step in the process, you will see an increase in good traffic to your website. Optimizing your landing pages closes the loop in the conversion process and makes sure that these paying customers spend their money with your business.

Does it seem like just a little more than you have time to handle? Then schedule an appointment with us for a free consultation here, or download our whitepaper here for more information about the topic.

Want a little more information on how your site is preforming? Take 15 seconds and request a FREE on-site SEO analysis delivered straight to your inbox.

Effective PPC Strategies

Pay Per Click is a model of advertising where you pay each time your ad is clicked, rather than earning clicks organically.

Online marketing is more effective and efficient when your marketing strategies are targeted towards the right audience. With Adwords and pay per click marketing, you can easily segment your market and directly target and optimize your paid ad campaigns.

We give you the power to control your tra c and reach audiences at the right touch points. In this guide, you will learn how we maximize your PPC campaigns to bring in new leads and increase conversion rates at di erent touch points, giving you a higher ROI.


Ensuring the campaign is set up correctly from the start is critical. Let’s go through the process below.

Campaign Goals

It’s very important that we start the campaign by gaining critical insights regarding the goals of the campaign.

Critical questions to ask include:

  • How will we know the campaign was successful?
  • Do you want to build brand awareness?
  • Do you want to increase traffic to the website?
  • Do you want to increase sales?
  • Do you want to increase leads?

Asking these critical questions gives us the foundation we need to build a successful campaign.

Research & Analysis

Keyword research:

In order to target the correct audience, we need to choose keywords that they would use in order to nd your products and services. It’s a time consuming exercise, but absolutely necessary in order to build the foundation for a successful PPC campaign. Even though keyword research is one of the starting points for any campaign, it’s a process that we revisited regularly in order to yield the best possible results for our clients.

Competitor & industry analysis:

By completing a competitor and industry analysis, we can determine how your business stacks up against competitors in your industry. We need to determine:

  • Who is dominating the ad space? Why?
  • Where can we improve on what your competitors are doing?
  • What strategies are they using?

This process allows us to identify threats that need to be addressed or opportunities we can take advantage of.

Ad Copy Optimization

The next step is creating and optimizing the copy to be used for the campaign. During this process we utilize the keywords we identi ed and create various permutations of the same ad.

This allows us to test various ads against each other in order to determine which ads yields the best ROI. Ad Copy Optimization never ends as audience and industry trends keep changing.

Landing Page Optimization

Your landing page may either be an existing page on your website, or a dedicated landing page with content tailored towards a speci c promotion you are running.

We optimize the content based on what part of the marketing funnel your target audience is in, keeping your campaign goals in mind every step of the way.

Landing page optimization includes both design and copy to ensure consistency between your website, brand message and ad copy.

Bidding Management

Managing and monitoring bids is essential to maintaining a healthy PPC campaign. We use proven methodologies in order to de ne bidding strategies for our clients.

The bidding strategy is largely determined by the goal of the campaign as each goal requires a di erent bidding strategy.

Important considerations:

  • Recommended budget for the entire campaign
  • Cost per click (CPC) of each PPC ad
  • Estimated gains from the ad campaign

These values play into the strategy to where we can get the keywords we want at the best price.

Campaign Tracking & Reporting

We monitor and track campaigns continuously in order to gain insights on how our strategies are performing. We use the following as a base:

Overall number of clicks & CTR (click through rate), which tells you how active your copy is;

Bounce rate and time spent on the landing page,both indicators of how active your engagement and call to action is;

Goal conversions, whether it is a sign-up, a download, or a purchase; and

Return on investment, which shows how much your client made from the PPC ad campaign.

All the above metric form part of our monthly reporting to our clients.


Using the funnel method to lead search engine users towards your desired goal is one of the most e cient marketing methods today. This strategy lets you lead visitors by the hand and direct tra c where you need it to go, when your audience is ready to move forward. This four-step process includes the following:


Our keyword selection process involves looking at keyword competition, popularity among your target audience, and contextual relevance to your brand.


It’s important to know where to place your ads to reach the widest audience possible. We look for space in the websites of online in uencers, industry leaders and high-tra c, high-authority pages.


In this step, we will help you develop PPC marketing collateral based on your target audience’s interests and placement in the marketing funnel. The conversion goals set for each market category will di er based on the funnel as well.


Reaching out to speci c niche markets efectively through PPC requires carefully planned targeted marketing. This is best achieved through a combination of keyword- based and pro le-based ad group segmentation. Keyword research is described comprehensively in our other Keyword Research Guide. Pro le segmentation, on the other hand, is a process that involves the following:

Selecting Profile Parameters

The rst step is identifying the possible ad groups we can create. For example, we can group your target audience based on their needs and interests, their location, their culture, or tra c source, among others.

Finding Viable Custom Segments

Sticking to the basic marketing group (one based on their product/service interest) and on demographics as our only pro le parameters will cause us to hit major challenges in terms of competition. We drill down into your audience’s behavior by studying Analytics data and analyzing your audience’s behavior. Information such as which page converts the most or which pages your visitors go to before completing a conversion goal allows us to group your audience accordingly and create targeted campaigns to lead them across their standard purchasing habits much faster and much more e ciently.

Lead Scoring

In order to Maximize your budget to achieve the highest ROI we go a process of scoring your ad group segments. The scores are based on a combination of explicit factors, such as demographics, click rates and CPCs from past campaigns, and other quanti able data, and on implicit factors like conversion history, purchase history, sales-readiness, data quality, and sentiment marketing e ciency.


Remarketing may be done as part of a funnel strategy, as previously mentioned, or as a standalone marketing strategy to control and direct tra c accordingly. It is one of the most e ective strategies at funneling and directing tra c as it promotes brand recall each time your visitors see your ad, and it leads your audience back to your site when they are ready to complete a conversion goal.

Our Methodology


In all of the pay per click campaigns, it’s important to segment your audience in order to reach the most relevant people with appropriate retargeting ads. We segment your audience based on the pages of your site abandoned for example a speci c product page.


Because retargeting ads are not plain text ads and can be designed, we modify the look and feel to represent your brand more accurately. Keeping the message direct and urgent, making the layout clean, and ensuring the call to action stands out immediately are important parts of the process.


We keep your message in line with your conversion goals. We look to o er promos, free downloads, packages, and new services, and highlight your unique selling points in the copy.


If your landing page is an existing page in your website, we make sure it is well-optimized for both search engines and for visitors. If we nd your pages unable to convert, you may need better copy, visuals, and stronger calls to action.


PPC marketing is tangible and 100% data driven. It is the fastest method to grow your customer base and gain leads and should form part of your online marketing strategy.

Visit us online to download the full report or click here to schedule a free consultation to learn more from our team of certified AdWords and Bing Ads specialist.

The Importance Of Utilizing AdWords

If you’re unfamiliar with AdWords, it’s simply a pay-per-click service which allows you to create and run ads for your business. These clickable ads are then displayed in Google’s search results. By using the right keywords for your target audience, you’re already ahead because you’re reaching people you have an interest in your product or service.

1. AdWords is Measurable and Flexible

One of the main advantages that online marketing has over traditional marketing channels, like TV or print, is that it’s extremely easy to measure. However, it can be a challenge to effectively measure your SEO campaign since you can’t always get a precise measurement on what increased or decreased your rankings. Enter AdWords PPC. This is probably one of the best resources you have to measure what’s working and what is not because it comes equipped with plenty of PPC metrics that do that task for you.

2. Faster Than SEO

A huge drawback with SEO is that it can take months before you notice any results thanks to competition and the time it take to “prove itself”. This is not the case with AdWords. Once your AdWords campaign goes live, ads will appear and you’ll get instant results, like visitor data.

3. More Engaging

Google is constantly improving AdWords because it’s one of its primary sources of income. Along the way Google noticed that product listing ads and in-video ads on YouTube get more more clicks from users. These engaging ads mean more revenue for Google, and advertisers as well because of new ad formats and extensions.

4. Can Control Your Advertising Costs

Here’s something that’s really awesome about AdWords. You can set a maximum cost per day for your campaign. And, it’s help to you on how much that amount is set at. How does this help your business? It allows you to budget your campaign accordingly without worrying if you’re going to go over budget. The worst case scenario is that the amount of ads will begin to decrease as your budget gets lower. However, you can increase your budget accordingly. This scalability is a nice option if you want a lot of leads in a short amount of time.

5. Helps Beat Your Competitors

Because of the speed of AdWords, when compared to SEO, you have a major advantage of your competitors. Because you’ll already be appearing in search engines, your site will be receiving more clicks from search results than all of the other companies in your industry.

If your company utilizing an effective PPC strategy? Contact RSM today for a free, no-risk evaluation. Get Started!


Increase Your Businesses Exposure With Beacons

Beacons – those electronic Bluetooth devices that alert you to sales and specials inside chain restaurants and big retailers – are spillling out onto Main Street, and everywhere else that people shop. The technology that induces you to buy more is predicted to skyrocket in use, and is increasingly popping up in small businesses and even beaming coupons to people walking past shops, jumping on a bus or buying a beer at a sports arena.

“Beacons allow businesses to bring location-based content down to the microlevel – to any aisle, lobby or display,” says Megan Martin, account manager at mobile agency Iversoft Solutions. Beacons “ultimately drive more sales.”

Today, the vast majority of beacons deployed in the U.S. are either in retail stores (which have 57 percent of the devices) or restaurants (another 20 percent), according to an SMB Retail study.

That’s changing as the technology, which can send discount deals to shoppers or a welcome greeting to hotel guests, is starting to show up everywhere.

  • 6.9 million: Number of beacons worldwide in the third quarter of 2016, according to Proxbook. Total number of proximity sensors (which includes beacons) is up 42 percent from the previous quarter.
  • 8 million: Number of beacons estimated to be in use at the end of 2016, according to ABI Research.
  • 372 million: Annual shipments of Bluetooth low-energy beacons by 2020, according to ABI Research.

So you may be asking how exactly can a beacon help my business and how much does this all cost? Well RSM is the areas first and largest provider of beacon technology and we would love to show you how affordable it can be!

Contact us today and schedule a free consultation.