What is Local SEO? 

You. Hello, my friends. My name is Russell Wright. I've been at SEO for 23 years now, and I wanted to update my Quora post, which is currently number one on Quora for what SEO is. There were some changes last night, and it dropped a few positions, which speaks to the standards that Quora has in this recent update.

And we do all kinds of testing like that. It's a great platform, and let's go ahead; just find it here. I think it's number five now, and that should be updated shortly. But I'm going to go ahead and change the video out on this and talk to you. Since I posted this almost a year ago, my wife and I have had lots of questions about local SEO.

I am interested to find out that a lot of business owners who are doing local SEO or have a small person shop or even a company of five or ten people, anybody who's doing local storefront brick and mortar doesn't really know some of these basics. So, I'm going to go over them a little more, basically. And all of us, from time to time, need reminders about that. So what we're going to do today, we're going to talk about proximity. So, what I mean by proximity is pretty straightforward.

So, if you take a look at it recently, we're in Colorado temporarily, and my children went to the Colorado pumpkin patch. Let's make sure I don't have any proxies on. Let's remove this proxy from Australia. We're going to talk about proxies in a moment. The reason I'm showing you this is that I would like everybody to understand that SEOs, probably when they're talking to you in sales calls, are making this much more complicated than it really needs to be.

So, hopefully, this video can be used so you understand what you're hiring them to do. So if you pay 500 or 300 or 1000 or sometimes $2000 to $5,000 a month for a local SEO enhancement or search engine optimization to drive more traffic and sales ultimately to your business, that you know what it is that we're doing. So here's the Colorado pumpkin patch. This is called your Knowledge panel. And a Knowledge panel there are many subtypes of a knowledge panel.

This is a Google business profile. Used to be. Google my business, okay? So now it's Google business profile. And this is an entity.

Just remember that because a lot of the time, you'll hear me talking about entities, I've been involved in entities since 2010, when freebase.com was purchased. Remember that. We'll talk more about that later. But the bottom line is a business owner. There are lots of reviews here.

People love this pumpkin patch. The owner is a friend of mine, and it keeps things pretty straightforward. So this is the title, and Google holds this in very high regard. This is a lot of reviews. So that's very, very helpful.

And they're all positive reviews. Okay? So, if you take a look at where we are. And I'm in Colorado right now. So, by the way, if you ever don't know where you are, I know it's silly, but you can just type in Where am I, and you're going to see the city right here in the entity in the search engine result page.

Okay, so this is what I'm really trying to help you understand. So, I have a little trick here using a proxy. It's a moderate proxy system called ExpressVPN. There's a whole bunch of different ones, but it doesn't matter. We're going to go somewhere a little further away from where I'm standing, where I'm parked in the SEO mobile right now.

And we're going to focus on Dallas. Okay? So if I type that same, let's go ahead and do a refresh. Where am I? And you can see it's the United States.

We're going to choose the area. It knows that I'm in Dallas with my proxy, but the Chrome browser will figure this out. So again, what you need to do is make sure that SEOs don't fool you with this type of stuff. So when you know the difference between ranking in one city or one area or another area, then it becomes more clear to you because, for instance, this thing that you see a lot, a lot of SEOs, when they're selling you things, they'll use SEO, Falcon, SEO, Viking brand signals. All these tools are useful and helpful, but you need to know what they're really showing you.

They're just showing you that for the keyword that you're targeting, they're 1 mile, five-mile, ten-mile radius. A lot of SEOs will show you high rankings for about half of a mile around your business. Okay, that's pretty useful if you're in a coffee shop or something like that sometimes. But it's not really that useful if you're competing with a whole bunch of doctors and one of the doctors is spread inside of your area. If you're a dentist and the dentists that you're competing with for business if you're competing with them and you don't necessarily have to be, there's different types of dentists, but they're going to be spreading over your proximity.

So if your SEO comes to you and they're charging you $2,000 a month, and they're giving you less than a mile of proximity, and that hasn't grown over a period of three months or six months, probably, you need to reconsider what they're doing. Now. If you get phone calls for your business, that really matters. Phone calls are extremely helpful even if you have not spread and widened your options. There's probably some ranking on the all search, which we'll talk about here shortly, that they've improved.

So just because they haven't spread this green doesn't mean you should fire your SEO, but also pay attention to your phone calls and insights in Google's business profile. Hopefully, that makes sense. So, back to the Colorado pumpkin patch. When we looked in Colorado for the keyword, Colorado pumpkin patch, which is a branded keyword as well as a noun or a fact or an entity, when people are looking for pumpkin patches way on the other side of Denver, they're going to find only this one, and if they're lucky, it's going to pop this knowledge panel up.

But now we're all the way in Dallas. Now, let's take this entity: Colorado pumpkin patch. Boom. Isn't that interesting? So we're all the way in Dallas; let's make sure we really have this.

And there we are. This proxy from my little proxy function here in Dallas is located in Dallas. And even still, when I put my client and friend's website innocuous brand, that's why I'm using it. By the way, for this tutorial. It is autumn, and time is pumpkin season is showing up all the way in Dallas.

And that's because their entity is unique and established. This has a lot of functional use when understanding international branding and ranking for entities. And these are things that your SEO should know before they just start taking money from you. Let's go to another location. How far and unique is the Colorado pumpkin patch?

Let's go ahead and move further out into the Americas, and we're going to go all the way. Let's go to Los Angeles and see if this knowledge panel will pop this entity on the side, which is a large piece of real estate on the side. Let's see if it will pop all the way in Los Angeles. Okay, so first of all, where am I? And it looks like we are still in Dallas, so let's go ahead and reboot that.

Okay. We flipped the Washington DC. Now, a lot of these proxies are on; just so you know, if you ever use this proxy service, they're not always right. It's switched to Washington, DC. And Capitol Hill.

So, let's see what kind of pumpkin patches they have in that area. Well, obviously, Colorado is a trigger. So all the way over in Washington, as soon as you add the word Colorado to it, obviously, there's only one Colorado pumpkin patch in the United States. So, this knowledge panel is always going to pop up. The reason I'm telling you this in regards to local and national SEO is you need to understand how much of your brand or your uniqueness is important when stretching this giant piece of real estate on the search engine nationally and internationally; it's really, really important.

So if somebody else is in Washington DC, this is where this proxy is sitting, as if we're standing in Washington DC. Somebody sitting there would know that this is Colorado. But if there was another pumpkin patch named Colorado Pumpkin Patch in Washington DC. Which is unlikely, then that pumpkin patch would show up.

So, what I'm trying to show you here is the name of your brand and location. This entity and this title in a Google business profile are unique to you, okay? And I'm quite certain in this case that we could probably go somewhere quite exotic. I don't know how far that this is called proximity stretching. Let's go up into Canada and see if the Colorado from Colorado pumpkin patch.

Let's go ahead and refresh.

Where am I?

Okay. We're in Ottawa. Okay, so we know that Google now believes that we're in Ottawa, Canada. So what happens when we type our client's Colorado pumpkin patch in there? Boom, all the way up in Ottawa, we can see this pumpkin patch, and you can even go incognito, and you can see this pumpkin patch.

So, this may not seem like a big deal to you until you start thinking about it. When somebody's selling you SEO, the proximity perimeter and the knowledge panel pop are incredibly valuable Knowledge Panel pop. But then what? You name yourself, your branding, and your action; of course, there are subsets, such as pumpkin patches in Colorado, which must have been a category or a custom category; it may have been an actual category in Colorado as Google gets larger. My point is, as that entity is, the thing is a pumpkin patch; the location is Colorado.

They put all of these in a master entity called Colorado Pumpkin Patch. So it's got the location built in, locations built into your Google. My business title has advantages and disadvantages. It depends on what you're trying to do with your client. But I wanted you to see, know, and understand that this matters.

Because if it was just a pumpkin patch, which is a keyword, without location, it would have been much more difficult to brand the knowledge panel changes. And you can see pumpkin patch in Ottawa, Canada. Now you can see that. Of course, I'm only going to get pumpkin patches up there in, okay, so if I turn off my proximity and come back down to earth because I'm located right here within a couple of miles of that pumpkin patch because my kids were playing there. Right, let's go ahead and stretch.

There we go. Let's refresh that. Now, we need to get out of Ottawa. The best way to get out of Ottawa is you're just going to clear browser data.

By the way, do be aware that clearing your browser cookies like that also kills all of the conversations you've had on Chat GPT. Just good for you to know. Okay, Denver, Colorado, and let's see, cottonwood Farms isn't showing up, and we wanted to use our precise location, and it's going to show Colorado Springs. That's close enough. So, pumpkin patches near Colorado Springs do not bring up the knowledge panel.

And so the interesting thing to note here is it's not even coming up. And if I go over to maps, it really should if I go up to all filters and hit maps; what's interesting here is that Colorado pumpkin patch comes up for pumpkin patch, but it does not come up in all searches. Okay? That's a sign of good map optimization. However, the entity has not been established on the homepage because he's branded with the location in Colorado, which is the state.

He could have said Colorado Springs Pumpkin Patch, and he would have popped right just then. So this is what a lot of guys don't understand. So, if you haven't named your business or you haven't named your GMB title, consider these things. Now, we're going to get into some even weirder things. There are all kinds of tools out there.

And I'm, by the way, not an affiliate of any of these tools. For example, if you take Whitespark, for example, and you look at, for example, a local rank tracker, whenever you're using these tools, you have to know how they work. So here's an example of song cosmetic dentistry. And you can look at the local pack over time; you can see that there are different locations that have different. Let's go ahead and look at the keywords here. So here are some of the keywords.

If you look at the different local packs over time, you can filter by location. And I actually track multiple zip codes in this way. You know how far something is expanding outside of the proximity from your Centroid. Hopefully, that makes sense. I like Whitespark, and I use many, many other tools.

You can see the keyword tool, we'll talk about keywords here in a second. But every tool has a different strength or weakness and presentation of how they do it. I like Whitespark because I can easily find out if something is it's really easy for me as an SEO to hand you a report on five city blocks around your Centroid location, right? And, oh, we're number one. Look, look, we got you that.

In fact, we can do that in 30 seconds. And there are SEOs out there that we know that you're not very well ranked for most of your terms, and they just hand you this report. And you're only ranked, like, a few city blocks around your Centroid. And there are, believe it or not, a lot of business owners that will happily pay $300 to $1,000 a month for that forever, but they do not really understand how they're spreading. Okay, so if I filter by location, I can take the same keyword.

I can take one of the more expensive keywords, and I can let's say, do it outside of Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills, like, has three zip codes or four zip codes. If I filter, there are no rankings in that zip code, you see, and that's what I really wanted to show you is that that might be a zip code that this dentist really wants to target, which is closer to this is actually true, by the way, a dentist closer to and this is only a sample client. It's not a real client. But the reality here is that I have a client similar to this one that is close to the zip code that their competitors exist in.

Their competitors are overlapping in their proximity, but they're not overlapping in their competitors' proximity. And you really want to be able to reach in so that when that competition and friendly competition happens, you're able to share the market share in those zones. That's my nice way of saying it. I hope you understand what I'm saying here. Okay, so there are some businesses, like lawyers, that are in serious competition with each other, and it's brutal.

So we know this, you know, the TV show Known at 9210. Here's an example. When we started this example, they really had almost no visibility at all, and they've started to stretch just a little bit for the most important terms. You can see the trend up and down. Okay?

So that's really how I wanted to show you tools that do not help you stretch and understand what I was showing you with pumpkin patch, where it's very likely that these guys have a unique so I want a unique title and therefore a unique brand. And even if you don't put your brand in the Google My Business or Google Business Profile title, I want you to be aware that in a perfect world, you would have a completely unique title and brand with an action subject or entity that you sell or engage in, and nobody else in the world would have it. So when you stretch all the way around the world, this Knowledge panel will always pop up during demand for your brand term. This is the ideal. And a lot of the time, clients who don't have time for SEO and their penny drops when they understand this.

And I have shown some radical examples like, let's go over to Australia. This is kind of fun. Now we're going to go across the pond crikey, and we are going to refresh. I'm just going to get a corn maze. Let's do that.

They probably don't even know what a corn maze is in Australia.

There we go. And where are we? Let's go ahead. And where am I? I don't know where I am. Here we are.

We're in Australia. Yeah. These are Australian names. Okay, now, if I put my friend and client Colorado Pumpkin Patch here, look at that. His entity still pops down an exact match.

And now, with the new Generative AI imagery, the entity is now popping up right here. Okay. And if I hit enter, does the knowledge panel pop? Nope. Not in Australia.

Wait. This is Denver. Oh, no. I'm in Australia. Choose the area.

Let's go over to use precise location. By forcing it to use a precise location, it's got to take me back to Australia. One of the things I found is that even with a unique location and brand like Colorado Pumpkin Patch, it would be silly for the Knowledge Panel to appear in Australia unless there was a pumpkin patch in Australia. So, let's go ahead and switch to something less silly than the Colorado pumpkin patch. Let's take my old SEO mentor, who's the first SEO on planet Earth.

His name is Bruce Clay. And believe it or not, he's still kicking and working and looking pretty good. So you can take in, let's get rid of our entity here. I mean, sorry, our location. Let's get out of Australia and come back to where I am right now, physically in Colorado Springs.

And for those of you who are advanced SEOs and know this stuff, you shouldn't be watching this. You should get this already. So let's go ahead and do Bruce Clay. Bruce Clay is in Simi Valley. His company is called Bruce Clay Inc.

And you saw it when he dropped down. See how his entity and his generative function are. Okay? Bruce Clay is a very good SEO traditionalist, and a lot of his stuff and a lot of his predictions have come true. You can see he's located in Moore Park.

Okay. He's moved, and he's got Internet Marketing Service as his functional category. There must be his new office. I haven't been to that office. He's in Moore Park.

Okay, now, if I were to do everything I showed you already, which is to switch to Denver and to Dallas, you can bet that his title within his Google business profile is going to follow us because he's been around for decades. He's got 16 Google reviews, 14.14.1. Let's go ahead and see what is unique about Bruce Clay in this title, the comma, and the period. And so every time he uses this for his entity, he should use that everywhere exactly as it is. Even the dot and the comma matters with entities and ranking.

So if I take his title here and I move all the way over to let's go somewhere on the other side of the United States because I've already shown you guys, I've already made this point, let's go to the US.

Let's go. All locations. Americas, United States. Let's go over to Miami. Let's see if he's there.

There he is. Let's go ahead and do our switch.

And that's him. Let's go ahead and type it in, because first you do where am I? The only reason I am doing this is you guys don't have to do this. I have my Starlink satellite that's on top of a Fastnet splitter on top of three different Internet connections.

That's why I'm doing all this. You don't have to do this. So it knows I'm in Miami. And did I take Bruce Clay from Sime Valley, California, with me to Miami? Yes.

There's his local Google business profile, so hopefully, that makes sense to you. I took it all the way, including all of his, to see how his entity is connected to everything that he's done. Isn't that, oh, so cool? That's lots and lots of fun. Now, the question is Bruce Clay International. Well, what I was trying to say earlier is if Bruce Clay has an office somewhere else, it's going to switch from this office located to Moore Park.

So, this is what you call proximity stretching. We've stretched all the way from where he's located, Moore Park, to Miami, Florida. So someone in Miami typing in this, doing a query on this would find it. And if we want to switch, I'm going to do a little trick here because I know where he has a second office. So we're going to go to India.

We're going to go ahead and do my thing here. And what you should do is first check where we are. We're definitely in Delhi. Like I said, guys, you don't have to check that. I'm just driving my SEO van all over the place.

And Bruce Clay. This is India Private Limited. Okay? So he set up an office in New Delhi, and people work and learn and follow the methods that Bruce Clay teaches, and it's located here. So if I were to look for him in India, you're going to find an office that's located where he's at.

Now, Bruce has a lot of stuff all over the world. So if I go to let me just show you another go. I've never actually tested this one. Let's go to Switzerland. Okay.

And let's do a refresh. I'm just going to do a blank refresh. Whoops. Where am I? There we go.

We are definitely in Switzerland. Okay, let's see if I can drag Bruce from California all the way to here. Wow. Okay, so what I'm trying to show you here, do you remember when I showed you that the pumpkin patch will just not stretch internationally? So, this is a consideration when you're stretching internationally.

Bruce, of course, has been around since my first training with him was in 2002. Okay, so he's been around or three. He's a master of the trade. I don't know how much he knows about Generative AI, but I know how he thinks, and he's going to get it. So my point with you is that he stretched his entity all the way from Sime Valley, California, to War Park, California, into Switzerland and in.

The main thing I want you to walk away with is because there are no other businesses located there that have a Google business profile, it's going to drag his well-branded entity everywhere he goes. And that entity has thousands of citations. And the key point here, folks, is that that citation is going to contain the same exact brand equals entity, equals Bruce Clay comma ink, period. Okay. Now, there's a lot more I could teach you, but just know that to stretch your proximity in multiple directions, these are basic things that you need to understand.

And to wrap things up, since this is kind of long, we're going to just have some fun here. This is not something that I normally give away outside of any masterminds or these types of things, but I think a lot of you can derive it. Oh, cool. They have a new Google Earth. So we're going to do they've got the local KML files.

There's lots of stuff you can do with that. So if I put in Bruce Clay inc, It's going to take me to More, California. Okay. So you can still see where he is. But wherever I am on the planet, wherever I'm searching from on the planet, for the most part, you can rest.

Be assured that you're going to drag Bruce Clay's knowledge panel. That is the Google business profile. It's not exactly a knowledge panel. The knowledge panel is for the corporate entity. He has one of those, too.

But you're going to drag his Google My business. This is somebody whose local presence entity is stretched everywhere on the planet, more or less. There may be some places we could play a Bruce Clay game where we can't find him. We might be able to go to some obscure location. Let's see if we can find a backlink where this is kind of a game.

We're going to have some fun here. All locations. Let's go to Africa. Let's go to Egypt. Can I drag clay from California to Africa?

Let's try it. It definitely does not like me stretching that proxy. There we are. Now we're in Africa. Wait, no, we're not.

Let's go ahead and try it again. There we are. Now we're in Africa. Now we're in Egypt. Okay.

Can I drag Bruce Clay to Egypt with me to go see the pyramids? Let's see. Yeah. Okay. And guys, there's a reason I use Bruce Clay as an example. This is a fair think about what this means.

This means that Bruce has optimized his Google My Business profile everywhere on the planet. And he hasn't consciously said, oh, I'm going to rank my Google business profile. He hasn't done any SEO locally for this. Okay. He's just optimized his brand entity with SEO extremely well.

And then, of course, he's optimized as the father of SEO. I said grandfather, and I might have made him mad. I don't know. Oh, he's got an Udemy thing. Anyway, my point here is that this is how this works, and it's not necessarily about him doing anything in those local areas.

So when someone's selling you SEO and trying to local SEO and trying to stretch the proximity, just keep in mind that doing local SEO and doing fake clicks to drive directions and all those, those used to work a lot. But with this recent Generative AI update, they're going to be looking more and more at the full entity entity structure. Another thing to be aware of is to think about this very carefully before you name your entity, just keyword stuffing your title for your entity is not a long-term branding plan or play. Suppose you're lucky enough to have the object of your keyword, like Colorado pumpkin patch, if you're selling pumpkins. And you want to rank for pumpkins.

How cool would it be that everywhere in the world, you had this giant piece of real estate popping up here for the word pumpkin? That is really hard because that's an entity and a theme. In our advanced training, we get into more of that. But now you understand why I talk about entities and how Bruce, being around for 25 or more years in the search industry, understands his consistent branding, which ranks him everywhere. And you can drag that, what is supposed to be local proximity everywhere on the planet, because he has a global Google My business profile because of a famous brand.

Okay, this is what I want you to understand: the distinction between hacking and SEO and brand SEO or brand search engines, as Jason Barnard from Colliecube also likes to talk about it, my friend Jason, okay? So this is what I want you to look at and think about because AI is really shifting this stuff to what I've just shown you with Bruce's work. And I love this, too, because Bruce was an amazing mentor to me. He encouraged me to create Themezoom, which is a company that we built. Pre-entity themes were pre-entity technologies underneath everything before Machine IDs and MRE.

IDs. So here we are. Bruce is a few years older. I'm a few years older. We've been in this business for 20 years.

Just want you to be aware of what's coming. If you have any questions, contact me, and I will help you crush it. In closing, we're going to give you one more surprise in closing, when you're testing using any of these tools, okay? The way I do modular, singular testing is I go to where all the data centers are. There's a data center in Berkeley, California.

There's a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. There's a Google data center in the Dowels. A really big one. If you haven't seen it, it's huge. If you haven't driven by there, you can see it.

There's one in Douglas County, Georgia. So when I do individual testing, see how the numbers here at the start were different? I don't make any assumptions. Google Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console take two or three days to update. But if you're tracking things by the data centers and you watch them go from West Coast to East Coast, East Coast to West Coast before you make any changes on your site, when you're testing, just wait for all the data centers to update.

See, right now, I'm ranked number one for Apprentice Bard AI, which is a new language algorithm, a new language learning model, and AI for Google. And it was just a fun test. I have no agenda for ranking it. I just thought it would be fun. And so what we did is, if I had a lot of SEOs, see, oh, I'm number four.

And they'll start meddling around and testing, but they're only looking at one location. So, I said everything prior in this video to say everything currently in this video. So where we're at currently is there's more than one ranking on more than one search engine in more than one location for pieces of real estate that are entity-based real estate. Or, as my friends Mike and Luke like to call it, mature.

Clusters is another name. Themes were what we used to call it in the old days. Just want you to know that when you know this stuff, you're unstoppable. Because you won't just take a ranking that somebody's giving you and said, hey, look, you're number one all around your business, and you're waiting for the phone calls to come in, but they never do, because you've been kind of hacked. You need more than just a bunch of green arrows coming around your Centroid.

You need to understand how to take yourself nationally and internationally. Thank you. I look forward to seeing you on the inside. Bye.