23. Local SEO for Shared Workspaces

Welcome to the Everything Coworking Podcast #23! Today I talk with Evan Oder, founder of FindWorkspaces.com and we talk about local SEO for shared workspaces. I met Evan at the annual Global Workspace Association Conference last month in Denver. His company was an exhibitor and they were catching the attention of those of us that wake up at night in a cold sweat worrying about our organic search rankings in Google. And if you’re not in that camp, you should be!

Evan Oder on Local SEO for Shared Workspaces:

Tell us what findworkspaces.com is, what it does, and what you do for shared spaces.

Evan: Basically, I identified a problem which is that shared workspaces can be hard to find. I knew they existed, but they were not very visible. I felt like it was an opportunity to launch a hybrid program where we can have one end helping consumers to find the nearby shared workspaces in their local market, and on the other end, offer it as a program that can help the workspaces to generate more exposure locally.

The Fundamentals 

Evan: I think most businesses, especially in their online marketing, miss on the fundamentals. A lot of people get over-complicated and fail to realize it’s about the customer. Meta-titles, URLs, and page content should be clean and crisp, with keywords and a location at the top.

Google Analytics & Google Webmaster Tools

Evan: I also see businesses using Google Analytics, but forgetting about Google Webmaster Tools. The difference is that Webmaster Tools factors in the way your site appears and is indexed in Google organically. It also will tell you keywords you currently get traffic for, and where you show up with those. It’s vital when you’re running an SEO strategy to see how your site is performing organically in Google, not just overall web traffic, direct hits, and paid traffic. You can even test your site for mobile responsiveness. Mobile devices are the fastest growing portion of internet traffic. You need to get a total view of how your page will work for a search engine, and couple that with your user experience.

Google My Business:

Evan: Google My Business is the way your business is claimed and verified on Google Maps. You can create a valuable content syndication engine for your business. You need to stay active, just posting or any activity will be positive. Just beware that there are a lot of changes going on. The product is in for a major shakeup. You also want to make sure your business information is accurate with all the top local directories and submit to data aggregators. On top of that, you need to encourage reviews at all opportunities. If you do it right and you do it organically, it will have an impact on your business. You have to not be afraid to ask 100 customers for a review and only 4 or 5 say yes, because those 4 or 5 will have a lot of value.

How do we manage acquisition strategy between Google and Yelp?

Evan: You have to pick your poison, but it’s really up to the consumer at the end of the day.The problem is that Yelp isn’t a very democratic product. I’d say that regionally speaking, on the West Coast, Yelp is huge. Google is relevant overall anyway, but  in some markets, there’s a Yelp community.

With Google, the reviews will always show up, positive or negative. It’s a good failsafe. You definitely have to go for both, but Yelp will also syndicate to Bing and Yahoo and other places, so that is another benefit. I also wanted to mention not to forget about Apple Maps as well. It’s the default on all new iPhones. Apple opened up the map submissions to business owners. It’s called Apple Maps Connect. In the notes I send, I’ll have the link for that.

 SEO is all about organization.

Evan: What you have to do, from an SEO perspective, is organize your information in a way that’s more useful. One tip related to organizations that if you have multiple locations, you should connect all of your locations together on one website and cross-optimize them. It’s more cost-effective in the long-run.

Another tip related to site organization is that when someone’s on their phone, their intent is probably different. If they’re on their phone, you may want to prioritize your basic information. Think about it from a user perspective and a search engine perspective.

Pages for SEO vs. Pay Per Click

My last big note is about SEO is about dedicating pages to certain topics and keywords. If you’re doing pay per click and SEO, you should be using different pages. There are pages that are not indexed or crawled by Google, so they also don’t interfere with your SEO. In your activity coming from that page, you’ll be able to more easily measure your PPC ROI vs your SEO, and separate those. There’s a tag you can add to your pages. Any programmer should be able to add it. It would show up in Analytics, but wouldn’t be indexed in Webmaster Tools. The pages wouldn’t show up in a search result.

Measuring SEO

Evan: Connect your site to Webmaster Tools will help you to get a feel for how it looks. Other than that, I just do the poor man’s analysis. What are you trying to be found for, and where are you located? I’d go out on Google and search that. Go on Bing and Yahoo and see where you are. The litmus test is to go from the consumer’s viewpoint.

Moz Local is great if you want to look at how your listings are represented online. You can do a free scan of your business, and they have an affordable service to get your information pushed out to all the top aggregators. Another favorite analytics tool is called localseochecklist.org. They have a service where you can scan your listings.

You’ve given tons of tips. You have some current coworking clients. What are your services? How do you help space owners with SEO?  We built the directory out of a need that we saw from the consumer’s standpoint, but then I’ve also cross-blended it with an SEO component and a marketing service. The idea is to get as many coworking and shared office spaces in the US listed within the next year as we can. We basically build an aggregate profile for your business on findworkspaces.com. This allows you to syndicate your content organically and through paid advertising.

Where can we find you online? You can go to findworkspaces.com and contact us, or email me at evan@findworkspaces.com. You can also Google Evan Oder. I’m relaunching my own site, so there’s only a splash page up right now.

Episode #23 Download is right here.

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