Mike Ramsey is the President of Nifty Marketing and working on many small businesses. He is also active speaker at many Internet marketing events such as SMX, Pubcon, and SearchFest. He has been featured in many reputable sites like Moz, Search engine land and many more. Outside of search Mike also moonlights as the owner of The Voice, which is a weekly newspaper in Southern Idaho that is delivered to 18,000 households.
He received his Bachelors Degree in Business Management from Brigham Young University – Idaho and has a wonderful wife named Hillary, a rascal of a growing boy, a beautiful little girl, and a brand new baby girl.
Sanket: How did you come into Local SEO specifically and why you choose this sector?
Mike: “It all started with a self storage client. I was building them a website and realized that they needed to be in the list map that was showing up on Google. I started playing around with it and before long realized that ALL the clients I was working with needed local search. That’s when I jumped in and haven’t looked back. “
Sanket: Can you talk more about the Nifty marketing culture and environment in terms of employee engagement?
Mike: “I really try to pass down decision making, problem solving, and account ownership throughout the team. I believe that the more freedom and empowerment that team members have, the more ownership they will take of the processes, clients, and work. We try to keep a pretty relaxed atmosphere at Nifty. I also try to lean more to the creative side than the technology side in our attitude, office space, and way of life. We also developed the following core values that we make all of our decisions from:
Nifty Core Values
We believe in being awesome.
We don’t believe a piece of content, a local listing, a website design, or a project is done until it is amazing. Enough said.
If we walked into a room naked, everyone would look. They might not like what they see, they might really like what they see. Either way, we are willing to show it all and not hide behind a veil of “propriety information” and will share all of our work and ideas with our clients and community.
We mean what we say. We do what we say. We never settle for sloppy lines.
We believe in being available and fast. Changes happen in our industry and in our lives every day. We are very serious about staying on top of changes to algorithms, rules, emails, and messages.
No one likes a copy cat. We believe in being pioneers and creating uniqueness in all the things we do. This doesn’t mean that we don’t celebrate others good ideas, we just make them our own and push for perfection in all we do.
We believe that life is worth living and working for. We don’t want to work with people who are always negative and never satisfied or happy and we promise that we won’t be a sour puss either. Marketing is fun and we love what we do.
We will always try to put ourselves in the shoes of clients, competitors, customers to come to a deeper understanding of how we can meet their needs better. We also believe that 99.9% of people are inherently good and deserve to be respected and loved.“
Sanket: Lets dive into Local SEO, there are many factors associated with the local rankings, and it would be great if you drop any 5 factors which improve local results.
Mike: “I will do 4 1. Local listings (citations) 2. Reviews 3. Links 4. Optimized website
Those are the 4 areas that will help you to increase rankings. “
Sanket: “Citation based links are great for the Local SEO Campaigns” Could you provide a right direction or guidance to people here, like, how they can get these kind of links and why is it so important?
Mike: “So lets say you get interviewed by someone in your market. Instead of just getting your business name mentioned you would want something like this:
“Mike Ramsey who recently started NiftyLaw (located at 1214 Oakley Ave in Burley) stated that he wanted to…..”
You not only get a link but also location information. This would be a natural way to get it. The other way is through local search directories. They provide do follow links back to your website and have your Name, Address, and Phone number listed. I call these linktations. Link+Citation “
Sanket: Suppose, there is a website with multiple languages, so how you optimize the local SEO campaign for this website?
Mike: “Best case would be to have different sites for the different countries, or languages. If its something like Spanish for an American site then create separate pages with unique content for those pages and you can even have your google local listings point to the correct language.“
Sanket: Local SEO may vary with sites, suppose an ecommerce site has Local Business Coupons and you have to promote it for local market only, so how you provide a kick start for this campaign?
Mike: “Organic and paid langing pages with an email campaign to those on your list in a market. I would also maybe try to do some facebook paid advertising to the location and demographic and drive the traffic to the landing pages on the site. “
Sanket: How social media marketing will helps to Local SEO campaigns? Can you drop more insights on this?
Mike: “As far as rankings, I don’t think social signals play a massive roll yet. I do think they will. So now, its simply all about building your brand and awareness through a solid content strategy. I honestly don’t care about how many followers,etc a business has in a market. Only above how their content is being shared by people, and talked about by people in that market. Too many people think that having a social media account for every market and simply keeping the feed full of pointless statements is social media marketing. Create something awesome on your website and let people share it on their social media accounts. That is my idea of social media marketing. “
Sanket: How you interpret link signals into Local SEO? What’s your approach to do it properly?
Mike: “I treat links the same way as I would in any organic optimization with one difference. We add a layer of local links or links coming from the target market compared to just focusing on industry specific links. My reason: I want the traffic that comes through the link to matter… not just the link itself. Too many people who are targeting a local market are getting links from across the world when all of the signals that come from the traffic the links generate are bad because the traffic isn’t relevant. Local link building needs to be a discussion that increases in 2014 in our industry. If Google is beginning to understand the localization of content with the Venice Update the next step for them is to understand the localization of links and social signals pointing to content. “
Sanket: You had commented on Moz survey “My views re mobile being a focus this year… The real focus will be the study next year. Not seeing too much discrepancy but with Cutts announcement of penalizing mobile sites redirecting wrong etc, I have a feeling it will start to be a hot topic.” What it means exactly?
Mike: “Haha – First off when I took the survey this year I messed up in where I was answering questions. So, my comment on the survey was in the wrong place. But there was a question on Mobile and my view above was basically that at the current time: Rankings in map results aren’t being effected by how well you have done mobile optimization. But, I believe that 2014 will change that. We will see local sites that don’t handle mobile probably drop from search results. For most businesses, this means they need a responsive website. Not an m. site.“
Sanket: Our industry is based on search engines, with Google being the most popular one; do you think that Local SEO will not be that much affected by Google updates? If so, how is it possible to recover?
Mike: “There is nothing easy about recovering from organic link penalties, or penguin and panda updates. I see them effecting sites often but sometimes companies will not lose their map rankings if the results are pure maps in Google. The challenege is ranking in maps in a local search strategy. It’s a part of it, but you can’t discount the need to perform well organically for many local search phrases. I’m surprised how many searches that clearly have local intent don’t trigger map results. As an industry we really need to try and help people realize that map optimization is only a fraction of local search as a whole. “
Sanket: People are more talking about Google only, suppose you want to target Yahoo and Bing for Local optimization then what are your suggestions here for this?
Mike: “Develop a full local search marketing strategy where you claim the listings on both of these directories (along with all other major local listings opportunities in your industry and local market) and send clients to sites where they like to review. Yahoo has their own review system where bing pulls from Yelp, Citysearch, and other industry specific directories. “
Sanket: Can you share your recent Pubcon 2013 experience which was held in Las vegas?
Mike: “Here is my presentation. Pubcon is like a marathon. Soooo many awesome sessions but the real gold is the conversations and networking that last until the weee hours of the morning at various spots in Vegas. It is easily one of my favorite events of the years.“
Sanket: Mike Ramsey is an idol for Internet marketing industry. Who is Mike Ramsey’s idol? And from whom do you seek guidance?
Mike: “The rest of the faculty at LocalU.org. They are my dear friends but also the people I learn from at every event we put on. Also, my father in law Clay Handy. He is a great businessesman, religious leader, and politician that I have learned so much from in trying to run a business. “
Sanket: If you had the power to change something in Google for one day, what would be that?
Mike: “A way to use call tracking on directories, websites, and the places for business listing without it effecting rankings. “
Sanket: How does your workspace look like? Can we have a picture?
Mike:“ This is a picture of our Burley office. We just opened up a 2nd location in Boise and I don’t have pictures of that office yet. “
Thanks Mike for being a sport and answering the questions. The internet marketing world will look forward to this interview as a valuable source.