Video Deep Dive: Exploring LocalFalcon – Innovative Local Map Ranking Tool with Founder Yan Gilbert

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This is our Deep Dive Into Local from November 5, 2018. In our Deep Dive series, we take a closer look at one thing in local that caught our attention and deserves a longer discussion.

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Yan, Mary & Carrie discuss this history behind Local Falcon, some tips and tricks for getting the most out of it, and where Yan sees the tool going in the future.

Yan was nice enough to record a few videos for us to clarify some awesome uses and tips for making the most out of LocalFalcon - check those out below!

How to Investigate and Fight Spam Right in LocalFalcon.com

How to Scan With Multi-Location Businesses in same area

Carrie: Hi, everybody. Welcome to Deep Dive from Local University. I'm Carrie Hill. I'm joined today by Mary Bowling and Yan Gilbert from Local Falcon. Mike is on vacation so we're pinch-hitting for him today. We're going to talk a little bit about Yan's new tool and his, going to concepts around it and his vision for the future maybe a little bit if we're lucky. So, Yan, I would love to hear kind of what your vision was. Why did you develop the tool? What was the impetus behind Local Falcon?

Yan: Oh, well, I guess it was just seemed like it was missing in the local SEO. Like we would be able to choose one spot at a time. And I came across a plugin for Chrome and it easily let me check different spots and then do a Google, going to change the HTML, GPS coordinates and then check a spot. I would change it again, check a spot. And then it just struck me, I guess. If I can do this manually, why can't I just have a program that checks all these spots automatically? And, going to after a lot of months should I do it? Should I, going to how come no one is doing it and all that kind of stuff, I said, "You know what, let's do it because it seems like people want it, and people need it." And I guess I just said, "All right. The hell with it, we'll just do it."

Carrie: I think that actually is the reasoning behind a lot of things that happen. Oh, the hell with it. Nobody else is going to do it, I might as well, kind of thing.

Yan: yes. It was just one of those things that just seemed like such a good idea that didn't exist yet but it needed to be done. So, I did it.

Carrie: Sure. Sure. Great.

Mary: Thank you.

Carrie: yes. We love it.

Mary: I know the thing that really impressed me was that you put it out as a free version so everybody can try it out and make sure that they really like it, that they know how to use it, that it does what they want before they upgrade to a paid version. And I imagine that that's probably preventing a lot of customer service type hassles for you to do it.

Yan: going to I've never done a software before, so I don't know what, going to how many percentage of people are causing problems or asking questions and things like that. But I haven't had...I might get a couple of emails a day and it's usually the same people bugging me about how to do this, how to do that. But I knew that it wasn't going to work for everyone. So test it out. If it works, great. If it doesn't work, going to I can't accommodate everyone. I'm not like a huge company. I'm one guy with one, going to one developer on the side that's doing stuff.

And so what it does, it does well. And if doesn't work, well, maybe in the future we'll try to get something working. But at this point, it's better, like you said, it's better to just have everyone test it. And if it doesn't work then, they don't have to come back and say, "Hey, I paid for this and it doesn't work for me." And, yes, so it does avoid a lot of issues.

Carrie: yes. From the software as a service side, I really like that you have to perform a search to get the upgrade option. Like you can't just upgrade from the homepage without ever having used the tool because so and so said it was great. And I upgrade and then, and like, "yes, this isn't what I need. Now, I want a refund." It just...for my software as a service, SaaS side, it make sense to do it that way. going to in my brain when I saw that I was like, "Oh, that's really smart." And not a lot of tools do that. So, going to give that kudos. That was a good idea.

Yan: Thank you.

Carrie: More people need to do that. So, we talked about...

Mary: And I know.

Carrie: Oh, go ahead.

Marry: Oh. I was going to say as a local SEO who wants to know these things, where exactly is my client ranking for certain terms in certain areas, I just want to personally thank you for creating this tool. It is a huge a help to me.

Carrie: yes. And the visualization of the points on the map make it really easy for us to show our clients, hey, so this is what proximity ranking looks like. This is you and these little green things around you are, like your, one kilometer, going to radius. But if you go any further than a kilometer, dude, we need to spend some time on. Not you. going to and visualizing that...

Yan: yes. And only the big...

Carrie: ...is a big deal.

Yan: That was the biggest limitation with...I'm using Bright local and usually when we set it up or with any rank tracker, you're setting up one ZIP Code or, going to one location area. And then, okay, I'm working well there but what about in this place or this place or this place? And it's difficult to set up all the different ZIP Codes for all the different places. Then you have to start to compare well, this location is...this a little bit north. One location is south. And it was really hard to get a visual. So, I think that's part of the reason why I needed this.

And getting away from like the organic rankings, because we're dealing just with a map then, I think I just, going to I totally shifted. Work from the map instead of working from the rankings. And then it really lets you see, like you said, it let you visualize areas where, "Oh, okay. Well, this part of town which is a certain suburb isn't ranking as well." So, maybe we could create a certain page, a landing page or...for that area because we're at four, five, six ranking and then, we just need a little bit of a boost. Whereas, another part of town you're ranking well. Maybe there's less competition there. And so, ...it easily lets you pinpoint where to optimize for.

Carrie: Well, and as local SEOs, it helps us reinforce that, going to neighborhoods, specifically for an attorney. They want to rate well in neighborhoods, maybe they're a divorce attorney and affluent suburbs are important to them ...but their office isn't in that affluent suburb. So how do we show them how they're doing in those areas where it's important for them to rank? going to those types of pinpoint accuracy I think, for ranking is something that we can use as an agency or as local SEOs to really not only sell more work but to show the progress of the work that we're already doing.

And so, going to that whole piece of it, that accuracy ...and the visualization of that accuracy is really an important new thing that we didn't have before. Like you said it was a lot of manual work. You had to keep changing your location or ZIP Code and then, you'd manually put it in a spreadsheet and then, you could show him like a table of here's the ZIP Code and here's where you rank. But visually, going to it's hard to picture what that looks like for the client.

Yan: Exactly. yes.

Carrie: For sure. And even for us. It was hard to be like, "So, where is this ZIP Code?" especially places you're not familiar with. going to I don't know anything about Toronto and the postcodes around there. So, how do I visualize how my clients doing in that area?

Mary: And with this upgraded version, I just realize how many by how many points is it wide, like 8x8?

Yan: Thirteen by 13 is the area

Mary: Thirteen by 13 and you can put it in almost five-kilometer increments. So, you can see almost a whole city a lot of times, where somebody is ranking for almost an entire city by using this upgraded version. Which is just huge to me. And...

Yan: I tried to accommodate...because there's so many different kind of small businesses. And when you're in a small city or if you're in a...and less competition you're going to rank further out or if you're a dentist and there's, going to 20 dentists in your town you're ranking area is not going to be as far. But for a car dealership, there's only a few in the city of, going to your make. So, you're going to want to see the whole area, the whole city. Right? Or in a more rural area, it goes further. So, I really went from 100 meter to all the way to almost 5 kilometer to really get that granularity that you need when you need in a very dense city or if it's, going to you need further out then you can go further out. So, it's really a tool to help as many people as possible really.

Mary: And when you see these points on the map, you can click on them and see who is ranking. Who's ranking first and that's sort of thing. So it's great for checking out your competition too and checking multiple keywords over the same area.

Carrie: Mm-hmm. yes. I didn't realize it when I first started using it before I got into the upgrade that you can actually click on the map point and see the results in there. And that's super powerful even for screenshots for part of a report where you can like pick a spot and say, "Okay. In this spot, you're number one. But in this spot, these four people are ahead of you." Or, going to that piece for reporting I think is really interesting as well. What do you envision...

Mary: And what do we...

Carrie: Oh sorry...

Mary: What are they doing that I'm not doing that I might be able to do?

Yan: What I like to do when I run a scan is I'll go all into the yellow areas, which is the four, five, and six ranking and click on the detail to see who's ranking in front. And then you can easily see if anyone had like his family name or keyword stuffing. And then, you can click on that, it will open directly into the Google listing and then you can just suggest an edit and try to get rid of that. So, it really makes it easy. Not only are you scanning but it makes it easy to actually perform a little task while you're there. "Oh, I'm number four. Oh, but that second guy has his location name and it's not supposed to be in his title." So just click on it and then it'll open up in Google and then, you can make edit and hopefully it gets approved. And then maybe the next time you run the scan, you'll be bumped up because unfortunately I guess, Google still likes that exact match in the name.

Carrie: No. They tell you not to do it, but then they rank them like crazy.

Mary: And then when you turn them in they don't take the name off of it, so... I know.

Carrie: I actually had one the other day.

Mary: Google wake up.

Carrie: I have one the other day. I was very excited. I edited their name because they had the town name in there. And I took that out in my edit. It was approved like that and showed up right away too. Sometimes they'll approve them but it takes like weeks for it to show up on the map. But it happened right away. I was very impressed.

Yan: And just to add a little thing that maybe you wouldn't realize but when you're opening up that detail ranking pin, you can actually take the little, going to go to street view within the tool and the little bubble of like the ranking number will show on the street view. So, if you're not sure and you want to check street view to see is the, going to is the location really there, was the sign and things like that, you could actually go within the tool, use the little street view guy and drop him and it will show you where like it will make it easy to find it for you.

Mary: Go ahead, Carrie.

Carrie: I was going to ask about the future. What...do you...is this something you feel like it's done now or do you feel like you're just kind of keep improving as you go along and as more things become available or what's your plan for that?

Yan: That's a big question for me. I want to improve it. Like what I would love to have it do would be to automate. So, you would set up a client and have it, going to every week or every two weeks. It's not something that needs to be scanned everyday type of thing. But at least every two weeks, every month have it run a scan for you. And then you can compare with pre, going to pre-set up businesses and keywords. That would be awesome. That does take a lot of programming. At this point, I'm not saving information. Like if someone runs a scan, they have to screenshot it or download the Excel information. So, it takes a database, it takes a lot of work.

So, I have to see...I did notice people signed up. I have hundreds and hundreds of people signed up for the free version and a smaller percentage actually with the upgraded version. At a certain point, I will see if it's worth it. I'm sure someone, one of the other rank tracking tools are going to put something out that would be similar. They already have the infrastructure of recording and all that kind of stuff. So, it kind of pains me just to wait and wait for that to come out since it's, going to my thing that I started. But I have to see.

It's a financial thing. It's a time thing and...but that would be my ultimate goal would be to give that functionality to the tool to make it that much easier. Because even me, I don't like to run the scan manually all the time every month. There's so many keywords and it does take time. I mean, going to I hit scan and I navigate to another tab and I do my work. And then, a few minutes later I'll come back to my tab and record it when I'm done with it or work with it. But, yes, that would be the next big thing.

Mary: So, for everybody listening, what I just heard is the more of us that sign up for this upgraded version, the more Yan will be able to improve it for us.

Yan: Yes. That's exactly right.

Carrie: Hint hint.

Mary: Yes. And, going to it's very reasonably priced. If you haven't checked it out, definitely check it out. I think you'll be...you think that the subscription is definitely worthwhile and you can quit at any time, so.

Yan: I do find it saves a lot of time for when you're running scans and to check competitors. It saves a lot of time. Worth it. To me, it's worth the time that it saves during a month, right?

Mary: Definitely.

Carrie: Well, and the expanded area you get with the upgrade I think is really important, going to depending upon where you...if you working on clients in a very concentrated area, maybe not. But most of us have clients that worry about a 10-block radius and worry about a 10-mile radius, worry about 100-mile radius. And so with the upgrade, you can kind of accommodate all of those different opportunities within the tool for sure.

Mary: So, I have a question about multiple locations. Let's say you have in a 60-mile radius, 3 storefront locations. Is there a way where you can check the rankings for all of them in one scan?

Yan: Yes. So that's the default view. Right now it will check if you input the name, if you're following the guidelines, all your locations are supposed to be named the same. They're not supposed to have different keywords in there for location. So, if you're a dentist and you have, going to four different locations and its name...they're all named exactly the same, it will pick up. One scan will pick up all of them at once.

Carrie: So, when you enter the name, does that mean you don't pick one off of the drop down that shows up?

Yan: Oh, it will...you still pick one and you'll choose your first one. It will center at that specific location. But if it's called XYZ Dentist and you run the scan and there's...you going to start at that one location. But if there's another one further, a few miles away, it will pick up that...that will...it will show different colors up there when it gets closer to that area. So by default, it will automatically pick up all the business that are named the same, even though you're choosing one address to start your search from.

Carrie: Gotcha. Okay. Great. That's actually really good information. I'm not sure...I know I didn't know that before.

Yan: Sometimes what I do is if the locations are a little bit separated, I'll just pick a...I'll move my grid center point by clicking on the map and pick a point in between and just...when we read through the scan you have to make sure, if you want to compare, to kind of pick that same spot over time. But you can also move the center. You don't have to keep it at one location if you kind want to get in between different areas.

Carrie: Awesome. Great.

Mary: I mean, that's very valuable for us as SEOs and even for in-house marketers with multiple locations. And then, you can just click on whichever pinpoint it is and see which one of your stores is ranking there.

Yan: That's right. When you click on that ranking pin detail and go through the list you'll see which of the addresses was actually picked up because it will only show the first one on the pin number. But, going to you can go through the list and sometimes they'll be your location at number 3 and then, your location at number 15. But it will show the first one.

Carrie: Right.

Mary: Great.

Carrie: Awesome. So is there anything you want people to know about your tool that we don't already know, besides that tip you just gave us about multiple location businesses?

Yan: Well, I guess that the more you work with it, the more you get a sense of the distances that the...and the type of businesses and the density of your city, you'll get a sense of what works. So, it does take a little bit of fiddling and playing. And that's another reason why I just said, "You know what, ...you get unlimited searches." Because I know there's testing. There's playing. There's, going to before you get your scan and your...the amount of pins and the range, you have to kind of adjust it to get the right place.

So, I didn't want people to start worrying, "Oh, I only have a certain amount." Test it out, play around and you'll get your right thing. And then after time, it goes a lot faster because then you'll have your keyword set at this, going to location distances and you can run it every two weeks or whatever amount of time you want to run it just to get...and it goes quick after the first, month that you're playing with it.

Carrie: That was to be a tip that I add. I actually saw in my project management sheets that I used to keep track of things, I make a note of the number of pins in the distance every month when I run it so that I can compare apples to apples. Because, going to if you run it for a whole bunch of different clients, you kind of forget, "Oh, this client looks best at this distance with this many pins." Or not...maybe not looks best but is...gives me the best information at this setting. So that's something that if you ever do have it set up to save historical data, saving that what's the best settings would be great because I do write that down for all my clients when I run it month over month...

Yan: yes. Definitely. That would be one of the inputs that we would be good. So, you would be able to play with it, get all your set up and then save a setup and then, it will run it for you well whenever...yes.

Carrie: yes. yes, that would be great. Awesome. Anything else, Mary?

Mary: Other than...I just encourage everybody to try this out. You can now look at 40x40 miles at one time. This is a huge timesaver as Yan said. And I think it's also a great sales tool and a great tool to help you with your reporting to actually show. I know that a lot of people, going to you mention rank trackers and they roll their eyes. But ranking translates to visibility and I don't think that we can ignore it. It's not, going to the only thing we need to be thinking about but it's definitely something that we need to have in our wheelhouse and be able to say, "We've improved your visibility in these areas."

Yan: It's a visual thing. It's very easy for a business owner who has no idea about SEO or rank tracking to say, "Hey, you're ranking and, going to in the green area you're showing up on the first page basically. And in yellow areas, you're just out of first page." So, for someone who has no idea, it's...you can show that it's not that every agency wants to show their rank tracking scans to their clients. A lot of people don't. But if you do want to show it, it's very easily understood by anyone.

Mary: Definitely.

Carrie: For sure. And I think as local SEOs, we look at rankings a little bit differently than just, going to I don't want to say generic or regular SEOs, but national focused SEO where you're looking at just organic rankings and really the conversions are super important in either type. But the visibility is so important, that brand visibility, especially now that Google is, going to less and less pushing people into the websites. And how you look and where you show up I think is more important than it ever was for local businesses. So, I think, going to this really fills a niche that we didn't have a tool for before we mock things up and spend hours every month trying to figure out how to visualize this for our clients where they would understand it and not just go, "Another report that I don't understand."

Yan: With the linecraft that's kind of boring, right?

Carrie: Yup. Yup. For sure. So, I just want to say thanks for joining us. And like Mary said, I encourage everybody to try Local Falcon out. Strongly encourage you if you're local SEO at all to upgrade because I think it's going to make a big difference for you. If you're an in-house and you have locations that you need to prove that you're making improvements for, it's also a great tool for you to use as well. Thanks for joining us, Yan. Really appreciate it.

Yan: Thank you very much. And I'm always open to feedback. It's only been out a month and I want as much feedback as I can so I could improve it as much as I can.

Mary: Okay. So, I noticed that you're very responsive on Twitter. Is that the best place to get in touch with you? Or...

Yan: Well, you can...Twitter is fine. I have my e-mail all over the site now. So that's...if there's a personal question and you don't want to say who, going to what kind of business you're working for and that kind of thing, then just e-mail it to me. A quick question, you can get me on Twitter as well. No problem.

Carrie: I got help by Twitter because I had some weird setting in my Mac that was not letting the reports run. And Yan helped me right away with that. It was very helpful. Thank you very much. So, that's Deep Dive for today. Thanks, Yan, for joining us. Thanks, Mary. And more to come. Thanks, everybody. Bye-bye.

Mary: Thanks for a great tool, Yan. Bye.

Yan: Thank you very much.

Carrie: Thank you. Bye.

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