Local search is key for every local business, no matter what industry you are or where you’re located. Making sure that your website is winning the local search battle is what will separate your business from your competitors.
Google’s algorithm is a constant change which makes local search even more competitive. If you aren’t implementing the right strategies, you may find yourself never ranking in that first page of results, let alone that coveted top 3 local pack. Here’s SEO Locale’s guide to local SEO!
Local Search Results:
1. Local On-Page SEO Results
It’s important that we focus this point on sending signals to Google Bots that your website is relevant for (these) specific key phrases in (this) specific area. If you think about it, it’s common sense – Let people know who you are, what you do, and where you do it. What elements are part of the on-page locale SEO strategy?
• Title Tags
• Meta Descriptions
• Headers Tags
• Page Content
• NAP (name, address, phone number, and ideally scheme markup!)
• External Reviews
Because the titles and description are so critical, you’ll want to make sure this is where you’re including your services and location.
2. Linking Signals
Building a high authority link portfolio is the next most important step in local SEO. Although links are typically very specific in nature (what website is getting them, from who, why), we can at least get a high level view on some guidelines in how to build quality links. Let’s dive into some options for local businesses:
• Don’t bother. As crazy is it might sound, for smaller businesses that are hyper-local, it is often times perfectly fine to simply claim all of your social pages (Yelp, Google Business, Yellow Pages, etc.) and have a strong on-page SEO strategy.
• Location Specific Links. Grab some links from very credible and well-known sources that are local to your business.
• Industry Specific Links. A backlink from a site that is in the same industry as you are typically a positive. I would recommend starting with a competitive analysis to see where your local competitors are grabbing links from. SEO Locale can help you out here with our bevy of tools ☺.
• Authority Sites. If you can create anything that is deserving of a legit backlink, send it around to some of the very high authority websites out there and see if they’re interested.
The key with link building is to make sure sites are legit and not meant for spamming. Ask yourself if the site is real, find out how the links are placed, and if the site will generate quality referral traffic.
3. Google My Business
1. Verify/Create page.
2. Enter is NAP and website
3. Assign Categories
4. Add Cover Photo
5. Upload Photos (relevant to business – seriously I’ve seen pages with family trip photos…)
6. Create Business Description
7. You can enter address in description if it’s relevant
8. Add special offer if applicable or CTA (call to action)
9. Get Google Partner Photographer to create Google Virtual Tour
10. Get as Many Reviews as Possible on Google Page
11. Reply to All Inquires!
4. External Location Signals
NAP consistency is extremely important to have. Google wants to make sure that it sends its customers and users to real businesses that are still running daily operations and will help the user with whatever they need. A great way to get this done is buy creating business citations throughout the web. There are hundreds of platforms for you to do this such as yellowpages.com, manta.com, yelp.com, and infinite more.
Reviews help, plain and simple. People are more likely to trust your business if they read real reviews from real customers. A lot of people are afraid of bad reviews – that’s nonsense. If you get a bad review, make sure you publically deal with the angry customer and make it right on a public platform. Let everyone see that on the off chance they have a bad experience, you’ll do everything in your power to make it right. That might even go a longer way than a 5-star review to begin with.
6. Social Signals
Stay active on all social platforms and make sure your profiles are all consistent with NAP and branded accordingly. This should be a simple task for anyone!
Local search will never stop being competitive and it is important to figure out ways to constantly differentiate your business and website from the competition. The more detailed info you can provide, the better off you’ll be. Make sure your business maximizes its visibility and you’re providing yourself the most opportunity for new business.