In the beginning, local SEO much like its organic counterpart, was pretty simple. Build a ton of citations and rank. In 2015 you have to be a little more strategic if you want to break into the local results. Below we are going to cover seven important steps you need to take if you want to claim your spot in the local results.
1. Create a Blog Schedule
I know what you are saying "content is king...heard that before..." To achieve higher local rankings, content is more important than for organic SEO. The difference is, you can syndicate relevant content on your local site and still benefit from regularly updating your website. Mix syndicated content in with original posts and you are golden.
2. Quality over Quantity
Creating a local citation anywhere and everywhere you can make one is no longer the best method. Before beginning a citation building campaign, look for the citations that are showing up most often for your search terms and start by building citations on those sites.
3. Ask for Reviews
One of the easiest ways for Google to identify a real business is by the number of reviews they have from active users. If you are doing great work for your customers, go ahead and ask them to leave you a review. Not only will it help with rankings but having several good reviews can also increase your conversion and click-through rates.
4. Citation Boosting
Since you are going to have fewer local citations, you can improve your results by increasing the page authority of your listing. Building links to a citation may sound a little strange but many of you are already doing this without realizing such as when you mention your Facebook page in your author bio on a guest post. Boosting citations does not have to be spammy or difficult, just make an effort to mention your listings when you are building links.
5. User Experience
By now most of you know that having a website that is easy to navigate is paramount to online success. I challenge you to go further with UX though, especially the experience for mobile users. Think about how you search from a mobile device versus a desktop and be cognizant of those differences when designing your website. Just as important, review your analytics and find out what device the majority of your traffic comes from. The better you understand your target audience and tailor your website to them, the happier they will be.
6. Start Thinking about Apps
Some local businesses such as restaurants are already heavily searched from apps. Other local businesses are not searched as often but in the continuing effort to provide exceptional user experience, I expect the number of app-based local searches to increase dramatically over the next few years. If you are in an industry with a great app available, you should look into signing up.
7. Get Out in YOUR Community
Long ago Google stated that they want to show popular sites to users, not make sites popular. As a local business, you need to make an effort to get out and get involved in your community. In the process of giving back, you will naturally acquire press coverage, mentions and links, all of which will help your rankings. In addition, you will be building brand recognition in your community and establishing trust.
Even though there are several other things you can do to improve your local rankings, making time to do just the 7 listed above can make a big difference in how well you appear locally and how many customers will be exposed to your business online.
Over to You...
What is one thing you have done to boost your local presence?