Local SEO is an essential and efficient strategy for businesses that want long-term success across search engines.
With Google placing a growing emphasis on local searches, now is the time to start reanalyzing your local optimization strategies if they are not working as planned or are non-existent.
The number of online searches carried out on mobile devices has increased significantly over the past few years. According to Google, the majority of these mobile searches are carried out while on the move. With the rise of mobile devices, such as Apple watches, proximity-based searches will continue to grow in popularity, and local searches will be determined by hyper-specific locations. Since local searches often lead to in store visits or purchases, there is no denying the value of ranking locally. Below we are going to discuss proven steps you should be taking to improve your local positioning.
Your Google My Business Page is the backbone of your local ranking strategy, take the time to make sure you set it up properly. If you haven't already, you will need to claim your Google My Business page. Google My Business is a unified interface designed by Google to make it easier for local businesses and brands to be better found by local searchers. Essentially, an account with Google my Business allows you to combine social, search and Web initiatives into one dashboard. When you log in your dashboard, you will be prompted to fill out all your essential business information. The more you completely fill out your business information, the stronger your foundation will be. Here are a few key areas to touch on when optimizing your listing:
Citations are basically details of your business on other websites. Search engines use citations to establish trust that your business is real and is actually in the location you are telling them. Businesses with more citations are more visible in local search results. Having correct and consistent citations is vital when it comes to local optimization. Before doing any new citation building, start by conducting an audit of the company's citation profile. You will want to ensure that your citations are clean, and the NAP (name, address, and phone number) are submitted correctly. Building new citations, updating incorrect citations and enhancing your profile with as much data as possible can result in significant local search wins. Be sure to include photos in your citations as well.
Citation Building Hack: Distributing a press release using a high-quality syndication service can allow you to gain numerous unique, unstructured citations to your business.
On-page optimization for your enterprise's landing page or website is an essential aspect of local optimization. Some small businesses rank high in local searches if they only have solid on-page optimization. For optimal on-page optimization:
Geo-tagging refers to the metadata that is embedded into a photo to enable the search engine to see the association of that photo with a specific location. It is a way for companies to optimize their images for local searches. In order to geo-tag your photos you simply need to find a tool that will allow you to edit the EXIF data of your photos.
A few years back local SEO was primarily citation driven but after the introduction of the Blended Search Algorithm, links became just as important for local SEO as they are for organic rankings. There are three types of links you should strive for as a local business:
Having positive reviews online helps to build credibility and trust, something that most future customers will look for actively. It is essential that you gather local business reviews right away. Rather than bribing your customers, simply give them a list of review websites and let them know that you would love hearing their feedback. Consider creating a page on your website that shows all the review options, or you can send out emails to past clients asking for feedback.
Social media can indirectly drive links to your website. It can also boost engagement, generate shares and serve as another primary source of traffic to your website. As a local business, do not fall into the trap of thinking you have to be active on every social platform under the sun. Instead, do your research and find out which platforms your IDEAL customers are likely to be on, then create a posting schedule, engage with followers and take advantage of paid ad options when available to drive social traffic to your site. If you feel like social isn't right for your business type, you may be right, so don't be afraid to spend your time and money elsewhere.
Most customers respond well to visual content. Use infographics, images and videos in your website content whenever possible. This will make your visitors stay on your site longer, increasing the chances of them turning into a lead or sale. Focus on enhancing user experience and you will find it easier to earn more links as well.
Reduce, Recylce, Re-use - Whenever you have content like images, infographics or videos, be sure to repurpose them to create links and citations. Your video can be submitted to several sites with your NAP data in the description. Your infographics can be used to build links and citations. Your images can be geo-tagged and added to your citations and photo sharing sites to generate additional local signals.
Almost every local niche has its own unique recipe for ranking. While following the basic steps for local SEO will do the trick in many cases, testing will allow you to uncover ways to rank faster and maintain your top spot. It will also enable you to spot shifting trends in your local results and adapt your strategy before you use any rankings.
As a local small business owner you often have a lot on your plate and limited time to get everything done. While the steps above are not complex, following them is going to be a good use of your time and effort, especially if you are looking to capture more of your local traffic.