Local SEO is an intense and vital part of internet marketing. Search engines are getting updated with constant algorithm changes and updates.
In this post, we’ll clarify what local businesses need to do to get themselves seen via search engines.
Yodle found that 82% of US shoppers utilize local organizations, and that they utilize them more than popular stores. All the more significantly, 47% of buyers expressed that they utilized local organizations more this year than a year ago, and 48% wanted to utilize local businesses’ services much more over the next year. Essentially nobody communicated that they would utilize local organizations less (1– 2%).
This development in buyers’ money being spent locally is a tremendous open door for advertisers to help independent local ventures. Yodel’s information on what shoppers need from local organizations is vital to seeing how to exploit this opportunity and market in a way that recognizes local organizations in their regions of quality.
The main thing that local organizations need to observe is that the local SEO ranking elements for local businesses are diverse to those of sites hoping to cover a more extensive topographical area. While most sites are searching for high specialist inbound connections, site speed, good quality, and so forth, for local organizations the fundamental ranking elements are these:
- NAP (Name, Address, Phone number)Consistency / Citations Listings
However, being a local business doesn’t mean you can disregard the various ranking elements that non-local businesses need to rank in Google. Regardless you’ll have to take the necessary steps here as well.
So, now we know what the key local SEO components are, how would we upgrade for them?
1. Keep NAP Updated and On the Home Page
Exact NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information is fundamental with the goal that Google can appropriately find the physical address of your business and show it in the local search results.
Here are a few factors that you have to remember with a specific end goal to enhance your NAP information:
Have the precise organization name, address and telephone number on your website and all other online channels where your business information is available.
Make NAP postings on all high authority business listing directories like Manta, Yelp, LinkedIn, FourSquare, BBB, Yellow Pages, Merchant Circles, Google My Business, the district where you documented your DBA, and so forth.
Use precisely the same NAP details everywhere online as specified in your Google My Business page.
2. Streamline your site for local positioning
There are a couple of principles you need to follow to completely streamline your website for local rankings, here they are:
Right off the bat, you should include your business location, business name and targeted keywords in your pages’ titles, URLs, image alt tags, and meta descriptions etc. Even though it is essential to include all this information in your page, try to keep them as natural as possible to maintain the readability. For instance, while a page’s URL can be ‘building-design-reeds-structure’ the page title should be something like “Building Design by Reeds, Hull”.
However, you might need to be a little careful when inserting keywords, location etc. in your on-page elements as overdoing it might seem like keyword stuffing for which you can also get penalized by Google.
I would rather recommend adding the business NAP information in the footer of the website. Also, making your phone number clickable is also advised so that users can simply click on it to directly call you when using your website on a mobile. This would make your website more user and search friendly.
Additionally, it is also great to have a detailed contact us page on your website that has your business name, address, phone number, website address, email address, working hours etc.
3. Building up a Reputation Through Reviews
You should keep in mind that your end consumer is not just going to make a buying decision by simply finding your business but based on his detailed research about you and your competitors and most importantly the past customers’ reviews.
Hence having good reviews on various online business directories is something that you should strongly pay attention to.
Some great review focused online directories include TripAdvisor, Yelp, Bookings.com, FourSquare and so on. However, depending on your business niche you should also find relevant directories and get your business listing there. You should also focus on getting reviews through your Google My Business Listing as this is the major listing that online visitors browse through when searching for your business.
Hence offering high service quality alone is not sufficient but you should also focus on encouraging your customer to leave a positive review for your business. You can also add on your website the badges of the online directories your business is present on, to help your customers find you for leaving a feedback. Additionally, you should encourage your staff to remind this to store customers as well.
4. Take part in Social Media
Social networking is an incredible way to attract and interact with new and old clients for your business. So, social media is emerging as a great way to expand your business by focusing on attracting new people to your business and also maintaining relationships with your existing customers. You can further enhance your social reach by running paid campaigns to target the desired audience.
Social media is a great way to share a lot of information about your business such as new products launch, offers & discounts, upcoming events etc.
5. Feature What Consumers Value About Local Businesses
Shoppers respect local organizations for quality. They overwhelmingly pick local businesses over big brands for giving customized benefit, offering quality services/products, treating clients nicely and great customer service.
For instance, for “kitchen remodel” search results, include into the business description terms like, “custom designs” “efficient and durable remodelling,” or related terms that remind the shopper that conveying quality is an imperative factor while assessing a business.
Another approach to impact a customer’s buying decision is to highlight that your business is local. Since buyers today firmly trust local businesses, hence adding the local business tag to your online store distinguishes you as a business which is easily approachable to the customer.
So, including local details in your meta tags, page content and client reviews on different directories (e.g., Yelp) that highlights your local nearness, can give you an added advantage as compared to the big national/international brands.
Indeed, even national establishments can ensure that clients know the store is based locally. Furthermore, adding pictures of your local store & staff and utilizing the “locally based” terms can further strengthen your identity as a local business for impressing both search engines and online visitors.
6. List your Business on Online Business Directories
Besides claiming a Google local listing, it’s also recommended to get your business listed on other top-notch directories or business listing websites, for example, Yell, Thompsons Local or Trip Advisor etc. Not only this will give you an option to puts your business in front of the visitors of these directories but also getting more citations for your NAP will help strengthen your local ranking as well.
7. Have Higher Relevance and Prominence
Relevance and Prominence is a major factor in local SEO and Google bends over backward to show just the most relevant local organizations in the search results.
Here are some ways that you can enhance your relevance and prominence score in the local 3-pack:
- Recognize your targeted audience and improve your online presence for applicable keyword searches.
- Get online positive reviews about your business from your real customers. When your customers start recognizing your business for a commendable service, Google rankings will certainly witness the improvements.
- Be proactive in responding to the customer reviews.
- Keep the NAP info and working hours updated to help your customers.
8. Links Matter More than You Think
When it comes to local SEO, the local businesses or marketers generally not give as much attention to building links as they should.
Links matter a lot in local SEO too and it is highly recommended that your business website gets a lot of links, especially from local sites, in order to enhance your local search rankings.
Here are some tips to attain the most suitable links for your local business:
- Make sure that most of the links are relevant to your business. For example, say you are running a pastry shop in Atlanta then it is better to get your business linked from the Atlanta based directories, schools, universities, local blogs etc. instead of getting links from a website in some other state.
- Build backlinks on high authority local websites with good domain authority.
- Put efforts towards getting backlinks from Wikipedia and your local Chamber of Commerce.
- Make some local asset pages utilizing general local information and try to connect with the local press.
- Offer grants and local prizes by holding some contests for local audience.
- Support a local community meet-up, charity or a local event.
- Get interviewed by local bloggers and ask the interviewer to link to your website.
9. Keep Website Updated
As per Local Search Association (LSA) survey, half of online shopped said that they are highly liable to visit a business’s website when searching for a local business, the second most used source to find local services after search engines.
The significance of business website as a source of data is obvious: Search results, online reviews or advertisements contain limited information, whereas on a business website more accurate data is available, for example, menus, costs, contact information, staff details and other details that online shoppers need to make their buying decision.
Obviously, this means a local business should have a business website. LSA’s Local Pulse Survey directed by Thrive Analytics not long ago uncovered that almost 51% of the local businesses have business websites. Over 30% of the businesses with under 25 staff members still don’t have a website.
For those that do have a site, neglecting to look after it — or regarding it as a static resource — might be similarly as awful as not having one. Outdated or inaccurate data confuses shoppers and risks losing important customers.
As indicated by LSA’s Local Pulse Survey, 56% of SMBs take over a half year or more before updating their websites. Good content and frequent website updates not just encourage SEO, it’s what shoppers want.
In conclusion, as stated in the beginning, getting 3-pack local results can be a tedious task yet with top-notch local SEO services and consistent efforts you can definitely be successful in putting your business in local pack results. By following our Local SEO tips, you can most certainly get ahead of your competition and achieve better ROI.
Laura is a Marketing Manager at WebDigify. She likes to write about latest digital marketing, web development and SEO techniques & trends.
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Local SEO Checklist
Can your potential customers find you online?
If you own a physical location that needs to attract local customers, getting your local SEO updated should be top of mind. When a desktop or mobile searcher looks for you, guiding them to your doorstep rather than your competitors shouldn’t be such a difficult task. So, we’ve put together this local SEO checklist for 2016 to make sure that doesn’t happen.
But your local SEO specifics are dependent on your type of business model. So let’s go ahead and start with that.
Step 1: Choosing Your Company Type
You’ll most likely be in one of these six categories:
1. One Location Physical Business (customers come to you)
2. Multi-Location Physical Business (customers come to you)
3. One Location Service Physical Business (Staff arrive here and leave from here to serve customers)
4. Multi-Location Service Physical Business (Staff arrive here and leave from here to serve customers)
5. Multi-Office Campus or Practitioner Business (hospitals, schools, legal, financial, consulting, etc.)
Make sure to choose one before moving on.
Step 2: Getting your Google My Business Account Right
If you haven’t already set up your Google My Business account, do that immediately. That allows your business name, hours, phone number, and directions to show on Google. The type of account you create depends on your business model. This is the core to all local SEO efforts.
1. One Location Physical Businesses – Create a Google My Business listing with your address and all other information you have the ability to fill out. You want to cover as much as possible.
2. Multi-Location Physical Businesses – Create a Google My Business listing for each location with a different address make sure you have a unique phone number on each listing.
3. One Location Service Physical Business – Create a single Google My Business listing for your business and hide your address from appearing unless you have a specific reason not to. This can be done in your Google My Business dashboard.
4. Multi-Location Service Physical Business – Create a Google My Business listing for each location and make sure each one has a different address and phone number. It’s recommended that you hide your address from appearing in search unless you have a specific reason not to.
5. Multi-Office Campus or Practitioner Business – Create a Google My Business listing for the different locations and make sure you use a different phone number and location for each listing.
6. Home-Based – Create a single Google My Business listing and decide whether or not you want the public to know where your physical location is.
Step 3: Choosing Your Online Content Strategy
Using your business type to guide your online strategy doesn’t end with only Google My Business listings. You can apply this to your online content strategy as well.
1. One Location Physical Businesses – Make sure you have a page on your website dedicated to each different product or service.
2. Multi-Location Physical Businesses – Make sure you have a page on your website dedicated to each different product or service. Have a dedicated web page to each business location and keep your phone number, address, and name of that location at the top of all the sub-pages on that domain.
3. One Location Service Physical Business – Make sure you have a page on your website dedicated to each different product or service. Also put up a separate web page for the city or cities you operate in.
4. Multi-Location Service Physical Business – Make sure you have a page on your website dedicated to each product or service you offer as well as putting a page up for the each different city you operate in. Include your address, phone number, and name in these pages at the top of the page.
5. Multi-Office Campus or Practitioner Business – Make sure there is a page on your website dedicated to each different product or service you offer. You should also have a page for each different campus/partner of your practice’s brand. Keep your name, phone number, and address at the top of each page.
6. Home-Based – Have a page for each different product or service your company offers and dedicate a page to each different city you operate in.
And don’t forget, it doesn’t matter what category you fit into for the basics. You always need a good about us page, testimonials/reviews page, and a contact us page.
And from here on out, all business models and types can continue to the last step in the same manner.
Step 4: Perform an On-site Technical Checkup
- Make sure your website can be indexed on Google and is properly optimized.
- Check if your website is mobile friendly.
- Ensure that you have a page on your website that is dedicated for contact details including your name, address (can have a visual map), and phone number.
- Keep your phone number displayed in a visible position on your website to allow traffic to access it easily.
- Double-check to see if your cross-website phone number, address, and description is consistent.
Step 5: Expand your local-specific content
In addition to your over-arching content strategy, you’ll want to invest time into building a local-specific content strategy. The amount of time you should invest in this depends on your company’s need of local customers. The more local customers you need, the more effort you should put into this.
- Make sure you’re tagging your customer testimonials with addresses and using them in your city-specific landing pages. This makes pages more unique and helps to build trust.
- If a customer made a product or service testimonial, post that on the dedicated product or service web page. This builds trust and gets picked up by search engines.
- Ensure that you have an on-site content production outlet where fresh content can be indexed by Google to keep your website ranking in Google.
- If relevant, keep an updated calendar on your website for city and product specific occurrences like upcoming deals, promos, and events.
- Maximize event hosting and sponsorship by writing about them in your company blog and create content around local occurrences.
- Write about topics that are meant to address problems in specific geographic locations or in certain different demographic communities.
Step 6: Really look at Citations
Online citations are extremely important for local ranking and should most definitely be used if your strategy for success depends on local customers coming through your doors. Online citations are created through sites like Yellowpages.com. Here’s a few items to check off.
- Create citations for each different business address you have and track your name, phone number, and linked web page URL to make sure they are all consistent and updated throughout.
- After covering the big local citation platforms, you can also create citations on geographically relevant third-party platforms. For example, you have the “Better Business Bureau” general site and also the “Dallas Better Business Bureau” where you could create an additional citation.
- Watch out for duplicates! Having a duplicate citation can pull down your local rankings quite badly so make sure you go over every citation your business created in the past if there were any.
Step 7: Allow for Reviews to Be Generated
- Go through all the big platforms like Google My Business and Yelp to make sure your company profiles are completely filled out and consistent.
- Get listed on your company’s industry review platforms and well as your geographic review platforms.
- Make sure your website’s traffic has a way to go directly from your site to a review platform.
- Do no directly ask your customers to review your business, but rather, encourage them to do so by giving them the option to on your website and social platforms.
- Make sure you’re responding to both good and bad reviews. Besides bringing back lost customers and giving you valuable business insight, doing this can encourage those who are considering writing a review to do so because they know you will respond.
Local SEO is something you need to stay updated with to keep customers coming in, which is why it can sometimes be a costly endeavor. Check out the local SEO work we’ve done for our clients here!
How can Blogs Boost your Local SEO Results?
In a 2012 post by Chris Silver Smith, Blogging has been called a secret weapon for local SEO. How much of that perception has changed? Here’s a look.
There was a time when people associated blogs with a teenager dictating their life on the Internet or a travel narrative narrating the wonders of exotic places or a messaging board to express a hobby, but blogs are much more than the perceptions we have acquired about them. In fact, business blogs have grown tremendously to connect, interact and inform their consumers. Many businesses now know they should be blogging, but still feel uneasy, maybe because of those preconceived perceptions and the writing task at hand. However, there is more to the blog than slapping up some content. Extra content just for the heck of it defeats the purpose of establishing a true connection.
So what should a company know before they start developing their blog? Well, first off the ultimate goal is to use the blog to rise in local search results. That’s right, your main goal should be increasing your SEO.
So here are a few helpful tips to do just that:
1. Know your target market
By knowing exactly who your target market is and how you want to connect with them will bring you one step closer to getting relevant content in front of the eyes of customers eager to learn about your company and potentially use your services. If you are unsure of your surrounding demographic utilize Nielson’s zip code lookup and other such tools. Once you have established what kind of articles and information your blog should incorporate to connect to that defined audience, use keywords and topic titles to entice them into reading your post. However, realize that with the prevalence of mobile phones, queries are less likely typed, but narrated though Siri. Questions like “Where is the nearest gas station” are more likely spoken into the phone, which over time has changed keyword content.
2. Get local
If you want customers that are local, then think locally by incorporating local elements to your blog. For instance local events and issues should be broadcasted on your blog. Now if local news is not at all relevant to your company, think twice about including it in your blog. But for the most part keep in eye out for news worthy events that could draw customers who are interested in more information about current headlines. Getting local also means integrating local locations into your blog. City names are obvious, so think more minutely with town names, neighborhoods or local terminology for places. I also recommend using an appropriate schema markup to identify yourself as a local business with exactly what type of business you are in.
3. Participate with interesting information
When I talk about participation I mean two things. 1. Keep your blog updated with regular postings. This does not mean daily blogs must be written, but you do need to find the happy medium without weeklong strengths of absence. Most importantly, do not talk about your company or your products. Blog readers do not want to read information littered with obvious promotional advertising. Thus, craft your blog to be a trusted source of industry information. 2. Participation also means connecting and engaging with other business blogs. Comment on other blogs to receive potential links to draw customers to your information. Remember the interaction of business blogs can be very much like social media, with many individuals connecting to form a community of information.
4. Link your blog to your company
For the best SEO blogging benefits, host your blog on your company domain to ensure inbound links for the blog are transferred to the main website. Then, as your blog’s search rankings increase so do your website’s ratings. Also note that your contact information like name, address and phone number should be incorporated in the same format throughout your blog to produce optimal SEO.
It may feel daunting to start a blog, but the best way to get over that hurtle is to set a content plan or calendar and start writing. Also remember there are local SEO consulting and local SEO agencies out there that can help you increase your rankings.