Do you want to grow your business and attract new customers? Effective, local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies are wonderful tools that can achieve this goal. Local SEO uses site rankings on search engines, business directories, reviews, and digital directories to market your business to residents in your area.
Almost 7.6 billion customers search the internet for local companies on their mobile devices and computers, according to a study. Using effective local SEO tactics can help your website stand out in search engine results pages (SERPs). It also maximizes the return on your marketing investment. Local SEO can help consumers that need to purchase a product from a city retailer. It can convert their online searches into in-store purchases.
Optimizing your site for local SEO requirements is essential. In this detailed article, we will show you the best practices we’ll follow when optimizing your business site for local SEO.
1. Conduct a review of your website.
Many of the same practices that apply to general SEO will apply to local SEO practices. Before you can improve your local SEO rankings, you need a website audit.
Our SEO Plans will help you get your website in top shape. During our audit we’ll:
- Check if your site’s online pages are working.
- Validate information to ensure it’s current.
- Change any erroneous information.
- Update your title and meta descriptions.
- Verify that your website is properly indexed by all search engines.
- Ensure that your website follows website accessibility standards released by the W3C.
- Optimize your site for mobile devices.
- Make sure your site loads quickly in all browsers.
- Add your city, state, and zip code to your business website.
- Place reference title tags in your content where it makes sense.
2. Check your company’s citations.
Your company’s name, physical address, and phone number (NAP) should be indexed on major citation data aggregators. If it is not, add it, along with your official website and social media pages. If you’re looking to manage your citations yourself, inexpensive solutions like Whitespark and BrightLocal can help you find and post to new citation sources.
3. Index your company on online merchant directories.
Most people use search engines to find a local business. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs haven’t even claimed their business pages on directories like Yelp, Merchant Circle, CitySearch, YP, SuperPages, Foursquare, and others. To stand out from the crowd, index your business.
Write unique, compelling, and descriptive text to ensure great click-through rates. As part of our local SEO service, we can help market your website to clients and drive more traffic to your sites.
4. Verify your Google My Business and Bing Places for Business pages.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free directory that can give you high exposure to potential customers in your area.
- Claim Your GMB account. You must claim a Google My Business page for your business site to be indexed. This will improve your company’s standings among Google’s Local Pack. Visit www.google.com/business to claim your page.
- Verify your business. Only a business owner can claim a GMB page. Your store will need to go through a verification process. Google will mail a postcard printed with a PIN to your company’s physical address.
- Maintain full control of your GMB account. Although you maintain full control, you can give our website marketing team permission to manage your GMB page.
- Optimize your GMB listing. Ensure that your business description is accurate and categorized correctly. Make sure it lists your business hours and the payment types that you accept.
- Submit professional photographs of your business and products. Provide three or more web-optimized photographs. If possible, upload video clips to give your potential customers a view of your business.
After you add your GMB profile, it will be indexed by Google Maps.
You will also need to complete your Bing Places for Business to ensure your directory. Make sure that your business is indexed properly. It follows a similar process to GMB.
Your GMB and BPB accounts also give owners a chance to respond to customers reviews.
5. Manage your online business reputation.
Eighty-eight percent of people trust online reviews. People usually refer to reviews when making purchasing decisions. Online evaluations also help businesses learn where your clientele live. They provide insight into what customers are saying about your business.
Google has altered their algorithms to recognize websites that provide excellent customer service to their customers. Well-reviewed sites are placed higher in the rankings. Poorly reviewed sites become invisible. Having great evaluations on these platforms can attract more customers to your business. Make sure you’re taking great care of your customers.
Solicit reviews from customers following your business’s social media accounts. Ask your clients to leave reviews about your business on Google. Almost seven out of 10 customers will write one about your business if they’re asked. These evaluations are essential to business success and growth.
Today, the top three business review sites online are Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
Looking to managed your reputation on your own? The following software suites can help you solicit and manage customer reviews.
Things to consider when asking for reviews:
- Ask customers to leave reviews.
- Don’t pay customers for reviews.
- Don’t ask for fake reviews or buy them online.
- Don’t respond to every review.
- Hesitate before responding to negative reviews.
6. Use local structured data markup.
Schema markup (also called schema.org or structured data markup) is website code that tells search engines more details about your company, including its products, reviews, and services.
Only one-third of business websites use this markup. Include this LSDM to help your site stand out. Google loves structured data markup because it helps its search engine learn what your site content is about.
Sounds complicated right? Sign up for our Local SEO Services and we’ll handle get our hands dirty in Scheme for you.
7. Claim your social media profiles.
To increase your number of free citations, claim your business profiles on as many social media platforms as possible.
8. Start a Blog
Launch a blog to speak directly to your prospective customers. Engage your clients. Talk about important local issues in your community. Mention new products that you are selling to customers. Check the citations on each blog page. Share posts on social media to expand your reach.
9. Have a Mobile-Ready Website
Google is implementing its Mobile-first Indexing in early 2018. It will show the mobile version of websites first, instead of the desktop-based ones. The majority of Google’s users are mobile users. If your site is slow loading and not designed for mobile users, it will drop in Google’s rankings. We can prepare your site for this monumental change.
If need to optimize your business site for local SEO, contact us for more information, or call us at 425-954-5563.
- Local SEO in 2017: Five Simple Ways to Dominate Local Search
- The Beginner’s Guide to Local SEO
- Local Marketing Institute: 6 Steps to Local Search Engine Optimization
- Local SEO for Small Businesses: A Beginner’s Guide
- Get to Know Moz Local Webinar