Our phones at Dynamik Internet Marketing Inc. are constantly ringing with business owners who are interested in our SEO and internet marketing services. One of the most common questions we receive particularly from local business owners sounds like this, “What is included in your local SEO service and how does that help us rank in Google?”
This is in fact a great question. To answer, there is a lot of work and smaller particular tasks that go into the craft that is local search engine optimization. To dive into further detail and help you understand exactly what your business needs to have completed from an SEO standpoint, we have outlined the Top 10 Local SEO tips!
Follow each step carefully and you can earn yourself higher rankings in Google and can reap the benefits of increased inbound leads. Lets’ get started.
#1 Create a Great Google+ Local Page
Have you ever searched for a service in Google and Google maps has revealed dozens of business locations for you? You may wonder where that information comes from.
Well, Google takes that information, not from individual websites, as might be expected, but from Google + Local Pages. This means that each business on Google Maps has to register its own information to be seen by searchers. Setting up a Google + Local page is really straightforward, it doesn’t take a whole lot of time and the return on your investment is well worth it.
Things to consider when creating a Google+ Local Page are choosing an appropriate profile photo, filling in all the relevant information and ensuring the pin is properly located. It’s important to have the name, address, and phone number (NAP) you provide in the same format across all your social profiles, whether on Google+, Facebook, Yelp, Trip Advisor or whatever other platform you may use.
Tip: Make sure you only create a single page per location. Whilst it may be tempting to create duplicate local pages in order to boost your ability to be found, this can be very detrimental to your SEO and is actually against the Google Terms of Service.
#2 Optimize your Page Titles
Make sure that your service and location are included in all relevant page title tags. This is the best way for the Googlebot to find your site and link it to local search terms and is especially critical for your homepage.
A 2014 report by search marketing specialists Moz, revealed that SEO marketers found that having your city and state in your landing page title was the number one factor in localized organic search – this was considred to be more of a ranking factor than the quality of inbound links and the domain authority of a particular website. So get your title tags optimized first and foremost!
#3 List Your Contact Info On Your Website + Link to Your Google Plus Page
Having updated information on your pages and profiles is a given. Make sure you have NAP – Name, Address, Phone, all sorted. If you have more than one service or location, add multiple web pages for each of these, this will be good for SEO and clearer for your customer.
But most importantly make sure your NAP is listed on the homepage of your website & then link from your website over to your Google plus page. This really helps Google connect the dots and when Google feels confident that your Google plus page belongs to your website; you get a ranking boost!
#4 Use Schema
Schema markup is a code that you can place on your website to assist search engines to provide more detailed results for readers. It can be regarded as a type of artificial intelligence that explains to the search engines what your data means in human terms. Schema is another great way to boost your SEO.
Fortunately for you, there are many who have yet to realize the potential of this tool and it is therefore an advantage you can have over your competitors. There are also WordPress plugins to help you install schema if you don’t have a developer in house. Just another reason, we love WordPress.
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#5 Make sure your site is mobile friendly
As the influence of mobile phones and tablets becomes even more prominent, a mobile friendly site is increasingly important for both global and local SEO. Google’s next major search engine update is again predicted to place more emphasis on the importance of mobile friendly designs and therefore you should be doing all you can to prepare for such a change.
A Google statement has said ““Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
Are you ready for the mobile apocalypse? Test to see if your site is Google mobile compliant here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
#6 Engage in Quality Link Building
This is a pretty standard organic ranking practice but remains significant nonetheless. The need for high-quality links is only becoming more important with changes in the Google algorithms.
Always be on the lookout for new link building opportunities. For starters ask any partner organizations, retailers, suppliers, or otherwise friends; to link to your website.
Additionally make sure you claim a link and profile from all the top social networking and media sites. If you have an established brand consider building a wikipedia page and link back to your website.
For further exposure and inbound links, offer to write a guest blog post for a related industry blogging site. When it comes to link building, there are a hundred different strategies and places to go.
#7 Utilize Social Media Marketing effectively
Social media marketing is important for various reasons. Not only does it provide a seamless platform to promote your services and share your content, but it can also act effectively as another search engine. Likewise, social media links are extremely valuable in the eyes of Google. Make sure when you post on social networks that you occasionally self promote and link back to your website!
Tip: Because social media is constantly changing and evolving, it provides an opportunity for you to stay ahead of the curve and creatively engage with your clients or customers.
#8 Create unforgettable content
The mantra ‘content is king’ is constantly thrown around in internet marketing circles. This is nowhere more apparent than for local businesses. Again, competing with larger organizations can be difficult, but providing better quality or location specific content is where you have the unique advantage in the SERPs.
It also allows you to be perceived as an authority in your area, which goes a long way when it comes to closing offline sales. If you need helping coming up with a blog post idea, check out, our Top 5 Blog Posts for Business Owners.
#9 Get customer reviews
Customer reviews are another vital aspect of local SEO. In addition to your inbound link profile, on page content, and social media presence; online reviews are also evaluated by Google in relation to their authority and quantity. We advise all our clients to set up a process that makes it very straightforward for your customers to leave reviews.
For example we recommend sending a survey email out to customers a few days after they have enjoyed your service or product to ask them for their feedback. The survey should be a conditional online survey in which the subsequent questions are based on the answer to the previous question.
By using a conditional logic survey, you can direct those customers who had a positive experience with your brand to then leave a review on your Google or Yelp page. In turn, those customers who had a negative or neutral experience should be directed to leave more information on how your brand can improve customer satisfaction. Customers who viewed your brand as negative should not be directed to your Google or Yelp page, as you do not want them to leave a review until you have improved their experience with your brand.
By using an online survey you can dramatically increase the number of online positive reviews your business receives.
In particular we help our clients aggregate positive reviews on Yelp and their Google plus local page, as these two sites are the most important when it comes to increasing your local SEO efforts and protecting your brand reputation.
#10 Build Local Citations
One of the biggest ranking factors Google uses for inclusion in Google maps is the number of accurate and consistent citations your local business has. By definition a citation is a listing in a local business directory such as Yellow Pages, Manta, City Search, Yelp, or Yahoo!.
There are in fact nearly 300 U.S. based local directories where your business should be listed. The more listings your business has with a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) the more confident Google can feel about giving your business real estate on the 1st page of their search engine.
We advise all our clients to register their business on each of these 300 location directories. When completing your profile you should include your name, address, phone number, unique business description, upload photos, and be sure to link back to your website.
After reading this post you may understand local SEO is not as difficult as you may have expected. It is however very time consuming and does require an expertise or otherwise guidance implementing each tactic.
Now that you have our top 10 list as a roadmap, you are all set to optimize your business for local search. Of course, if you would rather have our team of experts implement these strategies on your behalf, we would certainly love to do so.