Local SEO is becoming more exciting nowadays. And here are my tips for it.
Start by leveraging your unique selling proposition (USP)
Having the right USP can give you a great competitive advantage in your local market. You can use it as a theme on how to craft and promote your local content. It must answer all the possible whys. Like: why I need to choose your business over the others?, why would I like to come back again & again, why should I trust you and many more.
Not Just NAP but it’s a NAPU Rule
Make sure that you have a complete and consistent Name, Address, Phone Number and URL on all your local listings and website. Yes it’s not just a NAP rule but a NAPU one. Having the right URL plays an important role on providing quality and targeted traffic to your website.
Responsive & Fast Loading Site is a Must
With the increasing trend of mobile device usage, having a responsive site is vital. We all know that within the mobile local search, the website is visible; users tend to visit the site instantly. If you’re the user who wanted to see a slow loading site? Nobody! This is the main reason why optimizing your website speed is a must. And it should be compatible in any type of mobile device.
Location Based Singals
If you want to go beyond the standard location-based signals, consider mentioning related entities (if appropriate) within your on-page copy. We’ve seen very successful pages implement this exact strategy.
This can include common landmarks and locations, even extending to things the area is known for, like food or sports teams. Additionally, you can include area-specific business information, like when the first office was opened, the number of employees from that state, etc.
Here is an example of mentioning related entities, both at the top (first paragraph) and bottom (“Did You Know?” section) of the page: https://www.libertymutual.com/auto/car-insurance-coverage/pennsylvania
Schema Markups For Multiple Locations
Including various locations within the structured data of a site is a good idea and can help Google make a deeper connection between those locations and the business. We recommend nesting this information in your Organization markup.
If your business has multiple locations and wishes to implement this, a guide on how to do so can be found here: https://gofishdigital.com/seos-guide-writing-structured-data-json-ld/
On- Page SEO is critical for Local SEO
Yes, on-page stuff is still critical, but you also need to put a lot of diligence into optimizing and monitoring your local business listings. Even though their direct impact on Google’s algorithm isn’t quite as strong as it used to be, your business listings still have the power to influence trust factors, and general visibility in the SERPs. For example, ranking in Google’s local stack often puts your site prominently placed on the 1st page of search results, and usually above all the other normal organic listings.
Creating and Optimizing Local Listing
Other than Google My Business, I would make Bing Local & Yelp the next top priorities, and then the data aggregators – like Localeze and Acxiom. After these citations have been verified and optimized, the job is only half-done…
Monitoring Local Listing
The 2nd half is to monitor your listings, meaning:
Asking For Reviews Regularly
Instill a habit of asking for reviews into your corporate culture. Reviews matter.
They factor into your search engine rankings and influence consumer purchasing decisions. In 2017, Survata (an independent research firm in San Francisco) found that 93% of consumers say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions (source: https://www.podium.com/resources/podium-state-of-online-reviews/).
People have easy access to online networks and devices (smartphones, tablets) that make it quick and easy for them to review your business, product or service. You just need to ask. The Local Consumer Review Study completed in 2016 (source: https://searchengineland.com/70-consumers-will-leave-review-business-asked-262802) found that roughly 71 percent of consumers will leave a review for a business if asked.
Note: Do not ask for reviews on Yelp – it is against their guidelines. Also do not offer incentives for reviews as it is against most other review site guidelines.
Optimizing For Multiple Locations
If you have multiple office locations don’t use your homepage as your offices’ website in your local profiles.
Create location pages for your different office locations and have relevant local information on that page.
Use an embedded Google map connected to your Google My Business page’s profile, so if users click “get directions” or “click to call” it will help improve your local profile as Google uses engagement for these 2 items in your Google My Business profile for rankings.
Include images of your office locations and give any needed advice for how to park and find your office when people arrive at the location.
Include your services, but target the page for the most important search term. On mobile in Google local results Google will mention that the businesses website mentions any related query users searched for to get the SERP page, so include relevant broad variations of your target on the page to improve relevance.
Optimize For Mobile
Search is all about mobile now. Local search is getting more specific. Consumers realize by being more specific in how they search, they can more quickly get to the information they’re looking for.
According to Google, over the past 2 years, mobile searches with the qualifier “for me” have grown over 60%.
Claim Local Listing For Your Business
If you want to be found locally, you must “claim your listing” on all the directories that are relevant to your business. Start by claiming your free listing on Google My Business. There might already be a listing up for your business, but if you haven’t “claimed” it, it’s likely not complete and may be incorrect.
Use your Google My Business information as the basis for creating listings on other local search directories, such as Yelp, Bing, and Yahoo & on local maps. It’s important your name, address & phone (NAP) information is exactly the same on all local search directories.
Google Website Section
The Google Website section within a Businesses GMB Dashboard is probably the best citation your business will ever have. It updates when your listing updates, your Google Posts are exported and indexable, your services or menu updates when you update the listing and you can craft the page with your own content.
Just make sure you check that when you publish you don’t replace your main url within the GMB listing, if it does then just swap it back.
UTM Tracking on GMB
Use UTM tracking on your GMB listing and Google Posts, in fact all your social media posts – how else are you able to gauge the effectiveness of your online interactions without Analytics data on how users actually engaged with your site.
Cross promote within the community
Cross promote within the community that your business is located. If you are a hairdresser, let customers know where they can get their car washed whilst having their hair cut, or have a coffee when having their car serviced. Talking to other local business not only helps foster a good working relationship, but all local businesses interlinking to one another sends a pretty powerful relevance signal to Gbot.
Optimised Service Pages
One Local SEO area we often see neglected by small business clients is to correctly optimise the service pages. If you provide a range of services then you will want a page for each of these that is also optimised for the location you serve.
If you are a locksmith and provide a 24/7 emergency service then ensure you have a page that details this and connects it to the area served. This is basic SEO but all too often overlooked.
This is all too often ignored. Local will get you so far, but in competitive industries you also need to build authority. Developing relevant links is crucial.
Tactics will depend upon industry but a content led approach will work for almost all business types. Develop content & promote it with guest posts.
This will typically generate a bio link and a link to your content piece – safe and simple way to build links once you have exhausted all obvious local link building techniques.
Synup is a great tool
Synup is a great tool to aggregate information to the top 40 business directories, syncing with major ones (Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp Business), and allowing single submissions to non-automatic directories.
It also has a review generation mechanism via email or SMS, as well a all-in-one review aggregation tool to allow you to respond to reviews all in one place.
Each Page With Local Specified Content
If you have multiple locations, make sure each has their own page with local specified content, service areas, types of services, etc. Match each location with a corresponding Google Business listing linking to that local location.
Optimize your GMB profile
There are a ton of online business listings you should be filling out to get consistent NAP for search but if you only have time for one it should be your Google My Business profile.
Google still maintains the lion’s share of market share in local search both in web browsers as well as their own mobile maps app.
Fill out your GMB profile completely, include the most specific category you can for your industry, make sure your business description, service pages, operating hours, and other fields are all filled out completely. Include your primary keyword phrases in your business description as well as your service descriptions.
Add as many images as you can (especially more than your competition). Connect a location-based page to your GMB profile instead of just your home page. Optimizing this profile well can help drive a lot of great traffic and leads to your business.
Get As Many Positive Reviews as You Can
Not only do consumers read reviews when they are looking to make a purchase decision but profiles with lots of user generated content tend to rank better in search.
Get reviews on Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and any other platforms that are important to your industry. For example, home-service industries like landscaping and plumbing should focus on getting reviews on the above mentioned platforms as well as sites like Houze and Angie’s List.
Implement Structured Data on Your Site
Schema markup is HTML code that makes your content machine-understandable.
That’s a fancy way of saying that it enables search engines to understand the relationships your content has to what a searcher is looking for.
Schema will not help your site rank better in local search however it will control how search engines display that data to their users. It can be applied to data like phone numbers, addresses, reviews, articles, and they types of business (such as attorney-specific schema).
Optimizing to the max is the key
Besides GMB there are citations to have in mind, one of the most popular will be Yelp, most for its popularity than its importance.
Yelp has the power to bring organic reviews and images. But how can you benefit from this popular platform without paying? And having a decent piece of real estate in the first page?
I am going to set the key points to optimize your Yelp profile and maximize your opportunities without paying.
Accuracy and consistency of your business data
The accuracy and consistency of your business data in Acxiom, Factual, Localeze and InfoGroup,
Continuously optimizing the landing page
continuously optimizing the landing page you’re sending out across the web (look for local SEO ranking factors),
Visibility Of NAP
the visibility of your consistent name, address, and phone number off your website, and the improving quantity and sentiment of users who rate and review on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and industry review sites. My tip, focus on these areas as a priority each month and you’ll see constant growth.
Local SEO business succeed
If you want your local SEO business succeed (I’ve helped a few local clients get into the local search rankings when they had no clue how to even start) I’d say the first thing you must do is make sure you make the most of your free local google listing.
Make sure the address is correct, all the information is correct, add some pictures, make sure your website and name is correct – phone number works etc.
You’d be surprised the number of local listings that simply have no information or wrong information – and no one visits them! The other local tip is the good ole fashion elbow rubbing and networking with local businesses, link to them, and get them to link to you – maybe not competitors but other businesses that can promote you while you promote them. The best tip of all is to go above and beyond for your customers because at the end of the day their reviews are going to be what brings you more business (or no business).
This Website Mentions In Local Map Pack
Have you ever seen the “this website mentions..” in the local map pack? Develop supporting pages for local keywords you specifically want to rank for. Even if these do not show high in regular organic results they can influence your top 3 map pack rankings.
Sponsor an event hosted by local
Sponsor an event hosted by local chamber of commerce and request only a backlinks in return.