Developing a viable SEO campaign in order to rank well for local search results is a challenge. It’s likely that you’ve already explored on-page SEO tips, but it’s also important to look at how off-page factors can contribute. These range from the easy-to-do, such as building a social media presence, to more difficult approaches, such as link building campaigns. Here are 10 off-page techniques you can try to improve your local SEO results.
#1: Social Media
Social media shares are an increasingly important factor in how search engines rank your site. Facebook already encourages companies to build business pages, and that’s a natural starting point. Posting links to events at your business on sites like Twitter can also be beneficial. If your business produces relevant content, such as a photography studio putting images on Instagram, then other outlets may also be worth exploring.
#2: Google Local Page
Google makes every effort possible to build listing pages for all of the world’s active businesses, but you can claim some control of that page in order to present a better picture of what your firm does. As an added bonus, Google tends to treat the effort to claim and improve your Google Local listing as a quality signal that may improve your rankings.
#3: The Chamber of Commerce
The search engines look to major organizations for insights into what sites are legitimate and which ones to ignore. In the local SEO marketing context, this means that being a member of your local chamber of commerce can be advantageous. It’s likely that a local business will join the chamber anyhow, and you get a trusted inbound link to show for your effort.
Reviews on websites like Yelp can also help your business assert its local marketing visibility. Many of these sites have a verification process in place, where you can confirm your business name, address and contact info. This acts as an additional positive signal that search engines like.
#5: Link Building
Hold fashioned link building campaigns are out of vogue, but it’s still a good idea to ask related area businesses for backlinks when they’re appropriate. For example, a web design firm can improve its local search visibility by asking clients to include a “website built by” link on each page.
Having a professional profile on LinkedIn is important, and you should also encourage employees to list your business on their profiles. This not only helps the search engines to find your site, but it provides them with a context within your industry in order to better classify your search results.
#7: Consistent NAP Data
Name, Address and Phone data is strongly tied to every business that’s indexed by the search engines. It’s a good idea to check what sites are linking to yours and verify that they’re getting the most basic data right. If not, politely contact them and request that they make the needed corrections. Many sites, such as Foursquare, already have systems in place to allow you to do this.
A blog is a great way to discuss your company’s involvement in the surrounding community. It also allows you to provide fresh content, something the search engines are constantly digging to find. Keywords related to recent news in the local area will help drive search traffic to your blog entries and toward your site.
#9: Directories and Citations
Directory submissions don’t hold the power over the SEO world that they once did, but it’s still a good idea to make them. These directories will help the search engines find your website and properly categorize it, a key first step in drawing a line between your business and what the customer is searching for.
#10: Forum Marketing
Whether it’s a traditional Internet forum or a group on Facebook, even the smallest localities now have a popular online place to meet and discuss what’s going on in the community. Identify these forums and participate in a meaningful and constructive fashion. You can leave a trail of breadcrumbs leading back to your business along the way.