10 Best Practices For Local SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | February 23, 2017

Local searches are vital for small businesses. Many users will visit their phone or tablet while searching for a business or product whether it’s to find directions or to purchase products. They’ll check reviews, see what the local hours are or do research on pricing. If you have a local business, you know how important it is to have targeted local SEO. With all the changes to SEO though, it can be incredibly confusing for small business owners.

1. Have the Right Goals
While everyone wants traffic to their website, you want traffic that will convert to email subscribers or sales. You should be clear about your goals before starting your SEO efforts. It’s not enough to want more traffic, you should know what you’d like those visitors to do when they visit.

2. Website Keyword Research
This should be the next step when it comes to your SEO efforts. The keywords you choose can determine whether you’re found on the first few pages of Google or if customers never even know you exist online. You might decide not to have a blog, but the keywords are still vital for visibility.

3. Optimized Title Tags on Posts
If you have a blog, you should make sure they’re optimized. The tag is the main part of the description that people see when they pull up a post or your website. It should have your branding all over it. Include your business name as well as the type of service or product you sell.

4. Have a Mobile Friendly Website
Google will actually penalize websites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices. Even without the penalty, you want your visitors to be able to see your website on their smartphones. It makes sense for local traffic.

5. “Google My Business” Listing
This is a free way to get your business listed on Google. Fill out your profile with name, phone number and business address. If you only have one listing online, this should be the one to choose. With the popularity of Google, it might as well be the only search engine.

6. Encourage Customer Reviews
While Google is incredibly popular, you should still add your listing to other search engines like Yahoo and Bing. Don’t forget to add your business to Yelp and Facebook to encourage customers to leave reviews. They’re vital for bringing in business.

7. Correct NAP Information
If Google sees your name, address and phone number incorrectly or slightly different on pages of your website or other online profiles, it uses that information to impact your rankings. All your information should be consistent.

8. Optimize Your Images
If you’re not using alt tags on your images, you should go through and add tags. The tags should have your keywords to help your search engine ranking.

9. Build a Social Following
Google and other search engines use shares and followers linking from social pages to calculate and measure authority and relevancy when ranking, so a high social following that’s engaged with your brand is vital.

10. Backlinks and Social Profiles
Backlinks are social proof that your website is important and relevant to users. This is another indication to the search engine that customers will find value with your website. You can get backlinks from a variety of places including adding a link on your social profiles.

Local SEO isn’t one tactic that will help you see huge results. It’s the overall big picture of what you’re doing to be relevant to customers. Make sure all your NAP information is consistent, optimize for mobile and do a little every day to increase your social following and build backlinks.