2018: Local SEO Made Easy

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 09, 2017

In 2018, attracting consumers to your brick-and-mortar store or service business does not rely on eye-catching signage or a guy in a funny costume wearing a sandwich board. With the majority of shoppers checking smartphones for the closest boutique or restaurant when they are out and about, local SEO online pushes to the forefront of all your marketing efforts.

Local SEO, a collection of optimization methods designed to target a specific geographic location, does not have to be complicated if you focus on what your targeted consumer base wants when they go looking for a place to shop, eat, stay, or find services.

These 4 tips form the backbone of simple local SEO practices:

Build Identity With NAP

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number, and in order to benefit your company’s local SEO standing, it must be absolutely identical everywhere it shows up online. Errors, typos, or sometimes using “”Avenue”” and other times using “”Ave.”” actually hurt your rankings. Google senses something not quite right and penalizes your listings.

If you have not enforced consistency from the start, there are tools or search engine techniques to help you find and fix all the directory listings and other mentions on the internet. Remember to enhance your business identity with matching logos, color schemes, and descriptions as well.

Optimize All Locations

Everywhere your company shows up online needs proper optimization for best results. This includes the website, social media pages, YouTube channel, Google My Business page, and anything else you have some control over. Non-local optimization practices help. Provide quality content with a proper keyword strategy, clean code, and optimized graphics.

This also means picking the right keywords and optimization techniques for every location you do business in geographically. If you own a shop with three locations, each one should have a separate but connected online presence. Learn what people search for and use that information. Remember that many use location automatically with GPS or pre-selected city, state, or zip codes on mobile devices to search for a type of business “”near me.””

Focus on Links With a Local Flair

Although more linkbacks are better, the quality and location specificity of the links you get matter more for local SEO. When in doubt, find out where your competitors have backlinks and determine if they would also help your business. Local directories, chambers of commerce, other local businesses’ pages, and local press sites all offer link-building opportunities. Not only do citations on these sites help your SEO, they segue directly into the last tip for 2018 local SEO efforts.

Get Reviews and Encourage Consumer Comments

All those people strolling down the street wondering where to get lunch or find the perfect gift for a loved one want to find the perfect place they can recommend to others. According to a large Nielson study, 83% of consumers said they trust recommendations from people they know more than advertising. This makes a positive Yelp review or social media post about your company powerful.

Google and the other major search engines agree. Local SEO propagates mostly because of your marketing and optimization efforts, but consumer activity also determines rankings and success. This may be a large part of your local link building strategy.

How do you get these positive reviews and mentions? It’s easy. Ask for them, encourage them, and always provide exceptional products, services, and customer care.

Local SEO in 2018 builds on positive optimization methods of the past to capture the ever-growing number of consumers who use mobile devices to find businesses nearby and recommendations from trusted friends and family instead of more traditional marketing methods.