While the battleground for global rankings on the world wide web continues to rage, many SEO aficionados are turning their sights towards an area that many have neglected: local SEO. Not only is local SEO important for placing your business in front of customers who are within your immediate area, but it can also position you as a leader in the industry at large, potentially opening up your doors to thousands of future customers.
Are you on board with local SEO? If not, here are some strategies to implement today that will get you in great shape for 2018.
1. Focus on Reviews
The introduction of services like Yelp.com paved the way for brands to be able to interact with and advertise themselves to customers in a real and honest way. No longer are people content to simply be convinced by an advertisement, now they have actual experiences from genuine customers to listen to. And they are trusting those reviews implicitly.
Just like in online shopping, potential customers scour websites looking to separate a business’ marketing department from what people are actually saying, so it’s important to not only encourage customers to leave reviews, but especially your most loyal customers. Remind them to be completely honest, and let your patrons market your store for you.
2. Build Local Links
Link-building has been around for ages, but businesses have been relatively slow to integrate local links into their profile. It’s not an especially hard process, and can present you with a cache of backlinks that are niche-focused and geographically-specific.
There’s no reason to panic if you’ve never attempted this before, the concepts are very similar to achieving backlinks through regular means. Looking for opportunities to sponsor people in your area, getting involved in events within your community, comment and post in local newspapers and social media groups, or even try to advertise in local classified ads. Not only will you build links, but you’ll also communicate to your customer base that you’re a company that cares about the community.
3. Create Listings in Local Business Directories
This is an area that is vastly overlooked, so getting in early can be vital to claiming a local customer base. Look to your local directories, such as Yelp, Citysearch, and MerchantCircle, to list your business, and make your company info as transparent as you can. Put your business information on aggregator sites like Infogroup, Neustar, and Factual, and look to your local newspaper and Chamber of Commerce for advice on where to publicize your business.
4. Utilize Structured Data
If you’re unfamiliar with structured data, here’s an excellent guide to get you started. In layman’s terms, however, structured data is simply a way of organizing your information so that is collected and displayed efficiently. Google loves it, and so should you.
Fortunately, there are several tools that Google offers in order to help you test your website, such as the Structured Data Testing Tool, or Data Highlighter. Use these and more to help you get your site listed and seen in the best possible light.
5. Focus on Marketing ROI
Advertising your business should not be a shot in the dark, nor should it be about simply measuring income versus outcome. Knowing what specific activities are driving your revenue is pivotal to understanding what to pump more of your capital into. How much of your activity is coming from subscriptions, purchases, promotions, or all the other categories of your business? Using a tool like Zipline, you can gather these analytics from all corners of your business, and break them down to formulate and execute a profitable plan of attack.