As 2017 comes to an end, search engine optimization professionals and online marketers are looking forward to what the future will bring in terms of improving websites for owners of local business. As has been the case since 2015, search engine giant Google has adjusted its algorithm with a strong focus on local queries made from smartphones and other mobile devices; this is certainly an auspicious sin for local companies, but competition is getting tighter in this space.
If you are a business owner who wishes to increase store traffic in 2018, you should work on making your websites more visible to mobile searchers. Here are five tips for you to follow in the New Year; be sure to read them, understand them, put them into practice, and discuss them with your sales and marketing staff:
Local Networking and Local Link Building
This SEO strategy is extremely effective and ruefully overlooked by business owners, but Google certainly pays attention to it. In the past, link building was mostly centered on high-authority sites, but the focus was too ambitious. In 2018, you should not strive to get inbound links from the New York Times or Reddit; instead, turn your attention to local newspapers, radio stations and charitable organizations.
Local Directory Listings
Although Yelp and Trip Advisor are still very strong online directories that Google will consider in terms of ranking, local directories will also play a part in 2018. A good starting point will be the local Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau. Another directory worth updating your listing is InfoGroup, also known as Express Update.
Leverage Social Media Strategically
You may think that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will be your strongest social media allies, and they certainly should not be ignored; however, Google+ is still very important in terms of SEO. The reason why Google+ is a vital SEO component is because of its connection to Google My Business. If you have not updated your Google My Business profile in a while, 2018 would be a good year to begin. The key to Google+ is to be active in the right communities or collections; for example, a pizza delivery business should be active on the Pizza Craving collection of the Everyday Exotic Spices community. As for Facebook and Instagram, you may want to set a New Year’s resolution to strive for greater engagement with followers in 2018. Additionally, social media advertising campaigns on these two networks should not be ignored.
Always Use Google Products
Expanding on the tip above, local business owners should not underestimate the value of using Google products in 2018. You should start with Google My Business and follow with Google+; your next step should be a Google AdWords campaign and checking that your Google Maps listing is correct and accompanied by nice digital images of your storefront. Furthermore, you should consider using Google services such as Gmail and Docs, and don’t forget to open a YouTube account to upload videos that are relevant to your business, your community and your industry.
Accelerated Mobile Pages and Structured Data Markup
Google has made it clear that structured content published on the speedy AMP platform will be ranked favorably. Although these are not Google products, they are Google standards that you should be looking into in 2018. Converting your websites to structured data is something that may require the work of a skilled web developer. If you use the WordPress content management system, you should look into the AMP plugin, which allows content to be displayed faster and more efficiently on smartphones and tablets.