Regardless of their size, all businesses operating in the modern marketplace need effective local SEO to bring in customers. By implementing the right steps in different parts of your website, you better your chances of being found by local search engine users.
In order to provide the most accurate results possible to local users, search engines depend on certain indicators. Optimize these indicators to increase your ranking and get more visitors. The areas on which you will want to focus are:
• Name, Address and Phone Number
Include your name, address and phone number as HTML text on the site to help search engines and search engine users to find your business. Note that the practice of including this information in an image will provide no SEO benefits as search engines cannot crawl images the way they can text. Typically, this information is placed in the site’s header or footer.
• Location Pages
These are important for businesses with multiple brick and mortar locations. A location page provides potential customers with store hours and local parking information along with the name, address and phone number of the particular branch. Avoid duplicating content on more than one location page. If your business has only one location, include local information on the website’s About Us page.
• Content Should be Relevant to the Location
You should be working to establish yourself as the local authority in your industry. The content that you publish on your website should be created with this goal in mind. You should publish educational blog posts along with local news and posts that promote industry gatherings in your area.
• Secure and Build Listings on Local Websites
Search engines like Google utilize information from thousands of local listings sites in order to form a picture of the local web landscape and its businesses. Along with your Google+ listing, you should make sure that your information is listed on sites like Yelp and Yahoo Local. You should also claim your listing on these sites and make sure that your information is consistent and accurate. Other steps include adding photos and video content and making sure that your business is listed in the right category. Remove any duplicate Google+ listings using Google Mapmaker and encourage your customers to leave reviews. Reviews have been shown to help search engine users to decide whether or not they want to click on a link.
• External Links and Citations
An external link is any link from another domain to your site. External links are valuable as they help to verify the authenticity of your business. However, it is important that you know who are linking to; the sites that you link to should be relevant to your business. Getting inbound links has long been a mainstay of SEO; however, citations are an additional factor when managing local SEO. A citation is any mention of your business name and address, with or without a link. Citations include your listings in local search directories and are crucial for local SEO since search engines place such a high value on these directories.
Having a mobile site is essential as a large number of local customers utilize mobile devices when searching for local businesses. While a mobile site will improve your search engine ranking, sites that are not configured correctly can hurt it. When it comes to developing a mobile site, you have two options: responsive design or parallel mobile. Responsive design involves designing your site so that it responds to the screen-size of the visitor’s device. Parallel mobile involves designing a whole other site specifically for searchers using mobile devices. They are redirected to that site instead of the main one.
It is important to note that the factors listed above are just the basics. These are what you need to get your local SEO off on the right foot. Once you have these in place, you can move on to the other more complex aspects of your local SEO strategy.