The best practices in SEO may change from to year, but being successful with local SEO has never been easier. Although most SEO discussion focuses on being successful on a global competitive scale, local SEO is much simpler. Below you’ll find five simple tactics you can use to focus your efforts on improving your visibility both in the short term and the long run.
Visibility Over Rankings
Getting your website to rank better than your competitors won’t necessarily translate into more traffic. On the contrary, visibility is more about dominating specific keywords and listings. For example, imagine your competitors ranking particularly well with images for visual searches. Even though they might have worse rankings than you for web searches, they’ll probably end up with substantially more visibility, and end up getting considerably more traffic.
Google+ and Google Places
Simply using Google’s suggested channels can do wonders for your rankings. Each comes no surprise to learn that much of the best search real estate is dominated by businesses that have prominent positions among Google’s properties, including Google+ and Google Places. If you want to ensure your listings are presented as much as they can be, you need to focus on reviews and citations originating from those properties. Reviews can be difficult to get, but are more obtainable when you set up channels to actively incentivize your customers to review you, or directly ask them to do so. Thankfully with the use of Google properties, it’s often as easy as making a couple clicks to start reviewing your business online.
Start With the Fundamentals
While more and more businesses are focusing on developing their local SEO, many are still failing when it comes to fundamental practices. One of the most common pitfalls for beginners is the lack of custom meta descriptions. When you don’t use meta descriptions, you discard the opportunity to attract a countless degree of traffic. Although your business may appear in search results, lacking the right snippet to get people to actually want to click your link, you’re going to lose clicks.
Unfortunately, it’s very easy for people to abuse the SEO value of citations. However, they’re still an incredibly important part in establishing how trustworthy of businesses both for visitors and search engines alike. For example, if you have over 100 citations informing Google that your business is placed at a specific address, that information is going to seem trustworthy and it will be reflected in search engine results. There are literally dozens of tools that can help you create the citations all over the Internet. Some of the most reliable come from Moz Local, which can help you manage all your online directories from the same page.
The Ranking of All Your Sites
Like we’ve already discussed, increasing your visibility is more important than focusing on improving your rank. However, when you’re forced to choose between focusing on improving the rank of a handful of properties or increasing your visibility for specific keywords, which do you choose? The answer largely depends on the specific keyword terms that you’re going to be working on. This is because the perceived relevance of a URL can vary drastically based on search terms. For instance, if someone is doing a visual search, it’s important to get your images rank highly just to make them candidates for clicks.
One quick and dirty way to figure out where you should focus is to do a few searches for the terms you want to rank for and then take note of what shows up in the search results. This will show you exactly what kind of content shows up with those results, whether they be pictures, videos, articles, and what your competitors are doing for those keywords. For example, you might ask yourself if their listings on Yelp are under their website, or where their social media accounts are ranked. Evaluating this, it’s easy to figure out where you should focus on your own development.