Local SEO Best Practices

Written by: Jason Bayless | November 26, 2015

For entrepreneurs and small businesses that are new to search engine optimization (“SEO” for short), it just makes good sense to build a foundation based on local SEO best practices. This is important for a few reasons. First, it is important because it reduces first-timer error. Second, it helps you identify strategies that may be unique to your industry or niche. And third, it improves your chances of generating more traffic and business more quickly.

In this post, learn general best practices for implementing a local SEO strategy for your business.

Make Sure Your Website, Blog and Online Content is all Mobile-Friendly
If there is one surefire way to increase in the search engine rankings, it is this – optimize your site, your blog and all of your online content for a mobile viewing audience.

Google’s newest algorithm and updates focuses heavily on the 50+ percent of web viewers who are browsing on small-screen smart devices. If your website does not display for easy viewing and navigation on small screens, this is your first order of business – before you start trying to drive more local traffic to your business.

When You Choose Your SEO Keywords, Choose Local
If you are a local business that also has an online store, there is something to be said for building a dual SEO strategy to include local and online customers. But start with your local community first, see what works and then build outward from there.

Here are some tips to choose good local SEO keywords:

– Use Google’s free Keyword Planner Tool to help you brainstorm the best keywords.
– Include your brand, your business name, your address and a keyword or two in the page title tag.
– Write naturally around your keywords – take help from a copywriter if needed.
– If you deliver to certain local areas, include this on your site landing page (where a web visitor will go if they click on your hyperlinked keywords).

Set Up and Use Google+ for Your Business
Google+ is a tool that is still developing into its full potential. As such, many business owners and entrepreneurs aren’t quite sure how to use it to drive more traffic locally.

Here is what you need to do:

– First, set up your own Google+ page.
– Next, create a Google Places (now called Google+ Local) page for your business.
– Make sure your location(s) are listed to optimize search results for your local area.

Ask Your Customers for Help (and Provide Nice Rewards for Doing So)
So much of success in business today at any level hinges on word-of-mouth referrals. As such, your customers are literally a rich door of new business just waiting to be opened. But aside from that rare customer who crowns him or herself head of your fan club, most customers enjoy having a little incentive or reward for helping you out.

Here is what you can ask your customers to do:

– Write positive reviews on Google, Yelp, YP.
– Post about your company on their social media platforms.
– Invite their friends to like your page or your site.
– Check in (Foursquare, et al) when they visit your business.

In exchange, consider providing the following perks:

– Discounts, coupons, freebies and VIP-only deals.
– Accumulating rewards points that generate bigger rewards.
– Cash!

By implementing these local SEO best practices right from the start, your company will build a firm and trustworthy reputation in the local community that can generate more business as the years pass.