Local SEO is a big part of online marketing. The local search market can lead a lot of visitors to your business, which in turn should translate into stronger revenue and in-person sales. But excelling in local SEO isn’t easy. You need knowledge, time, and dedication if you want to rise in the rankings and be the top result for your keywords. In this article, we will run down some of the most important best practices for local SEO.
First of all, you need to know about the snack pack. The snack pack is the SEO community’s name for the special panel that appears at the top of local search results pages. This panel contains three local businesses related to the keyword along with information about them. On mobile searches, this panel is actually the whole first page of search results, and there is a button to tap and call the business. That makes getting into the snack pack a core goal for local SEO. It should be your top priority to gain and then maintain a position in the top three results. If you drop down to fourth place, then you are out of the pack and you lose the benefits of having extra information about your business appear in front of the searcher. You also drop off the first page for mobile searchers. Of course, higher is always better, but the jump from the fourth result up to the third is huge, so you must be able to stay above that cutoff.
Aside from the usual SEO work, one of the most important things you can do for local SEO is to have a consistent NAP across many different local listings sites. NAP means name, address, phone number. Having your business appear with the same NAP in many locations has two advantages. First, it means Google will place a high degree of trust in that information. This trust factor translates directly into better rankings: the more sure that Google is about the NAP data for your business, the more it trusts your website and the more it will funnel users to you. In addition to that, as you appear on more and more local listings, your ranking will improve due to that alone. Aside from the NAP data, Google wants to see that your business is heavily integrated into the local community. So by appearing on local listings with a consistent NAP you are achieving two goals at once, and both of them help propel you to the top three.
There’s a few implications of this approach. First of all, you are likely to need to use some automation tools to help you get listed on these listing sites. There are a ton of them out there, and trying to do it all yourself will be very hard. Even if you find them all, you then need to get the right NAP data over and over again, with no typos. So you should use a service to do it for you. Next, if you are considering an expansion, a great way to start is to start putting yourself on local listings in that new area. For example, if you want to open a location in the next county over, do another round of NAP work for that county and town’s listings. You will get a head start on SEO right away, and that will set you up well to execute the expansion and start bringing in new customers as soon as possible.