Over time, it has become apparent that local SEO is becoming more and more important for businesses with an online presence. Simply put, one of your primary goals should be to become extremely visible to local users who are searching for your particular product. For example, if a user uses the search term, “San Diego carpet cleaning company,” you ultimately want your carpet cleaning business to appear at the top of the search engine results page.
These are a number of factors that will not only boost your local SEO rankings, but will also increase your website traffic and conversion rates.
One of the very first suggestions that websites like Moz.com make about improving local SEO is to take advantage of business categories. Google allows you to choose a primary category for your business, and you’ll also be given the chance to choose nearly ten other categories. This will help Google display your business to users who are searching for products relevant to your business.
Google offers a service that can help improve your businesses’s online authenticity for little to no work. This service is known as “owner verification.” In short, Google will send a postcard to your business’s address. Once you receive the postcard, you’ll locate the special PIN number included and type it into the online verification page. This can help prove to Google that your business exists, and it will ultimately help boost your rankings.
It’s recommended that you make directory submissions a part of your local SEO strategy. However, you mustn’t submit to any and every directory service you come across. Directory services with poor credibility will do nothing for your website’s rankings, and they could actually end up being more harmful than helpful. Start at GetListed.org to get started with listing your business on some of the more common, credible online directories.
As you may have noticed, Google+ is an integral part of the process in improving your local SEO rankings. What might not be so obvious is that positive reviews on your Google+ Local page will ultimately help your rankings soar. This leads us to the question, “How do you get consecutive positive reviews?” Naturally, quality products and service will earn your customers’ respect, but that still doesn’t guarantee that they’ll brag on your business on the internet. You can encourage your customers to leave good reviews on your Google+ Local page by offering incentives, discounts, etc. If the customer feels as though they’ll be rewarded well for their time, you will likely see quite a bit of cooperation.
Less Keywords, More Content
SearchEngineLand.com points out that keyword spamming and stuffing has become one of the most obsolete SEO tactics to date. In fact, Google’s relatively new algorithm is designed to punish websites that use keyword-stuffing rather than simply ignore them. As a rule of thumb, avoid fluff and focus on delivering quality, useful content.
Inclusion of City and State
Local SEO is all about directing geographically relevant users to your business. This is why it’s incredibly important to include your business’s city and state in your title tag, META tags, H1 heading tags, alt text, URL, and overall content. If you’re a dentist operating out of Houston, TX, you want to make this as clear as possible on your website.
Lastly, Google recently implemented an update that would begin rewarding mobile-friendly websites with higher rankings. This is all part of the online movement towards a more mobile and responsive design standard. Quite simply, if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, your rankings will ultimately suffer. To stay safe, either build a mobile counterpart for your website or develop a much more responsive layout that can fit a wide range of resolutions.