Step by Step Guide to Local SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | September 22, 2016
Are you struggling to create a local SEO strategy that grows your business and brings more customers through your doors? Have you done your research, but you’re not exactly sure where to start? Do you operate a small business, so you don’t have the money to hire a professional?
Well, we’re here to help. This step-by-step guide to creating a local SEO strategy can help you get started.
Step 1: Claim Local Listings

You can begin your local SEO strategy by claiming your local listings on pages like Yelp, Google My Business, and Travel Advisor. Set up your page completely and with accurate information. Make sure you include your phone number, address, and any photos or videos of the inside of your business that are relevant.
Step 2: Secure Reviews

Part of setting up your local listings pages includes getting reviews, but unfortunately this is something you can’t complete on your own. Reach out to recent customers and ask if they can leave a positive review on one of your local listings pages.

You should view reviews as an ongoing project. Because you can never have too many positive reviews, ask each of your customers to go online and talk about their experience. Over time, you’ll have a decent number of reviews.
Step 3: Get Listed

To prove to Google that you are a reliable business in your community, you will want to get listed on industry directories or niche associations. If you’re a member of a particular association or organization, see if they will list your company on their website.
Step 4: Secure Reliable Hosting

If you have a website that is constantly down or runs slowly, Google will notice that people are unhappy with your page. They quickly exit for other sites or close out of your page without spending much time reading pages. If Google believes your website is not providing the information users are looking for, it will push it down the list. To keep your customers happy, secure a reliable web host that will allow your page to run smoothly.
Step 5: Separate Your Pages

When you create your website, you may feel tempted to have one page that lists each of your services. This can become confusing for Google because it does not know if your page is relevant or not when someone searches for just one of those services. To avoid confusion and prove to Google that you are leader in that particular industry, have a separate page for each of your services.
Step 6: Optimize

Search engine optimization doesn’t only come from adding content full of keywords to blog posts or web copy, it comes from fully optimizing each and every page of your website. To completely optimize a page, you will need to include the keyword of the page, a Metatag for each page, a unique and identifiable keyword in the URL of the page, the keywords through the H1 headings, and links to other pages.
Step 7: Secure Backlinks

Backlinks appear when another reliable website creates a link to your page. While they are not easy to secure for everyone, they are crucial for appearing at the top of a local listing. Reach out to possible websites or journalists to see if they would be willing to link to one of your pages.
Step 8: Go Mobile

Mobile is absolutely necessary for small, local businesses looking to create an SEO strategy. Because many local searches are done while users are on the go, you will want to ensure your website can be read from a device of any size. Be sure that you have a fully responsive web design.

These steps for creating a local SEO strategy are just the beginning, but they make for an excellent starting place for any small business.