Local SEO is the bread and butter of your business’s marketing plan, so make sure that you’ve optimized every corner of it that you can is vital for creating a dominant web presence. Here are ten tips to help make sure that everything is taken care of.
1. Claim Your Listings – The free listings that are available to you through Google and Bing are invaluable to your rankings. Search engines use those listings to help optimize their own algorithms, but not everyone takes advantage of it, which means if you claim it, you’ll automatically give your business a leg up.
2. Encourage Reviews – Most customers these days look up a product or business online before making a purchase decision, and search engines use these to connect customers with businesses that can deliver. Encourage your customers to leave reviews so that Google knows where to send potential clients.
3. Optimize for Mobile – A mobile-responsive website can mean the difference between a customer gained or a customer lost; if your website takes too long to load, or if it looks funky once it does, they’ll most likely move to the next business. Search engines know this and take it into account when they rank your website.
4. Use Different Media – Not everyone wants to read giant blocks of text, so be sure to implement images and video into your website to increase social shares and give readers a reason to come back.
5. Make Your Contact Info Consistent – When you’re claiming multiple listings and putting your information across different sites, it can be hard to keep your name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistent, especially if you have moved. Maintain a database of everywhere you’ve listed your business and make sure all of those stay updated. Inconsistent contact info is a killer for search rankings.
6. Use Keywords – Despite the sophistication of SEO, much of it still revolves around terms and their relevance to the everyday user, so make sure that you’re doing your research while you’re writing content. Utilizing long-tail and regular keywords can signal to Google or Bing that your website has the right type of content that users are searching for.
7. Spread Out Location Pages – Don’t fall into the trap of listing all of your contact info for your business on one single information page; it limits your reach to a single page rather than to your website as a whole. Instead, place a footer at the bottom of every page on your website that has your contact info there, and make sure you use title tags and metadata to help Google identify it.
8. Create Relevant Content – This is SEO 101, but develop content that you know your target demographic will want to read, such as how-to’s, product reviews, industry news, or anything else you can think of. To make it more local oriented, insert a few geo-specific terms and include outbound links to other local businesses.
9. Use Social Media – Every business should have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page (or all three!). Not only are they free, but they’re an excellent way to engage with your fans and let them know of any developing news. Moreover, people use social media as a search engine by itself, so having a page means you’ll pop up on those listings as well.
10. Don’t ” Over-Optimize” – It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Don’t try to stuff keywords into blog posts, use images strategically, and don’t make the site unappealing to the average user. Search engines are more sophisticated than they used to be, and they can tell when you’re trying to game the system.