Your Local SEO Checklist for 2018

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 26, 2017

It’s official: Black Friday sales made from mobile devices was at an all-time high for the 2017 holiday shopping season. More and more of your customers are using their phones and tablets to make purchases and find the best deals – even if they eventually walk into a traditional business based on a search for a specific deal.

Whether you are in e-commerce and already planning your strategy for next year, or you deal solely through a local brick-and-mortar business, it’s time to get serious about local SEO. Don’t think that optimization isn’t important if you aren’t a retailer. No matter what kind of business you run, people need to be able to not only find you online, they need to be able to find you first.

This is why local SEO is such a vital part of your web marketing strategy and why you should consider placing a heavier emphasis on it in 2018. Here are a few items that should be on every company’s local SEO checklist. How many of these things are you doing already? What areas could use some improving?

Optimization for Mobile

Responsive design is an absolute must in today’s mobile marketplace. How your website looks will determine whether your customers hang around or go see what your competitors have to offer. Many times, this will be the first and most important impression you make on a potential customer so make sure it’s a good one.

Successful modern websites are designed to appeal to every possible audience, accessing it on every possible device. Your web developer should be forward-thinking enough to design a site that loads and displays well on even the smallest of screens, but doesn’t look overstated on larger ones. True responsive design accomplishes this and helps elevate your brand image.

Content Optimization

Let’s have a look at all of your content and see how it measures up.

Web Copy – This consists of virtually all written content on your website and goes far beyond just having a blog. Yes, you need that blog, but you also need the rest of the site to compliment it and reinforce your SEO efforts.

Maintain a steady flow of fresh content to your blog and make keyword research part of every piece. Keywords change and evolve rapidly and you want to use the ones that are trending right now. More static keywords should be saved for page meta descriptions and text tags for your images, primarily.

Be sure to use longtail keywords to enhance local searches and use them organically. Connecting words will not have an adverse effect on your keyword strategy. In fact, sites like Google favor copy that is organic and relevant. Therefore, don’t try selling “legal services Miami.” Those legal services are available in Miami, so that is how the keyword should be presented.

Also, make sure the presentation of your copy is appealing and directs attention to the key points you want to make in the text. That means developing short paragraphs with key phrases that will get people to stop and read. Good article titles and segment headings also help decrease bounce and keep your audience engaged.

Visuals and Multimedia – It is easy to overdo it with visuals, so here are a few easy ways to achieve balance and boost SEO.

-Compress images down as small as possible without sacrificing quality
-Stick with images that are no larger than 600×600 pixels
-Keep videos short and to the point, also with maximum compression for fast loading
-Tag images with both static and longtail keywords

Taking all of the above into account when optimizing for SEO will help boost your rankings in local searches and help more of the people who should be doing business with you find you.