Few things can help small businesses in our digitally-driven world as much as a local SEO strategy.
Search engines are getting smarter, but this doesn’t mean that SEO isn’t necessary. If you don’t work to keep your business in the public eye, it will be overtaken by competitors.
Local SEO is different from other SEO practices. It has specific requirements and practices that affect how you rank in local searches. Local SEO ranking factors are numerous, but I have listed five of the most significant.
Create a landing page targeted for each location
The best way to achieve organic rankings is by creating a page that is unique for each city in which you operate. It is important to create a page that appeals to the city you are targeting. This should include:
Name, address, and phone number of your business (NAP).
Unique URL and Page Title
Map/Directions to the brick-and-mortar location of your business
Contact forms and a business email address
social media button
Meta descriptions and meta tags with location keywords
Never copy and paste 50 copies of the same landing pages and swap out the names of the cities. This is the fastest way to get a duplicate content penalty.
Many of the best practices for SEO-friendly web design apply to landing page optimization.
Your website should be responsive to mobile devices, in particular.
Your copy should be compelling and clear.
Navigation should be intuitive and seamless.
Include relevant keywords in your descriptions to improve your ranking on search engines.
Keep your local listings consistent and optimize them
Your website, indeed, is where you do business online, but it’s often not where customers will find you. They turn to directories like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. You should list your local business on social media sites and review websites, as well as all major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc).
It is important to have a Google+ Local Page. Google My Business dashboard data is a major factor in Google search results. It accounts for 14.7% of the local search factors.
It would be best if you categorized your business correctly to improve your local ranking. When listing your business, you can choose between 2-10 categories (depending upon the directory). This helps search engines identify which companies are relevant to a query.
It’s easy to obtain listings, but it takes time to optimize them. Each listing should contain your NAP (your business’s address, phone number, and name) along with a short description of your service. You might also include the following to get the most out of your listings:
Hours of Operation
Prices are a little higher than usual.
Ratings and reviews
You can also offer other features and services
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Ensure that the information you give is accurate and consistent. Google crawls your citations, which are mentions of your business and often include your name and address. Inconsistent information can hurt your ranking.
Create a local content strategy
Local content is more than just blog posts or landing pages. It encompasses all aspects of your business that are visible to the public. Even restaurants with the most beautiful venue, ambiance, and delicious food can get one-star reviews if the service is poor.
You need to have a plan in place for creating, promoting, and improving your content. Here are some things to do:
Define the ideal customer. You need to know who you are marketing to before you can refine your marketing efforts. Create a picture of your perfect client, and then develop a strategy to attract that persona.
Create a positioning strategy. Positioning is the process of narrowing down your audience and creating a niche. You’ll be better able to reach your ideal customers and narrow down your competition by specializing. Positioning is about establishing yourself as “a thought leader” through high-quality content on a single or two topics. This usually takes some time.
Sharpen your messaging: Make sure your website, landing page, and your entire offering reflect your position and appeal to your ideal client. Be sure to use a consistent style for all content and your messaging.
Publish frequently: Although I use the word “publish,” this step may look different depending on your industry. It is important to regularly produce high-quality content to attract new customers and keep old ones coming back.
Promote: You can’t build it and expect people to come. You can’t expect people to come unless you promote your content. You can reach out to your customers on social media to tell them what you are doing, whether it’s a blog post, a product launch, or a contest.
Repeat the steps. Repeat the process. It’s not enough to offer one piece of winning content. You need to continue improving your content.
It takes time to develop a local strategy, but the effort pays off in terms of increased brand awareness and trust.
Use and promote reviews strategically
Reviews are one of the most powerful social proofs you have at your disposal. They continue to play an important role in ranking your website.
In 2015, review signals (e.g., quantity, velocity, and diversity) made up 8.4% of the overall local ranking factors. 92% read online reviews, and the majority of consumers judge a company based on its star rating.
It goes without saying that good reviews are beneficial to business.
You can’t simply get one good review and be satisfied. The key to SEO is repetition. To achieve repetition, you need to create a strategy to encourage positive reviews.
Bright Local conducts an annual Local Consumer Review Survey that identifies the most effective elements for a review strategy. Each strategy is unique, but the most successful strategies share certain qualities.