Spending time on search engine optimization is a must if you want to be found online. Without it, your website would be invisible, because people rely almost exclusively on internet searches to find what they need (93 percent of all online experiences begin with a search engine).
If you’ve already started working on your SEO campaign, that’s great, but there is an important element to SEO you cannot ignore, and that is local SEO.
What is SEO for local and why is it so different?
In our earlier post discussing what SEO actually is, we explained how optimizing your website for search engines allows internet searchers to find your website, instead of your competition’s site. The search engines are continually updating their algorithms because they want to ensure that people’s internet searches are yielding the most relevant results possible. For instance, Google prioritizes local businesses in many categories, if a local option is available – but Google has to be able to tell that there is a local business with a website in the searcher’s local area, and that’s where optimizing for local search comes in…
These local results consider an entirely new set of criteria. This means that in addition to global SEO, you have to make sure that people in your town can find you online by optimizing for local search.
How do I prepare my website to rank well with local SEO?
Let’s look at how you can boost your own local SEO results.
Claim your website on Google’s Business Page
You first need to claim the business as your own via your Google My Business page. Go through the verification process and prove that you are local. It typically takes about 30 days, so be patient, but it’s absolutely worth it. This is one of the strongest search factors when it comes to local SEO, so don’t skip this vital step.
Generate some citations to increase citation volume
The search engines are smart – so smart they can determine the number of times that your business gets mentioned online. These mentions, known as citations, have an impact on your local SEO results. The more you get, the better. What’s more, a citation doesn’t even have to be your business’ whole name. It could be your name, address, website address, phone number or any combination of the above. What’s more, these citations don’t even require links back to your website to work. Citations build authority with Google, and that makes your website rank higher in the search listings. Be sure to know your keywords and find out which citations are most valuable. A helpful resource is the Citation Tool Finder by Local Mixed.
Get Listed on Local Directories
The search engines want to make sure that your business really exists. One way they do this is to check out listing sites like yellowpages.com, whitepages.com and anypages.com. This also provides double benefits, since every listing that you establish counts as a citation. It’s very, very important that your information in each of these places is consistent. Check the name, address, phone (NAP) in each location to ensure these ‘signals’ are always in sync. Here are the top citation locations by city and the top citation locations by category. You can’t be everywhere, but you need to make sure you are listed in the top ones at the very least.
Get reviewed often
Reviews will significantly improve your local SEO results, because it proves that your business is active, reliable and provides a voice to your customer. Google loves this, and reviews affect your authority/rank for this reason.
Your overall star rating is not the only thing that matters for reviews. The search engines will take these factors into account:
Quanitity: The total number of reviews
Velocity: How often you get new reviews
Diversity: The number of review sites your business is on
In other words, you need to make sure that many of your customers give you a review after you serve them. And every review site you sign up for counts as a business listing.
Talk about your location on your site
On page local SEO is still important. Make sure you mention your location on your pages, more than once. Content-rich sites have the advantage here. Make sure local is a part of your keyword strategy.
Other Local SEO Factors
There are other signals that contribute here, so if you have optimized in these areas and are still not seeing the results you desire, take a look at your UX (User Interface Design) to see if anything is affecting your CTR, Clicks to Call, Check Ins, Offers, etc. Also work on your social media strategy, as this also affects your local SEO, though less so than the above.
When trying to get better SEO results, don’t forget about the consumers who are right around the corner from your business. Need help?
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