Trying to be #1 on Google is like a game of rat and mouse between you and your competitors. The rankings keep on changing, and getting on top is a battle. Getting to that coveted number one spot (and staying there) is a challenge.
But who does not want to be on top? Or bring more customers to their business? As rhetorical as these questions may seem for anyone mildly familiar with SEO services, not enough businesses are making them. Or at least not enough businesses are taking the appropriate steps to get there.
See more: SEO mistakes everyone commits
One easy way to gain more visibility on search engines and customers is to optimize for local SEO. What does that mean? Read ahead…
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is search engine optimization specialized for a particular geographic location. Businesses that are interested in being found in a specific location indulge in this form of SEO. Getting traffic or visibility in a search result that is tailored to a location can be useful for people looking for things nearby them.
Does my business need it?
If you are a brick and mortar store, or a business with a physical location, they you qualify for local SEO. So whether you are the owner of a tiny restaurant or a retail clothing store, you are going to want to optimize for local SEO. Why? Because you want people who are close to you to come to your store.
Now that you know what local SEO is, here’s a look at 5 ways in which you can leverage your business for local SEO:
- Get your citations on: Citations are what is referred to as any site that has your company’s crucial information on their page. This crucial information is your businesses’ name, address and phone number. Also known as NAP, these three elements should be correctly listed on your different online profiles – Facebook, Yelp, and Google+, to name a few. Inaccuracies in one of these areas can lead to a negative experience with your business. Not only that, but having the wrong information on citations can lead to a negative ranking factor for your business. Google considers NAP consistency as one of their local ranking factors, and checks to see if a business exists through the accuracy of them.
- Create a Local Google+ page: After citations, the single most important thing to local SEO is having a Local business page on Google. Without this, visibility and ranking is much more difficult to achieve. Google+ pages are the first things to show up when people search for things, so not having one can definitely make you lose out to competition. Not only is it from Google, but encouraged by them. Google created this feature for businesses to show up easier on their search and maps features. Crucial information to customers like opening hours and addresses are easily viewed from here. If you don’t have one yet, you can set up your business on Google through theirhow to create a local business page.
- Set up your Social Media profiles: Social media accounts are another way to get more exposure for your business. When searching for a good or service nearby, people often run into Facebook, Twitter, and even TripAdvisor accounts. In order to be found, fill out important geographical information such as city and state, without forgetting to provide a link to your website. Don’t just have an account listing your name and have a couple of posts here and there. A dead business with little engagement, few likes and no responses to customers’ posts does not give a good impression to potential customers. Make sure you have someone who is managing your social media full-time to avoid this from happening.
- Directory listings: Placing yourself in directory listings can be tedious, but like any necessary good, it is something that must be done. Each entry in a local directory or a review website gives you a chance to have another citation on Google (as I explained before, Google loves citations) and a shot at improving your ranking. Sometimes, you will find that your business is already listed on a site, like review site Yelp for example. Claiming ownership will allow you to have more control over your business online and fix any mistakes in NAP, if there were to begin with.
- Have Reviews: Reviews are an important part of local SEO. When people search for things on Google, the first thing that shows up before your website are Google places. Due to their order of appearance, chances are that people are going to view the reviews attached to that Google place before they see your website. Reviews on other sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon are also relevant.
Although client reviews are not exactly under your control, it is still a great component to have when people search for your business. I am not insinuating you create fake reviews or pay people to write positive things about your business, but encourage clients to review their experience in your establishment or service. Genuine reviews go a long way, and in the case of a negative or terrible review, you can always respond to them. That is what online reputation management is for, after all.
If your business depends on customers in the same physical location as you are, local SEO is the way to go. As you can see, the factors that apply to SEO also apply to local SEO, but local SEO also has some extra factors to take into consideration. Implementing these steps will help your business rise in the search engine rankings and become more visible.
Committing mistakes like inaccuracies in your citations can really hurt your local SEO. So whether you are a small pizza shop owner or a barber, make sure you are doing the right things to not hinder your business. We can help you achieve that and more for a very small cost: our digital marketing and SEO plans start at only $95/mo! If curious about what we do, sign up for more information about our SEO in Vancouver.