Who needs local SEO?
Businesses with a local address or serving a local area need local SEO. Businesses offering services like, plumbing, locksmith, lawyer, accountant, real estate, electrician, gardening are few trades that serve the local area.
Why do businesses need local SEO?
To get search engine traffic and leads for searches in the local area.
You need the number of a local dentist urgently, what would you do?
Most people will pop open Google in their mobile phones or on their laptop and start typing in.
A typical search will look like: “dentists near (location)…”
What do you think Google will display? Google and other search engines will display information based on a user’s location or based on any location specific word the user types in.
How does Google decide what to display?
Well, that’s the million $ question. There is no definite answer that will guarantee 100% consistent results. But there are some well accepted local search engine optimization techniques that can improve your online visibility. They range from Google+ local page, customer reviews, online citations, local links and on-page elements.
Why should I care about local SEO? If you like to get new leads every day, with zero marketing cost that could be (potentially) ongoing then you need to pay attention to local SEO.
OK, I am sold, what are my options?
Option A – You can do the local SEO yourself by learning and researching online. The below infographic is a good start.
Option B – Hire an SEO.
Option C – Ignore local SEO and do pay per click marketing. Essentially pay for the clicks/leads for search terms that users might use to find your products or services.
Here is an infographic from AgencyPlatform.com that shows you what to do and what to avoid in 2016 for better local search visibility. This local SEO infographic covers on-site tips, Google+ local page improvement, citations, reviews and local links.
An Infographic from the team at: AgencyPlatform.com
|Review and Correct On-Page SEO Elements
This includes contact details, phone numbers and local keywords.
|Not Conducting SEO Audit
Look at URL structure and target keywords. Spy on competitor’s keywords.
|Create Quality Local Content that Serves Target Audience
Your content has to serve the target audience in your area. It has to be better than what the user can find on the web elsewhere. Create actionable content that flows from start to finish.
|Create Spun Content or Duplicate Content
Keyword stuffing and copied content can hurt your rankings. No internal links or links to expert content on authority sites can also hurt your SEO.
|Leverage Social Media
Take advantage of the growing social media that has 4.2 Billion monthly online users on the top 8 social networks. Try to build a brand and promote content to attract customers.
|Just Drop Links on Social Media
Social signals are important ranking factors and be social to influence followers.
Include local keywords and city name in image file name and alt tags.
|Ignore Image File Names and Alt Tags
Ignoring image optimization is like ignoring another big search engine like Google images search.
Google+ Local Page Optimization
|Create Local Pages/Places
Sign up to Google+, Bing and Yahoo business pages to enhance organic search rankings.
|Provide No Contact Details
Incorrect information can hurt your reputation and rankings.
|Ensure NAP (Name, Address & Phone) Listings are Correct
Google MapMaker can help access personal information and ensure correct NAP listings.
|Have Inconsistent NAP Listings
NAP Listings have to be consistent across the web to be beneficial.
|Have a Physical Address in the City You want to Rank for
A Physical address can help your local rankings.
|P.O. Box in Business Address
Avoid P.O. Boxes; have them on Address Line 2 if you have to have them.
|Use a Local Phone Number
A local number and address can help with local listings.
|Avoid a Call Centre Number If Possible
Generic numbers have no advantage compared to a local phone number.
Reviews, Citations and Links
|Proactively Get Reviews
Reviews can boost rankings so ask for it from satisfied clients.
|Pay for Reviews
Fake reviews can damage a business online.
|Review and Organise Your Business Categories
Categories allow users to find your business online.
|Miss Relevant Categories
Make sure you select all relevant categories as you don’t want to lose any opportunities to be found online. If you have an irrelevant category then remove it so it doesn’t affect site rankings or increase bounce rates.
|Get Citations from High-Quality Sites
Citations are the NAP listings. Look for Competitor Citations and replicate them.
|Look for Citations from Low-Quality Sites
Remember, when it comes to links, reviews and citations – quality prevails over quantity.
|Get Local Links
Links are the recognised currency online and local links can help with local rankings. Make sure the links are from high-quality sites.
|Go After Low-Quality Links
Low-quality links from spammy sites can dilute your rankings.
For more tips on SEO, be sure to check out our recommended SEO tools and customizations for new sites and blogs.