Are you interested in local search engine optimization but, aren’t sure where to begin? Local SEO is fast becoming one of the most important parts of every business strategy because of the rise of smartphone usage. It is especially important for those who want to achieve long term success with their search engine ranking efforts.
Admittedly, local SEO does have many similarities with organic SEO but, ultimately, the differences lie in their respective goals. That is, local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a search based on the user’s current location. For example, if you were to search for ‘best sushi restaurant,” local SEO would make sure that Google provided you with the results that are closest to your location.
Want to know more? Well, have no fear, in this article we are answering five popular questions that many of you have about local SEO so that you can gain a better understanding of this vital internet marketing strategy.
1. What are the top 3 local SEO strategies that I should put into practice?
The first thing that you should do is secure your Google My Business Page; this can be done at https://www.google.com/business/. When you get to this page, you must follow all of the steps to verify your page.
After verifying the page, it is important that you optimize it by including the correct geographic information about your business i.e. address, local phone number, and business. Having more than one address, phone number, or name for your business can compromise your ranking.
The second thing that you must do is to choose the relevant categories that describe your business. Doing so will help your company rank better for those specific categories. Also, it is important to note that, you shouldn’t use categories that describe part of your business but, do not accurately define what it truly does.
Finally, you must write quality copy that will attract customers to your company and take advantage of Google’s tools. This will help you when uploading entertaining, interesting and engaging videos and photos to your page. High quality content will help you receive positive reviews about your company.
Google looks at the engagement on your page when determining how to rank your business in local search results. Thus, it is recommended that you treat your Google page as if it were part of your actual website. This means that you should write content that assumes that your potential client will only search within the Google ecosystem and never actually make it to your website. You should also make sure that your Google page covers, in detail, all of the services or products that you offer or the benefits that your potential clients will gain from utilizing them.
Try to thing of your Google page as it were a primary resource that your potential customers will use to make their buying decisions. That is to say, you musn’t take shortcuts here.
You should also add links to your website on your Google My Business page. This will help you drive traffic to specific areas of your site and help your prospective customers get more information about a particulate service or product. Also, it is important to note that you must take steps to grow and engage the audience on your Google page.
2. Why are the spammy footer ridden site with links to every single town still able to rank locally?
The truth is that, spammy websites like these still rank pretty well, if only for a short period of time because Google still prioritizes Page Rank, i.e. how many links are coming to a particular sites as well as the quality of those links, as a main ranking factor. In fact, it is guesstimated that, links still make up over 50% of the Google algorithm. If you are able to get a lot of high quality links, you will be able to rank for these competitive terms; even if your website isn’t on the same level as the other websites that rank for the same keyword. This is especially true for non-local intent keywords.
Local intent keywords trigger local search results, so it’s important that local businesses focus more on the location and quality of their links and less on volume. For example, it makes sense for local businesses to generate as many links as they can; within the geographic location of their businesses. But, it also makes a difference if they are able to get high quality links from high authority local websites, like local media and online business directories that are truly local.
3. What are 5 good ways to make sure that my companies gets a stable position in local Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)?
1. Get, verify, and optimize your Google My Business Page.
2. Claim your business on, at least, 20 of the top business directories, like YP.com, Yelp, Bing, Refer Local, Bestoftheweb, Yahoo, etc.
3. Make sure that you get good reviews through Yelp and your Google MyBusiness Page; your focus here should be on quantity. This means that you should have at least 10 reviews, with the 10 most recent being positive.
4. Content marketing is essential to your local SEO efforts. Thus, you must make sure that you post high quality (entertaining, educational, or high value) content on your website on a regular basis, even if it’s on a blog. Also, you must share this content on your various social media channels. When you plan your content marketing strategy, make sure that it isn’t just about making sales. Instead, figure out how to use the content to turn your website into the number one resource for the industry that your business is in.
5. Build local links to your site by requesting links from local organizations, partners, and media channels. You should also find a way to contribute content (whether it be video, visual, or written) to the link partner site in exchange for a link; this can be an author byline, embedded in the content, or as part of a partner page.
4. How can I optimize title and meta descriptions for local SEO purposes?
Google doesn’t rank web sites, it ranks web pages, so it is important that you have a unique description and title for each page of content on your site. Also, it is recommended that, every page of content should only focus on ranking one or two keywords. These keywords must be the foundation of your meta description and title tag. Their should also be a clear theme for the content, images, and video that’s on the specific pages.
Also, when you are optimizing your pages, try not to use the broad keywords that define your industry; they are harder to rank. Instead, build your content around longer tail keywords; keywords with at least two words in one search. Save the broad keywords for your homepage. If you aren’t able to to rank in this way, change your meta description and title until you are able to rank on the first or second page for the desired keyword phrase.
5. Can I still rank for local search terms if my business isn’t physically located in the area?
The short answer to that questions is, yes, you can. There are many national business directories, marketplace websites, shopping comparison engines, lead aggregators, etc. that rank very well for non-local city-based keyword terms. But, it’s important to note that, local internet searches will trigger Google’s local algorithm. This means that local businesses will rank within a carousel, pack, or on a map; this is dependent on the keyword that is being searched as well as the physical location that the search is being done in. Local search packs don’t include business directories, lead aggregators, etc., so it is vital to emphasize that Google’s local search results favor Google’s ecosystem. This is why it’s so important that local businesses optimize their Google My Business page.