Would you like to maximize the local SEO of your website for local traffic?
Do you know there are “secret weapons” to accomplish this?
Local business owners frequently ask how they can maximize their websites’ search engine optimization for local rankings in search engine results. Some want a quick fix to help their sites get found in search results. More often than not, each and every one wants to place in the local pack and the top five to ten positions on Google’s search results for specific location based keyword phrases.
Here is an example of a local pack on Google’s search results for the search term, gift baskets Phoenix.
Convincing Stats Why Local SEO is Important
If you are wondering if optimizing your website for local SEO is important, consider the following statistics provided by a study by Google:
- 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information.
- 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same.
The road to reaching top local rankings consists of a strategic action plan. This is where the “secrets” to boost local SEO will help.
7 Local SEO Actionable Strategies or “Secrets”
Secret #1: Claim and Verify Your Local Listing
The first actionable “secret” is to secure and verify your local listings on the search engines. Verifying your listing will protect it from unauthorized changes and will put your business on the map. Each of the big three search engines has different verification methods that you will need to follow after you claim you local listing. To get started, here are the big three:Local #Website Marketing Tip: Claim and Verify Your Local ListingClick To Tweet
Secret #2: Optimize Your Local Listing
After you have claimed and verified your local listing, you will want to optimize it for your geographic area. Include your business name, local phone number, and address in your listing. You will also want to choose appropriate categories for the services and/or products that you offer.
Local Website Marketing Tip #2: Claim and Verify Your Local ListingClick To Tweet
Secret #3: Be Sure Your NAP is Consistent
Be sure your website’s NAP – Name, Address, and Phone number is consistent across the web. This is absolutely necessary. You do not want to have different versions of your company name, address, and telephone numbers across the Internet.
One way to see if your website’s NAP is the same across the Internet is to use a service dedicated to this like Yext or Moz. For example, here is Yext’s tool:Local Website Marketing Tip #3: Be Sure Your NAP is ConsistentClick To Tweet
Secret #4: Optimize Your Website with Local Intent
The next “secret” is to optimize your website with local intent. The following are actionable steps:
- Include your location in the meta titles and descriptions of your pages.
- Integrate your NAP (name, address, and phone number) on each page of your website.
- Incorporate your location logically in the copy of your pages.
- Add a map to your website. For example, embed a Google map on your contact page.
Secret #5: Online Reviews
Encourage your customers to leave online reviews on your Google+ page, Yelp, and Facebook if they are happy with your work, but take great care in how you go about doing this.
Fake reviews and buying reviews can end up hurting you as they may be considered a violation of the FTC as “false advertising and deceptive business practices.”
How do you get legitimate reviews? Google’s suggestion about encouraging reviews is to “Remind your customers to leave feedback on Google.”
Ways to encourage legitimate reviews include:
- Create a business card and/or postcard asking your customers to leave a review with the URL of your business Google+ page. You can place the business cards in a conspicuous place as your customers check out or hand the card directly to them.
- Include your Google+ URL in the signature of your email correspondence with a quick note like, “Happy with our service? Please help us help others by leaving a review at: Google+ URL.”
- If a customer emails you with a compliment, ask them to leave a review and provide the links to your Google+ and/or Yelp page(s) when you reply.
- Email your regular clients personally and ask for a review. Local customers will be more likely to leave a review.
Secret #6: Blogging
The reason blogging is a “secret weapon” is that many local businesses are not utilizing the power of SEO with blogging. Many sites have highly competitive categories and may have optimized or had their websites optimized, but are not seeing desired results.
Competing businesses in the same categories may have used the exact same tactics and the race to the top is filled with one site barely trumping the next as they clamor for the same positions in search results.
However, when one of the businesses starts to blog on a regular basis, it may quickly become the top player over the non blogging competing sites. The following are some of the unique benefits of blogging:
- Blogging offers fresh content, something that search engines, especially Google value.
- Blogging provides the opportunity to capitalize on content marketing with articles tailored with specific keyword phrases.
Creating unique and informative blog articles that offer your readers value does not have to be an overwhelming process.
It does involve time and may involve money if you hire someone to write your articles for you. The benefits of blogging will be rewarded.Local Website Marketing Tip #6: Maximize the power of SEO with blogging and content marketingClick To Tweet
Secret Weapon #7: Social Media
As with blogging, many local businesses may not be taking advantage of a social media presence to interact with their local communities. Many are busy and do not want to invest time and/or money as they cannot see an immediate ROI. This is where the “secret” weapon of social media marketing can make a significant impact.
Local business owners may not realize that social media marketing offers them the opportunity to engage with their local community and build relationships. Some business owners are simply overwhelmed with wondering which social network to use.
For starters, as a local business owner, you may like to consider choosing two or three social networks to concentrate on including:
- Google Plus
It is important to find out where your local community is hanging out. According to statistics, Facebook is the number one social media network and it is most likely that your community is also using it.
Twitter is also a popular favorite of many.
Google Plus is huge for local searches results and posts on Google+ show in search engine results.
The two-edged sword
By integrating your blog with your social media initiatives, you will be able to:
- Establish a solid foundation for building your company’s social media presence.
- Offer quality content to post information and updates from your blog on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media platforms.
You will need to test and determine what information works best on your chosen social media channels with regards to how your audience engages.
For example, your audience may not respond well if you continually post advertisements or self promotional content. They may respond better to tips and news in your business niche.Local Website Marketing tip #7: Use social media to engage with your local community and build relationships.Click To Tweet
These 7 actionable “secrets” will take time, but the rewards will be worth all your time and effort. With a strategic plan implemented correctly, you could improve your chances of getting the upper hand on the race to the top in the local search engine results.
Do you have any questions about how to optimize for local search results? Or, do you have a “secret” to add to this list? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.