Local SEO (Local Search Engine Optimization) helps businesses be found by local customers when they’re looking for your type of product or service. Local SEO means using search engines like Google and business directories like Yelp, Superpages, and MerchantCircle to promote your business.
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And here’s what that same search looks like on a mobile phone, which is even more important. Because roughly 58% of local searches are now done on mobile devices.
First, understand that local search depends greatly on prominence. How well known and trusted is your business? Because Google wants to send users to trustworthy websites. It just makes sense. Now, for real tips you can use to meet all the criteria above, here are …
are any mention of your business on the web. They often include the name of your company, phone number, and address, aka NAP. The most common local citations are directories like Google+, Yellowpages.com, Manta.com, etc. But Google also counts citations found on blogs, newspapers sites, event listing sites, etc.
are critical. What are people saying about your business on sites like Yelp, CitySearch, MerchantCircle, etc.? Google counts the number and quality of reviews to help determine your local search ranking.
to your site from well-established local websites are a final key component of search algorithms in Google. Because it’s hard to fake a link to a business from the Chamber of Commerce or a local networking group. So these are vital.
1) How to get more local citations
First, be sure to get your business listed correctly on all the top online business directories, including Yelp, Merchant Circle, Citysearch, Yellowpages.com and Manta.com.
Second, get listed on trusted local directories, including your local chamber of commerce, newspapers, and networking groups (BNI, Meetup, etc.).
Third, get your business listed on relevant local blogs. How to find them? Search for “[your city] blog” or “[your neighborhood] blog” to discover good ones. Any blogs that show up in Google are worth a look, because they already rank high in search! Thus, if your business is listed on them, you will benefit from a local citation that is seen as trusted and relevant by search engines.
Finally, search Google for phrases like “[your city] business directory” to find more local citation websites to get listed on.
2) How to get more local reviews
Research shows that 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as a personal referral. And 70% of customers will leave a review for a business, if asked to do so. What this means for you: You need to leverage the power of reviews by asking your customers to leave them for your business.
Two places where you want to get more customers reviews are your Google My Business page and your Facebook page.
Positive reviews on your Google My Business page are important because they appear in Google when someone searches for your business. They are among the first impressions people have about you in Google and can determine if future customers visit your website … or your competitors.’
Good reviews on your Facebook page can attract more new customers as well. Because a growing number of people use social media to see what others think about a business.
Google has said that “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility,” which implies that reviews are a factor to consider when aiming for better local SEO – especially if you want to appear in the local pack.
3) How to get more local links
Unlike local citations, it can be more challenging to get local links. But they’re just as important, because they can increase your local search visibility.
To get more links from local sources, here are 7 things you can do:
Get local press coverage. Newspapers love surveys and practical tips, for example. If you can pitch a local TV, radio, or newspaper reporter on a story idea, they will almost certainly link to your website.
Become a guest blogger on a local blog. Nearly every blog will agree to let you make guest posts that include a link to your website, because they all want new, unique content.
Join your local chamber of commerce and link to your website from their membership directory.
Join local networking groups, like BNI or the Kiwanis Club, and to the same thing.
Host an event on Eventbrite.com and link to your website.
Sponsor a local event. Search Meetup.com for a list of local events and ask organizers about sponsorship. You may be surprised at how easy and inexpensive this is, and they can link to you from their event page.
Offer discounts to local businesses in exchange for a link from their website to yours. The bigger and more authoritative the website that links to you, the better.
These 3 mistakes could ruin your efforts at local SEO. Avoid them!
You Will Fall Behind
Just as the rules for web design have changed, forcing you to create a mobile-friendly website or be penalized by Google, the rules for local search have changed too. The bar has been raised.
Just a few years ago, most businesses did nothing to optimize for local search. As a business owner, you’re now learning what it takes to rank higher in Google local results. But you’re not alone. Your competitors are learning too. Google is a bloody warzone and no one is playing nice, so you need a partner who is more than prepared to fight and win battles for every one of their clients/partners.
What happens when everyone uses search optimization tactics? Can you see the problem? You have to start running even faster to keep your current position. Or you’ll fall further behind.
Whoever wins in local SEO wins the lion’s share of local customers. Is that fair? Probably not. Is that reality? Yes.
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