Tips to Improve Your Local SEO

Owning a local business has many challenges. Among these is the difficult task of creating and maintaining an online presence. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be drastically important to the success of your company online. A typical SEO campaign can be challenging enough as it is, but when you’re working on a local SEO campaign things can become even more difficult.  Knowing these steps will make it easier to find the right SEO Firm to conduct your campaign.  While the basics of SEO often seem manageable, sustainable results lie in the ability to do the basics perfectly while doing advanced tactics that deliver results.

Local SEO can require more maintenance, because local search results change more quickly than any other type of search. You will have to focus on different aspects in a local SEO campaign than you would in a typical one in order to be as successful as possible, though some aspects will remain the same.

For local SEO, links and on-page elements are still just as important as they are for any type of SEO. However, the types of links that will require your focus will be different. Before you can focus on building links, however, you’re going to want to focus on garnering great local reviews. You’ll also want to focus on getting out as many NAP (name, address, and phone number) citations as possible. Let’s take a look at these tips, along with some others, in a little more detail.

NAP Listings
Lately, search engines have been placing a much larger emphasis on showing local search results. In order to accomplish this, they use the location information they find on a company’s website, as well as online directories and other websites, so listing your NAP is vitally important to optimizing your web presence. Consumers don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to find this information. Oftentimes, they won’t even consider a local business if they can’t immediately find NAP information.

To make your information easy to find, you should include it on every page of your website in either the header or footer. You may also want to consider using markup to make your information easily show up in search results. Schema.org offers coding for this purpose, so all you have to do is enter in your company’s details.

Each time your NAP is listed, it’s called a citation. Search engines use these citations to make sure your company is real and trustworthy. You rank higher in localized searches if you’re considered more trustworthy. This is why consistency with NAP listings is so important. Any variation will be a red flag to a search engine that your company isn’t trustworthy. Even a slight variation such as Avenue versus Ave. can be enough to cause an issue.

You’ll want to acquire as many citations as you possibly can, because this will increase your local SEO and credibility. You can do this by listing your NAP with online directories such as YellowPages or Yelp. If possible, you should also try to list your NAP on other local websites. Here again, consistency is of the utmost importance, so be sure to use the exact same format for these NAP listings as the one you used on your own website. Also, try to list your NAP on as many credible sites as you, because with higher credibility comes higher local SEO rankings.

Positive Local Reviews
Local consumers used to mostly rely on word of mouth and yellow page listings to make decisions. In the age of technology, however, people turn to the Internet for practically everything. Even when they get a good word of mouth recommendation, consumers will still turn to search engines to scour reviews and see what others had to say.

Getting local reviews is essential, because they directly impact local SEO rankings. Along with having customer reviews and testimonies on your own site, you’ll want to try to establish reviews on outside sites. Keep in mind that different search engines use different sites to determine SEO rankings, so you’ll want to try to have reviews on a variety of outside sites.

In order to gain reviews, you’re going to have to reach out to your customer base. Please don’t try to do this by directly asking your customers in a one-on-one conversation if they’d be willing to review you online. This puts people on the spot, and they’ll be much less likely to follow through even if they agree to do so. If you want to entice customers within your physical location, a small sign will do the trick. Even if it fails to garner reviews, it will draw attention to the fact that you have a website.

A great way to draw reviews out of your customers would be to have a page on your website dedicated to showing customers how they can review your company. Non-tech savvy customers will appreciate this straightforwardness and simplicity, thereby becoming more willing to actually leave a review. You may also want to add a link to your review page on your email signature or business cards to increase traffic. This webpage should include ways to leave reviews both on your own website and on other sites. Gaining reviews on sites other than your own will help increase links to your page, which in turn will increase your local SEO. It will also increase your credibility with customers who are often hesitant to trust reviews on a company’s personal site.

Information is Key
When working on building up your local SEO, you’re going to want to include as much information about your company as possible. One way to do this is through a landing page. Landing pages aren’t typically associated with SEOs, but they should be. A landing page can be included on your site to help consumers with site navigation. They’re also an excellent way to utilize keywords, which will greatly help to increase your SEO. Since a landing page can help simplify your website, it can help keep your customers happy, which might lead to positive reviews.

Another way to include helpful information on your site is through a blog. Like landing pages, blogs can be used to target specific keywords. Your blog content should increase your trustworthiness as well. It can create transparency for your company, which holds a lot of weight with consumers. Be honest in your postings, don’t try too hard to talk up your own company, and offer competitor reviews. Try to be fair with your reviews of other companies and don’t badmouth them. While this may seem counterintuitive, it can actually help increase your trustworthiness. Consumers are intelligent enough to know when you’re being sincere versus when you’re just trying to push your own company. An enjoyable, informative blog may also increase your ability to draw positive reviews out of customers.

Choosing the Right Keywords
Keywords are incredibly important when it comes to local SEO. Choosing the right keywords can make or break your SEO ranking. This being said, you want to make sure your keywords feel natural and not forced. It’s very obvious to consumers if you write a blog post and are constantly using the same words or phrases over and over again. It becomes annoying to read and will push people away. Also, keep in mind that you need to have at least 300 words in order for keywords to count towards rankings.
Choosing keywords will depend on what you are trying to accomplish with your company. For local SEO, you definitely want to include your location. Beyond this, what you include is ultimately up to you. You know what your company has to offer, so use keywords that target your industry. A good way to determine what keywords to use is to think about what you would search for if you wanted to find your company. Odds are, these are the same types of words consumers will be inclined to use.

Local Search Engine Optimization requires a lot of work, but the payout over time will make it worthwhile. You’re bound to get frustrated with the process at times, so try to remind yourself that patience is almost always rewarded. Also try to remember that results won’t always be immediate. Building a solid web presence takes time, but ultimately it’s the best strategy for success.

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