Are you an owner or marketer of a local based business?
If yes, then you need to focus on local SEO for your marketing strategy.
What’s the difference between local SEO and national SEO?
Essentially, local SEO is quite similar to national SEO. You are still focusing on backlinks, tags, and all the other components that help your website rank. However, with local SEO, you will be focusing your attention closely on a few very specific factors.
By utilizing these 5 easy tips into your marketing strategy, you will be able to leverage your profile to attract more local based customers by increasing your ranking in search engines.
Tip 1: Set up Google My Business Page
Begin by creating a local profile on Google My Business. You can choose Bing or Yahoo, but Google is the most important out of the three in my experience.
When creating your account, be sure to complete all the open sections/questions in full. This includes adding media content such as pictures and videos. Avoid the temptation to use keywords and any names that are not relevant to accurately describe your business.
Verify Google My Business Page
After filling out all the information regarding your company, begin checking your webpages for no duplicate pages. One great resource for finding duplicate content is listed here. You can also find duplicate business pages by searching through Google Plus for your business.
Tip 2: Create citations
Let’s talk about NAPs.
Not that type of nap! In this case, NAPs are an acronym for name, address, and phone number. Citations are all the locations online that use your NAP information.
When creating your NAPs online, be sure to use the same exact formatting or style as you did with your Google Plus account.
The purpose is because Google is very literal in how it reads this company data. For example, let’s say you place suite 100 in your Google Plus page and abbreviate your address with ste. 100 on your website. Google will read these as two different addresses. The end result is lower rankings in search engines.
To be certain that all your platforms, you can verify through Google and/or use the same tool such as the one on Moz Local SEO. Overall, I recommend building citations manually.
Sure, manual citations take longer to create, but building your citations manually allows you to have control over where your citations are listed. As well, you get to personalize the listing and (most importantly) save money.
The only tool I would recommend paying for would be Moz Local. The service is worth it, however, as it gets your business listed in the top 4 data aggregators (Infogroup, Axiom, Factual, and Localize).
- If your address contains a suite, place the street address in Line 1 and the suite number in Line 2. Doing this incorrectly will harm your search engine rankings.
Tip 3: Upload Pictures
Your profile and cover pictures are the both identity photos that you need to focus on when uploading pictures to your Google My Business page. Both will play a key role in how your company is seen in search engine listings.
These pictures should be relevant to your business and be of high quality. For example, check out 360 Spin’s Google My Business page.
The company uses the cover image to illustrate what the office looks like (although this could have been better by showing a picture of the building). The profile picture consists of the company logo.
Another example of how your images appear in search rankings is by going to Google Maps and typing in your business’ name.
By checking which images appear in a search, you can shuffle photos around in the order you wish for them to appear in Google Maps. An example of this would be if we typed in “Restaurants in Cincinnati, OH.”
When we type this into our search, we find the images above. Of course, the one that stands out the most is the Moerlein Lager House and Nicholson’s Tavern & Pub. Both places have a high quality image that shows either 1) what the outside of their restaurant looks like or 2) what the inside of the restaurant looks like.
Places like Floyd’s of Cincinnati does not pop out or entice me to want to eat there. However, by uploading pictures of their food, or what the inside or outside of the building looks like, I may feel more enticed.
The point of this is to say, you can have a great service or product, but if your images do not reflect this, then you’re going to have a hard time attracting new customers. Overall, be mindful of the story you’re telling with your pictures.
Tip 4: Generate Reviews
Arguably the most important and influential factor in local SEO is generating reviews. Google ranks local businesses based on two factors: 1) the quantity of reviews and 2) the quality of reviews.
For quantity, there is no golden number, but the more reviews left online by your customers, the better your rankings will be. This doesn’t mean go out and buy reviews. 9 times out of 10, Google will catch a fake review.
As for quality, search engines will rank your website based on the amount of positive reviews. To accumulate reviews, reach out to your followers on social media or those that are subscribers to your email list. To make it worth your customers’ time, offer a special discount or gift. You can also bring the community together by offering a giveaway event such as 10% off a particular store item if you reach 100 reviews by the end of a set week.
Not only will this generate reviews, but it gets the community involved with your brand as well. Worse case scenario is that you finish just shy of 100 reviews.
The basic idea, though, is to be creative and make the review process is easy for your customers. Simple techniques that work is adding a request to the receipt, following up with a thank you email (as shown in the image below) that has links to where the customer can leave a review, or a sign in your store or website that tells people where they are invited to leave a review at.
Great example of a company that makes the review process easy for their customers.
Tip 5: Optimize your website
Of course, national SEO components such as a website’s upload speed, design, and user friendliness still matter with local SEO.
For images, the same rules apply when it comes to a search engine’s ability to read your image. For example, your images should be in html rather than just saved as an image.
In addition, your images should be using alt text tags. The purpose is so that search engines will be able to crawl your website and be able to understand what your image is about.
Be mindful of the size you use for your images as well. Every picture on your website needs to be compressed for the internet, which allows your photos to be smaller than 1mb.
Jun Lumakang created a great step-by-step tutorial on how to properly edit your images in Photoshop.
A fast trick to better local SEO is to place your NAP on every page of your website. Remember, your NAP should be in the same format as your Google Business page listing. Typically, the best place to list this is in the footer of your website.
Speaking of NAPs, to better optimize your rankings, place both your city and state in your title tags and meta description whenever it works with the content of your page.
What are your thoughts?
These are just 5 very simple tips to better optimize your listing in search engines. Feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, and advice by commenting below. Are there any tips you would like to give about Local SEO? Let me know!