For small brick-and-mortar businesses, local SEO is an important factor in good online rankings. Unlike businesses that don’t need to focus quite so much on geo-specific locations, small local businesses need to make local SEO a huge part of their content strategy.
If you’re new to the world of local SEO, here is a 5-step local SEO guide to help you get started:
1) Get on Google My Business
For small local businesses, Google My Business is a very important platform. The service allows you to connect directly to your customers across a variety of Google platforms, including search, Maps, and Google+.
Once you establish your Google My Business account, you’ll want to add a description about your business that includes internal links to your page. You’ll also need to categorize your business correctly. Additionally, you’ll need to upload photos that depict your business’s product, goods, or services as well as adding a high-resolution image for your profile and cover photos. Finally, you’ll want to add a local phone number to your Google My Business listing as well as adding general information like hours of operation, customer reviews (more on these in a moment), and business addresses.
2) Be consistent
One of the most important factors in local SERP rankings is your name, address, and phone number (NAP) listings. There’s a catch here, though: in order for these things to help you rank well, they need to be consistent and added in full to every page of your website. They also need to be formatted in exactly the same way on every other page that references your company’s contact information. To make sure that you’re getting this done right, use Schema.org’s services to ensure that search engines all display your company’s contact information correctly. For more information on how to apply this markup language to your own site, check out this tutorial.
3) Get local reviews
Local reviews are important for local ranking. According to Moz, local reviews are one of the most important ranking factors for local businesses. When you type a local search query into Google, you’re immediately confronted with the top 3 ranking positions and stars that indicate their reviews. This helps customers make split-second decisions about which business to frequent and where to spend their money.
It’s important to get Google reviews, of course, but it’s also important to develop and maintain a presence on sites like Yelp and get reviews there. One of the best ways to get customer reviews is to reach out to your existing customers and offer them a small incentive for leaving you a review. Alternately, create a small segment on your website that tells people exactly how to leave a review. Nest it under a tab that says “review us” and be sure to routinely thank your customers for taking the time to leave feedback.
4) Get local links and citations
When compared to general SEO, local SEO relies much more heavily on link building. This means that getting links from other local sites that practice in the same area that you do can be incredibly helpful in your overall SEO ranking. One way to do this is to be included in another company’s reference’s page or to get a citation from another company. Keep in mind that citations don’t need to be linked as long they’re consistent across all platforms. To ensure this is the case, use a tool like Bright Local to evaluate and update citations across the web.
5) Develop home page content
People who land at your website (and search engines that land at your website) need to be able to quickly ascertain what the entire website is about. This means that you need home page content. If your homepage is nothing more than a few punchy sentences, you’ll need to beef it up with a description of what your company does, where you’re located (be sure to add city and state into this portion) and what services you offer. Include your targeted keywords and don’t get overly dependent on “fluff.” While you need more than a few sentences, you also need useful information and packing your home page full of filler text is likely to harm your SEO ranking more than it helps it.
6) Include your city and state in company URL
If you operate a bakery in Hoboken, NJ, your URL should look something like this: paulsbakeryhobokennj.com. If you’re developing a new URL, be sure it includes the city and state and, if you’re updating an old one, include 301 redirect codes so that all the content at your old address points to your new one.
Local SEO can be confusing but this local SEO guide is dedicated to helping your site rank well and draw in customers.
For more information about how to win at local SEO, contact Bigfoot Media. Bigfoot Media is here for all of your digital marketing needs and would love to help your business create a game-winning strategy.
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