You may be striving to get the perfect ranking for your local business websites. Getting into the most appropriate Local SEO insights holds great importance in that case. Of course, you know that and that’s why you’re here. SEO is never an easy deal, however. You need to know a lot.
With new search engine algorithms for rankings, local business optimization has turned out to be competitive and difficult. Rather than dipping legs in shallow waters, this content would take you deep into the ocean of Local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is all about making up to the most efficient positions online for your local business. It considers the promotion of your products and services to the local customers as and when they search for it. Getting your businesses among the topmost options in the local listings would certainly be your goal. There could be several different ways of achieving the same which would be far more distinct than what standard SEO may consider.
In other words, it’s about attaining the best rank and reaches for your business in the local search results. A “Local Search” would consider searches that are specific for a particular location or area. This includes searches like “laundry near me”. This is indeed an important aspect to make the best from the local customers or audience for your websites. Also, if they are not able to track you nearby at the right time, there are hardly any chances that they’d approach you.
Well, Local SEO isn’t as precise as explained above.
To Hunch the Best Local SEO Insights…
There are several different elements that you will need to improve in order to pave ways towards the Local SERPs with the best rank and response rates.
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is where you will have to begin it all. It allows you to create your business profile and get along tons of features. It is not at all lame; the details entered here are going to be displayed on the Local SERPs. If you haven’t done it yet, creating a profile on GMB is the first thing you need to do. A GMB profile for your business would include:
- A long and unique business description
- Business category
- Business address and local phone number
- Profile image
- Opening and closing time
- Customer reviews
Local SERPs is one of the most important elements required by local businesses to attract traffic to their doors. This is the “pack of 3” that appears with the top three local listings along with their details below the map. These SERPs appear different from what the standard organic search results may look like. Along with the website link, it provides opening/closing time and customer reviews. And all these details are extracted from your GMB profile.
Ask yourself first whether you have ever opted for a service from the Google search results without considering its reviews? You have your answer right here. Reviews will not only guide the urge of visitors to choose you over others but will also attract new visitors by adding some bright stars in the sky. Online reviews are important considering the fact that viewers and visitors depend on them to make out the capabilities of your services.
Therefore, encouraging your customers for leaving reviews is vital. There could be different ways of doing that. Setting rewards or prizes for reviewing would be a lucrative way of doing the same. Also, it is important that the local business replies to the reviews as soon as possible. You will have to consider and resolve negative reviews at the earliest. It would be great if you notify the users about this too. Of course, you are working for positive reviews and only those could help you attract new customers.
Here are some points to consider for managing reviews for your business:
- Designate employees to handle reviews.
- Ask your customers to leave reviews when they make payments or checkout.
- Outsource the response and monitoring of reviews to your SEO consultants, they would handle it perfectly.
- Add links on your websites and several other places so that customers and visitors can leave their reviews.
- You can also add a form on your website to get reviews.
Reviews that are received directly by the business can be posted on the business website. Reviews would help you potentially well with better local rankings on Google.
Local Listings and Citations
There are several aspects that you will have to consider to get listed and ranked in Google maps along with the fact that yours is a legitimate business. Also, there may be many licenses that are mandatory, make sure to get those too. NAP is an important element among these.
Significance of NAP (Name, Address, Phone number)
You need to be sure that the details you provide for NAP remain consistent all the way long. Also, when you mention your details on other websites, you would be required to follow the same format. All that is meant is to provide Google with everything that can help it track your business. Using Schema markup guidelines for this is suggestible.
Not necessarily consisting of your business’ NAP details, local citations are mentions of your local business. There could be two ways to get local citations:
- Get them yourself
- Hire someone to get them for you
However, beware of the fact that getting local citations yourself can turn out to be a big task. In case, your business covers competitive areas of the industry, there would be hundreds of local citations and doing it all manually is absolutely a difficult task. But at the same time if you are dealing with an area that is fairly less competitive, getting local citations manually would be a great decision.
Getting your website listed among the top 10 search results aren’t going to be that easy. Well, if you are going to do it all by yourself then you will have to start with local citations on the following platforms:
- Google My Business
- Apple Maps
- Bing Places for Business
- MapQuest and many others (let’s not get into that detail)
It is suggestible to look for directories that are appropriate as per your local business. Submitting directories will improve your business’ visibility and let your local business take advantage of that. Your business, in that case, tends to get listed on the pages of other websites that possess higher ranks for the keywords you have targeted. Once you’re done with verifying the local listings you need to get your business listed with the main data aggregator. There are four, majorly opted for the purpose:
The data aggregators would play a major role in extracting your local business details and making it available to the thousands of websites on the web. However, make sure to use the correct NAP details and URLs. Once the data is finalized and registered, it would be really difficult to get it updated.
Citations and Listings via the third party
It is often preferred to outsource local citations and listings. This is just like middlemen in a sales chain. You may submit your local business listings to a third party, which would further get you thousands of efficient local citations through their connections. Mostly, they tend to have agreements with various data providers which subsequently makes the process simplified for you.
This could be a perfect way to get services that are supplemented well with technology and expertise. However, consider the fact that when you get local business listings done from other parties they won’t hand over the login details to you.
Optimize Local Website Content
If you know the user well, you would also know that no one is going to prefer a website that is unorganized or does not provide them with what they need. Therefore, optimizing your local website is undeniably an important aspect. Here are some on-page local SEO strategies to optimize your local websites:
Targeting the “near me” search queries
Recently, the number of “near me” search queries went upstream. Such queries with the phrase “near me” assume that the search engine is aware of users’ location. As per the Local SEO Guide, the local SEO ranking factors for “near me” searches include the following:
- Google reviews
- Profile views
- Backlinks including a city in the anchor text
- Percentage backlinks that include city in the anchor text.
Now, let me set you away from several misconceptions. Being nearer will never really affect how your business appears in the “near me” searches. In order to show up in the results for keyword lists including “near me” phrases, all you need is to be located in the city. However, there are things that you may do to rank higher in the search results. Some of those include:
- Add “nearby” or “near me” phrases in the title tags on your website’s pages. For instance, if your website uses Store Locator, including such phrases on your website will make your page visible on better ranks.
- Creating a unique page for different business locations is always suggestible. When you have more than one location, make sure that your business website has separate pages for them. If you have multiple business locations in the same city create pages for different towns or neighborhoods.
- Add “nearby” or “near me” phrases in the copy of the pages whenever and wherever suitable. Consider abundant and appropriate usage of popular city landmarks, event venues, and all probable locations that people would search. For example: “near Jail road”, “nearby Regal Square” etc.
- Also, consider the use of “near me” or “nearby” phrases in the anchor text of links for the location pages of your website.
Try to get more and more backlinks individually for different location pages and make sure to use “city name” + “keyword” in the anchor texts of the links.
Abundant Local Content
Emerging well as a local content machine is a considerable local SEO strategy. Add blogs to your local business website and produce more and more content covering local news and events. This will encourage visitors from your nearest business surroundings to read and share those, subsequently increasing engagement with you.
This will allow local branding for your business while not really writing about it. When people would have already witnessed a lot about you online, you would probably be one of their first preferences when they actually require any services. Including social media along with a smartly and tactfully created local content may help your business get popular within least time.
Get local website or blog
When you want to add content to your local business within fairly less time, it would be suggestible to buy a pre-existing blog or website that boasts content that you require. It may either be a local blog or a website with some local news and interesting articles. You can get one easily when the website owner is no more interested to manage or optimize the type of content they used to.
Approach the local website or blog about taking up their content to your business website. You are only needed to set up redirects from the old domain to your local business which will further pass link equity and history over to it.
Lately, Google algorithms have been greatly emphasizing links. Especially, local link building or links from other local businesses and organizations have been considered important. Pre-existing local relationships on the web could help you recognize efficient link building opportunities. You can easily attract links from local offline groups, local sponsorships, and local volunteer opportunities.
Getting links from competitors could be a reliable strategy for local links. You may utilize a web crawler to get through all the outgoing links of the competitors’ websites. Analyze whether you can get any links from the websites that your competitors are linked to.
Some More Local SEO Tips to Consider
While basics would guide you through the correct processes, additional tips would help you ensure efficient results of it. A glance at the ones mentioned below:
- Local business proximity to the point of search
The distance of your business from the actual location of the searcher is a factor that would affect the decision of the searcher to approach you. For instance, a user conducts a search using a mobile phone; Google is likely to know his location. In that case, the services that are available at the nearest in Google Maps and Google local listings would appear in the topmost search results.
Businesses are often known to get “virtual office” locations for the reason notified, considering the fact that the searchers never really visit them. Although not endorsed often, this could be utilized as a well-working strategy.
- Update your local online listings
Once you have recognized that there needs to be a change in your NAP details online, make sure that you do that within least time.
- If you’re moving, update the local listings now
Once you have finalized your new business location, waste no time in updating the local listings. It may even take months for the local listings to be updated. And business perspectives, “the sooner, the better”. This is as necessary as the updates you need to make while changing your residential address. As mentioned before, the address with the USPS should be identical to the one in local listings. Most search engines access the USPS data and any inconsistencies with respect to this may lead to issues with local rankings.
- The NAP should be consistent
NAP consistency ensures that your business gets the best local ranks. Therefore, make sure that NAP details are exactly the same as mentioned on your website.
- Audit local citations
Auditing local citations would help well in resolving issues that may have risen due to the inconsistency of NAP data. Auditing will bring NAAP consistency and support Local SEO. There may be different versions of your business’ address, multiple phone numbers, and in fact, different addresses on other websites that list NAP data of your business. Updating inconsistencies and removing duplicate listings can bring about a great difference.
- Manage local profiles with updated pictures regularly
Take some new pictures of your business location and update them on business profiles on different platforms like Google My Business, Facebook pages, etc. This will let the visitors to your profile know about your activity.
- Add budget for local ads
Using Google AdWords would let you target potential customers and specific locations in an area. Setting aside a budget for Google ads offered on Google Map Listings will bring fair results.
- Get more reviews
Getting more online reviews than your competitors is known to be a constant battle. However, it is something really important in the long run. Leave no opportunities to ask your customers to leave reviews. It may be at the stores in your location or via emails. Also encourage reviews on Google, Facebook, and other platforms. As mentioned earlier, look for the proper management of these reviews and respond to them regularly. Also, pay special attention to negative reviews and find appropriate ways to resolve them.
On-Page Local SEO
- Add Schema mark up codes to NAP
Make sure that the name, address and phone number on your website are marked up with proper code. It will not affect how content is displayed on your website. It will only tell the search engine that those are the name, address and phone number of your local business. You may choose to add markup in JSON-LD code to make it recognizable by search engines.
- Add a link to your telephone number
You may add tel:// type link when you mention your phone number on the website. This will allow the mobile users to call you by clicking on the link. Also, it will make your number appear in the phone call extension are in mobile search results.
- Improve your website’s load time
Optimizing your websites for mobiles is an important aspect. Page loading time is also one of the key factors that Google considers to regulate traffic to your websites. This means you would have to use a CDN, move web host or redesign your website.
- Tag all photos of your business
Tag all your business photos with appropriate location information and keywords. All images can include geo-tagged location, keywords, and description.
- Create a different section for each location
Do not end up everything on a single page. Rather create a unique page for each location and add some additional content to make it interesting. When you have more than one business location, each one of them would surely possess some unique elements and at least the staff. Therefore, prefer adding content that is relevant as per different locations.
- Use appropriate syntax and keywords for URLs
For URLs for different locations use the format like www.domainname.com/location/. In the main navigation of your website, link each location. However, do not link the subpages for any.
- Consolidate separate websites for different locations to the main website
If you have set different domain name and website for every location then move them all to one main website. You may use 301 redirects to move content from other websites to the sub-sections of the main website. Every location would feed off the authority of the main website for being more powerful.
- Local Search queries may trigger featured snippets
Being shown up for “position zero” for several search queries considering an appropriate topic would help you increase the visibility and traffic for your website. “Position zero” is actually the “featured snippet” that is shown above the search engine listings. Analyze the keywords that you rank for and the ones which have a featured snippet. Optimize the content appropriately to show up as a featured snippet.
- Move your website to HTTPs
Considering the fact that you do not ask or accept any personal details or credit cards on your website, moving the website entirely to an SSL Secure Server would take you one step ahead. HTTPs is one of the important ranking factors as per Google. However, most of the local businesses haven’t done this yet. This would, therefore, help you to stay ahead in the competition.
- Add a blog
Writing regular blog posts on local news, issues and events would be great. You may post them on social media and link back to your blog. These are often liked and shared by people.
Local SEO Audits
Perform an audit for your website
Audits could be best to make sure that things are going perfect. There are several different types of audits including on-page audits, link audits, local citation audits that can be done for your website.
Local Citation Audits: They are perfect for the identification of inconsistent NAP data and duplicate listings. There could be many cases of negative SEO in recent times. Businesses often receive listings with bad data. Resolving such issues gets easier with local citation audits.
Link audits: Local map algorithms are known to be highly dependent on link data. It is therefore important to modify low-quality and off-topic links for your website. Link audits would thus bring you better rankings.
On-page audits: On-page audits help you find places and aspects that can be improved on your website. This includes fixing issues related to headings, formatting, metadata, and page load time.
Off-Page Local SEO
- Target Customers
Use the email addresses of your customers to connect with them on Facebook or increase engagement through an email newsletter. You may also upload these details on Facebook and target your customers with ads. You may conduct similar campaigns on Facebook to target some more new people with identical demographics.
- Get involved
Participate in the local event held around and notify this. It would be good to support some good causes, local non-profit organizations. Increasing online visibility will help you get more link backs, ultimately improving your search engine ranks.
- Barnacle SEO Strategy
Find the websites that rank best for the keywords you target. Optimize listings and show up on these websites to get improved visibility and traffic. This could be one of the steps to be taken for little gains.
Local SEO is not an easy deal but with appropriate strategies and guidelines, it could surely bring you impressive results for your local business websites.
There are also companies which could help you increase and maintain your search impact and the ranking of your site. You can contact our friends Wicko Design to find out how they can help you get the most from your site.