10 Ways to Improve Your Local SEO
#1 Google My Business
#2 Update Your Google My Business Listing
Don’t just claim it, use it! Although claiming your listing is important, it’s not the only step you need to take. Adding quality photos of your business is highly recommended. These can be interior and exterior photos of your office or building, photos of your products, or even your team’s photos. This two-bird, one-stone scenario not only builds trust and credibility but is also a ranking signal.
#3 Citations on Online Directories
Making sure that your business has created listings in online directories is another simple but important step. This increases your digital footprint by listing your business information in multiple, reliable sources online. Some of the most popular directories include:
When you are listing your business information online, make sure your name, address, and phone number have consistent abbreviations, spelling, and punctuation. This makes it easy for customers to connect with your business when it shows up online. It also shows Google that you are providing accurate information for your clients. If you’re unsure which format of your business address to use, refer back to your Google My Business listing since this is verified through your mailing address.
#4 Listings On Review Sites
Search engines assess the popularity and quality of your location by looking at reviews. Listing your business on multiple sites to gather reviews allows you to gather more reviews to feed into search engines. Studies show that Google reviews carry the most weight, but here are some other recommended review listing sites:
#5 Positive Reviews
After you have set up your business’s listing on various review sites, the amount of reviews and quality ratings of those reviews play a huge factor in determining where your business’s location ranks in local search results. Search engines first look at the number of reviews being the dominant factor; then, quality is considered to determine your business’s likeability. This is a crucial step to consider since reviews account for nearly 10% of the search engines’ overall ranking algorithm.
#6 Response To Reviews
A smaller ranking factor is the percentage of reviews with responses from your business. Google’s algorithm will always be geared towards the user. The more your business interacts with these reviews, positive or negative, the more credibility your business builds with search engines. Yes, even responses to negative reviews contribute to your ranking. In a perfect world, every business would receive only positive, kind, and informative reviews. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and there will always be negative reviews. However, how your business views and responds to these reviews is crucial because it shows your business has the consumer’s needs in mind.
#7 Social Listings
More than ever, people use Social Media channels to stay updated with the latest news, especially Facebook. So, create a Facebook Business Page and update your profile with your website, hours and address. Social signals do not play a massive role in the local algorithm, however. Google has confirmed that crawlers gather information from your social pages to serve on the search results page to provide more information about your business. Other social profiles such as Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn also contribute to these social signals. Even if you don’t plan on actively maintaining these profiles, post information on how a consumer can contact your business if they need further information. Keep in mind, if you do plan on monitoring these channels, you should have a plan of action to respond to comments and messages to ensure a positive customer service experience.
#8 Mobile Responsiveness
Over 60% of online searches are performed on a mobile device, making this next step completely necessary to stay competitive. 2018 was the first year that the Google algorithm had a mobile-first approach when crawling and indexing sites. Meaning, when someone searches your business’s key terms, crawlers will go through a checklist to see if your mobile site performs correctly and is optimized for the searcher. A good place to see how your site stacks up on a mobile device is Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
After you have laid these foundations down, these next two steps in different scenarios will take your local SEO to the next level and add even more separation between your business and it’s competitors.
#9 Localized Content
Make sure you are consistently publishing content where you can organically include your key terms and location. Key terms or keywords are words and phrases on your site that make it possible for consumers to find your site via search engines. A website that has a solid SEO strategy “speaks the same language” as it’s potential customer with keywords that help connect searchers to your site. If you aren’t sure what keywords your site and company should be using, think of what questions your prospective customer might be asking about your services and what you offer, then plug those phrases into a keyword research tool to get search volumes in your area.
#10 Page Title + Meta Description
It is important to “localize” your business’s newly discovered keywords and phrases. Keep in mind, since the goal is local optimization, use a keyword that mentions your location. Use “Financial Planner Fort Worth” instead of “Financial Planner.” Think of these optimizations as digital signage that inform and direct your prospective consumers to your site. The clearer and more concise your information is on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), the easier the decision is for your consumer to make to engage your business’s site instead of its competitions.
So, what does all of this mean for your local business and it’s online visibility? Understandably, these steps can seem difficult and time-consuming, especially when results are not immediate. Setting up your Google My Business correctly, listing your business on multiple review sites, responding to reviews, and publishing localized content will help your business build separation between you and your competitors.
Finally, if all of these tips feel overwhelming, it’s crucial to, at the very least, begin with setting up a “Google My Business” listing, considering that several local ranking factors look at your listing to make sure it’s properly built and accurate. SEO is an ongoing process and takes time. Take the time to integrate this process into your workflow so you don’t end up overwhelmed and with mediocre results. And if you’re an overachiever (and we think it matters), make sure you’ve installed Google Analytics on your site to educate yourself on traffic and trends to monitor how these changes influence your organic traffic.