Local SEO is growing fast and soon will be one of the top preferences of small business and professionals to market themselves. Local SEO is totally different from normal SEO there is a distinct reason for this, generic keywords are easier to rank for a local business than a general business.
Five things which Local SEO needs to focus on:
- Local business page on search engines (example: google plus local page, etc.).
- Local Citations or your local search directories.
- Local Reviews (example: reviews on google, yelp, etc.).
- What does your website say about you (are your keywords in the right place?)
- What are other websites saying about you? (In terms of backlinks)
For normal SEO there are two aspects:
- What does your website say about you
- What are other websites saying about you?
Why Local SEO?
- Google maps has 150 million users.
- 90% of Smartphone users perform a local mobile search.
- 43% of people online are looking for something to buy locally.
- 87% of customers search for local business online call or go to that type of local business within 24 hours.
Local SEO is a great way to reach your customers in your region. If your website is not optimized for local search then you are missing out on potential customers.
How to Increase Local Influence of a Website
Following local SEO tips are for businesses who want to improve their visibility in local search results. Depending on your business and website, you might not be able to implement all of these tips, but implementing even 75% of them is enough for most of the local businesses to rank highly in the local search results.
1) Have an address in the business location you are targeting
Business cannot be ranked in the local search for that location. If the address of your business location is not mentioned on your contact-us page or on the location landing page.
2) Create, verify and maintain your Google+ Local page
The Google+ Local page is one of the most important aspects of Local SEO. After creating your Google+ Local page, verify your address (by entering the PIN code that’s posted to you or over the phone), website (by linking to your Google+ Local page from your website), and email address (by clicking the link in the email that’s sent to you).
Make sure your local business meets Google guidelines before you add your business to maintain high quality information on Google.
Once you’ve been verified, write a 250+ word description of your business (which includes your keywords and services) update your local business details such as your website url (assess whether you want to add your homepage or another page on your site), contact number, business hours and photos (upload at least 5 photos and 1 video).
If your business name, address or phone number is listed on more than one Google+ Local page, then delete duplicate listings. Choose categories that accurately describe your business and ensure that your category choice state what your business is, rather than the services you provide or the products you sell.
3) Business phone number should be a local number
Use a local phone number (with an area code) associated to the place of your business and not a toll free or tracking number. The number should be same both on your Google+ local page and on your website.
4) Mention business hours in crawl able format
The business hours should be in a text format on your website, so that Google bots can easily find it and it should match the business hours on your Google My Business page.
5) Embed a map on your website.
Embedding Google maps on your website is a great way to help visitors to find your location and also Google bot gets more accurate information regarding your business location. Embed the Google map ideally on the specific page of your website listed on your Google+ Local page, but if not then on your contact page.
6) Include location in the title.
The 70 characters of title length should have the primary keyword and your location to make it more locally optimized.
7) Include location and phone number in the Meta description.
Google might choose a snippet of text from your website instead, but it never hurts to have an optimized Meta description. Make sure it includes your primary keywords, areas your business serves and phone number, if possible, within 165 characters.
8) Create Location-Specific pages.
If you have more than one location for your business and there is only one website, then make sure you create a separate page for each physical location, so that anyone searching for your business in a particular area gets redirected to the exact landing page.
9) Make sure your website is responsive and mobile friendly website.
A recent Google mobile-friendly ranking algorithm update (Pigeon) scans each page on the site and checks for load times, responsive design elements, and mobile best practice. Check your site using Mobile-Friendly test tool, and make it responsive if it is not.
10) Get listed in local business directories (get local citations)
There are a number of business directories you can get citations in, giving you solid links, that can improve your ranking and make it easy for searchers to find your local business. Some of the best business directories are Yelp, Superpages, Citysearch, Truelocal, Express Update, Citysquares, InfoUSA, and more.
11) Reviews on Google+ Local Page
Ask customers to rate your business and leave reviews (mentioning specific services or products) on your Google+ Local page and on 3rd party websites (Yell, Yelp, Scoot, etc.). Ensure that ratings and reviews are spread out over a reasonable timeframe and are not fake. You should have at least 10 reviews with a 4 stars or higher aggregate. If not, work on it to get from your satisfied and existing clients.
Having a positive rating can help you elevate your business in search results, especially on sites that allow visitors to sort businesses by the number of positive ratings.
12) Register with Yahoo Local.
Yahoo Local for Business is free, easy to complete and another way to verify your business information online. Do not forget to link to your Yahoo profile from your Google+ Business page.
13) Register with Bing for Places
Bing Places for Business is free, easy to complete and another way to verify your business information online. Do not forget to link to your Bing profile from your Google+ Business page.
14) Create a Business Page on Facebook.
Besides providing other information on your Facebook page ensure that the address and telephone number are filled correctly. Once you are done, go and edit your Google+ Business page and link to your Facebook business page.
15) Posting regular keyword rich content.
Using your keywords when posting on social media will boost your ranking. Make sure you keep your social media pages active (like Google+ Local page, Facebook business page, your blog, etc.). If you aren’t regularly posting content, you will lose a lot of potential traffic. On a weekly basis, use it to share news and updates, link to good content (on your own site and on others), publicize promotions and offers, and to engage with customers and other businesses in your area.
16) Email address with Domain name.
To ensure Google that you as a business owner have the primary control of your business, the best practice is to have an email address with the domain name. And if someone else owns your Google My Business page you can transfer it to yourself with the help of Google’s Transfer Ownership guide
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