With the average small business paying 23% more than last year on digital marketing, it’s important that you’re getting the returns that you need. The days of casting as wide a net as possible on the internet are over. Local SEO is dominating the latest trends in digital advertising.
Search engines use tools called web crawlers to search across the internet and index every page in sight. They use that data to rank sites and match them up with searches based on how often they’re updated, local keywords, and how many other sites link to them. Having a strong set of links and keywords relevant to your region can be a big plus.
If you’re not regularly testing your SEO or are struggling to have the impact you want, follow these 7 tips to ensure you end up at the top of the local SEO game.
1. You Need Newer Links
One of the biggest changes to search engine algorithms is how much of an impact linking has. Inside your blog posts, information pages, and social media profiles, you should be linking to your site and other reputable sites. The more reputable your links to other sites are, the higher you’ll rank.
If you’ve been able to have your business or services mentioned in university research or in a news story, link to those references. Higher quality links build your reputation and will show your clients that you have clout in the industry. The more reputable local sites you can link to, the better your local SEO reputation will be. Also see Moz – The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building.
2. Build Strong Roots
Make sure you’re associating your business with a region whenever possible. Don’t spam your city or neighborhood all over your site, but make sure you mention it a few times. Having your location in your metadata can help build your local SEO presence.
Make sure you’re accurately found on Google Maps, Yelp, and any other directory with a map. After you place your local SEO keywords, run some searches on your region and the types of services that you offer. If you’re not one of the top hits, take note of which companies are and try to outdo them.
3. Be Honest & Genuine
If your company has a connection with other local businesses, make it known. If you stop at a local cafe on the way to the office every morning, post it on social media. Just make sure you’re sincere.
If you have images that look photoshopped or faked, people will know it and you’ll be penalized by search engines.
Respond to your reviews. Don’t be afraid to be real or admit when you’ve made a mistake. Take even the harshest criticism as constructive feedback and you’ll be rewarded with a high local SEO ranking.
4. Use Your Title Tags
Every time you have the opportunity, add local keywords to the title tags on your website. List your most popular or most important service in the tags and it will help search engines to find your business.
Something like “computer repair Brooklyn” will help search engines to return results when people search for you. Think like a potential customer and run some searches and see how you rank next to your competitors. Make sure you’re using the right search phrases in your keywords and you’ll see improvements in your SEO.
5. Create Local Business Profiles
Your first step will be to claim any profiles that might exist on any business directories. You might already be listed on Google My Business, Yelp, Yahoo! Local, or any number of business directories. This data is usually populated from other directories or created by your customers and other users.
There could be wild inaccuracies, incorrect hours, or outdated contact information. If another business with a similar name has a bad reputation, you could get dragged down with it if you haven’t claimed your business yet.
Make sure that you fill out everything in rigorous details so that customers can get ahold of you when they need you.
Take some high-quality photos of your location and your products. This will help to assure customers that you’re the business they’re trying to contact. For new customers, it will also assure them of the quality they’re looking for.
These directories will allow customers to leave feedback, so make sure you connect your accounts so you can respond. Responding to negative feedback can win back customers and looks good if done within 24 hours.
6. Get Some Reviews
For every one of these directories, make sure you’re taking advantage of the potential for reviews. Every business makes mistakes and you’ll surely have to deal with a negative review now and then. To assure your local SEO ranking isn’t affected, reach out to a few of your most dedicated customers asking for a review.
Do this work patiently as getting too many reviews on one site in too short of a period can raise flags to directories. They might think you’ve got some spam accounts running or that you’re illegally soliciting reviews. Play by the rules and take your time.
7. Franchises Need Local Content
If you’re the owner of multiple franchises or taking part in a business with multiple locations, make sure to create the most local content you can. If you don’t own the franchise in another neighborhood that might have a bad reputation, make sure your content mentions your area.
Don’t just copy and paste the same content for every branch. Create unique content for each one. There’s nothing search engines hate more than duplicate content.
Local SEO Will Build Your Reputation
If you can get your business associated with a neighborhood, you’ll build a dedicated following and trusting customer base. The stronger your local SEO presence is, the stronger you’ll see that play out in sales and orders. Even when ordering online, people like to shop locally, so make that easy by making yourself easy to find.
If you’re looking for more tips to make your star shine brightly in your region, contact us for tips on how to stand out online. Don’t have time to do all this yourself or just need some extra help? We are local seo experts and have the track record and data to prove it! Get more free advice on how SEO can help your specific business. Contact us for a free 30 min consultation.