SEO is a double-edged sword. Unless you do it well and understand why you need it, you may wind up losing points instead of getting the attention your website deserves. Google’s algorithms, such as Pigeon, Panda, and Hummingbird, were designed to give greater precedence to local businesses that are using neighborhood-focused keywords. In other words, if you want to attract more local customers, you need to learn how to use local SEO effectively.
The effects of certain algorithm updates, primarily Pigeon, have made searching for local businesses much easier by doing the following:
- Boosted visibility of local search directions and Yelp
- Less mismatching between Google and Maps — this depends greatly on your industry and whether you have a physical address or not
- Prominence to local business without physical addresses
An interesting finding made by Mike Ramsay of Nifty Marketing states that search queries get varied interests based on intent, images, and ads. In other words, users a clicking anything that makes sense to them. Thus, one size does not fit all, and in order to make the most of your marketing campaign, you need a fine tuned SEO campaign and local SEO to bring in customers.
The Steps for Local SEO
Make sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) is consistent
Web pages aside, NAP is an important defining factor between you and a competitor. A local customer is going to look at your name, address, and phone number to contact you, meaning that if there is one inconsistency floating around the internet, you might not be getting all the conversions you could be receiving.
You need to put the correct NAP in the footer of your business and also ensure the formatting is correct for Google My Business.
Other factors of NAP include a public email address that contains your business domain name, not just a generic service provider like Gmail or Outlook. Furthermore, use that domain email as the login for your Google My Business account, since this adds credibility.
Lastly, when using GMB, your business category is a description of what the business is, not what it does. An example of this is calling yourself a “Italian restaurant,” and not “pizza and pasta.” You should also use schema.org local business markup to help search engines identify your services and business much more accurately. Brightlocal, a website for GMB, will also help you figure out the correctness of your NAP.
In order to learn whether these factors are absent or negatively effecting your website in some way, a local search engine optimization audit or analysis can go a long way. This analysis can help you pinpoint any point where the NAP is incorrect or other information has been skewed.
Build credibility for the business
Just as important as it is to make sure you are link building your content to establish an online reputation, you need to display the same prowess with developing real credibility as a business. In order to do that, there are three elements. We already discussed one — having an NAP. The other two are getting local reviews that are written well and provide people with details about your business; and you need to have a verified listing on Google Maps and Google My Business.
But let’s emphasize the necessity of good reviews for a moment. More than 90% of consumers will be influenced by the rating you have received on Google or Yelp (and other similar websites). Incorporate Yelp badges on your website. Encourage customers to leave reviews on Google and other social media sites. This will help boost your presence online, thus generating more hits from local business searches.
To use GMB completely, add things like high-quality photos of your business (especially if selling products or food).
Create creative content
Yes, content marketing is just as important to garnering local clientele as it is for making sure your website is getting viewed. There are ways to make engaging content that isn’t keyword stuffed or sound too promotional. For example, you can use social media and blogs to announce events, send out graphics, and provide people with a general overview of your business. Give the readers a story about your business. Local guides are also great. With a local guide, you can introduce customers to the surroundings of your location, giving photos, providing advice on how to navigate the area, or recommending other businesses that you have a partnership with.
Next, having social media pages and creating relationships with your followers through these outlets is an excellent way of gathering content. You can use posts from other companies as inspiration for your own blogs, infographics, and photographs. Then, you can have dialogs with customers, establishing the beginnings of loyalty to your brand. The main goal, though, is to make you and your business look like a reliable, trustworthy expert in your field.
You are also going to want a high quality landing page to help generate higher conversions. Without one, you may be missing out on some business. Of course, the anatomy of a winning landing page is complex. Hiring a professional web designer or SEO specialist can help you construct the best landing page for your niche.
Being a local business is tough, especially when you want to stay ahead of the game. Geotarget your keywords. Invest in some decent content marketing. And lastly, have an SEO specialist audit your website to make sure your NAP and everything else is in order. Explo-Media is here to ensure your local business stands out from the competition, so contact us today to begin generating leads like never before.