A Comprehensive Guide to Local Search: Local SEO Tips You Can’t Ignore
Looking for local SEO tips?
Did you know local searches didn’t exist in 2013? Google first introduced the concept in 2014 when they released “Pigeon,” their newest algorithm update. It first appeared to be a design to improve Maps queries and nothing more.
Things have come a long way since then. SEO strategies have grown exponentially more competitive and therefore more complicated. For small businesses to rank on page one, they must incorporate local SEO into their online marketing strategy.
If you’re looking to improve your page ranking, you’ve come to the right place. Below we give you all the tools and direction you need to achieve local SEO dominance. Read on to learn more.
Anyone Can Do It
If you’re comfortable surfing the web and writing emails, you can set up your own local SEO. It’s a matter of mechanics, not skill. That doesn’t mean it’s simple. It doesn’t mean it’s quick.
There’s a steep learning curve, especially if you’re technologically challenged. If you dive in and find yourself over your head, contact a professional for help. Otherwise, stick with it, do your research, and you’ll see the finish line in no time.
Google My Business
To rule local SEO, you only have to do one thing: dominate Google rankings. They’ve controlled the search engine market since the early ’90s. All search engines look to them to discover the newest trends and strategies.
Google My Business is one of the three pillars of local SEO. The other two being website SEO and external marketing. We’ll get to those soon. For now, let’s focus on Google My Business (GMB).
GMB is Google’s tool for identifying and verifying your business. The link above will lead you to the page to create and verify your GMB page.
After you set up your profile, use Google Posts within your account. Encourage customers to visit your GMB page and share their reviews. Always be sure to respond to these reviews and include the [product/service] and [city/state].
Those pieces help Google verify what your business does and where it’s located.
Here, we’re referring to specific SEO tips and tricks. First, improve your internal linking structure. What do we mean by that?
Well, you should always include some form of navigation on your web pages, usually with a navigation bar. With it, visitors can quickly jump to different sections of your site.
You may also include other links inside your page. You may direct these links to your other pages in your website or outside of your website. The links leading to another page in your website are called internal links. Try to include two or three internal links in addition to your navigation bar on each page.
Note: More is not better. Google will downgrade your page ranking if you commonly overstuff your internal links or keywords. Use this practice with care.
Include your location within your traditional SEO:
Also, create a page dedicated to your geographical area. In it, include your name, address, and phone number. Provide your store hours, parking info, testimonials, etc. Don’t forget to add a Google Map of your brick-and-mortar location.
Next, create web content for locals. Add exposes, videos, or podcasts about local events. It’ll boost the number of pages on your website that include local words. This will help Google verify where you are.
Small business owners tend to shy away when the term marketing is used. Marketing isn’t a dirty word. All the term means is letting people know what you do and how to get in touch with you.
Online directories are rampant in our digital age. Many, like Zillow, are industry specific. Others, like Yelp and Yahoo! aren’t. Make sure your name, address, and phone number are consistent and up to date on all relevant directories.
Don’t stop with these. Perform a search for others, especially those that are industry specific. Consistency is key. Misspellings, abbreviations, incorrect addresses, and wrong phone numbers will degrade your page ranking.
Remember, Google is trying to verify who you are and what you do. The more often they find those pieces of information scattered across the web, the higher your validation.
If you come across duplicate listings of your business in the same directory, delete them. They confuse the web crawlers Google uses to scour the internet.
Don’t forget to include the Chamber of Commerce and other local directories. They’re a massive boost to your local ranking. They’re always a welcome source of inbound links (which we’ll get to next).
These little suckers do two things for you. 1) Create legitimacy for Google’s algorithms. 2) Raise your domain authority.
You already know that Google wants to validate your businesses information. Inbound links are one of the many pieces they use to do this.
Domain authority is something we haven’t talked about yet. Essentially, the term means “how other websites view your website.” Do they hold your website in high regard or not?
You’ll also acquire more traffic with inbound links. Consider them road signs scattered across the internet, pointing tourists toward your site.
There are dozens of ways to get inbound links, but the easiest is to guest blog. Use a tool like MozBar to find sites in your industry with a high domain authority (DA). Then, ask them if they accept guest bloggers.
Write up an article and include a link to your site in your bio. That’s all there is to it.
After Your Local SEO Tips
You can work through all our local SEO tips in a day. The inbound links are the only exception. A good marketing strategy takes months to implement properly.
If you found this article helpful, take five minutes to browse the rest of our digital marketing selection.
President, Direction Inc.