Whether you’re marketing a new startup, a small business, or you’re being paid big bucks to manage the web presence of a giant brand, you’re probably aware that local search marketing results are an increasingly significant aspect of SEO endeavors and effective marketing strategy. Finding key placements and rankings on local results has been demonstrated to have a wildly positive impact on visitation and conversions. But the metrics which contribute to local rankings are far less well understood than those which contribute to traditional SEO, and many marketers and business owners often find themselves at a loss.
In reality, just as with traditional SEO, elements which you control can have a powerful rising impact on your position in local SEO for the area and increasing your overall visibility. We’ll run through a few simple, straightforward, and actionable tips and tricks which can help your local rankings go from mediocre to stellar.
How you display information about the business you’re wanting to rank well in local search results is absolutely critical. For example, the domain for your business should ideally include the business type, business name, and even location cues. For example, a San Diego coffee shop called ‘The Daily Grind’ might hunt down a domain name like ‘dailygrindsandiego.com’ or ‘dailygrindcoffee.com’.
Similar to traditional SEO, how you organize information on your website matters. Page titles should include many of the same kinds of keywords, most especially location-specific ones. Website content should include a good amount of locality info: the more specific, the better! Blog posts about local goings-on will help send positive location-specific signals to search engines.
Local Business Listings
Another great trick is to build out your business’s listings on local and national directories and third-party websites. High-authority websites like this are frequently scanned by search engines when looking for local business information.
The first step to building out your third-party pages is to gather in one place all the information you’ll need. Important business contact information, like the website url, business name, phone numbers, address, photos, reviews, and even videos will help. All of this information should be posted in the same format on all listings for the best results. For example, if you put your phone number’s area code in parenthesis in one listing, don’t change that phone number format to dashes for another; it will downgrade your possible rankings.
The best-rated local listings websites include options like Facebook and Google local listing business pages, Yelp and Foursquare business pages, YP, Yellowbook, Alexa, and BBB listings. But those are just the beginning; donating to local charitable organizations, local business listings on newspaper websites or the local chamber of commerce website can also be a great source of additional local ranking power. Don’t put a minimal amount of information on these websites; make them as thorough and informative as possible.
Your Website’s Linking Strategy
Your website’s external linking strategy can also dramatically impact your local visibility. However, this is one tool which should be used with care, as incorrect application of a good strategy can damage your local search visibility over time. Ideally, you should leverage your social media presence to share links to your website, and also link to your website in email newsletters. Mention other community businesses and services which you feel comfortable endorsing, and link to their websites.
Leverage User Reviews
Genuine user reviews can impact your local search visibility, so encourage your customers or visitors to leave them across multiple websites. Google business pages and Yelp pages are among the most powerful review sites to leverage. Where possible, you should also demonstrate activity and interest in your business listing by responding to reviews and engaging with consumers… even if the reviews are bad. Not only will this impact your local search presence, but it will send positive signals to prospective clients.
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