Building a Local SEO Foundation
Can prospective customers find your local business?
If your business primarily caters to local customers, you should consider Local SEO to make your business more visible to local customers on the web. To compete in Local Search, there are some basic strategies you should pursue.
Building a local SEO foundation
If you put a solid foundation in place for local search, you will reap the benefits of increased local visibility. Once the foundation is established, you should continue to build on it over time to further improve your local search rankings. This requires ongoing work in a number of areas. Look for opportunities to earn incoming links to your website from reputable sites; create new, optimized content to reflect changes in your products or services; blog regularly; continue to earn positive online reviews; and engage in social media. All of these activities will help increase your search engine rankings.
Here are the basics you should put in place to start building a local SEO foundation:
Set up a Google Local Business Profile
It's important to claim your business on Google My Business and set up your profile so that it's 100% complete and appealing to the eye. An accurate profile ensures your business data is available for use by Google search and Google maps.
Set up Local Business Listings
There are many online directories and websites where you can list your business for free, such as Yelp, Bing Places for Business, Yahoo! Local, Yellow Pages (yp), Superpages, and more. It's important to claim your business on some of the top sites that are relevant to your location and type of business. Be sure to optimize your business profiles on these sites so they're 100% complete and accurate.
Setting up local business listings provides citations for your business. A citation is a mention of your company NAP (name, address, phone number) on other webpages that doesn't include a link to your website. It's important to obtain citations for your business from well-established and reputable sites in order to boost your local SEO.
Develop an Online Review Strategy
Positive online reviews add credibility to your business and are a factor in Google's local search rankings. Seek to obtain positive reviews for your business to help improve your local rankings. If your business has few online reviews, then it's time to put a strategy in place for eliciting reviews from your customers. Let your customers know where they can post reviews and be sure to monitor them. Your online reputation is very important, so take care to respond appropriately to any negative responses and thank your clients for positive reviews.
Get a Mobile-Friendly Website
Many people are using their mobile phones to retrieve information on local businesses. If your site isn't mobile-friendly, it won't display well on a mobile phone and will be difficult to read. Since Google wants to provide the best possible viewing experience for their users, they have incorporated mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Further, in late 2016, Google announced Mobile-first Indexing which means their searches will primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages. They have stated they will continue to index the desktop version of a website if a site isn't mobile-friendly, but Google has made their intent clear with their change in strategy toward favoring mobile indexing.
If your site isn't mobile-friendly, it's time to get a responsive mobile-friendly website. A responsive website adapts its display to the device it is viewed on making for an optimal viewing experience for your users. Your website will be properly indexed for mobile viewing which will help boost your rankings.
Create Quality Content
Quality, dynamic content increases browser engagement by causing visitors to stay longer and visit your site more frequently. An example of effective content is a blog or informational area which provides quantitative value. Adding content with a local focus will help to further attract local visitors to your site. A static website will not drive traffic to itself.
Google loves fresh, relevant content that's updated frequently, and is always looking to provide the best possible results to its users. As you add quality content to your site, you have an opportunity to add keyword-rich content to positively impact your Google rankings.
Optimize Your Website
Website optimization refers to SEO tactics applied to individual web pages that positively impact Google rankings.
- Perform keyword research to identify local search terms used for your business and optimize webpage content with these keywords.
- Optimize title tags for your important local keywords.
- Optimize meta description, headings, and image alt tags.
- Add your business NAP (name, address, phone number) to each page of your website in the same format as your local listings.
- Add town or city-specific pages targeted for customers in these cities.
- If your business has multiple locations, add a page for each location with content specific to that location.
Get Active on Social Media
Social media involvement is important for building a local social following for your business. You'll want to set up a Facebook business page and post regularly to stay connected to your customers. You may also want to get active on other social media platforms that are commonly used by your target customers.
I can help you build your Local SEO foundation
Building a basic local SEO foundation is critical for being competitive in local search. I can analyze your business and establish a comprehensive plan for boosting your local SEO. If you don't have a mobile-friendly site, I recommend upgrading your site to one. Thomson Web Services provides affordable web design for small businesses and will create a custom, professional mobile-friendly site for your business using responsive web design.
Increasing local search rankings can take several months, but is well worth the effort.