Local SEO or local search engine optimization is the process of gaining greater visibility in the search engines for your local business. In this post I will share seven tips for better local SEO results.
Gone are the days where your prospective customers would crack open the yellow pages book to look for a business like yours. Now, the vast majority of your prospects go to Google. And, 75% of users will never scroll past the first page of results.
The money is on the first page of Google. That’s where your competitors are and that’s where you need to be if you want to grow a sustainable local business.
1. Google My Business – if you don’t already have a GMB profile then this is one of the first things you’ll want to focus on in order to improve your rankings in Google. You’ll need a Gmail account and then, search “google my business” and begin filling out your profile. Include your business name, website link, address and phone number as well as hours of operation. You should also include your service areas (geographic areas) and add your products and services as well as a keyword rich business description. And, don’t forget to add some images to your profile.
2. On page SEO – on page SEO or on site SEO refers to the keywords you use on your website. With local SEO, you will want to research keywords using Google’s keyword research tool and add the city where you are located. So for example, if you own a residential painting business, you will want to ensure that your website content includes keywords such as “residential painting East York”, “painting contractor East York”, “exterior house painting company East York”, etc.
3. Citations/Directories – citations are mentions of your business and physical address across the various online directories such as YellowPages.ca, Yelp.ca, etc. You will want to make sure that your physical address is the same across the multiple listings that you have so that Google doesn’t get confused and think it’s separate businesses. So for example, if your physical address is 99 Anywhere St Suite 201, Toronto, ON then you will want to make sure that the address is listed the same way for each directory and not have another listing such as #201-99 Anywhere Street, Toronto, Ontario.
4. Link building – link building is another way that Google and other search engines recognize your business as legitimate and so it’s important to build high quality links that point back to your website. Those links can come from having a Facebook page that includes your website link as well as guest posting an article on an established website or blog that is industry specific or city specific.
5. Blogging – the search engines love fresh content and so it’s important to make regular updates to your website. The best way to do that is with blogging. But don’t worry if you don’t like writing, it’s not necessary to post on a daily basis. You can add a new post to your blog once or twice per month. Just be consistent at least until you start showing up on page one of the search engines. It’s also a great way for potential customers to get to know you. The other great thing about blogging is that it gives you even more opportunities to sprinkle in the local keywords that you’re targeting for your business.
6. Customer reviews – customer reviews are important for 2 reasons. Not only will lots of positive reviews add to your credibility for new visitors to your website but, they will also give you better placement in the map pack. So, going back to tip #1 above, when you complete your Google My Business or GMB profile, it will put you in the map pack in Google search. However, Google only includes the top 3 profiles in the map pack at the top of the page. The good news is that many users will click the “view all” button below those top 3 businesses but again, most won’t scroll beyond page one. You can get better rankings and even land in the top 3 of the map pack with Google customer reviews. Make sure that whenever you geta Google review that you respond with a thank you.
7. Optimize for mobile – it’s extremely important to have a mobile friendly website now that more than half of users are searching Google, Bing or Yahoo with their phones or tablets. It’s been a few years now since Google announced that they would penalize websites that weren’t mobile friendly and therefore not give them favourable placement in the search results. So, make sure you fix any issues with your website’s layout on both desktop and mobile.
Now that you know what is needed in order to improve your local business placement in the search engines, you can’t unknow it. Either you need to take action or, reach out to a local SEO consultant to help you with improving the search results for your business. It’s important to note that Search Engine Optimization strategies and local SEO is not an overnight fix for gaining more clients boosting sales results. So if you’re short on time or technical know how, reach out to me for a chat about your needs.