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SEO, when done correctly can be one of the best strategies you can undertake not only for your website and online presence but including your entire campaign. Why? Because it allows people to discover your products and services with the click of a button or something as natural and simple as asking your smart phone a question.
Local SEO is focused on your immediate area or a specific region, province, state, like California (state), San Francisco, (city) and Bernal heights (neighborhood) the great thing about local SEO is you can create a footprint locally and the results of your efforts can grow. Therefore, when people in a particular area are looking for your business, the search engines will dish up the most relevant eligible results based on the query.
The question is this; what needs to be done when you are optimizing for local SEO and what strategies should be followed? Below are four suggestions.
Research A Plan of Action
The first thing that you need to do is have access to the R&D (research and development) for your immediate local area and your target audience ready. So if you’re a hair salon, do you know how many residents live in the area? How much foot traffic is going by? What is the average income of the area, average age? These are important in as far as how you will be communicating to that audience. Keep in mind it’s not a cookie cutter process. Depending on your niche or whether you are a brick and mortar you need to build the content that will speak directly to that area, you want to geo target. Ultimately, when your R&D is done correctly you can build a nice library of relevant search queries for your content generation.
Once you understand who you’re targeting you will then understand how they search for your services. What are some natural keywords that fall into your business? For example you can use the name of your store with the local neighborhood in the content of your page. Another example if you are a plumber then things like “ Plumber in San Francisco, New bathrooms install, Noe Valley Plumber, Kitchen Remodeling in San Francisco, etc., besides the beauty of Google’s algorithms especially with pigeon is, people now know to get specific with their queries. You can thank Google for this training, now most of your users know to do exact searches. So think like your customers.
Once the research is complete, you can then go on to devise a plan of action. Either hire someone to add you to local relevant directories or do it yourself but local directories are one of the better signals for Google. Get citations locally, get involved with your local meet-ups, join local linkedIn groups, get involved in your community. For example, the easiest thing you could do with very little cost is, create a video on how to change a faucet if you’re a plumber. Basically, put out information that’s going to matter for your local business.
Accurate Information About Company
It is essential that you have a proper and consistent NAP, which is short for Name, Address, and Phone data. Make sure it’s not an image, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this and all I can do is cringe. Not only will you need a NAP if you want to get a business listing on the search engines, but how in the heck are people supposed to find you? Below is a chart of the kind of information people are looking for in their local searches. Take note and use as many of those elements on your pages as possible. Another thing to look into especially if you have a brick and mortar store is to add your business to Google my business listing, Bing Places for Business listing and Yahoo Local Basic listing. It’s an easy process and just a matter of adding a passcode they send you within 10 days of the request.
Cleaning Your On-Site Optimization
Cleaning up our content to reflect your local flavor is not only done on the pages your readers can see but also on your title tags, your description tags, your H1, H2, H3 image alt text that the search engines can see. All of those small elements will and can play a strong role in making sure the search engines understand you are in San Francisco and not in Turkey.
Testimonials and Reviews
This is one of my favorite ways to rank. Get local reviews and testimonials, they are your best friends, more often than not you may notice those business are the ones getting the highest visibility on Google… just saying. Even more important is the fact that prospective customers are going to be more convinced by what other customers have to say about you than anything you may state yourself. This is one of the reasons becoming active in places like Angies list, Yelp and other online reviews is a smart move. It’s a great, organic (economical) and one of the best ways to get local visibility. Having a ton of positive reviews is a big plus, and in a perfect world it happens. But, be prepared for a few bad ones, and don’t get discouraged deal with them diplomatically and shine in the eyes of new potential customers.
The easiest and #1 way to get reviews is, to make sure your clients are happy. If you’ve been to a spa or a gym you will notice sometimes they have a small suggestion box or a drop box to add comments or complaints. It’s no different online. You have to encourage and ask for those reviews, unless you are awesome and people will just naturally give you a review. But ultimately don’t be afraid to ask.