Local SEO is changing the landscape for local businesses. However, it’s also changing its own rules and best practices almost as frequently as traditional SEO. That can make it nearly impossible to keep up. Just as soon as you check the latest trends, things change—but fret no more. In this guide, we’ll cover the top 10 do’s and don’ts for your local SEO that are must-know elements.
Although the basic tenets are similar and the goal is the same (getting ranked), local SEO works a little differently than traditional keyword optimization and SEO efforts. The good news is that Google is focusing most of its attention on local search results and local ads, but that doesn’t mean that getting ranked is easy. Unlike regular SEO efforts, you’ll have to do research for location-specific keywords and relevant search terms that your audience might use based on regionality.
However, you also have to do more than just tack a location keyword onto your other keywords and phrases. Here’s a list of the top reminders to get you started.
1. DO invest in onsite optimization to ensure that every page of your website is optimized, including metadata, tags, and more. While there are a lot of places you can get listed to grow your online visibility, if your website isn’t properly optimized for local search, none of those efforts matter.
2. DO double-check your NAP, or local SEO citation. This is your name, address, and phone number (NAP), and it needs to be consistent and identical across all listings. Your listing on your website should be the same as your listing on Yelp!, Facebook, Google Business, etc. Even something as simple as a difference in punctuation can throw off the consistency, so pay attention.
3. DO build your local SEO through social media. Today’s audiences are on social media and they expect to be able to find a lot of professional services and solutions there. Therefore, if you don’t optimize your social media and engage with local customers, you could be missing a large potential client base.
4. DO encourage reviews from your customers/clients. Genuine reviews will go a long way and give you a chance to build a different level of trust and authority. Make sure that the reviews are, indeed, genuine. Paid or faked reviews can irreparably damage your business reputation and are not worth the cost.
5. DO claim all of your directory listing profiles, including Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and Bing Places. Apple Maps, Yahoo! Local, YellowPages.com, and Yelp! are also good places to make sure that you get listed, along with any industry directories or special forums.
6. DON’T stuff a bunch of local keywords into otherwise good content. That’s a bad practice and it’ll get you dinged by the search engines quickly. Make sure that you use the right keywords, sparingly and appropriately, and focus more on delivering quality content that happens to also be location-relevant.
7. DON’T write sales copy. Today’s customer doesn’t need to be sold to—they want to be informed. They want to know that they’re working with an authority in the industry and getting the best service as a result. Therefore, you should be providing education and information for your audience and use that to get them to convert because you’re the best choice for their needs, not because you convinced them with some magic sales pitch.
8. DON’T create listings and walk away. Yes, for the most part, you shouldn’t need to update much. However, you need to monitor every single instance of your business online, including all the directory listings that you have. Monitor them and make updates regularly to keep current with SEO best practices and current marketing trends.
9. DON’T use the same content for different locations. While you might have eight franchises out there to create information repositories for, you should not even think about recycling content. You can link all of your franchises or branches to the main website and have one information database, but the content on the individual sites needs to be original and unique.
10. DON’T forget to respond to bad reviews (or all reviews, if you want, because thanks are good, too). If you leave bad reviews hanging out there without some kind of response or resolution, it looks bad to Google and other search engines. It will probably also look bad to potential customers—how can they trust you to be on their side when you can’t resolve negative experiences?
These are just a few of the biggest things to keep in mind with local SEO. As long as you’re following the best practices, it won’t be difficult for you to get the results that you deserve. Use the tools that you have to research keywords, audit your current online listings, and make updates as needed. That way, you can ensure that your local SEO is on point. After all, this is just a smaller part of your overall SEO strategy, but it still deserves big attention because millions of people are searching for local businesses these days and your name needs to be at the top of the list.
With all the effort you’ve put into your local SEO, you should see new leads reaching out in no time at all. The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you’ve got solutions in place to field those leads, including a 24/7 answering service so that you never miss an opportunity. Plus, when you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you can pair that with other solutions for things like lead intake and qualification, appointment scheduling, and even live website chat.
Still working on the campaigns and marketing? Ask how we can assist with outreach campaigns and outbound sales support, too. And if you’re ready to learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do for your lead intake and communications. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 727-6484.
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