Local SEO is a big game-changer for local SMBs looking to grow their presence and increase their online visibility. Of course, there is a lot involved in developing an effective strategy for your local search optimization needs. It starts with understanding that you should take a holistic approach to SEO and make the local optimization a part of the greater SEO plan so that everything flows together seamlessly.
There are some other things that you’ll want to pay attention to when it comes to your local SEO, as you’ll see below.
If you’re not familiar, the Google Local Pack is the space above the organic listings where local relevant results show up with a map so that people can see what’s nearby. There’s even a new search interface so that when people search for “business” + “near me” they will get local results based on their computer’s IP address and location. Being able to get ranked in this section is the ultimate listing for a business, since it provides the ultimate convenience to searchers with contact information, reviews and ratings, hours, and more, without going to a website.
While you can do a lot for your search rankings before people even get to your website, your local onsite SEO is going to make a big impression, too. You can have the best Google profiles and rankings, show up in tons of business directories, and respond to every single review that people post. And yet, if your onsite SEO isn’t on point, you’re still going to miss the mark. Make sure that local SEO is part of your onsite strategy and include keywords and locations in tags, titles, and descriptions to help boost rankings.
Formerly known as Google My Business, this is your professional business listing on Google. Claim it. Complete it. Review it. Make sure that it hits the mark in every possible way. Use the categories, the tags, and all the different sections to get as much information in there as you can. The more complete your profile, the better you will rank.
Google is the biggest search engine out there, but it’s not the only one. Make sure that you cover all your bases by claiming and creating your Bing Places for Business page so that you can be found there, too. It may not get you a lot of attention, but the attention that it does get won’t come from anywhere else, making it a must.
You will also want to make sure that you get your business listed in all the relevant and necessary online directories. Consider sites like Yelp!, YellowPages.com, and others, as well as industry and niche directories where your business might be relevant. You should make sure that you complete these listings fully and connect them to the reviews that are posted so that people can see your authority and build trust in your brand.
You can’t just create a Facebook Business page and leave it. You have to use it; if you’re not interacting with your audience, you’re not going to get their attention or create that personal connection that people love from local businesses. Set up a Business Page on Facebook and use it to share posts, engage with your audience, and more.
No, it’s not time to sleep—NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number—the three vital elements of any business listing. You should make sure that your NAP is identical on every single website and directory where you are listed. That means if it’s “John Smith, LLC” on your website, it needs to be “John Smith, LLC” everywhere, not “John Smith” or even “John Smith LLC”—consistency is key for search rankings and authority building.
Today’s audiences are mobile, especially when it comes to local business. Did you know that as many as 88% of people who search for a local business will visit or call the business within a single day? That’s a pretty impressive rate, and to get in on it, your site needs to be mobile-responsive and designed to work on any device so that people can truly find you anywhere.
Authority is a big part of SEO, particularly when it comes to local branding. Again, quality matters here, though, so don’t just become a link collector. Make sure that you partner with reputable sources and generate a lot of high-quality inbound links that can build your brand authority in the search rankings and with your audience.
When it comes to reviews, we’re talking about the good, the bad, and the just plain awful—they all matter to Google and other search engine indexers. They also all matter to your audience, including potential customers or clients. Therefore, you need to embrace as many good reviews as you can. Ask people to be specific about the location or service they received to help your rankings (reviews with locations and keywords are favored by Google and others).
If you respond to reviews, that can also help build your credibility because it increases trust. And when negative reviews go unanswered or unresolved, that’s usually a huge red flag to the indexing algorithms. Don’t let those reviews come back to haunt you.
At Smith.ai, we know the power of successful local optimization. We also know that it can be hard to manage everything when you’re running a small business, which is why our virtual receptionists are here to help. We’ll get you started with a 24/7 answering service to field all those new leads, and can even help with your outbound sales and outreach campaigns if you need a little extra assistance.
Plus, our dedicated receptionists can handle lead intake, scheduling, and even things like payment collection and live website chat support, giving you a total solution for your marketing, communications, and admin needs.