Geographic relevance. That’s what local business want from their website traffic. Let’s face it, if you are a local business then web visitors from 500 miles away are not going to help you keep the lights on, are they? What you need are local strategies that will help you rank in search and maps.
Here then we will take a look at 7 local strategies to help you get the qualified leads you need, straight from local search!
Snag your Google My Business local page
Grab your Google My Business local page and fill it out to 100% completion. If you have more than one location have a page for each, just sure to make each of them unique. You also need to make sure they are verified. Once that is all done you will want to grab a custom URL for your Google + profile (G+ is a social platform well worth getting to grips with for helping to rank your business).
Follow all of the prompts and suggestions put forward by GMB and you’ll have a completed page in no time, just make sure to fill out the description in detail and make it search friendly. Why is the Google My Business page so important? It’s what shows up in Search and Maps when somebody close by to you starts searching for a local business just like yours. With that in mind, make sure you fill everything out properly and use high quality photos and cover / logo images.
Ask existing customers for reviews
Reviews are an important part of any ranking strategy but they are absolutely vital for local SEO, and for reasons that should be fairly obvious. Reviews are as important as word of mouth recommendations, and they are the first thing that a person sees when your business pops up in search – whether that be in actual search engine results or in maps.
You will need roughly 5 reviews before your stars (hopefully 5 of them) begin to appear in results but the more that you have, the better. They are a mark of quality, a sign that that you have something of value to offer. When asking for reviews, try to get your customers to leave an actual comment rather than just a star rating. Five stars are great, but a glowing reference to go with them goes much further.
Citations account for around 25% of ranking factors so it is extremely important to get this right. Making sure you have complete profiles on all the local directories that you can find can be a long winded affair,wrist achingly boring and yes, you’d rather be doing something else – but, and this can’t be stressed enough, if you want to rank locally then you need to do it.
You can do everything manually, by heading to a site for a list of citation sources and submitting details to each, or you can outsource the task to a service like this citation building service.
However you choose to do it, you need to make certain that your NAP (name, address, phone) data is the same, right across the board.
Consider making use of data aggregators
Submitting your business details to data aggregators can increase your reach like you could never have dreamed of. This approach may not be for every business type, but it is certainly worth taking a look at. Three of the biggest aggregators on the market right now are:
- Neustar Localeze
- Express Update
Get yourself on social media
Again, make sure your NAP is the same on your social profiles as it is everywhere else. Search engines will be looking for social presence, and details of these often show up in search results next to your listings.
Be sure that you are active on these channels too, even posting one high quality post a week is better than none at all. The platforms you should be looking at are Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Depending on the type of business you have, you may want to take a look at Instagram too.
Create location specific pages on your website
If you have more than one location then this is a great way to improve local reach. Even if you have just one location, this can still be used – just be wary of duplicate content; you won’t be penalised but only one page will be displayed in search so its a waste of time and effort more than anything else.
Learning about Google’s autocomplete feature and what people are searching for can help here too. Start typing one of your locations into the search bar then type ONE underscore ‘_’ character followed by a space then your business type – ‘baker’, for example.
What will pop up should give you some great ideas for location specific page titles and content ideas!
Get other sites and businesses to link to you
Inbound links account for roughly 20% of your ranking power, so get on that as soon as you can. Have a look around for local businesses that are talking about similar things to you and reach out to them. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement so there shouldn’t be an issue, so long as you are nice and polite and you have content worth sharing.
One way to do this is simply by getting them to mention you in a blog post with a link to your site or to a post of your own. Guest posting on each others websites with links back is also a great way to boost each others ranking signals.
Hopefully you have found these 7 strategies helpful, and they help to get your local business to where it needs to be. Some of these do require an amount of work, but it’s all worth it in the end!