The 7 Most Important Local SEO Decisions You Better Get Right Today
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7 Tactics To Improve Your Local SEO & Search Rank:
1. Google Local Settings
2. Title Tags
3. Which Directories to Use
4. Getting Google +1’s and Reviews
5. Location, Location, Location (NAP on page)
6. Google Map
When I started my business a while back, Google was still the search engine of choice, but utilizing PPC ads and some dated SEO tactics were en vogue at the time to get on Google’s top results page, the coveted #1 prized destination. Today, competition as we all know is super high in most major national, regional, and local markets. There are some time tested as well as recent Local SEO tactics which businesses must get right or their local seo search rank won’t be as strong as it can be.
In this post, I am sharing some top Local SEO tactics that businesses should incorporate to help increase their chances of getting found in their local market, increase their online traffic and generate more local leads. In my experience, utilizing these 7 Local SEO tactics for my clients has helped them capitalize immensely by attaining page #1 Google rank for their top search terms and 3x – 5x growth in their organic search traffic. They work.
First, a quick chart before we dive in, just to illustrate a point. Hmm, does page rank still really matter???
1. Google Local Set Up- Setting your business up with Google Local Business tools is critical for your online business success. If you are new to the online marketing world & just purchased your domain or managing a global Fortune 500, it’s paramount that you learn what Google offers you and that you take advantage of it. So be sure to check out https://www.google.com/business. Here you can register your business with Google and you will need to select what business type yours is. The three business types in the image below are self explanatory and Google does provide insight for each, but just in case you have any confusion, here’s a quick synopsis.
a) Storefront- if you have a physical presence where you serve clients (eg. Pizza shop, restaurant, hotel, retail store, dentist.)
b) Service Area- if you have a business that services a certain area and you visit your customers to serve them. (eg. Painter, plumber, taxi service.)
c) Brand- if you have a brand that operates in a certain area locally, regionally or nationally. (eg. Sports team, charity, food & beverage.)
For more on Google tools be sure to view: https://www.google.com/webmasters . The next important decision that carries a lot of weight into your local search results is selecting the right business Category for your business or service. As you can see below, you want to make sure you choose the exact one that fits your business and which your customers will inevitably type into a Google search. Get it right.
2. TITLE TAGS- The single most important piece of content and code on your page for SEO and Local SEO are the Title Tags. Please note we said page. Remember, Google does not rank websites; they rank pages. Hence, for Local SEO make sure that you utilize your hometown or city where your business services its local customers in your Title Tag on your homepage since after all, that’s really the most important thing that will help connect you with customers on Google and all major search engines. The next few words you should use in your Title Tag on your homepage are ones that describe what you do and should be your top keyword phrase. Then it’s common to place your brand name last. Here’s an example of a well optimized title tag for local seo:
“Boston SEO & Search Marketing Services Company | Auctus Marketing” is the title tag.
For some insight on how to choose the most optimal keywords for your business click here. The next important piece of the puzzle for your on-site SEO is your Meta Description, which provides your customers & online searchers with a description of your product or service. This Description is the text that appears under your title tag in the search engine results page or commonly referred to as SERP. Below is an example: The blue copy is the Title Tag. The Black copy is the Meta Description. It will help to improve your search rank, if you include your top keywords in this.
3. Directories To Use- In the competitive online local search market, it’s vital that you not only get your Google Local info correct, but you also want to be listed in certain online quality directories that are commonly used in your industry. This will help to increase your local search rank (improve local seo) on Google, but will also give you another online destination where you can be found. A very helpful service to get you started with this is Moz Local. Also, we highly recommend that you register your site with Yahoo & Bing. Yahoo’s listing cost money, but is worth it as their network of sites will give you more reach. For more on Yahoo, https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/local-listings https://moz.com/local For a more comprehensive list of search directories, see below- *(please note that http://www.houzz.com/ is not listed.)
To shed some light on the importance of selecting quality local directories for your business & site to improve your local seo, here is some recent data (2015) on the subject from BrightLocal. We hope this helps your selection process.
4. Local & Social Reviews- In case you don’t know, social signals (activity on your social media channels) and customer reviews on your Google Local page carry a fair amount of weight in determining your organic search rank, especially your local seo rank. So be sure to post regular quality content on your Google Local business page and build up your connections in this social channel. Like most of us that grew up using Facebook (or in my case MySpace), you want to use a lot of the same underlying tactics that you used on Facebook. You also want to make sure you attain reviews on your Google Local business page from customers because once again this is an important factor in determining your local seo rank versus your competition. A nice way to do this is to send your Google Local page to a customer, request a review and offer them a discount or free promo. Do this in a nice, genuine and sincere manner and see what happens. If you want, you can copy & paste this email-
Hey _______ Hope all is well and we want you to know that we greatly appreciate your support! We simply love being part of this great local (insert town/city) community. To help us better serve you, we would appreciate a quick review on our Google Local Business page, (insert link here) and we hope to see you soon.
Have a great day!
*if you want to include a promo code or discount, go for it. As a token of our appreciation of you, please use this coupon next time you are in the store. Thx!
5. Location- NAP This one is very straightforward and easy for you to knock out and get right to strengthen your local seo presence. Make sure that your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) is listed on your homepage. If you have just one location, then have this NAP on all of your pages, which makes it easy for your customers to attain this info. Be sure to include this on your mobile page too. If you have multiple locations, then just make sure that you have a page for each and each NAP is very clear. We recommend that you place this info on your page’s footer, but also make it available above the viewer’s fold too, so they don’t have to scroll down.
6. Google Map- This last step is more of a reminder of how important it is that you add your business to Google Local, which is Step #1 listed above. Yes, we are simply stressing the importance of this step again and that you fill out all of the necessary information on your page.
1. First see if you business is already listed on Google.
2. If not, add your address & info.
3. Verification- before they list you, they will need to verify your address.
4. Then you need to complete your business profile.
5. Grow your page by connecting with others.
6. Check out Step #4 above again.
**Again, we can’t stress this importance of this step for your local seo and to make sure that your data is correct.
7. Mobile & Mobile SEO- I don’t think we need to stress the importance of having a responsive mobile site these days, as most of you know how important it is to have one for your local business. After all, it’s been over a year now since Google announced that mobile searches have outnumbered searches from desktop computers. In Google’s Mobile Path to Purchase Report, it was clear that search was the most important starting point for consumers when looking for products or services to purchase via their mobile devices. As you can see from the image below, branded mobile websites as well as mobile apps provide additional channels for mobile users on top of search engines.
Just in case you need another reminder or quantifiable example of the importance of having a mobile site, this is a good one. It’s pretty clear how consumers are using mobile search to assist them with shopping or finding local services. Make sure you don’t miss out.
One last point about mobile is to make sure that you make your mobile site very user friendly or easy to use. For example, view our old design below which shows limited options for visitors. We selected these pages as tabs for our homepage on our mobile site because they were the most visited pages on our site and because they simply make the most sense for us to promote our service. So when you are planning your mobile site with your developer and designer, be sure to think about ways to create a comfortable user experience like making sure your top visited pages on your site are easy to access on your mobile site’s homepage. It might not be a bad idea to view some of your competitors to see what they list on their mobile site or to view some popular sites that you regularly use to see what you like and don’t like on theirs.
We hope you have found this list helpful and we would appreciate any feedback. Also, please share this with others if you find it very useful. firstname.lastname@example.org www.auctusmarketing.com
Boston, MA | 617.990.7745