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Why Local SEO is a Must

Three Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Local SEO Immediately

Prospective customers are searching for your business solution online. You must optimize your website for local search if you want to maintain your current customers or grow your business.

What is Local SEO?

No matter what type of products you sell or services you provide, your potential customers must be able to find you as quickly and easily as possible. More than 80% of potential customers and clients search for the solution or product they need online before searching for a local businesses from which they can buy that solution. Local SEO (Local Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your website so that you can improve your visibility and ranking for geographically related keywords and gain higher local search ranking.

Local SEO is a highly targeted strategy. It allows your potential customers to find more information about your business even if they didn’t necessarily have your company in mind during their web search. Or they may know the name of your company, but need more information about your business (exact address, driving directions, opening hours, etc.). Local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location. This is why Local SEO is essential for every business – it allows business owners to promote their business at exactly the same time local customers are looking for services or products.

There is another enormous advantage for businesses when using Local SEO – big search engines like Google are increasingly personalizing search results based on the location of the person conducting the search. This means that there is a way you can compete and even beat mega-corporations on the search engines by targeting a much more local audience.

Local SEO Strategies For Small Businesses

Here are some basic, but very important steps you need to take if you want your business to rank high in local search results:

  1. Claim your listings – A local business listing is an online profile (also called local business page) that contains basic information about your business – company name, address, phone number, and other details. In a way, it is your online business card. Creating your online business listings is a very effective way to increase your local search engine ranking. There are thousands of websites and directories where you can do it for free. The most important business listings sites are: Google My Business, Bing places for business and Yahoo Local. It is highly probable that your company is already listed on a number of these directories or mentioned somewhere on the web, with or without a link. You can use tools like Yext or Localeze to find those listings, also commonly referred to as citations. After you find them you should claim them. This means that you will need to verify and validate that it is your business before you can change any information. Also, you’ll need to ensure that all of your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) information is complete and consistent across all listings for your company, so you can claim your business everywhere that it appears. Additional information that should be included on your local search page beside NAP is website address, business hours, description of your business, logo and high quality pictures. While you are claiming your business page, you will have the option to choose categories for your business. Keep in mind that proper business categorization is very important if you want your target audience to find you.
  2. Online Reviews – Online reviews are vital for local businesses because they have a direct impact on local search rankings. Google sees reviews as a signal of popularity. The more reviews you have, the more popular your website appears to Google. When someone searches for a business in a specific area, Google uses customer ratings as a major factor for determining position in the search results of the companies in the same industry from that area.  Also, better reviews mean higher click-through rates because users can see your website on a SERPs and reviews are a great way for them to make a decision about which link they are most interested in clicking. High click-through rates mean more visitors and potential customers. However, the real value of online reviews extends far beyond improved rankings and higher click-through rates. More than 75% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This proves that better reviews mean more business.
  3. Optimize your website – Local SEO is not just your local listings and reviews, your website is also very important. Make sure you have your contact information included in on page key elements like Title tag, Meta descriptions, Headings, etc. Furthermore, it is very important to try to write content that is specific to your local area. Also, 2015 was the year when mobile search activity surpassed desktop search activity. Decision-making has gone mobile. So, be sure to make your website mobile- friendly if you want local customers to find and reach you with ease.

The most important Local Search Ranking Factors

Every year, Moz conduct a survey to identify the specific factors that help websites rank higher in local search results. In the survey all factors are grouped according to category and each is given a percentage based upon their overall influence and impact in search ranking.

According to the latest report, the factors that have the greatest impact on Google local search results are On-page signals (Presence of NAP – Name, Address, Phone, Keywords in Titles, Domain authority, etc.) and Link signals (Inbound anchor text, Linking domain authority, Linking domain quantity, etc.).

The next important factors that affect local search are My business signals and External local signals which include Categories, Keywords in business title, Proximity, IYP (Internet Yellow Pages) aggregator NAP consistency, Citation volume, etc.

Factors that are also very impactful according to the Local Search Ranking Factors report are Review Signals and Personalization. Review signals include Review quantity, Review velocity, Review diversity, etc. Review quantity shows the number of reviews your business earns, Review velocity refers to the speed at which reviews accumulate and Review diversity means essentially how many web properties are talking about the business. Personalization generally refers to the personalization of the search results and it usually includes factors like Country, Locality, Personal Search History, Social Connections, etc.

The next factor is Behavioral or Mobile signals. Behavioral signals are click-throughs (CTR), mobile clicks-to-call, check-ins, star reviews, etc. This show how important is to make your website mobile-friendly.

The last but very significant factor that affects local search is Social Signals. Increased social signals indicate good domain authority and demonstrate a website’s value. Social signals include Google+ authority, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, etc.

Overall Ranking Factors

Image Source: Moz

Also, there are negative factors you should definitely avoid if you want to rank high in local search results. The top ten negative ranking factors for local SEO are:

  1. Incorrect business category
  2. Listing detected at false business address
  3. Mismatch NAP / Tracking Phone Numbers Across Data Ecosystem
  4. Presence of malware on site
  5. Reports of Violations on your GMB location
  6. Mismatch NAP / Tracking Phone Number on GMB Landing Page
  7. Mismatch Address on GMB Landing Page
  8. Presence of Multiple GMB locations with Same Phone Number
  9. Absence of crawl-able NAP on Website
  10. Address includes suite number similar to UPS Mail Store or other false addresses 

Local SEO should be a high priority for your business. When managed properly, a local SEO campaign can do wonders for your business. It can improve your local search ranking, effect conversion rates and boost sales.

Not sure if this is for you? Do a mobile search using the keywords your ideal buyer is using to find your solution or product.

Are you showing up on the first page? Are your competitors?

Either way, the absence of a strong local SEO strategy is costing you money.

Still not sure? We’ll do a comprehensive Website and SEO Analysis for you.

It’s FREE. No Cost. No Obligation.

Get Yours Today!

SEO-Report-Card

Jillian Vanarsdall
Jillian Vanarsdall
Founder of Blue Iris Marketing. An inbound marketing agency assisting businesses, from start-ups to high-growth firms, to phenomenally tell their unique story in a noisy digital world. Our services include inbound marketing, Wordpress web design and development, SEO, and social media.

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