October 8, 2020 | seo | No Comments
By Jon Clark, managing partner at Moving Traffic Media, a boutique digital marketing agency offering PPC, display and SEO services in White Plains, NY.
Want to know a secret about organic search results? It’s super easy to be found high in them — so easy, in fact, that if you’re not ranking high, it’s almost a guarantee that you’re missing something in your local search engine optimization (SEO).
It isn’t that you’re not trying. Instead, it’s more that you might not understand just how essential some of the simpler things are. You’re putting too many eggs into the wrong baskets and not enough into the ones that count.
So, if you’re ready to fix what might be wrong with your local SEO, here is your starting point.
1. Remember The Fundamentals
Here are some key elements to get right to set a solid foundation for your business online.
Choose Your Name Wisely
When choosing a name for your business, give serious thought to how it will or will not come up in search engines.
Let’s say you own a local beauty and cosmetics store called The Tool Box. Sure, the name is clever and catchy, but you’re more likely to come up in searches for sledgehammers than you are for mascara.
Also, a location-based name can inadvertently kill your local SEO strategy. “Santa Fe Body Shop” is going to come up in Santa Fe-based searches, but not for neighboring towns. So, resist the urge to put your location into your business name.
Location, Location, Location
Many local businesses run completely out of a small office space or the owner’s home. Be honest about your address with search directories, even if it means you only submit information to those that will let you keep your address private.
Faking a business address can result in penalties, and post office boxes as online business addresses don’t fly, either.
You should be periodically checking the most popular directories for your business entry to make sure all your information is consistent.
Inconsistent information will hurt your rankings and customer trust.
Claim Your GMB Page
It only takes 10 minutes to claim your Google My Business (GMB) page, even though it’s the single biggest thing that will make sure your business comes up in local SEO results on Google.
2. Optimize Your Website For Local Traffic
Most people will research your business online before venturing out to your location. Here are a few key strategies to achieve local SEO success.
Rethink the Multisite Approach
Big companies may run multiple webpages for different locations, services or product types. But you aren’t competing with them; you’re competing with other local businesses. Having multiple sites can weaken your local SEO results, plus it can be confusing and even seem dishonest to your customers.
Pay Attention To Content
Of marketers, 72% say that content creation is their most effective SEO tactic. High-quality, relevant and consistent content generates traffic, spreads brand awareness on social media and provides value to your local community. The key is that it actually needs to be high quality, relevant and consistent. Aim to publish new content for your audience at least weekly.
3. Reviews Are A Must
Having online reviews is critical to local SEO. Google considers reviews in its rankings, and reviews are one of the first things your leads look for.
Most people will check reviews of a business and make their decision to visit based on the number and quality of reviews. Many people even trust the reviews they see online over recommendations from people they know.
If you need more reviews, look at the directories that you’re listed in to see if there are any rules about asking for reviews. For example, Google is happy to oblige, while others aren’t. Encourage reviews on social media. From there, ask your customers for honest reviews, and offer incentives, if necessary, to get some rolling in.
You want reviews that promote everything great about your business, but you don’t want them to come off as insincere. Whatever you do, do not pay for reviews. Not only can savvy consumers spot these in an instant, but the quick influx of reviews will also look suspicious to the platforms that support you.
4. Optimize For Mobile
Mobile users are more likely to search local businesses that they plan on visiting. And 61% of mobile users are more likely to contact a business if it has a mobile-friendly site.
A mobile-friendly site means a page that loads fast, content that’s easy for the mobile user to access and digest and an easy way for visitors to contact you, either through a tap-to-call function or accessible driving directions.
You should also cater your SEO strategy to how mobile consumers conduct searches, including local, long-tail and voice search-specific keywords.
What happens when you start focusing on the areas of your local SEO strategy that really matter? You generate more leads, create conversions and establish yourself as a valuable player in the local economy.