Local is all the rage these days. People are shopping local, eating local, and businesses both small and large are wise to develop a local SEO strategy.
Local SEO is just what it sounds like – it gives search engine results based on the searcher’s current location. It’s important to implement, as more searches take place on mobile devices than desktops and statistically, most people conducting mobile searches are looking for local services.
Here are some basics to get you started with your local SEO strategy:
Claim your spots! Establish your business profile on Google My Business and review sites such as Yelp. Complete all parts of the profile and use your precise address location (including 9-digit ZIP.) Make sure you are as specific as possible when selecting your categories (stick with 1-2) and ensure your address and phone information are consistent across all profiles, and match what is listed on your website and your social media channels. It also helps to include high-quality photos in your Google listing. If you have multiple locations, you should have a profile and photos for each location.
Get your website in order. Your location information must be complete, accurate and consistent throughout your website. (Many websites list their address and phone number in the website footer, so it appears throughout the site.) If you have more than one location, include them all on your website, and make sure they match your Google listing(s).
Ask for feedback! Think about when you’re searching for a service online. Once you have a name and location, one of the first things you want to know next is how good their service is. The same goes for people searching for your services. Let your customers know what review sites you are listed on, and without overtly soliciting them, encourage them to review your business. The more thorough your listing is, the more valuable it is to consumers, and the more Google likes it.
Virtual ≠ Local. A virtual address is not going to work. Google can detect P.O. boxes and shared mailbox locations. If you don’t have a physical location where customers walk in off the street during business hours, then you should set up your Google profile as a service area business. (This is a good option if you work out of your home, and allows you to establish your Google profile accurately without publicizing your home address.) While we’re on this subject, even if you have a toll-free number, list a local telephone number too, if at all possible.
Quality UX is a must! Your site needs to be mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and load quickly. Enough said.
Don’t get stuffy. “Keyword stuffing” your location throughout your website is a bad idea. Listing your address in your website footer is sufficient for local SEO purposes. Don’t go adding the location (“stuffing”) into additional copy elsewhere in the site, thinking it will help search results. All it does is make Google crabby.
This is all very nice, but I have a large business with multiple locations. Can I benefit from local SEO?
Yes! A local SEO strategy can increase your exposure and improve your reputation at local levels, especially when you have those customer reviews in place. Here are some local SEO tips for larger businesses:
- If you have numerous locations, enlist a representative at each location or franchise to manage the local SEO for that location. This person should be manually verifying the Google listing information for their location and removing any duplicates if they exist.
- If each location has its own page on your website, again, that local representative can keep that page’s information accurate and current.
- Utilize automation tools for local SEO. Moz Local is a good one to check out.
Do you have local SEO in place for your business? Have any other tips that you don’t see here? Tell us about them!