As ships and other sea-faring vessels have to adapt to the way the tides and underwater currents of the seas change rapidly, we need to also adapt to the changes on the Internet as it relates to how search engine results are calculated and pay attention to the various algorithm updates that occur from time to time. It takes a lot of effort and different tactics to navigate turbulent seas that may be encountered. The same is true of Local SEO. Even though it may sound like something that is easy to do, there is a lot more involved in making it work correctly than is obvious on the surface. In the past, simply adding one’s location, like your city and state, to the title and header tags of content, or just adding a citation, was enough to rank a website in top search result positions for that particular location. Making a simple reference to one’s location in the actual content was also once enough to get a good SERP. Now, there is a lot more involved and you need to pay attention to what you need to do make your Local SEO campaign a success.
But you may be wondering, “why all the fuss about Local SEO anyway?” Well, as Google makes changes to its various algorithms, the way websites are ranked has also changed. If you want your business to be on the first pages of search results for your location, Local SEO has to done in order to achieve that.
Factors That Aid in Achieving Effective Local SEO
Like I mentioned earlier, there is no one tactic that will make your website rank for Local SEO terms and keywords. Just as with a ship that employs a multi-faceted approach to weathering turbulent seas, your Local SEO strategy has more than one element to make it successful. Here are some general guidelines and things you need to do and check for in order to achieve an effective Local SEO campaign:
Check for duplicate content on your website
Optimize title tags by using keywords in your titles
Use only SEO friendly URLs
Add a blog to your website and post local content on it
Optimize your content with local signals
Make sure that your citations are clean and add important elements that may be lacking from them
Use responsive website themes that are mobile-friendly (you can test the mobile-friendliness of your website by visiting Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page)
Optimize the images and logos on your site
Create a Google Webmasters account to monitor any issues Google may have in crawling your site
Setup a Google+ Profile page
Claim your Google listing in Google My Business
When using Google My Business:
Verify your information or it will not show up
Add an introduction about your business
Upload a business profile photo
Showcase your business to customers by adding photos
Include the hours between which your business operates
Merge your Google Local profile with your Google+ page
Create and maintain a social presence, i.e. create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, etc.
Display Call To Action (CTA) buttons in prominent places on your website
Make it easy for customers to leave reviews on your website, and respond to any negative reviews that are posted
Display Testimonials and Reviews on your website
Display your business phone number prominently on your website
Submit your citation to Citation Directories and niche-specific sites
Create and claim your listing on sites like Yelp, Bing, and ExpressUpdate
Make sure that URL redirections are working properly
Optimize your navigation menus so that they can be indexed
Install Google Analytics to monitor important metrics like time on site, bounce rate, and referrer traffic locations
Generate local schemas for your site
Check to make sure that your business can be found on Google Maps. Pay attention to the updated quality guidelines that have been implemented:
Do not use descriptors of any sort
Virtual offices are not allowed unless they are staffed
One name must be used where two or more brands share the same location
Businesses should be placed in specific categories
Unique categories must be used for different departments that have their own page
Multi-location chains must be consistent with name and category formats
Get some quality backlinks to your website
Location pages must contain unique and well-written content
Local SEO – The Way to Go
Just one final note on the whole Local SEO saga. In opting for better page integration and offering more information on businesses, Google recently dropped local carousels for many local listings. Carousels used to look bulky, in my opinion, and detracted from the “connected” look of the search results pages. Google now uses the new 3-Pack results of organic listings along with new secondary pages. The 3-Pack shows a thumbnail photo and lists only the business name, reviews stars, and a short description. Interestingly though, when you click on the 3-Pack listings, you are taken to another search results page for that business and not its Google My Business page or the business’ website.
I hope that you have come to see why it is important to pay close attention to Local SEO. If you have not, then you need to read this article again and again until you realize why. But one thing I will say is that if you do not perform Local SEO on your website, your business will not show up in search results for businesses in your locale.
If you are interested in finding out more about how Power To Be Found can help you, visit our website or schedule a meeting at the link below!
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