Local SEO is almost infinitely more complex and harder to attain than the non-geographically-targeted sort, in great part because they tend to change far more quickly. According to Moz, link and on-page signals still account for a majority of the SEO power that can get your business the local SEO it needs to lead the map pack on any local keyword search… but there are roughly six other major factors also in play.
With that in mind, we’ve written this basic, no-nonsense guide on local SEO, highlighting the tips and tricks that will help get your business in the map pack for your target keywords.
Your On-Page Local SEO
Whether local SEO or no, it’s always important to remember not to put the cart before the horse, and to always start your work at home base: your website’s content. Your website’s content is increasingly one of the more powerful elements that can help your SEO, so it pays to keep things consistent. Here, one of the biggest things you can do is ensure that you’ve taken care of your NAPs.
NAP stands for ‘name, address, phone number’, and it’s one of the most critical on-page elements for local SEO. Your business name, address, and phone number should be easy to locate on every page… and should always be consistent. Use the full schema markup to make this information easily identifiable to search engines.
For the other on-page elements, you should take a page out of SEO history and incorporate location-relevant words and phrases in your page titles, header text, url, and alt attributes. You can gain a bit of a boost by ensuring there’s a Google map embedded on your pages, as well. On top of that, your website should be mobile friendly and load quickly both for desktop and mobile (you should shoot for a website which loads in half a second or less), with minimal popups.
Have A Google Business Page
Of course, the next big step is to have a Google Business Page… and to maintain it well. This means to fill it with photos, ensure your NAP matches that on your website (right down to the capitalizations and dashes), and put in a lot of information in the ‘about’ section. Post to it regularly, and try to collect a solid number of organic reviews. Avoid using the same information on your website and try to make all the information unique, and fill out all the optional details like opening and closing times and categories.
Use Local Reviews
Reviews from clients on large review aggregators is a great, easy way to get local citations and powerful backlinks. You should focus on getting as many reviews to your Google listing as possible. But that doesn’t mean you should exclusively use the Google reviews: claim your business page on Yelp, Yellow Pages, and absolutely any other review directory possible. Ensure that your NAP is consistent, again, right down to the capitalizations and dashes, because if these are even slightly different, Google will consider it a different business. Consistency matters!
But getting reviews isn’t usually easy. If your business has a newsletter, try to offer incentives for reviews, and provide links so that it’s easy for individuals to leave reviews. The easier you make it on your customers, the more you’re likely to get!
Local Links & Citations
The next big element? Getting links and citations. If you’re not familiar, citations are simply any mention of your business’s NAP on the web… and for local rankings, they carry a lot of weight! This can be one of the most arduous local SEO tasks, and it shouldn’t be discounted that Local SEO Experts often keep immensely thorough lists of the best places to get citations. A good place to start is to get your business listed with business directories, associations, and neighborhood directories.
Local links are exactly what they sound like: links which have local data. There are two ways to go about this: to have links to your website from other local websites, especially those of other local businesses and news outlets… or from the local pages of large non-geo specific websites, like Meetup.com or Reddit.
Local SEO is different and a bit more complicated than traditional SEO… but it can make a big difference to your business’s bottom line! The first step is always to make certain that your business website is optimized for local SEO in every way possible, and then to start building up your authority with a Google Business Page, reviews, links, and citations.