Google says that about 4 out of 5 people use search engines to conduct local searches. So, what does this mean to you? If you haven’t implemented your local SEO strategy so far, you’re missing the opportunity to boost your rankings and dominate Google’s first page.

When starting off, you need to keep in mind that local SEO is not a new concept. On the contrary, it consists of a wide range of proven practices that may take your SEO efforts to a whole new level. With this in mind, I created this brief guide to help small businesses build a bulletproof SEO strategy and tailor it to their needs.

Let’s see what steps you need to take to make this work.   

Local On-Page SEO still Matters

Everything that works for traditional SEO can be integrated with local SEO campaigns. The same goes for on-page optimization, which is necessary for making your site indexable, relevant, and perfectly optimized for search engines. Here are a few inevitable on-page optimization practices you need to keep in mind.

  • Optimize your title tags. Titles not only influence your rankings, but also boost your click-through rate. Make sure that they are unique and that they include your brand name. Also, to be fully displayed, they should be about 55-60 characters and appear to the front of the title.

  • Add a primary keyword to your meta descriptions, H1 tag, images’ file names and alt text, and on-page content.

  • Optimize your landing page URLs by making them readable, clean, and well-optimized. Keep in mind that Google penalizes keyword-stuffed exact match domains. This is why you should go with the “businessname.com/topic-topic” structure.

  • Add a Google map with your business marker to your landing page.

Get your Business Featured in Online Directories

To attract more customers to your site and boost conversion rates, you need to get your business featured in online business directories. Of course, you need to go with the most prominent ones, like Yelp, Citysearch, or Merchant Circle.

Apart from these major directories, you should also pay attention to some authoritative local directories, which may serve as an outstanding link building resource. For instance, if you’re a small business doing search engine optimization in Hong Kong, getting listed in local business directories such as Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce or Angloinfo may dramatically boost your SEO efforts.

Alternatively, you should post your business’ name, address, and a phone number (NAP) on all respected citation data aggregators like Neustar, Infogroup, Factual, and Acxiom. Before you do so, make sure that you’ve entered the information properly. Any abbreviations, misspellings, and wrong phone numbers may jeopardize your rankings on Google.

Get Listed on Google My Business

Generally speaking, Google My Business (GMB) falls into the category of a directory, but it is more than that. As it can significantly raise website exposure and transparency, creating and optimizing Google My Business pages is a must for every business aiming to improve their rankings, boost website traffic, and beat their competitors. When you set your page up, you need to include the following information:

  • Write an authentic description, format it properly and include all important links.

  • Select the right categories for your business.

  • Have high-resolution profile images and cover photos.

  • Upload numerous photos.

  • Add a correct phone number and address of your business.

  • Tell what your opening times and days are.

Take Advantage of Local Reviews

Local reviews are crucial for local search rankings and conversions. That is exactly why you cannot afford to ignore them when building your local SEO strategy. To harness all the power of this practice, you need to stick to the following tactics:

  • Get your business listed on all major review platforms, such as Google my Business, Facebook, and Yelp.

  • Check whether your business is listed on all significant geography-specific sites.

  • Read the guidelines before you start asking for reviews on any of these platforms.

  • Dedicate a page on your site to online reviews.

  • Get your customers to leave reviews under their own accounts.

  • Never ask for too many reviews at once. A massive amount of reviews may be seen as spammy.

  • Don’t be afraid of negative reviews. They should inspire you to constantly improve your customer services and products or services.

  • Be professional and polite when responding to both positive and negative reviews.

Optimize your Site for Mobile

Studies show that the number of mobile device users in the world is expected to reach 5.07 billion by 2019. Given these astonishing digits, we can conclude that optimizing your site for mobile users is not optional anymore. It’s obligatory for everyone who wants to survive in this overcrowded digital marketing landscape. Here are a few practices you need to take into consideration when optimizing your site for mobile:

  • Boost your page speed by optimizing images, reducing code, using browser caching, and minifying redirects.  

  • Improve mobile user experience by offering simpler navigation, visible search boxes, simple menus, and easy-to-click forms.

  • Make your product images expandable.

  • Never use pop-ups, as they lead to the higher bounce rate.

  • Don’t block CSS and Java because they show Google whether your web design is responsive.

  • Use Schema.org markup that helps search engines collect more information about your business.

Back to You

Finally, these are just some of numerous steps you need to take to give your local SEO efforts a boost. With the help of the practices mentioned above, you will manage to boost your rankings in the SERPs, drive more traffic to your site, and set yourself apart from your competition.

What local SEO techniques do you use?

 

Posted 5 December, 2017

Nate Vickery

Marketing manager and business consultant

I am a marketing manager and a business consultant mostly focused on latest tech trends and practices applicable to startup and SMB marketing. I also edit a business-oriented website Bizzmarkblog.com and write for some top-tier online publications such as TheNextWeb.com and MarketingInsidergroup.com.

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