Over the last year, we have talked about many methods for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for local search. This is a good chance to do some accounting and see how much progress you are making in your local optimization.
Google wants consumers to get search returns that highlight the best and closest local businesses to them at the time that they search. Treat this article like a checklist, look at it to see if you are doing everything you can do to ensure your business shows up to searchers whenever they are looking for your kind of business around your specific location.
Why Is This So Important Again?
Back in the old days of the internet when you did a search for say “Best Pizza”, your search engine would tell you about the best pizzas in the world (returned articles might tell you about great pizza restaurants in Italy).
This information was often interesting but not particularly helpful (unless you happened to live in Italy or your interest in pizza was purely academic).
Now with the wide-scale adoption of smartphones, the development of quick geo-location technologies, and the integration of easily accessible customer reviews, we can now use search to easily find the closest and the best place to get our pizza.
In this new world of search, consumers desire good local results so Google wants to deliver the best possible local search results.
On Page Optimization Factors
There are a number of places on your website that allow for local optimization. Generally, incorporating these factors to emphasize local search involves what is called Schema Markup. Schema is just a set of “best practices” HTML and search experts highlighted to try to create standardization.
By having good local Schema markup you tell search engine bots (the algorithms Google and other search engines use to determine if sites meet their guidelines) it is okay for them to return your website in local search results.
So, have you done your local Schema markup? Are your tags, titles, and descriptions all optimized for local? If you are not optimized or could use some help remember you can call us for help.
Name, Address, and Phone Number.
For years, one of the most important thing to Google has been seeing that a business is represented consistently across the web. Having consistent NAP helps Google bots know what citations they can give you credit for. The more times those citations are both local and correctly pointed to your website the more your authority can grow.
Have you done an audit of your citations and made certain your NAP is consistent? Make sure to clean all inconsistencies and even duplicate listings.
How Is Your Google My Business Page
Did you claim your Google My Business Page? Did you wait to get the verification postcard and get your page setup? Hopefully, you are at least this far, but if you have not started the process, this would be a great time to start. It is always a good idea to keep up with whatever properties Google creates to handle local.
Once you are ready to confirm your property, make certain:
- the NAP is consistent with your website and other citations
- your business hours are correct
- your business category (or categories) is/are listed correctly
- you have included minimum of 10 photographs of your work, staff, and showroom
- The types of payment that you accept are listed
Getting these elements right might seem redundant, but keeping up with Google is one of the most important elements to good local SEO.
One of the factors a search engine uses to determine which sites are citations. When a link to your web page appears on another website, that informs the search engines that you have more “authority” than a website that doesn’t have any citations.
When a website passes authority to another website through citations, that is called “passing link juice (someone worked really hard to come up with that one).” But not all “link juice” is created equal. In particular, if the goal is local optimization, you want to be passed “link juice” from sites that have authority locally.
So, one of your goals should be to register on sites that have local authority (like a chamber of commerce or local better business bureau). You can also partner up with local charities or reach out to partner with local influencers on events you have a mutual interest in. You should also be sure to take advantage of the ability to register your site in any local directories.
One of the best ways to improve your local SEO is by having consistently good reviews and attention on review sites. In general, it is a good idea to ask your customers for reviews but a bad idea to incentivize your customers to give your business reviews.
All reviews are considered local information because they are tied to a physical location. In the case where you might have multiple locations, the reviews for each specific location count as local information supporting each specific location.
In addition, if you have had a string of bad reviews, are you implementing a plan to improve your services and responding positively to the reviewers? It is generally a very good idea to apologize and offer to make things right when you get bad reviews. Often, when handled well, customers who were angry with your business can turn into evangelists for your brand.