Local search engine optimization is focused on making it easy for prospective customers to find information about your company online. Whether they are searching specifically for your company, or for businesses providing related goods and services in the area, you want your business listing or website to appear. The rising use of mobile devices has increased the importance of local search rankings, as people search for both quick reviews of, and directions to, popular businesses nearby. The topic of how to improve local SEO is very popular, and while many different ranking factors can have an impact, the following five are essential.
Take these steps to improve your local SEO:
1) Create and claim a business listing on Google Places
Google Places is used to categorize and provide basic information about your business. By claiming your Google Places listing you have control of the information displayed, such as a company description, images, hours of operation, and contact information. Providing category information about your business gives Google a better understanding of your industry and creates a signal that you are related to localized searches allied with what you do. Customers can leave feedback and reviews on your Google Places page, which you will have the ability to respond to. Bing Places and Yahoo Local, are similar to search engine profiles that should also be created and claimed.
2) Create Citations
A citation is any place online where your business lists its name, address, and phone number. An example of a citation where your business would be listed is yelp.com. Citations from well-established portals or directories help increase the degree of certainty the search engines have about your business's contact information and categorization. It is important to make sure that the information listed in your citations matches the information on your Google Places page. Repeated and consistent contact information will help to increase a search engine's trust in your business.
3) Gain Positive Reviews
Positive reviews are not only important to potential customers, but also to search engines. In regards to SEO, Google Places is the most important place to have positive reviews. Both quantity and quality of reviews are crucial aspects to local rankings.
4) Keep Information Up-To-Date
While creating business listings, it is important to keep in mind that business contact information or descriptions can often change. Saving all of your directory account login data and developing a process for updating business listings will be very helpful.
5) Optimize your website
It is important to make sure your website is optimized for local SEO. The most important aspect is to list your name, address, and phone number on every page of your website, in the same format as on your Google Places listing. The best place for this would be the footer of your website. Another local SEO option would be to use your city and state names in your title tags, meta descriptions, and in the content of your website.
What do you do to optimize your local SEO, and encourage people in your area to find you? We'd love to hear your ideas.
Carolyn Bowers is a full-time Atlanta Braves fan, and the Digital Marketing Analyst at CommonPlaces. She enjoys spending time with her family and pets, and has a goal to attend a game at every Major League Baseball park before the age of 40.