Business owners need to think bigger when it comes to local SEO because it’s a tight market.
The problem is that SEO strategies are often layered and complex. It’s not enough to list the company in directories and forget about them, for instance. You must target key directories to get the best results and optimise them, so they are geo-specific.
Local SEO takes all the regular SEO practices and builds on them to create a steady flow of loyal, but local, clientele. Is it difficult? It just takes a little know-how. Consider seven things your local businesses can do to boost SEO.
1. Focus on Accurate NAP
NAP stands for name, address and phone citations – they need to be consistent from directory to directory. The goal is to build trust with the various search engines because they spider through many different sites to confirm the company’s NAP. Google considers confidence when ranking pages and providing search results, so consistency matters.
Create listings on all the major local directories such as:
• Google Plus
You can use a service such as Bright Local to get quickly listed on the mainstream directories or go through and manually add the posts yourself. You’ll need to inspect them routinely to ensure the NAP is correct and make updates especially if the business adds a location or something changes like the phone number. Fixing inaccurate listings is time-consuming, but well worth the effort.
2. Put Your NAP on all Website Pages
This adds another layer for search engines to use when verifying your information to build confidence. You want your NAP to show somewhere on all web pages related to your business whether it’s a product page, landing page or even listing for a niche blog or industry site – one consistent NAP placed on all Internet assets.
3. Provide Local Reviews on Mainstream Sites
Reviews on sites like Google and Yelp do more than provide information to consumers shopping for a product or service, although that is important, too. At least one survey found that 92% of consumers read and rely on customer reviews. They also add yet one more layer to your local SEO strategy. Ask your customers to provide a review. The search engine will see that local review and use it to verify the location of the business.
4. Don’t Let Reviews Go Unanswered
That’s bad business for many reasons, but it is especially critical for SEO. Pay particular attention to sites like Google My Business. When you create your listing in Google My Business, you must verify your location and NAP information. Google looks at your review responses and checks to make sure the right company is answering, thereby increasing that critical confidence rating.
5. Post Testimonials on Your Webpage That are Not from Review Sites
Website testimonials count towards the in-SERP stars, which show rating stars on the search engine results page. Most major directories like Google, Yelp, CitiGrid and Foursquare show these stars as part of the result. You can use a website-based application to allow users to give your business a “star” rating, but make sure to review the platform’s policy carefully, so they work correctly.
Website testimonials also impact Google perception of the business when assessing its trustworthiness and reputation, and testimonials increase the confidence of potential leads that visit the site, as well. Be sure to thank the posters that give the company high marks, and try to work out issues if you get a low rating.
6. Create a Local Page with an Embedded Map
If your business has multiple locations, list the NAP for each one and create local schema markup for each store. The schema markup doesn’t display on the live webpage but sits in code. You’ll need to list a markup for each separate location. If the business has just the one location, you still need the map and local schema markup.
7. Use Local Trust Signals to Stand Out
Things like recognisable logos, security seals, location-specific organisations and critical certifications matter, as well. They help build your brand reputation with the consumers most likely to become customers and enhance local SEO at the same time.
SEO is fiercely competitive, especially since Google dropped down from seven local listings to just three. If you focus on the main SEO factors, you increase your odds of making that list.