For the owner of a business, local SEO can be a pain. While directory listings are relevant to SEO rankings, directory listings are primary local SEO concerns. Which directory should you give your attention? Is there a directory that’s specifically for my niche? Does it have enough authority to help my website rank? Does it match my geographical location?
Then there’s making sure you are doing everything else, from a local SEO perspective correctly. Like, getting citations and making sure your NAP is accurate and consistent across the internet. With social media, are you managing your profiles as you should.
It is a lot to think about starting out. So make sure you first focus on the following four local search engine optimization strategies small business owners forget about or don’t know.
Accuracy and Consistency in Online Listings (Accuracy and Consistency of NAP)
Local search engines rely on a system of relevant facts to establish the location of a particular business. One thing they use is NAP, which stands for Name, Address, and Phone. If there’s a mistake, then you run the chance of Google having trouble locating your business.
This is an easy fix if your business is relatively new. However, if you have multiple citations, various locations, moved locations and changed ownership, then you’ll need to do extensive research to locate any and all discrepancies from the current listing across the internet. This will be a pain. It takes time, but it is worth the initial effort for the boost in SEO and potential sale conversion.
Build Out Your Social-Media Accounts
Thanks to social media and the power of social signals, a business can thrive in today’s market without an active website.
While Facebook is the top contender with over 1 billion active users, other top ten social media platforms should be considered as well. Most are free to join and can develop a massive following in a relatively short time frame. Create an account on the Google My Business platform, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube for starters.
It is important to note that a website will still help SERP. However, according to Moz.com, analysts place an 18.8% importance on websites alone in SEO rankings. Social media is far more important, so build out those platforms entirely.
Focus Heavy On Local SEO
While relatively new, Google has been working on a neighborhood algorithm. Actual local neighborhoods are tricky to work into search engine listings. Because many have loose boundaries or nicknames instead of official names, many neighborhoods are listed as “informal space”. This often causes confusion because the area may be called something entirely different by locals, or especially if there are several similar or identical area names. This often occurs in larger cities. When an SEO neighborhood name is different from the area on the actual website, ranking suffers.
Optimizing your website with the local neighborhood terminology can narrow down the listing of your business neighborhood while ranking the area in the new selected region within the search engine. Adding your company address to your website, to your Google My Business page, and checking Google Maps to ensure the neighborhood is listed correctly will help with better rankings.
Get Reviews From Customers
The good news about local SEO is that most of it is in your control. You create your business listings. You ensure your Google My Business page is completely optimized. Moreover, you build all social media platforms to gain followers and customers. That is all great. However, reviews are another matter altogether. Sure you can offer the best service on the planet. The transaction can be flawless. Everything can be smooth from beginning to end, but your customers may never give a review of the service.
You cannot force satisfied clients or customers to give your business an excellent review on Google+, Foursquare, Facebook, Travelocity, or Yelp. However, you can encourage them to leave them. Remember, local SEO picks up on good and bad reviews. So the better the ratings, the higher your listings. Instead, keep it light, fun. Ask for reviews every chance you get in front of your customer. This could be face-to-face, a survey or through a phone call.
Stick to the above four tips and you’ll have your SMB on it’s way to online marketing success and better visibility. Applying one tip to your strategy will definitely help but combining all four techniques to work as one will help get you the exposure you need and better rankings.
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