As more and more people head to the Web to find products and services — even the ones just down the street from them — search engine optimization has grown increasingly important and remarkably more complex. While good SEO has long been seen as a must-have for anyone with a website, Local SEO (LSEO) can often get lost in the shuffle of where to spend time and money, and that’s too bad. Because in today’s market LSEO is an essential marketing component that can mean the difference between growing your customer base and having one at all, especially if you’re running a brick-and-mortar business.
LSEO strategy, because it functions differently than traditional SEO, must take into account Google’s use of “blended” search results. Unlike traditional SEO, which centers marketing efforts on driving Internet traffic to a specific website, Local SEO incorporates information gathered from sources that aren’t necessarily your business’s website. In fact, you don’t even need a website to make good use of LSEO. Instead, positive reviews, making use of free local business listings online, Google Places and the simple repetition of your business’s name, physical address and phone number in numerous places across the web all function together to enhance your ranking on Google any time someone performs a search that is specific to the area in which your business is located.
These blended results occur because LSEO uses citations in addition to links. Anytime, your business is cited in relation to a location on the Internet, it will add heft and weight to your rankings. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to boost your business’s bottom line, try these LSEO tactics and gain some upward momentum in your search engine rankings.
The Repetition of Relevant Information
Because LSEO is all about giving search engine users the best local results, the more your business’s name, address and local phone number is listed around the web, the better your local search engine rankings will be. From Yelp to LinkedIn, every listing counts, but there’s a slight catch: In order for your listing to work in your favor in every location and listing around the web, you need to make sure it is always exactly the same.
In other words, don’t add Inc. to your business’s name willy-nilly, and don’t add your post office box now and then. The accurate repetition of relevant information is essential. And be sure to use your local phone number in listings, too — even if you have a 1-800 number. Your phone’s area code is yet another way Google will seek out your business and find it whenever anyone performs a search that is relevant to your business and location.
Getting Good Reviews
Getting positive online reviews can always help out business, but when it comes to LSEO, good reviews are essential. What are good reviews in the land of Local SEO? Good reviews are reviews that are high in number (quantity), regularity (velocity) and quality (score), and ideally, you need to get those reviews on Google+, although garnering reviews from other websites like Yelp and Citysearch is important, too. If you have customers who love your product or service, ask them to review your business on Google+.
Claim Your Local Listing at Google+ Local (Formerly Google Places)
If you still haven’t set up your Google+ Local listing, it’s easy to do. Because Google is the most commonly used search engine in the world, it’s also the most commonly used search engine in your town and neighborhood. Completing your Google+ profile and building a Google+ Local page is essential to achieving higher rankings in local searches.
It won’t cost you a thing, but you need to fill every nook and cranny of your profile with quality content, and you need to engage with that content regularly by sharing, uploading photos and videos, blogging and the like.
Get Local Citations
A citation is any online listing that makes use of your business’s name, address and local phone number. Search out online directories and make sure your business’s name, address and phone number are all listed. Write guest blog posts that list your business’s name, address and phone number along with your byline. If you do any online advertising, make sure your business’s name, address and phone number are included. In all these endeavors, make sure your name, address and local phone number are always listed in identical fashion so Google can easily find you and rank you that much higher.
The Internet, it seems, is new again, and this time around, its focus is trying to get us all a lot closer to home. If you want to see a positive uptick in reaching more customers, make use of these Local SEO strategies and watch your search engine rankings — and your business — improve.