Monday 01 September, 2014
If your business has a physical location, targeting local search should be part of your SEO strategy. A large number of purchases are made online through local search. Your customers are looking for you where they live, and you need to be listed in their search results.
At the core of your local SEO strategy is keywords. Choose keywords that include geographical locations and that are relevant to your business. For example, use ‘Chicago house cleaning’ instead of just ‘house cleaning.’ Use a free keyword tool to find phrases that have a high search volume but low competition.
Locate Your Listings
Search online to see if your business is already listed on Google + Local, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Bing Places and other local business directories. If you find your business, claim the listing. Each site has a process for doing this where you verify that it’s you. If there isn’t already a listing, make one.
Whether claiming your listing or making it from scratch, you should fill out every part of your profile. Incomplete listings or listings that have missing information look funny to customers. It looks like nobody is home. Also, filling out your profile completely gives you more opportunities to use keywords to your advantage.
Make It Local
You should use local keywords but, even better, talk about your local area. Make your website and content truly local. Refer to the area and its unique highlights and characteristics. This makes it more genuine and is also good for SEO. When people find your website, they know they’ve come to the right place.
Wherever possible, you should list your business’s address and phone number. On your website and across all listings, your business’s name, address and phone number should be consistent. For example, it shouldn’t say ‘Avenue’ on one listing and ‘Ave’ on another. Search engines are meticulous and they’ll consider these separate listings. Go through and make sure these are exactly the same everywhere they’re listed.
The local listing sites mentioned above pack quite a bit of SEO power. Your profile will get you traffic, but what really gets you listed in the search results is reviews. Make every effort possible to get your business reviewed. Let your customers know which sites you’re listed on and encourage them to leave their feedback.
Make It Mobile
Make sure your local business website is fully optimized for mobile. Check it out on a mobile device to make sure it looks good and works the way it’s supposed to. People increasingly search for local businesses on mobile devices and your site needs to be ready.
Get natural links back to your site. Whenever possible, get links from locally-oriented sites. This will boost your local SEO. Add a blog to your site and update it regularly with fresh content. Try whenever possible include references to your local area in your blog, but do it naturally.
Remember that it takes time for your SEO efforts to pay off. Start now by getting listed on local directories and optimizing your site for local searches. Your efforts will pay off with highly-targeted traffic that’s ready to buy.