Do you have a small business or a company with multiple brick-and-mortar locations? If so, it’s imperative that you’re actively optimizing your website using local SEO strategies. Local SEO tactics include everything from claiming a business listing to managing online ratings and reviews.
There are many important ranking factors beyond standard SEO practices to take into consideration when optimizing your site for local search results. Here are 5 best practices to follow when optimizing your website for local SEO.
1) Ensure your NAP is consistent across all platforms
In order for consumers and search engines to trust the data they find across the web about your business, you must ensure that its NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) is consistent on your website and on all third-party platforms where your business is listed.
When search engines like Google encounter NAP inconsistencies, they can become less trusting of the data they have about the company, which can result in lower local search rankings. To avoid NAP inconsistency, audit all of the places that your business is listed or mentioned and correct any variants in the data.
2) Include the right fields in your Google My Business & local business listings
Local business listings and citations play a vital role in reputation, rankings, and revenue. Google, as the dominant player in local search, has set the tone for best practices when it comes to formatting this data. Here’s what to include in your Google My Business (GMB) listing:
-Website and phone number
For a full guide to GMB, Google has provided these guidelines. Additional fields in local online directories and citations may include:
-Alternate phone numbers
-Payment forms accepted
3) Make sure your local business is getting reviews and ratings
An online local business review is left directly by a customer on any website or review platform, like Yelp, Google, and Facebook. The number of reviews you earn can directly impact local search rankings. To boost your local reviews, try these strategies:
Claim your major review profiles
Numerous platforms which feature reviews also facilitate a function known as “owner responses.” These provide an empowering opportunity to thank customers who leave positive reviews and attempt to win back customers who leave negative ones.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews through as many channels as possible. Don’t be afraid to get creative. This could include asking proactively via emails, placing feedback buttons on your website, using in-store signage and printed materials, or displaying testimonials on your website.
Respond to reviews
Responding to reviews, positive and negative, shows potential customers that you care about their feedback.
4) Optimize on-page content on local pages
A pillar of SEO is ensuring that on-page content and meta data is optimized for relevant, high search volume keywords. The added component for local SEO is including geographic or location-specific information for different location pages.
Optimizing local pages begins with keyword research. This will increase your site’s chances of ranking for keywords that are specific to the given location for local pages. Be sure to include the city name and area your business serves (i.e. Coding Bootcamp in San Francisco, CA).
Make sure that your location pages are high-quality. Need some help? Check out this post on the difference between local doorway pages and quality location pages.
5) Build up local link citations to your website
Once your GMB profile and local landing pages have been optimized, a more advanced SEO technique to increase your hyper-local SEO presence is to focus on earning local link citations back to your website. These are called unstructured citations and can range form anything such as a mention in a news article, blog post, social media post, or another local business.
Link building is an important part of traditional SEO, and local SEO is no different. Building these unstructured links will increase your visibility and footprint within your community.
Some example local linkbuilding tactics include submitting editorials or articles to local newspapers, reaching out to local bloggers, sponsoring community events, social media campaigns, and getting featured on round-up or best-of lists in your community.
Using local SEO tactics to optimize your website and online presence is an important and cost-efficient way to help grow your business and rise above your competitors.
Want more SEO tips? Find out how to improve your backlink profile through unlinked brand mentions.