The Best Practices To Use When Doing Local SEO
The only constant thing about SEO is that it changes all the time. Optimizing for local SEO is important both on-site and off-site because competition for local terms is getting stronger. In other words, if you are not controlling the top spot for your desired search terms, one of your competitors will.
Here are five current strategies you can use to help you be on the top of your local rankings:
1. Optimize Your Title And Meta Description Tags
These two HTML elements should reflect your website content. Think of the description tag as an advertisement of your site content, enticing the searcher to visit your site.
The ideal lengths for title tags are 50-60 characters. Description tags ideally should have 160-200 characters. Use them to your advantage and ensure that your search title and descriptions are not cut off in search results.
WordPress plugins such as SEOmofo or Yoast SEO emulate Google’s result pages and can give you a visual idea of your search snippet will look like.
Writing itself is an art. If you want to increase your click-through rate, you should strive to craft something unique, compelling, and descriptive. Write one word too many and Google will give you the ellipses (…). Remember that space is precious, and every word and character matters. Here are other tips:
– Never waste space, always provide helpful information
– Reach local customers by providing the area served by your business
– Focus on one keyword term and place it as close to the beginning of the tag as you can, in a natural way
2. Online Citations And Directories
Many small businesses do not claim their online business listings, which is a waste of an opportunity.
It is important to list your business correctly and consistently. As a minimum, you should list your business with Yelp, Citysearch, and Merchant Circle. Search online local directories too. Local newspapers and your chamber of commerce are also good opportunities to list your business.
Another important measure is to get your business Name, Address, and Phone number (the “NAP”) in a consistent way on all the major data aggregators such as Neustar (Localeze), Infogroup, Factual, and Acxiom (discover more of the content aggregators on this website. Avoid misspellings, abbreviations, wrong phone numbers, lacking suite number, and such mistakes – because consistency is how Google ensures the information is correct and displays your information on search results.
3. Claim Your Google My Business Page
All you have to do is to visit google.com/business and go through the verification process, which includes receiving a postcard with a PIN connected to your physical business location. Note that P.O. Boxes are not allowed.
This way Google verifies the legitimacy of your business and you ensure that you remain in control of your page. If you work with a digital marketing agency, you can grant them a management permission and remain in full control of your Google listing, even if you choose not to continue your business relationship with them.
Once verified, optimize your GMB page with a good description, categories, types of accepted payment, business hours, and so on. Upload your logo and at least three photos of your business (or services, or products) as well.
Fully complete every relevant field in your listing. Service businesses that do not have a location can choose to hide their physical address if that is your case.
Bing has a similar process for its local directory, so make sure to list your business there as well.
4. The Importance Of Online Reviews
84% of searchers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. You can use specific software to manage your company’s online reputation. Here are the most well-known:
– Get Five Stars
– Reputation Loop
– Trust Pilot
Also, some social media platforms such as Tiny Torch and Hootsuite provide you a way to monitor any mentions of your business in social media.
Positive or negative, make sure to respond to all reviews left. That shows other visitors that you care about your customers’ opinions.
The two biggest platforms in which you should get reviews are Facebook and Google. Google is especially important because they are a factor that influences online searchers as well.
5. Use Local Schema
Adding Schema, or Structured Data Markup, to your website code is simple and provides search engines with relevant information about your business activities, such as the services you offer, products you sell, reviews by past customers, and so on.
This offers a great possibility for you to stand above the average website. Only 31.3% of websites on the internet use this type of markup – and most of them only offer very basic information. Structuring your data properly can give you an extra oomph against your competitors and possibly even rank higher than them.
You can use Google’s free Structured Data Testing Tool to check and see if your Schema markup is working properly.
This is the very beginning of a long-lasting strategy for your local SEO listing. Properly implementing these five tactics described here will surely help you stand above your competition. Now it is time for you to roll up your sleeves and get started immediately. Good luck!