As discussed in our article “7 Reasons Why Local SEO Should Be Your Focus in 2017” being found locally is vital to every business. In this article we dive in to the “How” of it all when we discuss our 8 Best Local SEO Tips.
Tip 1: Research Keywords
Our Best Local SEO Tips list obviously starts where your business starts: customers. What are your potential customers looking for? Keyword strategy built on solid research is where the pros start every time. Why? Because the keywords you decide to target should inform everything else that you do. You have to have a target before you can hit it.
- Google Keyword Tool – Free Tool https://adwords.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/
- Wordtracker’s Keyword Tool – Subscription Based – https://app.wordtracker.com/
- SEM Rush – Subscription Based – https://www.semrush.com
- Fiverr.com – Pay as you go – http://fiverr.com
Fiverr can be a good place to start depending on what you’re looking for. If you want basic keyword strategy with no consulting expertise, you can pay a small amount to get decent data as a starting place. For example, you can get a Keyword Strategy Report for $25 that comes with pretty good data and direction.
PRO TIP: This is a good place to outsource. It costs less than a subscription and your time plus you get additional expertise.
Tip 2 – Create Social Profiles
Social signals, meaning how many shares, retweets, likes, etc a page or a blog post receives the better your chances of getting that page ranked. Not to mention the Facebook Pixel we recently wrote about, can’t be installed and gathering data until you have a Facebook business page. There are also quite a few local directories that also allow you to add your social profile URL’s into your listings information. The more information we can add, the better. Fill in all the blanks that you can in every place you can.
PRO TIP: Keep track of all your login information in a secure file and limit access and knowledge about that file to key employees.
Top Social Media Platforms
PRO TIP: Don’t skip YouTube just because you don’t know how to create video or feel like you don’t have professional quality video. Every business has many opportunities for Video and the skills to create them.
Tip 3 – Create a NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) Doc:
A NAP document is going to make your life a lot easier, and its also going to make it easier for search engines to match up data about your address. A NAP document should contain the following:
- Company Name
- Phone Number (local preferred)
- Website URL – include http://www.
- Hours of operation
- Company Tagline/Motto
- Year Established
- Categories – 5 max
- Short Description – 150 characters max
- Long Description – 800 characters max
- Special Associations and Rewards
- Brands Carried
- Social URL’s: See step 2
- Logo and other photos like a head shot and portfolio images – .jpg or .png
PRO TIP: Keep your NAP close and your enemies closer… and accessible because you’ll be copying and pasting from it ALOT.
Tip 4 – Search Engine Registration
It only makes sense that you let the search engines know who you are, what you do, when you’re open, how people should get in touch and where exactly you are located.
Search Engine Citations
- Google My Business: https://www.google.com/business/
- Bing Places for Business: https://www.bingplaces.com/
- Yahoo Local Listings: https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/local-listings
PRO TIP: It’s easy to overlook Bing and Yahoo but make the effort to get this done for each location you have.
Tip 5 – Citations, Citations, Citations
Think of citations as link building for a physical address. The social media accounts discussed in Tip 2 act as top shelf citation sources. The more QUALITY citations you have consistent with your NAP, the more authority Google and other search engines will give to your business address, and the more likely your company will rank for the keywords you are trying to rank for.
Citation Management Resources
- Whitespark Citation Finder Tool: https://whitespark.ca/local-citation-finder/
- YEXT: http://www.yext.com/
PRO TIP: Learn how to use Whitespark so you can see what your competition is doing and manage your own citations.
Tip 6 – Reviews
Reviews matter a lot but it’s important how you obtain these reviews from customers. Offering a customer or giving your customer an incentive to leave a review for your business is a violation of most local directory’s, including Google+ Local’s, terms of service.
PRO TIP: These have been important long enough that now is really the time to make reviews a focus in your strategy. It’s currently at the top of our list (even though it’s #6 on yours).
Tip 7 – Onsite Optimization:
You can have a high authority with search engines with your company NAP, but if your site isn’t optimized then achieving the rankings you want aren’t going to happen, they might, but highly doubtful. If you don’t have a site or if you are considering a redesign, read this article and download this checklist first.
Here are a few tips to help with your current site:
- Aim to have at least 300 words for each new page or post
- Understand and use Categories and Tags for your content
- Create a unique title tag for each page of the site
- Title tags should be a max of 70 characters, and contain 1 main keyword and the company name
- The title tag should accurately reflect the content on the page
- Create a custom meta description for each page
- Add your NAP to every page of the website
- Add some internal links (related blog posts, contact me, etc.)
- Re-evaluate your content, try to make it more local
- Add Google+ authorship markup
- Add Schema.org microdata
- Add a blog to your website
PRO TIP: Your minimum goal should be to have 25,000 targeted and optimized words on your site.
Tip 8 – Ready, Set, Publish:
Relevant and useful content builds trust and trust creates fans and repeat customers. The old adage with SEO of Content is King is true, and true for a reason. Google loves quality, authoritative, shareable content. Each blog post you write has a chance of ranking for the main keyword or post topic – especially to a local audience.
- Write about what is relevant or important to your audience.
- Create content around targeted search terms.
- Blog at least once per week.
PRO TIP: Content is King but Context is God. Think of your site as a series of 500 word love letters to all of your potential clients. Woo them with content – words, pictures, videos, animation. Relevant and useful content creates trust, and trust creates fans.