Increasing numbers of mobile searches and also a real focus from Google in offering local search results when applicable – getting on top of local SEO is a must for any business with a local footing. So, how do you rank well in your immediate geographic area? Well, we’ve come up with some great tips on how to increase your chances of doing so.
Claim your online profile
To claim your online profile, you need new to log into Yahoo Local, Bing Local and Google Places. The verification processes are straightforward, and you will need to verify your address that is normally done through a postcard or a phone call. If you don’t have an address in the area you’d like, you can also use a business address service and have the postcard sent to this particular place.
Upload high-quality images
Pictures of businesses are required by local site listing services to enhance the user experience. It is better to upload your own high-quality pictures instead of letting them use any image they come across. While you do not need to hire the services of a professional photographer, make sure that the pictures are decent and adequately represent your business.
Control your information
The local listing services heavily depend on information about your business on the Internet. These services crawl the Internet to find reviews, pictures and other information about your company on the Internet.
One of the disadvantages of the way these aggregation services work is that they have no way to check the correctness of information on another site. If there is incorrect information on another website, it is highly likely that it will become part of your local listing. Therefore, it is important for you to check your business information on the Internet and if there is an issue, you should ask the source to fix it.
Reviews are important
Reviews play a crucial role in local SEO, and most of the local listing sites are fine with businesses telling their customers to leave a review. You should ask your customers for a review everywhere including e-mail communications, invoices, contact form and thank you pages, among other places. Reviews make your business credible in the eyes of future customers. Here are some great ways to encourage customers to leave reviews.
Bad reviews are not bad
Many businesses are afraid of bad reviews, but keep in mind that perfection doesn’t exist in the business world. No company can keep 100% of their customers happy. Another important thing to remember is that many potential customers may find it suspicious if a company only has positive reviews.
Bad reviews are a cost of doing business and in fact, a couple of bad reviews can actually be good for your business. [However, don’t encourage this practice.]
Publish your local phone number
Make sure that your website has a local phone number in a text format, rather than in an image. It is also important to have a local phone number and not an 800 number as that number does not provide any location information.
Includes full physical mailing address
Each page of your website should have your full physical mailing address for reinforcing your geographical location.
Think like your customer
To attain higher rankings, you need to figure out the keywords that a typical customer will type in the search engines to find out about your business and your products. For instance, let’s assume that you are running an outdoor sports goods business, and you sell various things related to hiking, fishing, camping and hunting.
Your business is probably not a good match when a searcher searches for shoes. Even a search for running shoes is not a match for your business. However, you want to target customers who search for hiking shoes.
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing on keywords with higher traffic that are not targeted. This often comes at the cost of laser-focused keywords with lower traffic. Keep in mind that you need to think like your customer. Here are some tips.
Multiple landing pages are needed for multiple locations
If your business has multiple locations, you should have a separate page on the website for each location. The local listing sites do not want a business with different locations to refer to a single page on the company’s website for multiple locations. So, maintain a separate page for each location with that page containing all the information about that particular location only. Here is some help from Google on the matter.
Customer is always right
All businesses understand the value of treating their customers in the right manner, but the Internet, particularly social media has made it very easy for bad news to go viral within a short period. In simple terms, your business needs to pay special attention to customer service that includes both offline and online customer service.
It is important to understand that local search listings rely on information on the website of the business, information on various other sites as well as information on the local profile. However, customer experiences (in terms of online reviews) left by customers are also taken into account by local search listings.
Local search works in a unique manner, and while a business does not have complete control over the information appearing on their local listing, a business can work to ensure that the information on the listing represents their business adequately.
For more tips on local SEO, go through the list of following local SEO blogs that have been reviewed by us in the past