Everybody pretty much knows that you need proper search engine optimization in order to get your products and services out there. If you didn’t set up your SEO properly, you are pretty much invisible online. However, small and local business need to focus even more on local SEO.
Improving your local SEO rankings mean much more if you only work in a centralized location. For example, if you’re operating in Brisbane, Australia, and you have a local business that doesn’t really provide any services and goods outside this area, your time and resources will be better spent by investing in improving your local rankings. You will be more relevant and will be easier to find in this manner. Furthermore, it’s easier and cheaper to go with local SEO, as opposed to investing all you have in getting some global reach which you simply don’t need.
And all these points are more important than ever for 2019. Local SEO is becoming more and more prevalent, and we predict it will be a staple for any business in this new year.
Master the basics
First and foremost, you need to master the basics. Local SEO will be useless if you don’t have proper keywords, description tags, and meta elements for your website. Any small business owner, but new entrepreneurs especially, need to learn how to market their companies online. In fact, in this day and age, online marketing may just be more important as offline marketing.
Take care that your keywords are set up properly. Avoid KW stuffing, don’t be too general, or to specific. Then, see if your local SEO features are ok. You’d be surprised how many people can’t figure out why their rankings aren’t improving when the actual culprit is just a simple type or an empty field. Double check all the information you put in, your address, your city…
Set up local-specific SEO
Let’s continue with our example. You want and need to be listed properly on all the important business directories. So, sites like Yelp, for example, are very influential for your company’s visibility. You will need to access citation data aggregators (Factual and Infogroup are good examples), and then type in your company name, address, and your phone number. Experienced professionals that deal with local SEO will tell you that you absolutely need to be consistent. Remember, you are trying to make life easier for your customers, and for Google’s algorithms.
Next, access the “Google My Business” page. If your company is already there, then you will need to verify it. While the verification process is lengthy, just follow the instructions and you will be fine. IN fact, you need to do this if you want proper local SEO set up. Google needs to verify your company is legitimate, otherwise, it can’t allow you to use this page.
When filling out this page, you need to be as accurate and as specific as possible. So, when choosing a category, go with Ethnic restaurant, instead of just restaurant. If you’re selling specialized mountain biking equipment, choose that category, instead of just a bike shop. Next, write a description of your business in a couple of sentences. Be sure to specify your operating hours, as well as the types of payments you accept. Add a logo to your page, or maybe a photo of your company, as well as a couple of more photos of either your actual business or the goods you provide.
Local SEO is for Google’s algorithms, and for your customers.
Encourage reviews and feedback
If you want to facilitate trust, you need reviews. By encouraging your customers to leave a review for your business, you show that, first of all, you actually had some customers, and that, secondly, you provide high-quality goods and/or services. Furthermore, responding to said reviews. A simple thank you or a sign of appreciation on positive reviews will go a long way. If someone left a negative review, either explain why this person may be wrong or write out how you intend to work on the issues they are complaining about.
Now, the most relevant places for review options are your “Google my business” page, and Facebook. These are the most popular search options. Furthermore, know that positive reviews increase your online visibility.
Work on your content
Any and all content you publish should be locally optimized. The reasoning behind this statement is centered mostly on the fact that when people are looking for a certain service or product, they will research it thoroughly (or at least they should). So by having content that provides this kind of information, you will attract people to your page. Then, they will have a one-stop shop, finding the data they need, and getting the products or services they want. Of course, the caveat here is that your content needs to be relevant to your business and that it is locally optimized.
Include all the necessary keywords into your content, by placing it within your page title and your meta description. Work on your URL, and your H1, H2, and H3 tags, as well as your anchor text and alt text within images.
Be mobile friendly
For some time now having a mobile-friendly website is a must. Many people do their online browsing almost exclusively via mobile, and your website is no different. However, what is new and different, is the fact that it needs to be optimized for local searches.
Namely, the main point here would be page speed. When you have too many things loading on your page, it will slow down any kind of browsing and will get people to simply move away onto another site. If you want to avoid this, there are several things you need to do. Above all, optimize your images and compress them. Then, don’t go overboard with plugins, trim the fat. Google Developers has some tools that can help you with optimizing your loading speeds.
Getting ahead in business is no easy feat. There are many things you need to take into consideration, and proper online marketing is one of them. By setting up your local search engine optimization properly, you will increase your rankings, and become more visible. Remember to master the basics, and to use all the tools and options at your disposal properly. Things like “Google My Business” and speed optimization tools are a godsend, as is mobile optimization in general.