Go Google Yourself!
What is Local Search Engine Optimization? Local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location, at home or while on the go. In the world of smartphones and tablets this is crucial to your business success. As a small business owner and marketer, you need to let Google know where you are located and what you have to offer so you’re not only showing up on Google search engine results pages (SERPs) more frequently, but you’re showing up in front of the eyes of a very relevant audience.
A local listing is an online business profile that includes your business name, phone number, address, map, website and other details that help customers easily connect with your business. Up to date business listings also help your Search Engine Ranking, increasing positive SEO results for your company, and helping you show up in search results.
Consumers turn to the Internet to search for trusted business recommendations online, and having consistent business listings creates confidence in your products or services. You need your listings to stand out with enhanced content such as pictures, menus, staff bios, events and more. (Online business listings with photos receive 248% more clicks than those without.)
- Google Yourself!
Start with a basic search for your company name in quotes, such as "Direct Marketing Solutions." It is important to see where you rank on the google page. How are you listed? If your information is correct. If you aren't finding anything, you can use your name plus modifiers like the city or state you live in etc. Run a number of searches and see what turns up.
- Create Local Places Pages.
Of course, the first step is making sure that you appear on Google but don’t forget to have a local business page for all the other major search engines, Bing & Yahoo. All you will need to do is fill out your business information such as location, phone number, hours, etc. and then you’ll be all set with an account.
- Optimize and Properly Categorize Your Page.
First, optimizing your local pages means uploading a good amount of quality photos, detailing your hours of operation, and listing the services offered.
Second, categorizing your business correctly is actually one of the most crucial steps to optimizing for local search. Several local search engines offer you the ability to place your business into 2-5 categories to help them understand what your business does. According to Moz Local search engines will “not display a business that is not categorized, or even worse, mis-categorized for a particular set of keywords.
- Accurate Business Citations.
You need to make sure all of your information is filled out and you have consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data for your company across all listings. It is possible that your business is already listed somewhere by someone else, but don’t panic! All you need to do is claim this listing, often referred to also as a citation. You can claim a citation by first looking to see if there is another business by the same name with the same location. Search for various names of your business. If you already have a listing created, that information is gathered from around the web so it could be incorrect!
- Online Reviews
According to a study published on Search Engine Land, Google looks at reviews as a major factor for ranking on the new carousel design; however more than anything your reviews are for Google users who see your company on a SERP. Reviews are quick and easy ways for consumers to decide which link they want to click. Fortunately, there are many different ways to improve your number of reviews. You don’t want to have any fake reviews or offer any gifts for those giving you reviews, you want them to be natural.
- Quality Photos
When people are searching for local businesses, they want to see photos. Most local accounts including Google+ Local allow you to upload at least 10 pictures. Your goal should try to be to have that many photos uploaded. It’s also important to take photos of your actual building, both inside and out, and even take pictures of your products. Your logo does work, but it’s always best to have an actual picture of the company building as your main photo.
- Optimize Your Website
Part of local search is your actual website as well as what is being said about your site around the web—it’s not just your local listings and pages. Make sure you have your contact information and preferably a phone number somewhere on your website. It’s also important to try and include city or regional keywords wherever possible and write content that is specific to your local area.
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