Search Engine Optimization or (SEO) is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools used today. Organic SEO is part of your digital marketing. It fine tunes your website to make it search engine friendly and rank for relevant keywords. You’ve heard the term over and over with your marketing team. In fact, it is one of the largest internet marketing strategies used by millions of online web designers, developers, and business owners. For the most successful businesses, SEO isn’t enough because Local SEO services have taken a bigger priority this year.
The Value of Local Marketing
Over half of the world population is on the Internet. 76% of people in the US have access. But you don’t need to reach the world when you’re a furniture store in Durham, NC, for example. You don’t even need to reach the whole state– unless you’re regional. You need the people of Durham and the surrounding counties to know who you are. These are your likely customers.
Local digital marketing is marketing that is hyper-focused on a certain area. It concentrates your resources where you’ll get the greatest ROI. When a local business engages in digital marketing that isn’t local, they spread the budget out like a crepe. It’s too thin in any one place to make much of an impact. It doesn’t matter how many frivolous toppings you sprinkle on it. There’s no substance.
Even if you have national ambitions, you need to build a firm foundation in your local area before branching out to get the most out of digital marketing. That’s what is known as Local SEO.
What Is Local SEO?
In case you are not familiar with the term “local SEO,” let’s start by defining it. SEO stands for search engine optimization or making it easy for consumers to find your content on search engines, such as Google. Local SEO refines that goal to a geographically local customer. For example, whether you are a mom-and-pop shop, a franchise owner or a regional business, you are looking to attract and invite returning and new customers into your brick-and-mortar location(s). Essentially creating content that will rank in search for queries relevant to your business. In other words, if you sell widgets, your company should be ranking for the keyword “widgets” and all related words and phrases.
When a retail store ranks for local SEO, its listings will appear at the top of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for widgets in the local or regional area. Therefore, if I am in your town and looking for widgets, I will find you near the top of the listings. Then I can call you and/or come into your brick-and-mortar store. When anyone discusses local SEO, the ultimate goal is getting the searcher to come into the local store.
Local SEO is designed to do just that, match local queries with the content and tools that will drive footsteps into your store.
Understanding Organic SEO vs. Local SEO
SEO uses keywords and allows your site to show up when customers run those searches in search engines. When keywords are typed into the search box (we do it multiple times each day), the search engines search across thousands of domains to find the right match. You should be one of the first! Information is retrieved from hundreds of databases from around the world.
Local SEO services are different from organic SEO because it helps customers find your brick and mortar address, rather than an online website. Local SEO is the practice of building relevance and reliability around specific locations so consumers can find your business when they are nearby. If you have a store or a local business your website should be designed to promote your products and services right when and where customers are searching for them.
Local SEO services use different strategies and components that work together to achieve ranking high in Google and other internet searches. Google uses your website data and local business data combined to determine local results. The bottom online line is that if you have a store, shop, restaurant, office or any other establishment Local SEO is imperative for your business to appear in online searches.
SEO data indicates more than 60 percent of people expect search results to be tailored to their location. 76 percent of people who search on their Smartphones for something nearby, visit that business within one day. Even better, 78 percent of people who search on their Smartphones for something nearby end up making a purchase.
Pretend you are the best Italian Restaurant in Austin, Texas. A potential customer is on vacation for the first time nearby and is hankering for Italian food. What do they do? They pull out their Smartphone and start typing, “Italian restaurants in Austin, TX”. Their results will be based on what local SEO work you and other restaurants have paid close and continual attention to. If you don’t include a location or address, then Google can’t do its job, resulting in a missed opportunity.
Research on Local SEO Impact
Local Searches by the Numbers:
- Over 1/2 of searches now happen on mobile devices.
- 75% of people who visit a local business online through a search on their mobile device will physically visit that store within 24 hours.
- Around 80% of searchers skip ads and click on an organic search result. So if you were thinking of running ads instead, know that it’s not as effective in the long-run. And Pay per click (PPC) search ads are about 6X more expensive than SEO as a long-term stand-alone strategy.
- 82% of smartphone users do “near me” searches to find local businesses, even though you don’t have to type “near me” to get local results anymore. It’s the default.
- 85% of customers do research online through search before visiting a business or buying.
To sum it all up, a high ranking in local search equals significantly more foot traffic into your store. Google has designed its algorithm to give preferential treatment to local businesses in their local area. But it can only do this if:
- It knows you’re really local.
- Your store is the most authoritative in your area.
- The website is actively providing locally-relevant content, which further demonstrates your local connection.
- You’re delivering the best experience once they get to your site (mobile friendly, fast, etc.)
Defining Your Local Market for Local SEO Strategy
You have a store in a great central location. Trucks are outside to deliver anywhere from downtown to two counties over in any direction. You bring in customers from all over the region when you advertise on the local news. So it seems like regional advertising is the best way to increase foot traffic into your store as you’re building your search engine optimization and digital marketing strategies. Why limit yourself?
But here’s what happens in reality. Businesses who target too broadly to quickly, end up in one of the following scenarios:
Spreading the Budget Thin
When you have a limited budget or a huge market area, budgeting is problematic. If you’re trying to compete in a very tough competitive market, you need a bigger budget than a 1-store town in the middle of Alabama. But to the same end, you could be a store that delivers 100 miles in any direction. And you want to appear locally to all of those potential places. Your budget is going to go very quickly or be very inefficient for such a wide radius. We’ve talked with a lot of retailers in both of these scenarios. Truthfully if a furniture retailer is targeting local SEO, they’re in one of these two buckets. We’ll talk later in this section about how to allocate your budget wisely.
Spreading Touch Points Thin
It’s Advertising 101. In order for a brand to build up brand equity with any one person or in the community, that person needs to repeatedly see that brand. Ideally, they should see it in multiple locations over a short period. A single ad, view or visit rarely makes a sale. It’s a combination of ads, emails, search appearances and more. If your radius isn’t planned well and your budget (see above) isn’t allocated efficiently, you’ll have a longshot to reach and engage a potential buyer. Remember, it takes more than 8 touchpoints to create a connection with a customer.
So, as a business, you know that you can’t completely avoid stepping on the toes of competitors. In fact, you live for it. Are we right? But targeting too broadly without dominating locally means you’re spending ad dollars where someone else already has a foothold. Those ad dollars are a complete loss because right now you can’t invest enough to knock that competitor off their pedestal.
In summary, local businesses with a poorly defined radius run out of money fast with little to show for it. Don’t make this one of four local SEO mistakes in retail. Here’s how to avoid it.
What’s Your Optimal Target Radius?
Your optimal radius is the market you can reasonably saturate. That means that you can acquire a significant portion of market share in that radius.
Most customers in that radius encounter your brand in some form daily or at least weekly. Shoppers drive by. They hear people talking. Maybe they see ads online. You come up in their local searches. One of your Facebook posts gets shared by a friend. They see a flyer in a bank for your design workshop. These repeated and consistent encounters build trust, interest, and eventually loyalty. When they need furniture, you’re top of mind.
Once you can truly say you’ve done this in a local area, you’re ready to branch out, expanding your radius incrementally. But just how do you do that?
84% of people trust reviews on sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google as much as they do a personal recommendation. Getting more reviews and effectively responding to negative reviews increases your visibility in search engines and gets customers in the door.
How do Local Reviews Help Local SEO Results?
When your website comes up in a search, people can see the star rating. Businesses with a positive rating with a flood of recent reviews receive more clicks than other local businesses. That’s because online reviews build trust with local customers. Online reviews provide local social proof of your products and services.
Search engines populate review data in search results for shoppers to review. Two important search engines for positive online reviews are Google and Facebook. Each search engine will collect review data for your business page. If you don’t have a business page, but customers leave a review, your opportunity to respond will be limited. It is critical that local retailers focus on getting more reviews on Facebook and Google.
Methods to Collect Reviews for Better Local SEO
Not all reviews on Facebook or Google will result in 5-stars. Star rating is one factor in better customer results. The other important keys to good online review management is quantity and recency.
- Automate your review process with email follow up post-sale
- Invest in tools like Podium to improve collection
- Include links to business pages with recommendations to review
- Ask for reviews during checkout in-store
If you receive negative reviews, implement a process to respond quickly. This can present a positive outlook on your store and may result in an updated review by the customer.
Content to Power Local SEO Strategy
Google tries to give local businesses preference in search results in their local areas. But Google can’t decipher what is local unless your website content helps to define it.
Part of working on your current website is posting local content. This is the fun part. On your website and/or blog, discuss local festivals you are involved with, local charities you sponsor, specials you have running at your locations, why you love being in your location, and a new recipe named after a local celebrity. The list of local content that you can create is endless. You can talk about staff members one day per month, the process that you take to create your product or places in the region you will be during the month. Write about any special events that you are hosting. Every time you post this content, make sure to include information about location and contact information. Include location in headers and meta description of your page. All of these mentions will show up in search when someone inputs your location.
Creating Locally-Focused Content
This is one very important way that you can demonstrate your localness. Here are just a few places you can add location information.
- Facebook posts
- Alt Image Titles and file names
- Mention your location in a blog post. For example, if we were in Flagstaff, AZ, it might be a good idea for us to mention Flagstaff in our blog posts when relevant.
- Footer contact info, including a phone number which should have a local area code.
- Network with local non-competitor businesses to guest post and link back to your site
- Tag the locations in social media posts
- Mention local events, venues, restaurants, etc. when relevant
- Share your content posts on Google Posts
- Set up Location Pages on your website for each of your brick-and-mortar locations
- Consistently post updates, promotions, and events on your Google My Business page
Website Improvements for Local SEO
Much of what needs to be done for local SEO on your current website is the same as for general SEO. You need good content that you write with keywords for each piece. Your site should have good internal navigation, appropriate links, properly labeled and tagged posts and images, and clear and precise coding.
You need to have a mobile-friendly website for easy readability on mobile devices. The better all of these elements are embedded in your site, the easier you are to find in the search. For local SEO, you need the addition of local and regional keywords and mentions in your content, which can include a map, coded contact information and address, and clear location-oriented pages.
Improve Website Flow and Structure
The first consideration is user experience and your site navigation. Google prefers to feature websites that offer a good user experience. Unfortunately, they don’t typically send a human to evaluate your site. Search bots crawl your site, and these bots have an easier time crawling a website that has a clear structure and easy navigation options. Strategic internal links also help the bots better “understand” your site structure.
Next, make your website is mobile responsive. At least half of all web traffic happens using a mobile phone. Therefore, you want to optimize your website for mobile traffic. Clickable phone numbers are one way to make use of a mobile responsive site.
According to Google, 50% of consumers who used their phone for a local search visited that store within a day. Sometimes small business owners overlook small but important details that consumers and Google’s bots expect to see. For example, you may be surprised how many business managers forget to include their address on their website.
Include a contact page to make it easy for readers to contact you directly.
Duplicate content poses a particular challenge for e-commerce sites. Google only ranks one version of the content, so you will want to ensure that any variations of product descriptions are unique. To qualify as unique, each product page needs to vary more than just the title, location, and color.
Optimize For Local Keywords
A keyword is a particular word or phrase that describes your website’s contents. Each time you add a new piece of content like a blog post to your website, use high volume keywords in all parts including the URL, title, headers, meta description and body copy. Tip: Consult a professional digital marketing company to help you optimize your content. It’s an investment that will pay you back over and over again. These tips will help you develop a keyword list:
Think like a customer: Think like your target audience and create a list of keywords that they would use to find you. List words that you would type into Google. It’s also a good idea to ask friends, colleagues, and even current customers what words they would use. Study Your
Competition: Knowing what keywords your competition is using on their websites, blogs and other content is very helpful to develop your keyword list.
Use Keyword Research Sites: There are many onsite keyword research tools like Google AdWords and SEM Rush that gather keyword data, trends and other important analysis to assist your keyword success. With the advent of voice recognition technology like Siri, people are searching using long tail keywords, too. Consider investing in a professional marketing team to help you optimize your keyword strategy.
Review Results: After selecting your keywords and using them in your marketing content, remember to analyze the results so you can improve your future efforts.
The Importance Of Links
Links will definitely improve your SEO rankings by supporting your website’s navigation, ranking power, and other important key elements. Focus on the importance of getting valuable inbound links from relevant sources and optimizing your internal site links between your own pages. Every inbound link informs Google that you are a real company and can raise your domain authority. Some ways to get inbound links to work for you are guest blogs, affiliate programs, memberships, blog posts, partnerships, and sponsorships. Networking with other local influencers and asking them to work together with your website is a huge asset in local search SEO.
Whether you have one or more brick and mortar store, adding location pages and a current About Us page can strengthen your local SEO. Local pages include your NAP, store description, parking information, sales, promotions and customer testimonials, all information that Google searches for.
Get More Local Links To Your Website
There are a lot of elements that work together for SEO, some that we might not even know. Google and other search engines keep their search algorithms secret to prevent people from scamming the system. But even so, experts in SEO know enough elements to help your company rank well for local SEO. One of those elements is links.
Building Backlinks To Content
Google’s algorithm is a closely kept secret. But we do know that the algorithm uses the number of relevant, high-quality links to your website as a way to judge how much others respect your site. Creating all of this local SEO content helps you naturally obtain those links. This is an incredibly advanced local SEO content strategy and should be the last of these priorities for your store. But these tie nicely to the local SEO content.
For example, if you sponsor a local baseball team, you would create a page on your website where you share updates about how the team is doing, current roster, pictures of the team in action and your employees attending events. The team’s website and likely other people will then link to that page to show off their team and recognize your support. You’ve just earned several backlinks by creating some fine local SEO content.
Linking can be good and bad. Here’s why. Having a bunch of links in and out of your site that aren’t relevant or important to users is worse than useless. This type of linking is bad. You can be dinged by Google for doing this. To do linking the right way, your site should have the following:
- External Links – Links to outside sites with relevant and further information
- Internal Links – Links within your site between pages that are related
- Easy-to-use navigation that links to your page hierarchy
The goal for linking is to give both people and search engines clear pathways to visit related and relevant information. Links can break, so it is a good idea to assess your website periodically to check existing links. Google won’t ding you for a few or occasional broken links, but will if you have a lot of them.
Location pages have often been disregarded by brick and mortar retailers. We’ve seen poor use of location pages. In actuality, these pages can drive more local shoppers to your store because the value Google sees on the page. For many retailers, a single store location can reach multiple cities and towns within a short radius. It’s important that your website has a location page for each of these cities. This will bring your store in better search result pages if you’re optimizing it with local seo content.
They deliver all the information about a location including things like:
- Address (clickable on mobile devices for instant GPS instructions)
- Phone number (clickable on a mobile device so that they can call you instantly)
- Complete directions from different sides of town, including directions for biking and public transit (which line comes by there?) if relevant in your location. Adding these options is not only helpful; it shows a level of social and environmental awareness.
- Integrated Google map
- List of upcoming events with descriptions and link to event pages to learn more
- Hours of operation (updated for upcoming holidays)
- Message about upcoming holiday hours (for example, we’ll be open 10AM-6PM on 4th of July)
- Information about current promotions
- Information about top brands
- Embedded review data from Yelp or Google My Business
- Photos of the storefront so people don’t miss it
- Photos of your helpful team inside the store so people know they’ll be welcomed by friendly faces
- Schema markup data so that this relevant information appears in a formatted form in search results
Add location information, location tags and additional geographic information like directions “just a few miles from the Walmart” or “10 minutes from downtown” to give your location perspective.
Content on your website is important. But local SEO content needs to be present in all the important locations.
Using Local Events to Boost Local SEO
You don’t have to start from scratch to build local SEO content. Start by building on what you already do like showroom events.
People look online to find local events. They get event recommendations in searches. Hosting local events and employing local SEO content strategies to make them appear in searches is a great way to:
- Show that you’re local
- Stay top of mind as you appear in more searches
- Generate leads and loyal customers
Whether your event is a tent sale, a mini-carnival or a design workshop, create local SEO content around it. That starts with creating a rich snippet for the event with accurate time, data, location, map, and details for the event. But you can expand upon it to include things like:
- Blog posts about the event
- Videos and Pictures from the event
- Details about the event
- Sharing about the event on social media
- Hiring an influencer to share about the event on their page
Creating content about your own events is important. But you may not always be hosting an event. So further show your connection to the community by creating local SEO content around community events run by the city, schools, businesses or other organizations.
Be Visible at Community Events
Set up a booth. Sponsor local events, teams, or contests. Or simply pay employees to attend various events, take pictures and video and show that you’re connected to the community. You likely already do these things. But are you leveraging these events to improve your local SEO? If not, why not?
Customers and Google need to clearly see that you’re a local business invested in the local community. This is a great way to do it along with a dedicated location page.
Google My Business 101
Whether or not you have ever created a Google Business Listing, it is likely that you already have one. Or rather, that Google has created a generic one.
Did you know that 56% of local businesses haven’t claimed their GMB page? That’s tragic considering how much GMB supports your efforts to dominate locally.
The Google My Business is where your business profile is located. You should treat this profile as a work in progress. You can add a lot of depth to this profile including images, links, special offers, and reviews. Active profiles are more highly regarded by Google, and will be more likely to appear higher in SERPs. However, there are other factors that affect where your business appears. Google has an app that allows you to update your profile from your phone. This gives you the opportunity to show candid images and keep your customers engaged. Of all the things you can do to improve your business listing on local search, this is the highest priority.
Google isn’t the only search engine that has business profiles. You can create a similar listing on Bing called Bing Places for Business. Remember, just because Google is the largest search engine, doesn’t mean that everyone uses it. If your industry prefers a different search engine, you need to find out if you can list your business there as well. The process for claiming your business on Bing Places for Business is very similar to Google’s. Just follow the steps to claim the business and populate as many fields as possible.
Setting Up a Google My Business Profile
To claim it and make it your own, you need to go to Google My Business. You can use any Google account you already have to log in or sign up. So, if you have a Google+ or YouTube account, you can use it here. If you haven’t claimed your business listing, then you will have to go through a verification process. Once your listing is verified and you are logged in, it is crucial to examine the information that Google has already inserted into the listing. Many of these Google-generated listings are outdated or have errors. It is best to update it and fill in information that is missing.
Your first step is to make sure your Google “My Business” listing is accurate. Since Google is the number one search engine, your business benefits from making the best use of this page. Some business managers overlook the value of their Google listing.
As a local retailer, you want to make it easy for your customers to find you. Be sure to include your address and directions to your storefront. Also, claim your location on Google maps since is one of the most sought-after services Google offers.
One common local SEO mistake is including false information on a “My Business” listing. For example, some webmasters claim a fake office or a post office box number. Solo professionals and online businesses often make this mistake since they don’t want to list their home on Google. However, this practice is a violation of Google’s terms and conditions, so it often results in losing the listing.
Another key part of the “My Business” listing is your business description. Write an engaging description including local keywords. However, be careful not to stuff the description with keywords. Limit your keyword use to one or two keywords or phrases. You can make use of your “My Business” listing page to promote events, sales, and specific services.
Finally, according to “Think With Google,” consumers search for local business information using their phone. The most common information they look up about local retailers includes the store location, business hours, and product information. Make it easy for your customers by including this essential information in your listing.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Google My Business Page
- Fill your profile out completely and make sure everything is accurate.
- Add keywords to your description but avoid sounding like you’re keyword stuffing.
- Be specific about your category. You’ll be limited on your main category. But you can expand on it. If you sell mid-century vintage furniture or only sell bunk beds, embrace it to get the right local foot traffic into your store.
- Embed your profile into your website.
- As previously mentioned, get more reviews.
- Address every review professionally. Be careful not to make excuses. Instead, focus on solutions and make responses sound thoughtful and appreciative even if the customer seems way out of line.
- Keep GMB up-to-date. If hours change or you’re going on vacation, this is the first place you should update that.
- Use the GMB messages feature to respond directly to customers promptly. Failing to respond to a GMB message is more likely to result in a bad review because they’re obviously a GMB user.
- Add photos and encourage customers to add them as well.
Getting In the Map Pack
You may have heard the term “Map Pack” once or twice from marketing agencies who specialize in local SEO services. This is the first organic–unpaid–section on the Google search engine. In our example, we’ve searched for furniture stores in Charlotte, NC and three retailers appear in this map section.
The Map Pack has evolved over the years. From a laundry list of locations and Map to 7 and other evolutions brought us to 3. Landing in this coveted local SEO for small business section is difficult. What’s more–you can’t pay to be here.
Some studies show that getting to the Map Pack is a combination of organic effort. Google reviews, Google Business Listing updates, and some other SEO authority on your website can all be contributing factors to your Map Pack journey. You’ve already tackled step one with your Google My Business listing. Great job! Now, you have to make sure your website data and Google Business data is updated frequently and accurately.
If your small business has multiple locations, make sure you’re making the website changes to identify each of these locations. When creating content for your website, one key is adding your location to the Meta Title or H1 heading on the pages. This will result in your page listing always showing your location. For instance, your page will show up as “My Topic Heading – City, State.”
Building Good Citations for Local Visibility
Citations are similar to reviews in that they add to the value of your listing. But instead of reviewing your business on your profile, a citation will mention it elsewhere and link back to it. Essentially a citation is a referral to your business with a professional mention. Depending on what kind of business you run, citations can be more or less influential. You can seek out citations from vendors and customers if it is relevant to their business. They can mention you in a blog post or on their website and link to your Google profile.
Online directories are very beneficial for building local SEO for small business. Each listing is another place for search engines to find you and list you in SERPs. Customers and vendors can offer citations on these directories. Besides the local or regional directories listed earlier, add your business to industry directories as well. Each time you include your contact information and NAP, you improve your local SEO.
NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone Number. It sounds silly, but if you don’t have the correct name, address and phone number filled out in your Google profile (and any other place you post contact information), the search engine can’t provide it to searchers. For U.S. businesses, that means providing the full phone number with area code, and the zip code. This simple and basic information will make your company visible online. When anyone looks up your type of business in your locale, your business will appear in search.
There are also business citation aggregators that list your NAP. You should double-check information on these sites as they often feed information to search engines. Examples of such sites include:
Online Directory Best Practice
In the good old days, the Yellow Pages was the directory that everyone went to in order to find out your phone number or address. Now, this information may be in dozens or hundreds of locations all over the Internet and it gets updated constantly.
You don’t just have a Yelp page or Yellow Pages entry. Your business name and address are in many places. If you’ve ever moved, then some sites may have your old address. Some may have misstated something.
People use this information to find you. Google uses this information to know that you’re really a local business. If these citations are inconsistent or missing, it can hurt your reputation. People call the wrong number. Your store name is spelled wrong. They confuse you with another company with a similar name. This destroys trust.
Claiming Online Listings
Besides Google, there are other places that you can find listings for your business or create new ones. You can do a search on your business to find many of them. But also look for online directories in your region, and websites including Yelp, Yahoo, Yellow Pages and others that create local directories. For each one of these listings, it is important to check the NAP for any errors including misspellings.
When we’re working with furniture retailers, we’ve always found a missed listing. That means there is never 100% accuracy unless you’re monitoring this with local SEO services already. This doesn’t just mean correct Google Business pages. It also means having good Bing Places pages, claimed listings on Yelp, Facebook, and hundreds of others you don’t know about yet. But the internet does.
These listings not only help customers find you. They help boost credibility with Google, other businesses and customers. If they have errors, this suggests that you’re not paying attention to your online presence. These days, when the Internet is so important to so many, this looks bad for your business.
Consistent directory information is also a vital component of local SEO. So fixing incorrect listings and monitoring new ones may improve your visibility in local searches.
Despite how important these are, too many local businesses either add this information to online directories and then never look at it again. Or they fail to ensure that they are present in important directories like Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, furniture organizations, review sites. What can you possibly do to avoid this mistake?
Monitoring Local Citations
- Make sure citation are 100% consistent. Your business name, address, phone and website should be written the same way across sites.
- Fill out your profiles. Many of these sites allow business descriptions, directions, categories, etc. Completely fill out this information and make sure it stays consistent.
- Watch for new citations. Websites change hands or pull information from various sources to populate their directories. Even if you did not create the citation, you need to know that it exists so you can ensure accuracy.
- Get automated. You’ll find tools that can both create citations and monitor them to ensure accuracy and presence.
- Submit revisions. If something isn’t right, request that it be corrected.
There’s one place, in particular, that’s so important that forgetting it would be one of the biggest local SEO mistakes in retail ever, yet many businesses to forget it. That’s Google My Business (GMB).
Local SEO Resources for Retail
There are numerous tools to help you learn how to improve local SEO. One of the starting places is Google’s Search Console. Google is the largest search engine (surprise) and owns YouTube, which is the 3rd largest search engine. Therefore, Google is a good place to look for Local SEO services. Not all tools will help with local SEO, but you can work on general and local SEO at the same time. Within Google’s Search Console, there is an excellent help section which includes the following topics:
- Improve Your Local Ranking on Google
- Webmaster Guidelines
- Local Businesses
Another helpful tool more focused on general SEO is the Moz Toolbar or MozBar. This tool examines the metrics you need to optimize your listing properly.
Google Advanced Search Operator’s Tutorial is not a tool but finds the best content to write about and include on your website or blog. This is pretty advanced and good to use once you have completed the basics.
All of these tools are free to use and learn how to improve local SEO.
Finding Local SEO Experts
Does all this local SEO stuff sound overwhelming? It can be, especially if you are new to the game. Knowing how to improve local SEO is one thing. Making it happen is another. Working together with an agency takes the stress off of your shoulders and guides you in what to do first and where to do it. If your time is better spent on your primary business, hiring an agency to do the local SEO may be your best bet.
Agencies that specialize in SEO keep updated with the rapid changes that occur on search engines. Google and other companies are always making changes to improve the quality of their search results. And search engine technology is getting more sophisticated every minute.
Mobile technology is also tightly intertwined with local SEO. Many local searches come from mobile devices as people travel around the region. Tourists use their phones to find the best place to eat lunch, and their GPS’ to get there. An agency, like MicroD, can help you learn how to improve your local SEO and make sure you are mobile-compatible simultaneously.
Check out what MicroD is doing for small businesses and big franchises to improve local SEO.
Building a Sustainable Local SEO Strategy
Remember local SEO is not a one and done proposition. SEO is a long-game and an ongoing process. Google’s algorithms constantly change.
Create new content such as articles and blog posts. However, feel free to think beyond text since internet users seek video content and audio content like podcasts. New content gives you the chance to rank for more keywords and to pitch your message to a specific audience. It is impossible to be everything to every customer. But you can tailor one blog post to one segment of your customer base. Then target the next blog post to another. With good local SEO services, an ongoing content plan enables you to create content that serves your entire customer base.
Search engines like Google and Bing prioritize websites with up-to-date information. By publishing new content, you send the message that your site is current.
Finally, since SEO is a medium-to-long game, fine tune your SEO strategy over time. It is an ongoing process as seasoned websites tend to climb up the search rankings when they keep their site up-to-date.
Does all this sound overwhelming? The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. Hire an experienced SEO consultant to create and implement a complete local SEO strategy.