Local SEO – The quick a dirty to success
Dadgummit, why don’t I show up when I google [insert product/service here] near me? Well, a there’s a number of reasons this could be happening, or Google just doesn’t like you brand.
Just kidding. Well, kinda. Without going into the nuts and bolts of the search engine, think about how or why Google has become so stinking big and successful. They created a search engine that is really good at serving up the most relevant search results to a users query.
Why do I care? Well, because it’s your goal to convince Google that you’re the most relevant to that search and serve you above your competitors.
1. Don’t Forget Your NAP
Having a NAP is not about snoozing. The acronym stands for Name, Address, and Phone number; for local businesses, these are absolutely essential. Make sure they are up-to-date, accurate, and easy to find on your website and that you display them exactly the same way no matter where they appear online. If you have a brick and mortar location, hours of operation should also be included. Make sure you also include your website, email address, and quick and easy links to your virtual home on various social media platforms. All of this information is crawled and indexed by bots in order to compile search engine results.
Google Search Console (free), allows you to highlight your data (NAP, Services, News, Content, events, etc), help you measure your site’s Search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site shine in Google’s Search results.
2. Good Content Drives Traffic – Both On and Offline
Whether your business caters to a small, local audience in a highly-specialized niche or your customers span the globe, content is key. We’ll get into more detail about how to create great content in another post, but know that your content is what will attract visitors to your website and what will keep them coming back. Great content drives customer engagement (another area we’ll dig into in another post). The more your online visitors are liking, sharing, commenting and otherwise responding to your message, the more search engines will see your website as being relevant and valuable. That, in turn, pushes your website higher in the list of search results.
3. Solicit Reviews
We’ll admit it first, we need to eat more of our own dog food here! These days potential customers head online to see what other customers have to say about your business. Encourage your visitors to leave reviews, the longer, the better. Yes, even a rating is helpful, but the most useful reviews are those where the customer speaks openly and in some detail about their experiences with your company. Consider featuring customers on your website and make sure it’s really easy to leave a review. Need help with generating and managing reviews? We can help you automate and implement a solution!
4. Don’t forget Backlinks
Search engines love backlinks, hyperlinks that point to your web page or social media pages. The more times other websites refer visitors to your page, the more valuable your website is seen to be and the more likely the search engines will bump your page up in the results. How do you encourage backlinks? There are all kinds of strategies, but two main ways are to make sure you are providing quality content that’s valuable to your customers (that solves a problem for them) and also to engage, as your business, in conversations online. We’re not talking about being spammy and obnoxious, but rather to interact in a genuine and helpful manner in the places online where your customers are likely to hang out.
5. Google My Business Page
Set up a Google My Business page and confirm that all the information contained there is accurate. It’s free. Easy to Set-Up. And 100% necessary if you ever want to show up in the Google Map Pack; or any of the other 1000 map applications Google runs (and owns).
6. Make Sure You Are Included in Local Directories
Submit your business to any relevant local business directories. These may be general (the local Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, or Business Association will have listings with many different types of businesses) or very specific (for example, Yelp’s listing of Local Restaurants). If you are just getting started, Google a successful competitor and see what directories they show up in and make sure to add your listing as well. In all cases, be sure that your submissions are consistent with your NAP so the search engines feel confident about providing your business listing to local searchers. Companies like Evolve can help automate the creation, management and suppression of your directories. Full disclosure, We happen to be a National Partner with Synup if you’re interested in learning more!
7. Understand the Technical SEO Basics
There’s no question that it’s useful to understand the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when trying to generate more business. Smart use of relevant keywords and proper tagging, Titles, Meta, Image-Alt, Headings (H1, H2, H3), goes a long way to keeping your website properly indexed.
8. Think Mobile!
You may be surprised just how many people turn to mobile first when they are looking for information. Make sure your web pages are optimized for mobile. Make sure your pages load quickly and are responsive across all screen sizes and browsers. Check out our post “The World is Going Mobile. Are you?”
Let Us Help with Your Local SEO
If you aren’t quite sure where to focus first or if you need a hand establishing your local presence, on and offline, give the team here at Evolve Digital a shout. Recognized as a leading North Carolina Digital Marketing Agency, our full service, start-to-finish online marketing strategies start with getting a good handle on what your business is all about and who your customers are. From there, we can help you make sure your website, content, and social media presence all work together to keep the search engines happy and the leads rolling in.