If you are doing online marketing for some local business or have a local business of your own, you need to be aware of the various challenges that are associated with such a job.
Unlike an average SEO campaign that is mainly meant for a non geo-specific enterprise, local SEO is far more dynamic and rapidly changing than any other segment of the SEO industry. It also encompasses a number of aspects that are different from standard SEO procedures.
Among the various factors that influence local SEO results in their own ways, some of the most notable ones are:
Image Source: Moz
It is to be kept in mind that while local SEO involves some unique factors such as my business signals and external loc signals, the on-page SEO elements link factors still has a huge role to play in local SEO. The difference lies in the type of the links that you as an SEO professional should focus on.
Here are some techniques for you to implement in your local SEO campaigns so that you can get the desired results much easily.
Things that you need to handle before starting the actual local SEO work
You will need to get a number of things straight before you actually start the SEO optimization work for a local business site. These things will help you to secure optimum results for your business enterprise and assist in securing positive ranking within local pack listings.
To ensure great ranking with the listings mentioned above, you will have to focus less on link building and more on My Business signals, local NAP citations and local reviews.
Google My Business signals
At first, you will need to set up your own Google My Business page. After you have done with this initial task, you will need to include the following elements:
Add a unique and long description that is correctly formatted and has links
Choose correct categories applicable for your business
Add local phone number as a contact detail to your listing
Upload as many images as possible
Upload high resolution cover photo and profile image
Add your unique business address that is consistent with what is provided on your website as well as in the local directories
Add opening times and days in case they are relevant
Get authentic reviews from your customers
NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
When it comes to the NAP section, consistency is extremely important. You will need to make sure that your full NAP detail is present in every page of your website. Moreover, you should use the same exact details and format each and every time you mention your NAP details on other websites for the purpose of local citations.
You can also use the Schema.org markup for your NAP so that the search engines have all that they need for displaying your company’s information correctly.
The Local reviews often have a direct influence on the local search rankings. Due to this reason, you will need to spend some good time in acquiring them.
It is important to mention here that local reviews just do not refer to the Google reviews. As a Local SEO professional, you should also get reviews on your company’s Yelp page and also use a number of other local directories. Nevertheless, your first priority must be focusing on Google reviews on any day.
Firstly, you should get in touch with the existing customer base of your company and see whether any of them would be keen to leave you a review. By providing them with incentives, you can actually encourage them to leave a review for your enterprise.
Another effective way to generate reviews for your site would be by creating a dedicated review page on your site that will provide customers with instructions on how they can present reviews for your business. This has been proven to be a highly effective way to get connected with customers, particularly those who have little technical proficiency.
Local On-Page SEO Factors
The On-page SEO aspects for the local businesses often conform to a number of old school SEO methods. Most local businesses put a lot of emphasis on on-page content as well as their presence in local search listings. Therefore it is utmost important that you come up with top notch content at all times and post them in the various pages.
Follow these guidelines as they will help you to generate maximum returns from local On-Page SEO:
Add the City or Region and a keyword within the title tag of the landing page.
Add the City or Region and a keyword within the H1 tag of the landing page.
Add the City or Region and a keyword within the landing page URL.
Add the City or Region and a keyword within the landing page content.
Add the City or Region and a keyword within the ALT attributes of the landing page image.
You should also embed a Google map that shows the location of your business into the landing page.
Along with this, you should also make sure that your local business website is optimized for effortless mobile usage. After Google’s decision to rank only those sites that are updated for mobile search, making sites that are mobile-friendly has become more important.
Local Link Building and Citations
Link building is highly important within the local SEO campaigns and it is also one of those things that are often overlooked.
When compared to the standard SEO campaigns, a local SEO campaign relies much more heavily on the links generated from the other local websites which are relevant to your company’s business specialization area. The target is to get more links from the websites that are local to your business and less about obtaining links from the high authority websites. However, it is to be remembered here that even getting links from the high authority websites helps as well, even though that is considered less important. The preference is given to local business sites as they can serve as a sign of recommendation for the local customers.
This shows that the local directories can serve as useful resource for the purpose of link building, particularly for building citations.
It is not even necessary for the citations to be linked; the only thing that is required of them is that they reference your business NAP in same way consistently throughout the site.
There are a number of different tools such as Bright Local that you can use for checking out the existing citations that you have. You can then update them for making sure that they are all perfectly consistent. Alternatively, you can use this tool for tracking the citations of your competitors as well and then add the name of your own business to these same websites.
You can use a number of different methods to get the local citations for your business:
You can use WhiteSpark which can help you to find local citations for your enterprise and upload them;
The Moz website presents an extensive list of top notch citations that you can consult; you can then submit your citations manually;
You can set up alerts by using Google Alerts or Mention for tracking new mentions of the NAP listings of your competitors.
Strategies for Local Link Building
There are numerous methods to earn or build links. Here are some of the methods that you can use for your local link building efforts.
Visit the site Meetup.com and use the search option to look for local events that are relevant to your specific industry. Get a hold of the events with websites of their own and contact their authorities about sponsorship. If they accept your offer, you can get a link for your business from their website as well as their Meetup.com profile page (highly authoritative local links).
You can run your very own local event or meetup and welcome links from local event page.
Develop a local resource with the help of public data and get in touch with local press for getting coverage.
Run AMA on Reddit as well as within the other local communities.
Get your business signed up for press request services for getting quoted in the local publications. This can certainly increase your chances of getting high authority, local links.
Provide discounts for your products and/or services to the local organizations in exchange for links on their websites.
Line up columns and interviews within the relevant online publications.
Enter a local award competition.
Run a regular research for competitive links and make the most of on any new opportunity that your competition firms have gained.
Spend more time and energy on local PR outreach for getting offline and online coverage in the local news.
Offer scholarships to students for getting links from the local universities. You can also offer jobs to the students for getting links from their career pages.
The methods described above should be good enough to get you the best local links for your business.
Click Through Rate from SERPs
Click Through Rate (CTR) from the SERPs is yet another important ranking signal that needs to be discussed in relation to local SEO.
Since this is used by Google as one of their core Quality Score evaluation measures within the Adwords platform, it is regarded with high importance in the world of local SEO. It is therefore quite natural that they would use this for measuring user experience that is received by the web searchers.
In order to maximize your score with SERP CTR, you can try the following measures:
Make sure that you have already set up the Schema.org markup along with reviews if they are relevant;
Make your website’s title tag as relevant and readable as possible;
Have a detailed and well written meta description that is relevant to the items that your target users are going to search for;
Use FaceBook/Twitter/Reddit/Google+ for splitting the test titles so that you can measure the CTR from the social platforms. You can then take these findings for adapting your SERP snippets
Therefore to sum up, you should adapt the following strategies to ensure that your local SEO campaigns produce the best results:
Set up your Google My Business page.
Use local keyword data to optimize all your landing pages.
Make sure that your NAP listings always remain consistent across the web.
Obtain genuine reviews from customers on Yelp and Google.
Optimize the search engine snippets.
Focus your resources to generate localized links.