When you’re looking for a new restaurant to check out, or a place to take your dress clothes to get dry cleaned – how do you find the best place to go? Do you bust out the old phone book and go the Yellow Pages section? My guess is probably not. You probably pull the little touch screen know-it-all out of your pocket and search “Best *fill in the blank* near me.” or Places to *fill in the blank* in *city name.*
According to HubSpot, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. So it’s quite obvious that you need to have a solid Local SEO strategy in place for your business so that you can be found by users. But where do you start? What are the best ways to stand out on local search? In this post, I’m going to break down my top 4 ways to boost your local SEO.
Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing
If you have a local business, this is quite possibly the most important step in getting found on Google. You have to have a Google My Business listing, and more importantly, you must actively optimize and keep your listing up to date to provide users with the most accurate information possible.
How to claim a Google My Business Listing
To begin setting up your Google My Business (GMB) listing, go to Google My Business on your computer (or smartphone) and sign in. Once you’re there, you’ll need to either sign in to your Google account or create one. From there, you will need to follow the prompts on the page to set up your account. Google provides a much more detailed description of what information is needed to set up your account.
Once you created or claimed your listing, you will need to verify that you are the rightful owner. To do this, Google will send a verification postcard to the business address that you list on your account and you will have to verify the business by entering the code.
Optimize and utilize your listing
It is imperative that you remain actively engaged with your GMB listing. Google is constantly trying to verify that the information that they provide users is accurate and relevant. This can be done by keeping your contact information, hours of operation, and service area all up to date.
It’s also crucial for you to actively engage with customers on GMB. When a customer leaves a raving 5 star review, go thank them! If they leave a negative review, go resolve the issue head on, or clear the air. Potential customers read these comments, and if you ignore the negative reviews, they’ll assume it’s true. Always respond to reviews – good or bad!
Create location pages on your website
A great way to enhance your local SEO is to create location specific pages on your website, and providing location specific content on those pages. So if you’re a service based business, it will help you out monumentally to create a ‘Service Area’ page that displays all of the areas that you service, and then creating individual location pages for those cities/towns.
When you create these location pages, always try your best to provide location specific content, such as photos of work you’ve done in that city, community involvement in that city, and a Google Map of city.
Pro Tip: if you’re going to create these pages, make sure that you structure the URLs correctly. Always have the location page nested behind the service area page. For example, https://yourwebsitename.com/service-area/richmond/
Having an organized URL Structure is KEY!
Ensure your Name, Address, and Phone Number are consistent online
Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) is one of the most important details of every online citation. This is how your potential customers know how to get in touch with you. It is extremely imperative to have consistent NAP information across all digital channels. Remember earlier when we said that Google is constantly working to make sure that they provide the most accurate and relevant information to their users? Your NAP information is one of the most important ways that they do this!
If your business name is Bob’s Home Renovations, then your business name better be Bob’s Home Renovations on every single online directory. PERIOD! If you can claim the listing, claim it. If you can’t claim it, optimize your other listings and website better so that those aggregators know what to list.
The best way to ensure that this information is accurately aggregated across the internet is to start with your website. Put your Name, Address, and Phone Number in the Header/Footer of your website. This is global information and will be displayed on every web page.
Build local inbound links
Building inbound links from local businesses and associations is a bit more difficult than the other three tips, because you can’t necessarily control this information. So to do this, you need to get involved with the local community. Here are a few ways you can get involved that may lead to some inbound links:
- Sponsor a little league team
- Register a booth at a local home show/local event
- Sponsor a parade float
- Join your local Chamber of Commerce
These aren’t guaranteed links, but most of the time, these groups will have community websites where they will list their sponsors/members. If you are listed on these websites, reach out to them and just ask them to link to your website! The worst they can do is say no. But we’ve found that most often they’ll say yes!
There are several other factors that play into a successful local SEO strategy, but these are just a few of the ones that we’ve found are the most effective for creating a solid foundation! If you have any questions about anything we covered in this article, or need help crushing your local SEO, give us a shout! We can schedule a time to walk through