Local SEO Guide: How to Give Your Rankings a Boost
If you were to search for your business, where would it appear in the search engine results? First or second page? Or would it be further back than that? The thing here is that the placement of your business in the search engines is important; it matters – a lot. The closer your business appears to the top of that first results page, the more likely it is that a potential customer is to click on your page instead of a competitor’s.
For example, if a web user is searching for a business based on a specific geographical location, roughly 35 percent of individuals will click on the top result. The numbers only drop from there. So, if your business appears on that second page, the chances of your page being clicked on is a measly five percent.
You don’t want that at all, but what in the world can you possibly do about it?
You’ve heard of search engine optimization (SEO), right? Probably so, but you likely haven’t taken the time – or had much time – to delve too deep into it. Or maybe it just appears a bit too complex and complicated for you. After all, is it something that a small local business owner can even take under his or her wing?
Absolutely you can!
In fact, if you are interested in finding out how to get your site optimized, polish your SEO skills (or actually get them off the ground), improve your site rankings in the search engines and gain some customers in the process, then don’t stop reading this post.
Create and Optimize Some Local Listings
To get started, your first step is creating your local listings. This is key in ensuring that web users can locate you in local searches. There are three sites that you will want to start with:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Local
On these listings, you want to make sure to fill them on to the fullest extent. Don’t stick to just basic information. Make sure to include an introduction of what your company does, include social media information, videos, and photos, include keywords, and even point to your business location on a map.
Ultimately, the more information that you include, the easier it will be for customers to find you.
Get Your Business Some Reviews
For local businesses, reviews are essential to the success of the business. After all, word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective and cheapest marketing channels out there. One study has recently shown that nearly 85 percent of consumers will somewhat or completely trust recommendations that come from friends, family and colleagues regarding products and/or services. Another study showed that about 88 percent of individuals find online reviews by consumers as trustworthy as personal contact recommendations.
That should be enough to convince of just how important reviews should be for your business. However, if it’s not, then go to Google and see which businesses are at the top of the results for your area. You will notice a trend – it will be the businesses with the largest number of Google reviews.
You can get your business reviews a couple of different ways. To start, you can simply ask your customers to leave online reviews for your business. If you go this route, start with your favorite, best and/or most frequent customers.
Keep in mind that this is one of those strategies that isn’t going to show you significant results overnight. Results will start coming in over time – think a few reviews every week. Over time, those built-up positive reviews will begin to have a positive impact on your ranking as well as your brand.
Add Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) Citations
NAP citations are online locations where your business has been listed. You want to have as many of these as you can because these sites count as backlinks for your site. Backlinks are an important element for search engine results – in other words, they are part of the ranking algorithm that Google and Bing both use. With NAP citations, you will rank higher than other businesses.
So, it is a good idea to constantly be adding new NAP citations to help your business gain a competitive edge against local competitors. Here are a few places of where you can get started adding your business:
- Bing Places
If you are unsure which directories that you need to add your business in, you can look up a competitor for guidance. Ultimately, though, you will want to make sure to add as many industry directories as you can for the best results.
Improve Upon Your Existing Content and Consider Adding a Blog
Another excellent way of boosting your SEO rankings and placement in the search engine results is to create and publish high-quality content. Regardless of your industry, any brand can benefit from a blog. A blog provides you with the ability to give something of value to your customers.
If you’re uncertain what type of content a blog would require, here are a few examples:
- Best practices
- Local tips
- Testimonials and case studies
- Local features
- Buyer’s guides
- Latest trends
- Frequently asked questions
Those are just a few examples, but the options are really endless. When it comes to blogs and content, search engines are looking for high-quality content and blogs that are updated frequently. If you make sure that you have that, then you are good.
Just keep in mind that your end goal is to get traffic to your site, build authority and boost conversions, which can all be done by providing website visitors with content that is useful, valuable and engaging. Try to make sure your posts are at least 500 words (but more like 750 to 1000), highlight your products/services, and include video links when possible. Oh, and don’t forget to optimize every post for best results (see below to find out how if you are unsure).
Optimize Your Site/Blog for SEO
Ultimately, the easiest and quickest way to win with SEO is to simply take the time to optimize your site. While this may sound like you need to perform a major overhaul, this truly isn’t necessary. In many cases, optimization was never done from the get-go and that’s the reason why the website hasn’t ever made it past page two of Google’s search results.
Sometimes, all it takes is a few quick tweaks. Here are a few simple things you can do:
- Determine a few target keywords for every page on your site.
- Make sure you have unique meta tags (titles/descriptions for every page).
- Include target keywords in all headings.
- Include target keywords in URLs.
- Make sure your target keywords are using two to three times on every page.
- Optimize videos/images.
- Link to pages and posts within your site.
- Add any outside links to your site from directories and social media profiles.
- Make sure you have a responsive website design (for mobile devices).
Those are just basic steps, but they can do a lot to give your rankings a boost in the short- and long-term. If you add any new content, make sure that it is optimized using the same information.
Also, regarding optimization, you will want to keep speed and security in mind. Studies show that most consumers will leave a website if it fails to load quick enough – on both mobiles and desktops. Run a speed test to see if your site lags. If necessary, you may want to think about upgrading to faster hosting. In addition to speed, you need to ensure your site is secure (with the HTTPS), which requires an SSL Certificate. This is now a ranking factor by Google and can give you a real edge over your competitors.
With the above information, you should be able to get your site optimized so that it can start climbing the local results in search engines. If you follow the above steps in this local SEO guide, you will be well on your way to increased rankings, more website traffic, and happier customers.
If you still have questions, don’t hesitate at all to reach out to the WebDetail team.