If you are a local business, it is time to start thinking about search engine optimization in terms of location. Search engine optimization is the process of improving your rankings in search results. Local SEO is important because of the rise of mobile devices and location settings and the use of Google’s localized search. Below are 10 tips to help your local business get found in search results.
10 Tips to Getting Found
- Sort Out Your Directory Listings
An online directory is an organized website listing, used by consumers to find local businesses in specific categories. Common directories include Yellowbook, Angie’s List and Yext. If you haven’t checked out your directory listings yet, give Moz.com/local a visit. This free tool will reveal which of your directory listings are complete, incomplete and inconsistent. From there, you can switch to the paid version to sort out your inconsistencies or work through them on your own.
- Optimize Google My Business
Google defines their My Business tool as putting your business information on search, maps and Google+ so that customers can find you. By setting up an account and claiming your business on Google.com/business you can control how you display in search, your location in Google maps, online reviews, YouTube channel, Google+ page and more.
- Develop Location-Based Meta Data
Meta data refers to the HTML tags used in code to communicate to search engines and users information about a particular page on your website. Common Meta tags include the Meta Page Title, Meta Page Description and Meta Keywords. If your website uses a content management system, chances are you have control over your Meta Data either built in to your CMS or available in an add-on. We recommend filling out the Meta Page Title and Meta Description tag for every page on your website. For helpful tips to get started, check out our blog on Meta Data Best Practices.
- Add Your Page to Facebook Professional Services
Facebook Professional Services is a new feature that allows users to search for local businesses without leaving Facebook. Visit Facebook.com/services and search for your industry in your city. If you are not showing up on the page, you will want to check the categories and subcategories listed on your company Facebook page. These can be found by going to the ‘About’ tab and clicking on the ‘Page Info’ tab.;
- Try Out Foursquare/Swarm
Foursquare has seen a lot of change over the past few years and today it consists of two apps that work together for a common purpose: promoting local businesses. The Foursquare app is used by companies to feature their businesses and by consumers to discover those businesses. The Swarm app is a consumer app used to ‘check in’ to those businesses in real time and share that information with their friends. There are currently more than 50 million people using these two apps each month (Foursquare). If you haven’t already, go to Foursquare.com, claim your business and optimize your account.
- Research Search Volume in Your Area
Search volume, or the number of people who search for a keyword in a search engine in a given time period, is a key metric to consider when identifying your targeted keywords. By using Google AdWords Keyword Planner you can search for keywords with high search volume. The best part is that you can target this search volume by location and see how often a keyword is being searched in your city!
- Maintain a Locally-Focused Blog
There are three reasons why it is a good idea to maintain a locally-focused blog:
- You may become the subject matter expert in your area
- You can engage with local consumers
- You can expand your brand awareness in your community
Consider maintaining a locally-focused blog or writing a location-based blog post on occasion. You can write about anything from a local event, news story or how your company is involved in the community!
- Utilize Schema Markup
Schema markup is code that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. It tells the search engines what your data means, not just what it says. For example, you can use schema markup on event listings, reviews, news articles and more. As a local business, you can use schema markup to include your address in search results. For more information on schema markup, visit schema.org.
- Manage Your Online Reviews
Having a grasp on what is being said about your company online is very important. In fact, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Search Engine Land). Online reviews live on a number of websites including Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business and more. Visit these sites and see what people are saying about your business. Whether the reviews or good or bad, the best course of action is to engage and take the conversation offline.
- Go Responsive
According to Search Engine Land, 50% of local searches are carried out on mobile devices. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it is time to go responsive. Responsive design describes a website that dynamically resizes t fit the width of the device or browser that it is being displayed on. The great thing about responsive design is that it uses one codebase and one domain but you can still structure it to feature specific content on mobile devices, such as a map or phone number.
If you need assistance with local search engine optimization in 2016, please contact Informatics.