Local SEO is an important tool for businesses that have a storefront and interact with their customers face-to-face. While there are many moving parts to the intricate puzzle that makes SEO as a whole and local SEO, here we break down many of the frequently asked questions surrounding SEO. Please note that while this FAQ is in-depth and hopes to answer any possible questions, Google and other search engines are constantly updating their search algorithms which could lead to part of the information displayed here becoming irrelevant.
Make a blog for your business and add content consistently. Use this content to share on social media such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Grow your reach for your blog by adding topics that resonate with locals. Create a blog post about a local event, news that touches your community, or new products and services that you are offering.
Try creating an editorial calendar for your blog to avoid being inconsistent, and place posts about two weeks before they need to be found. Schedule your blog posts on your calendar, and then either get to writing yourself or choose a competent writer to fill your blog with useful information on the topics you have identified. Google indexing typically takes about two weeks for blog posts, so if you are posting about events, you need to be mindful of this.
Most users who search for local or nearby businesses are doing so on a mobile device. This makes having your website optimized for mobile usage imperative. Failing to do so will tank your ranking. Check load times, photo optimizations, and the overall look of your website on mobile and desktop versions. If your page fails to load quickly, even if you are the top result, users are likely to bounce from your page to the next option. In the world of instant gratification, failing to load quickly on a mobile device can cost you more business than any number of other SEO mistakes you might be making.
Depending on your site’s complexity, you may need to invest in a responsive design that changes function when being viewed on a mobile device. Test out your website on a mobile device and see if drop-down features are usable, if the text is legible, and if all forms can still be filled out on each page to decide how to optimize your site for mobile users.
Citations reference your name and phone number along with your business URL and help determine the legitimacy of your business. Having accurate citations builds your reputation with search engines and boosts your rankings. Citations do not have to have a link back to your website in order to be valuable, simply having your nameplate is enough for them to be figured into the local SEO algorithm. In order for the citation to help the SEO of your site, it must match the NAP, name, address, and phone number that you have listed in Google My Business. Here are a few examples of where you can get citations for your site.
- Question and answer sites.
- Profile Pages
- Guest Post Bylines – these will usually also result in a backlink which is another valuable piece of the local SEO puzzle.
Here is what Google My Business will require in order for your profile to be complete. It is important that the information you provide to Google My Business is the same as what is displayed on your website and gives an accurate depiction of your business.
- Business Name
- Phone Number
Getting your business listed on Google Maps takes a set of prerequisites in place. First, your Google My Business profile must be complete. You also need to have positive reviews listed on Google. Having photos and videos added greatly increases the likelihood of showing up in Google Maps search results for those customers searching for a local business like yours.
Once you are listed on Google Maps potential customers will be able to find you much easier. It is also shown that being listed on Google Maps builds trust with customers and shows that you are a legitimate business. Customers are much more likely to go to a location that is listed than one that is not.
These are all tools that will help your business but are not required in the Google My Business profile.
- Monitoring and responding to reviews
- Maintaining a positive review rating is easier when you are able to monitor and respond to reviews that you receive. Using this tool will simplify the process and help you stay on top of your reviews.
- Adding photos and videos
- Listings with photos and videos are more likely to rank higher and be listed on Google Maps search results for local businesses.
- Analytics for when and how people find your site
- See where your traffic is coming from and what times people are viewing your site. This can be a good tool for adjusting hours if most of the searches are being done outside of your normal operating hours.
- Creating a Google My Business Description
- A Google My Business Description should showcase what your business is about and is at a maximum of 750 words. Be sure to read all of the requirements of the description as it will be reviewed by Google. You cannot place any short-term promotions or links in this description.
For effective local SEO, all of these pieces need to fit into place.
- Targeted keywords and phrases
- A good inbound marketing strategy
- Social Media engagement
- On-page SEO
- Providing useful and valuable content
- Listings on Google My Business
- Reviews of your business on Google
- Citations and Link Building
- Avoid Black Hat SEO strategies
- Optimizing your website for mobile use
- Having a consistent blog