Local SEO can be vital to the success of a company. According Autorev, 30 billions mobile searches are being performed every year, and of these mobile purchases, 12 billion are local. This is important to remember, because you serve people at a location, many people are going to find you through their mobile device.
Before we begin, I just want to clear up some confusion. They used to be called Google Places, but now it is called Google My Business. Many people get confused and I want to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Throughout this post, I want to talk about the local ranking factors, as well as some of the dos and don’ts of local SEO. If you follow these guidelines, you are sure to have success.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
There are a ton of local ranking factors, but I believe the most important are as follows:
My Business page factors - Categories, Keywords in Title, etc
On-page factors - Presence of name, address and phone number (NAP), domain authority, etc
NAP listings and citations a.k.a link signals - Inbound anchor text, linking domain quality, etc
Reviews - Review quantity, diversity, and quality
Local SEO Dos
Optimize Local Website Pages for Local Keywords
The page titles should include a keyword, location, and brand name. The same should be kept in mind for the meta descriptions.
You must make sure that you are creating this meta data to come across as naturally as possible. This is because you want to optimize for users and search engines.
If you only have one address, or the most important address, you can add it to the footer as an additional reference for the user.
Have Google My Business Profiles for Each Location
You must create these free Google My Business listings in order for your address to show up within the Google local search results. Google will place these local results in a very convenient location on the search engine page. Additionally, it is even more effective on mobile devices.
It is also a great idea to optimize your profiles as much as possible to make it more appealing to the users. For example, adding images, details on prices, links from your website, and other appealing details about the company.
For information on how to successfully create these listings, visit this support page on Google: https://support.google.com/business/answer/4566606?hl=en
You Must Be Aware of the Consistency of Your Citations, NAP, and On-Page Addresses
NAP citations are a key ranking factor in local search and Google looks at them the same way they look at links in organic SEO. NAP citations from relevant and authoritative websites provide more value, just like with links.
A great place to start adding this NAP to the web, is third-party sites, such as Yelp. Additionally, make sure you are claiming as many of these listings as possible. This will make your listing more legitimate.
Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
Contact some of your customers, especially ones within an email database. Leaving reviews on Google My Business profiles or any other third-party sites will help your ranking and help click through rate, especially if they are quality reviews.
Local SEO Don’ts
Make Listing Information Unnatural or Spammy
This looks horrible and can deter prospective customers from clicking through to your site. It may also get you in trouble with the search engines.
Try to Build Extra Listings That Do Not Exist
You are not helping your cause and it defeats the purpose of local citations.
Pay For Fake Reviews
This may sound appealing, but it is just making your listing look bad, as well as your legitimacy as a company.
Write Fake Reviews From Yourself
Again, fake reviews can be spotted and you can lose all credibility. This is harder to bounce back from than it would a couple of bad reviews.
Forget Online Presence
Make sure you are creating new local listings on third-party sites every month, as well as updating your Google My Business listings whenever needed.
If you follow these dos and don’ts, you will make it big in a local SEO campaign. In this day and age, local search is becoming more and more important each day, so do not forget about it.