Tips For Boosting Local SEO
Monday, August 4th, 2014
For businesses with a physical location or storefront, there are two important kinds of SEO – one is targeting general keywords, but the other is all about capturing people looking specifically in your local area for the products and services you’re offering. Sites with local relevance are displayed higher on the search results page, especially on mobile devices where people are likely to be on the go and needing something nearby. Google automatically offers geographically relevant results, so by ranking highly for keywords you’ll go a decent way towards being the first name people see when looking you up from the region, but you can take this a step further.
If your business depends on a physical outlet, particular if it’s the only in one specific area, here are some simple things you can do to improve your standings amongst local results.
- Put city and region name in title, H1, content and alt tags. Of course, you should only do this to the extent that it looks natural and fits with the keywords you’re targeting, but it’s a good way strengthen results for a local audience. Descriptions often display on the search results page, so they should reinforce your whereabouts.
- Embed a Google Map into your site. For WordPress sites there are a number of plugins that make it easy to embed a Google Map that can be scrolled and panned to help users get their bearings and understand your location. However, for additional SEO gains make sure this is pointing to your Google Local For Business listing.
- Get a Google Local For Business listing. If you don’t have one of these already, you’re missing out – Google provides a free listing for every business that lets them list location, open hours, contact details and more. This information is used to provide map pins on the search results as well as helping sort which listings are likely to be most useful to a local searcher. See Avatar on Google+ for a good example.
- Collect reviews. Once you have a Local listing with Google, the next step is to create a page on your site that directs customers to itm and provides simple instructions for those who are less computer-savvy on how to leave a review (and possibly make a new Google account).
- Drive local media coverage. Not only is this good for generating publicity and promoting your business; getting your name out there in the local online media such as blogs and news sites will also help saturate the front of the search results page with links related to your site.
- Build citations pointing to your site and business. If you’ve done much SEO in the past, then you’ll be aware that backlinks are crucial for getting your site to rank higher in Google searches. Citations are a bit like backlinks, but are especially important for local SEO. A citation is a mention of your business name, address, and phone number on another webpage – even if there is no direct link to your website. You can build citations on local or topic-focused websites and blogs, as well as Yellow Pages-type directories. Citations are especially important in competitive local business niches (think plumbers, electricians, dentists etc.)
SEO isn’t just about competing for general keywords, you should aim to stand out amongst your local competitors as well. Sending signals and getting your business set up fully with Google will drive some of the most valuable customers to your site – those nearby and actively searching for your service or product.
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