The phrase “think global, but search local” has taken on a wider connotation and use in today’s world of Local SEO. If you own a business that thrives on doing business locally, you must understand how businesses in local markets are found today. Local SEO refers to a highly effective form of online marketing, which allows the business to promote their services to the local customers at exactly the moment they are looking for such services. Local SEO has grown significantly over the last few years, particularly given the rise of smartphone usage and better connectivity while out and about. Although it has a lot of similarities with organic SEO, it’s ultimately very different. Here are some important considerations to get an effective Local SEO strategy for your business.
Consistency in online listing
One of the most important and effective components of local SEO is ensuring that
your business is listed accurately and appropriately throughout the web. The most important business information — your name, address and phone number — are accurate and formatted consistently across all of these platforms. Claim your local business profile on local directory and review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, as well as any other directories that are relevant for your business.
Local content and relationship building
Once all your local information is in place and verified for accuracy, you can start the process of optimizing your content and external links for local relevance. For articles, this is relatively easy — just be sure to include the name of your city, region or neighborhood in your blog titles and make sure the content is relevant to your location. Local events and local information articles are perfect opportunities for this. Be sure to guest post on local external blogs, and try to get published on local news outlets with your latest press releases.
The best thing about local search is that it’s always under your control. You can create your local listings or optimize your Google My Business page or just pimp out your Facebook account and do several other things that can bump you to the top of the local search results. There is one thing you cannot completely control – customer reviews. You cannot compel users to post their reviews on Yelp or Foursquare and offer you a good rating on Google+. But you can let your customers know that you’re on these sites and indirectly persuade them to leave their feedback. Do everything you can to increase the number of positive reviews you receive, and don’t forget to log in so you can check and respond to these reviews regularly.
Honing in on hyperlocal SEO
Local neighborhoods are difficult to fit into the search engine algorithms. They lack clearly-defined names and boundaries. Thus, the moniker “informal space” comes to characterize regions. It can be difficult to rank for the local SEO in a neighborhood which has a name different from its official map designation. By optimizing the website of your company with neighborhood terminology, you can spruce up the local searches which target the informal space of your neighborhood while ranking in the official algorithm-selected region.
There you have it. Unless you already have a dominant, nationally established presence on major search engines that newcomers can’t touch, or you don’t have a single physical location, local SEO is going to become a necessity if you want to achieve search engine visibility. Take measures now to implement a consistent ongoing Local SEO strategy, and stay committed to seeing it through. With the effects of your efforts compounding, you’ll start seeing results within weeks to months, and as further changes favor locally optimized businesses, you’ll only stand to benefit more.
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