A Quick and Dirty Guide to Local SEO
Over the last decade, search engine optimization has shifted from something few local businesses needed to an indispensable tool for businesses of every size and scope. If you’re a small(er), locally focused business what will SEO look like for you?
There are three facets to a robust local SEO effort: on-page SEO, local presence, and reviews. We’ll look at how to optimize each facet to ensure you’re getting the most from your digital presence.
This is a huge topic, and I’ll just scratch the surface here. We cover traditional SEO efforts on the blog a lot (like here and here), so I won’t go into a deep dive – but know that any SEO campaign needs to start on-page. Before you start driving traffic to your site, it needs to be technically sound. This means addressing issues like page load speed, image optimization, server errors, and orphaned pages.
This first step can be difficult if you don’t have web development knowledge and the tools to identify errors on your page. Unless you’re fairly skilled at web and SEO work, it is probably best to go with a third-party provider to identify and fix on-page factors that are hurting your search engine optimization.
The next facet to local SEO is your local presence. This means showing Google who you are, where you are, and how to contact you. In the SEO world, this is commonly referred to as NAP (name, address, and phone number). You want consistent NAP information across your website, social media channels, and business directories.
Creating a consistent local presence is the key to getting found online. Customers (and Google) shouldn’t have to shift through conflicting information to find or contact your business. This means you should comb the internet for local and niche directories. If you’re already appearing on them, make sure all the information is correct. If you’re not in the directory, submit your business to increase your online presence.
In today’s world, getting found is only half the battle. Once customers find your business you need to win them over with social proof. There are no shortcuts to this process – it requires good service provided consistently to all your customers. While on-page SEO and directory submission can be addressed over a short period of time, building reviews is a long-game.
There are ways to encourage your customers to review your business on Yelp, Google, or Facebook – but the best way is to simply ask them. I recently went to a restaurant (that provided top-notch service) and before we left the waiter handed us a card that asked for reviews on Yelp. They were a newer restaurant and I was happy to help them out – all they had to do was ask!
The Long and Short of SEO
Search engine optimization takes time, effort, and probably some money. But local businesses can no longer afford to skimp on SEO efforts. The rise of mobile usage means that people are searching for businesses while out shopping – and you want to be found, trusted, and visited you’ll need to invest in SEO.
I’m sure this quick and dirty guide to local SEO didn’t answer all your questions. In fact, maybe I raised more questions than answers; but hopefully I piqued your interest in local SEO. By optimizing your on-page factors, your NAP, and your online reviews; your business will be ready to compete in the digital landscape. If you’re looking for more in-depth SEO answers, check the SEO category on the blog (link over to the left), or give us a call and we’d be happy to sit down with you and talk!