Understanding Local SEO.
The Small Business Guide to Local SEO
You’ve got your new office in a nice location, now how about your internet real estate? Today, local SEO is a must have for small businesses.
It’s pretty clear that choosing a great street location is an important decision for the success of most retail businesses. Being easy to find is important, as is staying top of mind by grab the attention of a steady stream of foot traffic. It is really no different on the Internet; it’s simply necessary that you have an attractive home in a location that is easy to find for prospective clients and customers. The great news is that the big search engines like Google are increasingly personalizing search results based on the location of the person searching. This is a big business for local businesses, you don’t have to compete with large Corporation on the search engines anymore; it’s becoming increasingly easy for you to position your site in a way that will get you noticed by the search engines. First, let’s look at one of the key ways in which the world of search is rapidly changing…
How Mobile Search is changing the World
Perhaps the biggest change in the search market has come in the form of the Mobile phones and the way that your customers and clients are now using them. Tablet and mobile phone use has tripled from 2012 to 2013 and there are predicted to be over 2 billion mobile phone users by 2015 (Smart Insights). Your clients and customers are now, doing their research and making their purchasing decisions while they are out and about; this has been a big change in user behavior. Decision-making has gone mobile and customers are making their choices on the fly by using their mobile phones to search the Internet.
Looking for a local mechanic to check on that noise coming from your engine? Jump on your mobile phone and search for a “mechanic in your local area.” Trying to find a seafood place close to your mechanic while your car is getting looked at? Back you go to your mobile phone to search for a seafood restaurant. Statistics show us that 69% of mobile phone users have used mobile search to look for a product or service (Google Think) and 67% of these mobile phone search results are affected by the location of the person searching. (Small Business Yahoo) Be sure to check out our next article on the dangers of ignoring mobile search.
Choosing Your Keywords:
In general, the search engines act like a virtual librarian; they file all your web pages, blog posts, images and videos in a gigantic library in cyberspace. Optimizing your website is simply the process of letting the search engines where to file your pages; so that when your prospective clients or customers are searching for what you have to offer they can find you easily. As per your physical location, being tough to find is not a good idea.
The first step of local SEO is choosing the right keywords (search terms). The general rule of thumb when selecting keywords is as follows…
- They must be applicable to your business.
- There must be a reasonable number of searches done per month.
- There must NOT be an unreasonable amount of competition for your keywords.
- Your keyword should have a good $ value – people that search this term should be purchases and not just browsers.
Selecting the correct keywords is very important and unless you are very familiar with local SEO it may pay to outsource this research to an SEO specialist like Epic Interactive Media Inc. If you are a local business, selling local products or services, make sure that your keywords include the name of your city or county. This will make you easier to find on Google’s now personalized search results. To demonstrate this point, picture that you are a small business accountant in Long Beach, Ca. If you wanted to try to optimize your home page just for the term “small business accountants”, your chances of getting on to the front page of the search engines would be low. But if you made the strong choice of going local and optimizing for “Small Business Accountants In Long Beach”, your prospective clients in Long Beach would be much more likely to find you via the search engines. So once you have well researched, locally favored keywords what’s next step? What else can you do to make sure that you dominate your local search rankings?
Use Video And Dominate Local:
As technology improves the Internet is becoming increasingly video-centric, yet, still the majority of content online is still written content. One of the best ways to dominate your local SEO rankings is to great high quality videos that are local SEO for your keywords. Currently a video is 53 times more likely to make onto the first page of Google than a regular text page. After you have your selected local SEO keywords, it may be a good idea to create a video about your selected keyword phrase that has the most traffic. Remember to include your keyword in the title, description and meta-tags for the video.
Optimize Your Website For Local:
There are several on-site factors that are important in optimizing your website for local SEO. On-site factors are simply the things that you control when creating the written content on your page, they include…
- Title Tags
- Image Tags
- Web Copy
- Physical Address and Phone Number
Let us explain…
Title Tags play a very important role in your local SEO campaigns, when you title your pages or when you are adding a meta-title for your site, individual pages or your blog posts be sure to include your location keywords in your title. Search engines will also give you credit if you can use your location keywords in the URL of each of the individual web entities. Furthermore, using your location in the headings of your content will also give you search engine kudos. The way you write the copy on your site is also important, try to use your location keyword in the first and last paragraph of your web copy. If you have any images on your page, it is also worthwhile to alt tag them with your location keyword. Lastly, make certain that your physical address and number are on every page of your website; the best place to do this is in the footer of your page.
Get Registered On Local Directories & Websites:
It’s important that you get your business registered on local directory sites like the Yellow Pages and Yelp. Not only will you get business directly from these sites but you will also get a local link that will help you with your local SEO page ranking. Be sure to use the same address that you use on your website when registering on these directories (not a shorter version) as this information must match. Verify all your profiles.
Look to have a presence on the following types of websites in your area. Many of these entities will have a local business section
- Local Press
- Local Charities
- Local TV Stations
- Local Radio
- Your Local City Council
is a fantastic resource for finding places your business is not listed but should be.
Include Your Location On Your Social Media Profiles:
Social media marketing is playing an increasingly important role in the search engine rankings. You need to have a presence on high-ranking social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Make certain that your profile on these networks includes your location, your name, address and phone number, these details should match exactly what you have on your website.
Get Reviews From Local People:
Getting reviews from your customers can be tricky but they are great for your local SEO as they improve the weighting (value) of your local links. You can’t force people to write reviews and you can’t insist that their reviews are positive but you should always invite feedback and let your local customers share the good news of your brand through “online” word of mouth. Make certain that you don’t fake reviews and never offer incentives for a positive review on a site like Yelp or your profile will be considered spammy. Mobile search shouldn’t be ignored. Roughly 41% of all mobile phone searches on Google have local intent. This doesn’t even take into account apps with local intent.
Did you know?
- Android users are always logged into Google, automatically generating personalized local results
- Google Now is available on iPhones and iPad. This is Google’s new local information product that provides up to the minute local information
Don’t ignore mobile. In fact mobile just made Local SEO even more important.
By covering everything in this post you will be well on your way to being found locally. As we started with, even if local isn’t your target audience, personalized search and the Venice update means you need to add Local SEO to your online strategy. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
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