There are a lot of strategies when it comes to search engine optimization and just as much debate as to which ones work best. If you want better local SEO results, the steps are much more straightforward. Plus, small businesses have a big advantage is local results.
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Google My Business
Google is still the most dominant search engine by a long shot. Setting up your GMB (Google My Business) page will help to classify your business, enter contact information, and link your website with Google’s official business directory.
Google will verify that you are the business owner with a postcard or a simple phone call. After verification, Google will utilize the information you provided to populate a snippet next to searches when people are looking for your business.
Are you looking to really maximize your search engine reach for local markets? Be sure to complete the gallery with photos and video from your target market. Google pays attention to the GPS data in your photos to verify you do work in those areas.
Search engines pay attention to how your business is listed in directories, social media profiles, and your website. Keeping your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) consistent in these listings is key to strengthening rankings in search results. Any duplicate, inconsistent, or missing results will leave search engines guessing.
Try using Moz Local or Yext to get your business listed in all the major business and social directories. It is possible to do it manually but it is much faster to pay a few bucks and have it done right.
Businesses often do themselves a great disservice by focussing only on their main set of keywords. Utilizing blog posts and landing pages for relevant local searches can make a big difference.
For example, a law firm in Alexandria would be wise to focus on “Alexandria legal services” as their main keywords. However, many people will be searching for more specific keywords, like “estate planning” or “bankruptcy legal services.” Create a quality landing page for each of these searches.
If you’re wanting to learn more about brainstorming keywords, check out our keyword mapping post.
Search engines want to keep your customers informed. Reviews of your business are a great way to accomplish this goal. Having a sterling record of online reviews can boost trust not only with clients but with search engines.
Encourage clients to leave reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other online review sites. A friendly reminder in a newsletter or after a contact form submission can nudge clients just enough to show you some love.
All of the major search engines agreed upon a data set called Schema markup that describes components of a website (e.g. navigation, sidebar, etc.). More importantly, this markup can be used to tell search engines what your business does and where it is located.
Admittedly, Schema Markup is not easy to implement for non-developers. There are a few WordPress plugins and other tools to help, but it is often best to coordinate with a developer.
Continuing To Get Better Local SEO Results
Unfortunately, nothing is a given with online marketing. Once you hit that top spot in the Google search results, the competition will be gunning for you. However, it is much harder to play catch up in SEO than maintain the top spot. Keep adding reviews, more content, and keep your info current if you want to continue to get better local results.