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How To Rank In Local Search

Check out our Top 10 Local SEO Software

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These days, the vast majority of online users prefer to use mobile to find destinations around them. This is a huge asset for businesses that still rely on business to brick-and-mortar stores. It provides the most visibility beyond a steady stream of customers to ensure that plenty of new people are coming in and providing new business.

 

This is harder than it seems in many situations. Businesses could advertise in newspapers, on the radio, and even on television, and still not have the visibility that they really need. Still, local SEO is more important than ever and to make your job easier you should make sure to use a good local SEO software tool like BrightLocal or WhiteSpark to help your local search efforts.

Check out our Top 10 Local SEO Software

Comparison Table to see the best tools

from a bird's eye view...

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The first step for many businesses is to Google your business to see where you stand. From there, you'll see how many factors affect your business that aren't even associated with local search; like your URL, the amounts of photos that you have on your page, your local phone number, your business's address, and opening times and days. You'll also need reviews (from real, live customers, and not just on Google reviews). Some experts suggest even integrating a page that explains the view process to those who are not tech-friendly to help them get in touch, but it's up to you. The most important part is simply ensuring that your site remains consistent and is designed in ways that improve visibility for the reader [sometimes this aspect can be confusing, which is where this link comes in handy:http://www.clickx.io/local-seo/, and even Forbes provides some advice.

 

Luckily, the online jungle is easy enough to navigate as long as you understand the most important aspects of SEO, and you have a plan for your SEO strategy. This is because SEO isn't really a mystery; it's a strategic application of steps that help your business tailor common responses that would drive traffic and make you money- but the most important aspect is to tailor your specific SEO strategy to meet your business's needs. That being said, there are several other aspects to consider; including the technical website criteria that drives your website. These features can be multifaceted, including earning reviews, social media attention, and even just getting the content right. We'll discuss these tactics and more in this article.

local search results

How Google Determines Local SERP Rankings For Your Business

According to Google, the most important aspects of results for any business online is being relevant, being located in a good location, and the popularity (Google calls it prominence) of your business. In addition to SEO and other Google algorithms, Google will then decide which businesses are best for the searcher. In this case, sometimes businesses that are further away are more highly ranked than closer businesses (meaning that they're likely to get the sale). This means that with a little strategy, you can get results that place your website higher on search engine result pages.

Local SEO Maps

The first consideration is how relevant your site is. Google needs help in this category, which is why your business should have already completed business information that's complete and accurate to help search engines like Google decide which audiences, keywords, and locations that help match your searches. After that, the second biggest consideration is the distance that people have to travel to our business.

 

Google doesn't specify much on this category, just that it's based on what is known about their location. Finally, Google highlights on the importance of popularity on your business. They point out that famous landmarks (museums, hotels, brands) are more likely to be listed over mom-and-pop businesses. That being said, if your website is high quality and full of high-value content (that includes pictures, links, reviews, articles, directories and valuable information), Google considers these factors and gives your business a higher ranking.

 

All of this information might sound complicated, but it's fairer for users than you might think, because you can't just pay for better local rankings on Google. It's the most fair system to collect potential customers around you- you just have to be prepared.

Local On-Page SEO Factors

It's tempting to throw in the towel when it comes to SEO, because writing can be so frustrating sometimes. That being said, many of the same factors that apply to general SEO tactics are still very prominent when it comes to local search. The biggest weighting factor relies mostly on on-page content in regards to your overall search listings. In laymen's terms, this boils down to ensuring that your content converts some of the information that you know that Google is looking for.

Local SEO Graph

Try researching the most popular terms that your customers might use to find your business. If you own a concrete company in St. Louis, you're going to want to use the phrase "St. Louis concrete company," but sometimes it isn't that easy. Sometimes, the ways that people look things up aren't always immediately obvious. There are easy ways to keep track of your keywords though (it's recommended that you use an Excel Spreadsheet like the one below:(https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AmArV4Ih7JODdG01VlJXOE01a2tJSnZWWjNSRUNWc1E&usp=sharing)

 

Ranking your business is tough, especially when there's pretty stiff competition. That's why it takes time and effort to locate the true SEO terminology that people use. When you start getting specific (for example, adding long-tail, specific terminology shows both users and Google what your page is all about. It all comes down to understanding how your customers use language when they're looking for your business, and including several key local SEO key terms.

 

For example:

 

- Add cities, regions, and keywords together on your landing pages.

- Use your city and region (plus a keyword) within the landing page H1 tag.

-Place a keyword and city in your website URL.

- Add keywords and your city/region within the content on your pages.

- Write in your city/region and several keywords when defining what your website is about (meta tags).

- Put a Google map on your page, with a marker that designates your specific location

 

It should go without saying that all of the pages on your site should include the name of your business/company, the address that you're located at, your phone number, and a simplified version of your website's URL.

 

Beefing Up Your Local Content

You've probably heard that content is king by now. That's because content plays the most integral role in SEO development, and it's an SEO factor that Google takes very seriously. Simply by posting duplicate or weak content can actually lower your pages' SERP. First and foremost, never just copy information from a site. Secondly, create unique content for every page you own (even if you're offering the same product in multiple different cities). If you haven't got the skills to write the content yourself, hire a talented content writer to ensure that the content representing your business isn't weak, thin, or useless.

Local SEO Factors

Consider developing just one extremely strong website over multiple small websites. This gives your service its maximum potential by alerting Google about your specific service, branches, and brand rather than creating multiple pages that seriously lack on SEO and content value. Use testimonials, on-site blogs with relevant information, and city, service and product specific specials and schedules to set your business apart. Videos, images, bios of your teams, and helpful tips and interviews will also draw more people to your site, boosting your SERP ratings.

 

Is Your Business on Google Local?

Google Places for Businesses and Google Local are great free tools for any business. Google Places for Businesses is tasked with helping webmasters decide exactly how their information is displayed on Google search engines and on Google Maps. If you haven't optimized this information, then you're probably missing out on potential clientele, because Google has an obligation to give customers the right information about your business (including hours of operation, contact information, and having the right address on your account).

You probably haven't used Google+ in years; but that's okay. The most important aspect is to take advantage of the newest features of Local Google+. The easiest way to start building your page is by going directly to their sign-up page. If your business has a traditional Google+ page, you can upgrade it to a Local page with minimal effort. This optimization immediately helps you get more traffic and build more revenue, especially when the tools to manage your business are easy to identify. The best way to do this is to add photos, comments, reviews, and information about your business (that your customer can enjoy at a glance). Because these social media networks are owned by Google (almost 100 billion searches are conducted on Google alone every month) they can give you a much needed boost on Google SERP (search engine result placement).

Your Site Needs to Be Technically Sound

Local SEO and content are key, but so is the implementation of your website. If you want your website to convert locally, your website needs to be able to be indexable. It also needs to be free of spelling and website errors. Never publish a site that isn't multi-device compliant, easily structured, or properly optimized or you're just wasting time. Optimal website optimization includes:

 

-Making it easy for clients to contact you with forms that allow users to submit their name, address and phone numbers to your business locations nearest them.

-One of the best ways to identify location for Google is placing the complete address, name of your business and phone number in the footer of your webpages.

-There are several tools that help you build up your local data (like Schema.org) on several different search engines at once. Sometimes, it's difficult to make all search engines (Bing and Yahoo included) understand the same information, so industries like Schema have data markup tools that tell search engines the physical street address and longitude and latitude of your brick-and-mortar businesses.

-Is your name, address, and phone number consistent everywhere?

-Location pages should be linked to navigation menus

-Even if it's your goal to keep your location private, provide a phone number and staffing hours so that people can call you for information.

-Sometimes it's easiest to just use an local SEO checklist.

 

Moz provides a great trouble shooting guide here: (https://moz.com/blog/troubleshooting-local-ranking-failures)

 

Reviews and Social Media Are Key, Too

It can be tempting to include fake or doctored reviews that really make your business look great; but you're actually hurting yourself. Search engines are sophisticated enough to understand when you're baiting users, and they hurt your ratings because of it. Offer your customers specials or discounts for reviews, and build them on as many review sites as possible (including Yelp and Yellow Pages). Offer them several options, and have them tell your prospective customers what they think. Learn more here: (https://moz.com/blog/getting-reviews-the-right-way-for-local-businesses).

 

Another way to boost your local SEO is by keeping your social media pages current and active. Improving SEO and getting rankings isn't an overnight process. Take the time to update your physical addresses, business names, and URLs on as many social media network pages as possible (and update your Facebook Place page). After that, get out there and market your business. Convey the best possible messages with your marketing strategies that you can, and prevent limiting yourself to just designing websites and being a star on social media. Meetings, conferences, trade shows and events are still some of the best ways to gain new customer bases.

Why Local SEO

A Handy Beginners Guide to Building Local SEO can be found here

Bringing it All Together For Stellar Local SEO

By implementing the steps listed in this guide, you can dramatically improve your business's visibility for prospective customers, no matter where you're located, or how many other businesses you have to compete with. Local SEO levels the playing field, giving your customers and site visitors the consistency that they need, giving your business the boost it needs to be successful in today's online marketplace.

 

The most important aspect of any website agenda is to stay proactive. This helps build content, improve SEO, and show how great your service is- giving you the advantage that your business deserves. For a few more tips, check out this article from the Entrepreneur.

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