Between ongoing search engines changes and a rapidly growing number of sites vying for local visibility, getting your website noticed requires an impressive feat of strength. But, it doesn't have to consume all of your resources, and you can put a lot of your time and effort into improving your local SEO strategy. Most SEO best practices still apply, with the addition of a few key recommendations.
1. Claim Company Profiles
An important part of improving your local rankings involves online company profiles. Most importantly, you need to secure your Google My Business page, formerly known as Google Places. Make sure the information is up to date and continually changes as your business does.
Spend time optimizing this page; this includes inputting the correct location, phone number, relevant categories, and any other information that helps customers find you. Then create content that you can use to optimize the page.
2. Target Third Party Visibility
Make a concentrated effort to get on websites that offer local listings, such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing, or Refer Local; these popular websites can direct locals to your business. Pay attention to these profiles and make sure they have the right information. You'll need your address, phone number, website, and a little blurb about what you do. To enhance visibility, encourage customers to leave a review on these websites regarding their transaction with you.
Getting your information on travel sites, like Trip Adviser, Expedia, and Orbitz can be great and help you bring in even more business from tourists and guests. Seek to publish content on these websites to help direct consumers to your business.
3. Quality Link Building
Throwing random links into your content isn't enough to truly optimize it. You need to earn the links of major websites. This is not easy to do for local SEO, but if you can get your foot in the door with major local-friendly websites, such as Yelp and Trip Adviser, you're already on your way to higher rankings. If you're doing really well with SEO, you'll earn a Wikipedia link, which will help you to really make waves.
4. Capitalize on Social Media
Social signals are also very important for page ranks. Every time someone likes, shares, or follows a post, image, or video, it sends a social signal to search engines, which will help you gain credibility on your third party website. You need to be on as many platforms as possible and interact with local followers regularly. Advertise local events, sponsor local teams, and offer discounts for residents--and share that information with everybody via social media.
5. Create Local Content
If you were to compare your business with other local businesses in similar niches, you'd be a little overwhelmed. There are a lot of them; but you'd probably also find that most of them haven't added local landing page content to optimize searches. Creating local content that optimizes keywords, such as your location, your services, or your specific niche, will be one of the best things you can do to improve your website and boost optimization.
6. Don't Waste Time on Spam
It's true that some spam still works, even though Google is getting better every day at shutting it out. However, experts recommend that you rise above the spam trend. It doesn't bring in enough business to make it worth your time, and customers will like you better if you aren't bothering them with your constant calls to action.
7. Improve Content Quality
If you've done any regarding SEO, you know that the key to optimizing a web page is content. However, stuffing a blog post full of keywords isn't good enough anymore. You need content that's useful and will appeal to your local customers. It needs to have some authority and have a conversational tone that most audiences can relate to.
8. Optimize for Humans Too
Though it's important to work on appealing to what the search engines want, it's also extremely important to appeal to human beings. They're the ones that help circulate the content around the web, and if it's not highly useful content that they find interesting, it won't do much good.
9. Strategize Keywords
Keywords are extremely important for local SEO, but if used poorly, can hurt your rankings. Search engines have been trained to recognize pages that are filled with keywords strictly for SEO purposes. Not to mention, customers don't find pages devoted entirely to keywords very useful, and aren't likely to stick around. However, a few well-placed keywords are worth their weight in gold, especially in the landing pages, title tags, and meta-descriptions.
A few properly placed keywords, reviews on local pages and quality links can go a long way. Implement just a few of these tips and your website will likely see an increase in local business in the near future.