Local SEO

If you have a small business, the chances are most of your customers are locals. Local SEO allows you to optimize your website, so you appear higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) in your immediate geographic area. Some of the common strategies to improve search engine rankings which include link building, reviews, and local citations.

Google My Business

Google My Business serves as a directory for companies and organizations around the world. The platform lets owners control their online presence on Google, including on the site’s Search and Maps functions. Editing and updating your business information is free and allows you to share your brand with a broader audience.
If you don’t have an existing My Business account, you can create one. Google sends a physical postcard to your company location to verify your address. After you confirm the details on the listing, Google will verify your account.

While Google My Business shouldn’t be a catchall for local SEO, it’s an ideal starting place. It lets you share contact information and business hours, accumulate reviews, and answer questions. Remember that the information you post should be truthful, as inaccuracies will undercut your online credibility.

Google My Business uses three primary techniques to rank companies in a particular area: relevance, distance, and prominence. Relevance reflects how applicable a business is to a user’s search intent. Proximity measures the distance between your address and the searcher, while prominence aggregates reviews, events, and other online content to determine which organizations have the most prestige.

Building Citations

Citations include mentions of your company and its basic information. Most search engines and directories create citations to direct people’s search queries toward relevant sources. Some of the prominent platforms, other than Google My Business, include:

Building citations has two purposes: increasing accuracy and visibility. An up-to-date citation ensures search engines have a correct representation of your business and its offerings. If web crawlers find the information is consistent across multiple platforms, it will likely improve your odds of a favorable ranking in local SERPs.

Link Building

Link building, which is a form of off-page SEO, involves acquiring hyperlinks from outside websites. Search engines reward companies with authoritative backlinks because they signal reputability. Some of the best places to start link building are blogs, news organizations, and social media accounts.

While some websites link to your site without prompting, most link building involves cultivating and maintaining relationships. When you reach out to valuable sources, be willing to help them in exchange for their endorsement. For example, if they write a blog post with a hyperlink to your landing page, offer to promote their products in your newsletter.

On-Page SEO

On-page search engine optimization requires improving your website’s structure, content, and features to create a better user experience. It is different from most forms of local SEO, which involve maximizing online prominence off-site. The optimization process also allows web crawlers to crawl and index your webpage more easily. Some of the ways to bolster on-page SEO include:

Local Citations (NAP)

Local citations entail any mention of your company’s name, address, and phone number, hence the acronym NAP. Most references occur in directories, though you can also find them on social media platforms and mobile apps. Citations help people online to find local businesses that fit their search queries.
Local citations come in three varieties: major local business data platforms, geo/industry-specific platforms, and the rest of the internet. Authoritative data platforms, like Yelp and Google My Business, publish citation data across all industries. Geographically or industry-specific platforms, like the local Chamber of Commerce, serve a particular niche, while the rest of the web can build or earn references.

Getting Reviews

According to BIA/Kelsey, 97% of online users read reviews for local businesses. Podium researchers say 93% of consumers sway their purchase decision based on what they read. The bottom line: positive reviews are a digital gold mine.

While someone people write reviews organically, it helps to pursue them proactively. Our SEO specialists use incentives, follow up emails, and compelling calls to action to encourage people to leave reviews. The more glowing reviews that you receive, the higher search engines will rank you on SERPs.

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