When planning a local SEO strategy it is important to fully understand the different components that are all instrumental in delivering high local rankings in the search engines. When done correctly, local SEO can deliver the most highly targeted consumers to both the business's website and to its physical business location.
As search inquiries on smartphones continue to increase daily, it makes local SEO crucial to being found on mobile devices. A properly executed local SEO plan can ensure that consumers searching on both mobile devices and personal computers find your business. For the best local SEO results, make sure to incorporate the following into the campaign:
Proper Keyword Research: It is important to identify the keywords that will result in a conversion (an online purchase, phone call to the business, or a physical location visit) rather than just focusing on the keywords with the highest search volume. High search volume doesn’t always result in high ROI.
Onsite Optimization: Once the keywords are identified, make sure that the website is properly optimized for the chosen search terms. The title tag, meta description, images, and header tags all need to be adjusted for the targeted keywords.
The website content needs to be written for the visitor instead of stuffing the website with the main keywords. The days of keyword stuffing are long gone, so write for the visitor and optimize for the search engines. Make sure to also include a contact page on the website that contains the business address and contact details.
Optimized Places Pages: The two most important business profile pages are Google+ Business and Bing Places for Business. These are the listings that appear at the very top of the Google and Bing search results, notating the business location on the accompanying map.
Many businesses create these pages but they fail to fully complete the profiles. Make sure to upload pictures, videos, and fill in all of the business details, making sure to list the businesses address and contact details exactly as they appear on the websites contact page.
Reviews: Positive customer reviews on the above-mentioned local business pages along with sites such as Yelp play a major role in local SEO. Businesses need to be creative and make customers aware of these review sites and encourage them to leave feedback.
One example of a way to do this would be by creating a weekly newsletter that is emailed to the businesses customer base, complete with access to all of the review links at the bottom of the newsletter. Building an email list provides an opportunity to keep the customer base informed about new specials and promotions, as well.
Directory Listings & Citations: Getting your business listed on the more popular directory sites such as YellowPages.com and Local.com is important, and quality wins over quantity when it comes to directory listings. Focus on the top directory sites instead of using some of the directory-listing services that claim to submit to hundreds of websites. These are typically low-quality spammy sites that do not provide any real SEO benefit.
It is so important that your business, address, and phone number (NAP) is listed the same on the contact page of the website, the places pages, and all of the directory listings. The search engines take these citations into consideration when determining the authority of a local listing, so make sure to put the extra effort in making sure that your NAP is consistent across the board.
High-Quality Link-Building: Links also play a role in local SEO, and quality again trumps quantity. Focus on getting high-quality links rather than purchasing link packages that just blast links throughout the web. Incorporating user-engaging content and infographics into the local SEO plan are two great ways to build natural links because they result in social sharing. This is the type of natural link-building that the search engines like to see, and reward accordingly.
It is important to understand that local SEO results do not happen overnight. There is no top secret method that will take your website to the top right away. It requires hard work, a well thought out plan and consistent follow through and execution in order to see top local search results.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Jonathan Long is the President and CEO of Market Domination Media, a Miami Beach based online marketing agency that specializes in content marketing, web design and search engine optimization (SEO). Market Domination Media uses innovative outside-the-box thinking when it comes to developing online marketing strategies.