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Staying On Top Of Trends: Local SEO And Your Business Local SEO is also changing all the time, more rapidly than other Google algorithm updates, so it is vital that you stay on top of the trends as they arise.

By Alexander Rauser

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If you know anything about how local SEO compares to regular SEO practices, then you will understand that it is an entirely different beast. Local SEO is also changing all the time, more rapidly than other Google algorithm updates, so it is vital that you stay on top of the trends as they arise. This article looks into the basic rules behind local SEO, and how it applies to your local business in the United Arab Emirates.

How to get started with local SEO

Initially, you will spend a lot of time working on technical aspects of your website so you are ready to drive the best possible results out of your local SEO campaign. The goal is to rank in the local three-pack listings, so that the majority of Google users find you above your competition first.

How to I rank top in the local listings?

The first thing you need to do is claim your Google My Business page. The process to claim your Google My Business can be testing, but it is very important to your local listing ranking and worth going through the process.

What should my Google My Business account include?

There are some key features of the Google My Business account that your business needs to rank successfully:

  • A description of your business that includes keywords and links relating to your line of work.
  • Categories selected that are the most relevant to your business
  • Photographs of your business
  • The telephone number of your business - this needs to be a local number
  • The address of your business, consistent with your website's address
  • A profile picture and cover image
  • Opening and closing times
  • Reviews from customers

Related: Revamped Web Presence Helps flynas Secure 2014 As Its Best Performing Year So Far

Business details

The name, address and phone number of your business are vital towards your Google My Business listing's success. You need to have them displayed on every page of your website. The easiest place to do this is in the footer of each page. The details for your name, address and phone number must be consistent across all pages on your website and presented in the exact same format on other websites too.

You also need to use a mark-up for your business details, for the search engine to know how to display your business information correctly. You can find all the information on mark-up in the Google developers help section of their website.

Business reviews

Business reviews directly impact how successful your business listing will rank in local search results, so acquiring them is an initiative you will want to work on. Reviews encompass not only Google reviews, but also reviews from Yelp and other online directories. Here are some great ways to generate positive reviews for your business:

  • Contact your current or previous customer base, and ask them if they would be interested in leaving a review. It is a good idea to offer some incentive here to bait customers into leaving a review.
  • Develop a landing page on your website designed to encourage customer reviews, making it as easy as possible for customers to leave you a review.
  • Run an email drip campaign, whereby customers receive a follow up email encouraging reviews, 1-2 weeks after they have made a purchase.

Local link building

Local SEO search rankings rely on local link building, meaning links from local, relevant websites to your business. What you are looking for is an online reference to your business information, aka your business name, address and phone number. So long as these listings are referencing your information consistently across all local websites, there doesn't need to be a link for it to benefit your local listing.

Additional tactics

Here are some additional tactics to take into consideration when you begin optimizing your business for local search:

  • Embed the Google map with your business marker to your landing page
  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
  • Optimize all of your landing pages with local keywords, such as "dermatologist dubai" or "dermatologist near me"
  • Optimize your search engine rich snippets

Related: Five Things To Check Before Your New Website Goes Live

Alexander Rauser

CEO, Prototype

Alexander Rauser has over 15 years of experience in the digital media industry with both a creative and a technical background. He studied media engineering in Germany with a double major in online and offline media. After heading the digital division of a Dubai-based agency for five years, he fulfilled his long ambition to found Prototype Interactive in 2010, an interactive agency specializing in digital solutions for web, mobile and social media. The company is now considered as one of the top digital agencies in the country working with international and regional brands. Talk to him on Twitter at @ARauser.
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