SEO Musts for Local Business

The Internet might be global in nature, but if your business is local, it makes no sense to concentrate on global reach, when your customers live in your city, or even in your neighborhood. For local businesses getting a global reach is a waste of resources. Instead, you should concentrate on the local community. You might be asking how you can do it, when the Web is global and Google doesn’t classify sites according to their location. Here is how you can go local with SEO:

1 Use your location in your keywords.
The first trick is to use your location in your keywords. For example, if you are in London and you sell car insurance, your most important keyphrase should be “car insurance London” because this keyphrase contains your business and your location and will drive people who are looking for car insurance in London in particular.

2 Use your location in metatags
Metatags matter for search engines and you shouldn’t miss to include your location, together with your other keywords in the metatags of the pages of your site. Of course, you must have your location in the keywords you use in the body text because otherwise it is a bit suspicious when your body text doesn’t have your location as a keyword but your tags are stuffed with it.

3 Use your location in your body text
Keywords in the body text count a lot and you can’t afford to skip them. If your web copy is optimized for “car insurance” only, this won’t help you rank well with “car insurance London”, so make sure that your location is part of your keywords.

4 Take advantage of Google Places and Yahoo Local
Google Places and Yahoo Local are great places to submit to because they will include you in their listings for a particular location.

5 Create backlinks with your location as anchor text
It could be a bit tricky to get organic backlinks with your location as anchor text because some keywords with location don’t sound very natural – for instance, “car insurance London” isn’t grammatically correct and you will hardly get an organic inline link with it but you can use it in the Name field to comment on blogs. If the blog is dofollow, you will still get a backlink with anchor text that helps for SEO.

6 Get included in local search engine
Global search engines, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo can bring you lots of traffic but depending on your location, local search engines might be the real golden mine. A local search engine could mean a search engine for the area (though it is not very likely to have regional search engines) or more likely for your country. For instance, Baidu is a great option, if you are selling on the Chinese market.

7 Get listed in local directories
In addition to local search engines, you need to try your luck with local directories, too. You might think that nobody reads directory listings but this isn’t exactly so. For instance, Yellow Pages are one of the first places where people look when searching for a local vendor for a particular product.

8 Run locally-targeted ad campaigns
One of the most efficient ways to drive targeted, local traffic to your site is with the help of locally-targeted ad campaigns. PPC ads and classifieds are the two options that work best – at least for most webmasters.

9 Do occasional checks of your keywords
Occasionally checking the current search volume of your keywords is a good idea because shifts in search volumes are quite typical. Needless to say, if people don’t search for “car insurance London” anymore because they have started using other search phrases and you continue to optimize for “car insurance London”, this is a waste of time and money. Also, keep an eye on the keywords your competitors use – this will give you clue which keywords work and which don’t.

10 Use social media
Social media can drive more traffic to a site than search engines and for local search this is also true. Facebook, Twitter, and the other social networking sites have a great sales potential because you can promote your business for free and reach exactly the people you need. Local groups on social sites are especially valuable because the participants there are mainly from the region you are interested in.

11 Ask for reviews and testimonials
Client reviews and testimonials are a classical business instrument and these are like letters of recommendation for your business. However, as far as SEO is concerned, they could have another role. There are review sites, where you can publish such reviews and testimonials (or ask your clients to do it) and this will drive business to you. Some of these sites are Yelp and Merchant Circle but it is quite probable that there are regional or national review sites you can also post at.

12 Create separate pages for your different locations
When you have business in several locations, this makes the task a bit more difficult because you can’t possibly optimize for all of them – you can’t have a keyphrase such as “car insurance London, Berlin, Paris, New York”. In this case the solution is to create separate pages for your different locations. If your locations span the globe, you can also create different sites on different, country-specific domains (i.e. uk.co for GB, .de for Germany, etc.) but this is only reasonable to do, if your business is truly multinational. Otherwise, just a separate page for each of your locations will do.

These simple tips how to optimize your site for local searches are a must, if you rely on the local market. Maybe you are already doing some of them and you know what works for you and what doesn’t. Anyway, if you haven’t tried them all, try them now and see if this will have a positive impact on your rankings (and your business) or not.

Here are five solid local SEO tactics you can use this year to help your business rank higher for local search terms.

1. Title and meta description tags still matter
Title and meta description tags are HTML elements that you can customize to reflect the content of your web page. The text of your title and description tags is displayed in search results. Think of this text as a “mini-ad” that you need to carefully craft.

Title and Description Example
Last year, Google increased the width of the main search results area to 600px. In light of this, the generally acceptable length for title tags is approximately 50 to 60 characters, and description tags can be approximately 160 to 200 characters. Take advantage of this space and use it wisely — and make sure you double-check that your titles and descriptions aren’t getting cut off in search results.

If you’re not sure how your title and meta description tags will look or how many characters you can get away with, try using an emulator like the one from SEO or Yoast’s SEO Plugin for WordPress

Writing titles and descriptions is considered an art in the SEO world. In a sea of competing search results, if this text isn’t unique, compelling and descriptive, then your click-through rate will suffer. Additionally, one extra word or character could cut off your text with the dreaded ellipses. This may not be a true tragedy, but it does look unprofessional, especially when it shows up in the middle of a sentence, making your title or description less impactful.

The lesson? This space is precious, and every character counts. Here are some tips:

Never waste space on page names that don’t provide helpful information.
Wasted Title Space
If you want to reach local customers, include the name of the city your business is in and/or the area your business serves .

Focus on using one targeted keyword and carefully place that keyword as close to the beginning of the tag as you can.
Remember, if your business shows up in the search results, you have one shot to get that person to click on your link. Don’t blow it by wasting characters that won’t help convince a searcher you’re worth looking at.

2. Online directories and citations
According to Google, roughly four out of five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches. Yet many small businesses have not claimed even a single a local business listing online, which is a huge missed opportunity.

It’s important that you get your business listed correctly and consistently on top online business directories, like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Citysearch and others. You will also want to seek out respectable local directories to get your business listed on. Check with your local newspaper’s website and your Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a local business directory you can get listed on. You can also do a search for keywords like “[your city] directory” to find other local citation sites or directories.

It’s also important to get your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP) on the major citation data aggregators like Infogroup, Neustar (aka Localeze), Acxiom and Factual. Always make sure that your company’s NAP is consistent on as many of these directories and citation sites as possible. Discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number and wrong phone number can create havoc when Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct. If Google’s not sure, they may display incorrect information — or not show your business at all in search results.

3. Google My Business: Claim and optimize
Google My Business (GMB) is considered a directory, but it’s a biggie, so it deserves its own section. It’s very important for local businesses to claim their Google My Business (and Bing Places for Business) page. It’s free and can get you incredible exposure if you’re optimized enough to show up in Google’s local three-pack:

Google My Business
To claim your Google My Business page, visit google.com/business. There’s a verification process you’ll need to go through where Google will send a postcard with a PIN to your business’s physical location. (No P.O. boxes allowed.) Then you’ll simply log in and enter the PIN to verify your business.

This verification process is necessary because Google wants to confirm that your business is legitimate, and that you are actually the business owner. Please note that according to Google’s terms of service, only the business owner can claim a GMB page. If you’re working with a digital marketing agency on your SEO efforts, you can then grant them permission to be a manager of your page — that way, you remain in control of your listing if you terminate your relationship with the agency.

The next step is to optimize your GMB listing with a solid description, categories, business hours, types of payments accepted and so on. You also want to make sure to upload your logo and photos of your business, products or services. (It’s generally recommended that you upload at least three photos.)

Fully populate each and every relevant section so that your listing is complete. If you’re a service business and don’t have a location customers or clients can visit, don’t worry; you can choose to hide your physical address as you’re setting up your Google My Business listing.

As mentioned above, Bing also has a comparable page for local businesses called Bing Places for Business. The process is very similar to GMB, and you should definitely have your business present on Bing’s local directory, too.

4. Online reviews matter
Businesses are finally starting to realize the importance of online reviews from their customers. According to a recent survey, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and seven out of 10 customers will leave a review for a business if asked by the business.

Google also notes that “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility,” which implies that reviews might factor into rankings on the local pack.

5. Use local structured data markup
Structured data markup — often referred to as “schema markup” or “schema.org markup” — can be added to your website’s code to provide search engines with more information about your business, like the products you sell, reviews you’ve collected, services you offer and so on.

Only 31.3 percent of websites are using this markup — and most are only using the basics. You can make your local business stand out (and possibly rank higher than your competitors) if you add structured data markup to your site where appropriate.

Google wants you to use structured data markup because it helps their spiders better determine what your site content is about. Google even offers a Structured Data Testing Tool so you can check to see if your markup is properly implemented.

Google Structured Data Test Too
If the thought of coding freaks you out, you can also use Google’s Data Highlighter to mark up content with your mouse. (Note that your website will need to be set up with Google Search Console in order for this to work.)

This is just of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to local SEO. Implementing the five local search tactics above will give you a head start on your competition. Get started today!

Source link 1-http://www.webconfs.com/seo-for-local-businesses-article-37.php

Source link 2- http://searchengineland.com/local-seo-2017-5-simple-ways-dominate-local-search-268412

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