Because more people than ever are now searching for local businesses using both standard and mobile devices, local SEO has become essential for any business that serves a specific geographic region. While it’s something that simply can’t be overlooked, it has actually become more complicated in recent years. The main reason is that Google wants to ensure that they provide the best experience to searchers who are expecting local results. This goal has caused them to put measures in place that discourage businesses without an actual local presence from gaming the system. Although executing the right local SEO strategy can be a challenge, the good news is Google does want to display real businesses in its local results. So if you have any kind of retail presence in your area, you should be able to get the visibility you want by following a handful of straightforward steps, as well as knowing certain pitfalls to avoid:
How to Get Started with Local SEO
The first thing you’ll want to do is create a Google+ Local page. When it comes to filling out this page, the more information you can provide, the better. That includes adding plenty of pictures to your page so people can see what your business looks like and exactly what it has to offer. Once you have a Google+ Local page, you can begin focusing on other tactics to augment your efforts. One of those tactics is to ensure all mentions of your business name, address and phone number (NAP) are up to date. Having plenty of these up to date citations from credible sources sends a strong message to Google that your business does indeed have an actual local presence. Finally, identify ways to keep the momentum going. Whether that’s including a link to your Google+ page at the bottom of emails, or creating a strategy for how many times a week you want to share content through your page, keeping your efforts active will help drive the best results.
What To Avoid
Once you get your local business SEO on the right track, the last thing you want to do is make a mistake that’s going to derail your progress. The two biggest things you want to avoid are creating any type of fake reviews or doing anything online that could tarnish your reputation. In terms of fake reviews, Google is quite good at identifying patterns that seem unnatural, so avoid the temptation to write reviews of yourself or pay others to leave positive remarks. And when it comes to protecting your reputation, even if you receive a negative review, don’t respond in anger. There are countless examples of businesses making things way worse for themselves by getting mad at negative reviews instead of finding a better way to deal with them or simply ignoring the review. By putting the steps we covered to work, as well as keeping in mind the things that you should avoid, you’ll be able to develop a local SEO presence in Google’s results that will help generate phone calls and visits from highly targeted potential customers.
If you want expert help creating the right SEO strategy, be sure to take a look at how Web Strategy Plus can help.
Michelle Hummel is CEO of Web Strategy Plus a full-service digital marketing agency focused on Franchise Marketing. She was recently nominated for the Woman-Owned Business of the Year! She’s a passionate Social Media Trainer with 15+ years of successful online business development, sales, and marketing experience. She also holds a valuable Internet Marketing Degree however with the ever-changing world of web marketing she strives to learn something new every day.
She travels Nationwide visiting her 22 Social Media Enthusiasts Chapters she developed Nationwide delivering in-depth social media training. She also provides Social Media Certifications through founding Web Media University. A current contributing editor to The Franchise Dictionary Magazine and she has written 3 books in her series called, “The Social Media Magnet: Everything You Need to Know to Attract Customers with Social Media”, where she shares her best-kept secrets to success. She also specializes in helping Franchisors and Franchisees develop an integrated web marketing program to drive leads. She’s available for interviews via email, telephone, Skype video, news segments on location and more. Just let her know how she can help!