Quick Start Guide - Local SEO for your Business Website
If your company exists in the physical realm outside of cyberspace, and driving foot traffic to a location is important to you – or if your business services a particular geographical area - then you’re probably eager to know how to rank highly in location-based search results.
Blockity website owners hail from over 2 dozen countries, so what follows is an outline for getting started with local SEO for your Blockity website; and these techniques should be applicable wherever you do business.
Depending on the country you call home, you may have dozens or even hundreds of business directories where your company can be listed. Your business does not have to appear in every single one, but it is absolutely required that you ensure the accuracy of your contact information in those where you are listed. That can’t be overstated – Google looks hard at the consistency of business contact information across all listings since the last thing they want to do is to return bad information to local searchers.
You’ll never get into the coveted “3 pack” of local search results if your phone number varies from one directory to the next.
How to approach listings? The cheapest and most time-consuming way is to search a list of relevant business directories, sort them by priority (the big search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. first), and then claim and update each one manually.
A better way is to use a service like Moz Local or Yext, where all you have to do is enter your correct business info once and the software takes care of claiming and updating all available local directories. If a similar service is not available in your country – I think I just gave you your next great business idea!
Local 3-pack Example: “San Francisco Lawyer”
Citations are also an important aspect of local SEO. These are appearances of your business NAV (name, address, and phone number) on local resource sites that don’t have a backlink attached to them. Examples would be a chamber of commerce that displays local businesses on its website, or an online newspaper that does the same. Google recognizes and counts these citations even when there’s no link back to your site.
Seek out these opportunities wherever you can. Many are free, or have just require small subscription fee.
Hugely important for both local search rankings and your online reputation, encouraging your customers to leave reviews should be major part of your ongoing strategy. Make sure you’re reaching out on social media and using newsletters, quick surveys, and email to let your customers know their opinion is valued. Ethically, you can’t solicit favorable reviews but you can encourage people to share their experiences on their favorite review sites and on your social media profiles.
The easiest place to start here is making sure (again) that your NAV is consistent with your listings, appears on your website, and is crawl-able by Google – as text, not an image.
Then make sure your valuable local keywords appear in the following:
- Page URLs
- Page Titles
- H1 tags and Alt image tags
- Meta Descriptions
Have semantic variations of those keywords appear in the body of your page content as well – but don’t overdo it – it’s not 2008! Google knows when you’re spamming.
If you serve multiple areas, or have several store fronts, consider adding a page for each but put serious effort into making each one unique and useful to visitors.
Does it all sound overwhelming? It’s not, really, but it is an ongoing job. You’ve got a good start in that your Blockity website is already optimized for mobile, which has become mandatory among today’s smartphone users shopping for local businesses.
If you’re doing local SEO outside of the English-speaking world, how does your primary approach differ from the above? Please tell us in the comments!