The most significant challenge for small and medium businesses is to keep pace with the ever-evolving local SEO. The techniques that had worked well some time ago might have become ineffective today. Some methods of internet marketing that belonged to the class of best practices in SEO are no more relevant now. Constant updating is a necessity for SEO practitioners, and local SEO is no exception. Despite the changing ways of SEO, certain aspects seem to remain the same. Building your strategies around these would make it easier to attain the goals of more traffic, more leads and more conversions. Let’s explore what areas to concentrate on and what strategies can help to achieve the goals.
Local listings and citations optimization
It is the target of every small business with local interest to dominate the local listings as well as citations. Choosing the right category is critical, and you have to pay absolute attention in providing consistent information regarding name, address and phone number commonly called NAP. One thing that you must avoid at all cost is that the data appearing in different places across different media should never vary, even slightly. If different data keeps surfacing on different platforms, it will confuse users who would start suspecting the credibility of the organization and its capabilities. Maintaining NAP consistency is therefore critical for local SEO as it demonstrates the legitimacy of business that helps to earn better ranks in search results and find a place in Google Maps.
How much competition the business faces and how broad the scope of listing is are factors that tell you whether to hire some resources for or to do it on your own. More competition means more listings that cover almost every listing you are aware of – from Google MyBusiness to Facebook and Yahoo Local and Apple Maps to Yelp and Bing Places for business and many more. To do it on a full scale, you have to hire the services of SEO companies that can do it for you. For a lesser competition, doing it manually on your own is entirely possible.
Optimize the content
As the local market is the target of local SEO, the content you create must have the local touch that the audience can relate. Since almost every local searcher wants to locate a resource that is nearby, make it the mainstay of your optimization measures. The content must be oriented to the local market and thinking about local blog or website is an excellent way to ensure a steady supply of content.
For better viewer engagement, you can create content based on local news and events as this type of content enjoys high sharing. The purpose of the content is not to write about local business but to establish the brand in the local market. By spreading across a vast landscape in the local market, you can become the most talked about name in the area that people would recall easily.
Since your business has to appear in searches that look for nearby resources, arrange for the company to show up in Google Reviews. Since backlinks with city name can improve search rankings in local searches, focus on acquiring backlinks that have the city name as anchor text. By adding ‘nearby, ‘near me’ or ‘near’ in the links pointing to the location page, you are increasing your visibility in searches.
Pay importance to reviews
Reviews are very important for local businesses as consumers refer to reviews before buying. Not for selling only, reviews also push up search rankings. Service-oriented companies, in particular, have to depend heavily on reviews and should know how to get the best out of it. You must encourage customers to post reviews. It can be in the form of request or something more attractive like offering prizes for reviewers at random. Since reviews are not the end in itself, you must take measures to ensure that you respond to reviews, wherever necessary, even if it is a criticism or some negative observation. Address the issues sincerely and revert with the response that shows your intentions of improving. The constructive attitude leaves a positive impact on customers who find reasons to believe in you.
Emphasize on optimizing links
Remaining in touch with other local businesses and building relationships with them is a useful tactic of acquiring backlinks. Work with a plan for building relationships with other local companies by using local offline groups, local sponsors and availing opportunities of local volunteering. Even local competitors are excellent sources for earning links, and you can also find out their link profile to know about the sources from where they obtain links.
Find out which of these strategies match with your business needs and adapt it with necessary changes for gaining mileage in local SEO.