One of the highly effective forms of online marketing is Local Search Engine Optimization commonly known as Local SEO. This online marketing technique is found to be tricky because it does not just stop with performing the on-page and off-page work, but even the more complex activities such as citations and listings.
Though it sounds simple, Local SEO can get confusing when differentiated into various forms and deeper analysis. A good example of this is, the common misunderstanding that having listed in a lot of directories is the exact way to achieve a successful local SEO. The reason why it’s not completely true is that there are several other factors that need to be in order other than the number of listings in directories.
The business should ensure that the directories listed are unique and relevant to the industry of business and are being optimized based on the location of your business which includes street name, city and state.
To better understand the technique to achieve a successful local SEO, you should remember the five major things below:
- Accurate location in online listings
- Useful information on directories.
- Building social profiles
- Getting more reviews
- Optimizing for Hyperlocal.
1. Accuracy and Consistency in online listings:
The first important thing to keep in mind is the information such as Name, Address, Phone number and Website. The information should be accurate and consistent across all the listings. A recent study revealed some interesting patterns found among the local business owners.
Around 85% wanted their business to be found on local listings and directories but only a very few have actually taken the effort to update their business information on the web.
70% of business owners say that there is not enough time for them to update.
The two most annoying things for the local customers are:
- Finding a false location of the business he/she’s searching for will have an adverse effect on the business.
- Mismatch in business information- Untrustworthy.
A lot of times we don’t find even some of the most important details such as the store information, operational hours, location with a map. Such inaccuracies lead to the dead-end of your local SEO efforts.
This can further be divided into two
(i) Accuracy of the Information
(ii) The consistency of the information.
- The accuracy of the Information: Information required to optimize your local business are Name, Phone Number and Address. It is used as an important tool to determine the accuracy of the business. The information fed on the listing should have the correct information. An easy example to remember is Kasey’s Donuts misspelled as Kassey’s Donuts– A simple spelling mistake would lead to inaccurate information on the listing.
- The consistency of the information: After accuracy, Consistency is the second most important word to remember in Local SEO. The business information on listings, local mentions, citations and directories must be consistent across all the places. Businesses should stay cautious and not let the consistency of their brand slip away by entering information that mismatch.
Local SEO can be optimized in a simple way by keeping the information consistent and accurate.
2. Useful information on directories:
It is a well-known fact that getting listed on the directories is a very simple process. The difficult part of this process is to provide detailed information about your local business and making them rank higher.
The most important step to perform is to create a local listing. A recent survey conducted by the Local Search Association Inc revealed the information consumers wish to see when they search for a local listing.
- Address 67%,
- Phone number 66%,
- Location 59%,
- Company name 56%,
- Website 54%,
- Prices 52%,
- Credentials 22%
There is enough reason now to keep the directories updated with as much relevant information as possible. If your listing has more information, there are higher chances of customers reaching out leading to more new business.
3. Building Social Profiles:
The biggest advantage of local SEO is that your business can benefit even without having a website. This is possible because of the way the Local SEO works. Social profiles like Google plus, Yelp has become an identity for all the local businesses and it dominates the search results and listings providing exact information thus bringing success to the local SEO efforts.
As a business owner, Do you think the website will help in scaling up your business and streamline the operations? The answer is always a resounding “Yes” irrespective of the niche your business belongs to. A lot of times, customers prefer checking the business details on their social profiles instead of visiting the website. But having a website is an authority on the business you are managing as it allows the customers to know more about who you are, what services you offer, and read the client testimonials.
One classic example is the delicious coffee shop in New York- Neil’s Coffee Shop has so much success with social profiles. When you search for this restaurant you’d only see the rating, reviews, timings, and price. Now, this information surely hasn’t come from the web search, because this shop doesn’t have a website. The only way the restaurant earned its place is through social profiles and local listings, which clearly signifies the importance of social profiles for local businesses.
4. Getting more reviews:
The best thing about local SEO is that you can control it very easily by creating local listings in Yelp, Foursquare, Google Business page, and Facebook page which helps the listing go on top for the local search.
The only thing that you cannot control is the ‘reviews’. You need to earn it with the quality of the service provided to your customers. You can always encourage them to give ratings and reviews online as most of the shoppers decide their visit depending upon the ratings and reviews.
As a token of appreciation and love, you could always incentivize your customers with some free coupons, discounts, etc which would make them share their experience at your store. We can do a few innovative things to make the customers voluntarily perform this act.
Posting a sign at the door, a QR code on the menu allowing the customers to scan and post reviews, and so on. By going a little further, you can also get your service team to ask for reviews from customers at the time of checkout.
Reviews are an essential part of local SEO. Google always keeps delivering results that are local with high reviews for a great customer experience.
5. Optimizing for Hyperlocal:
Google is in the process of testing an algorithm called the ‘neighborhood algorithm’.
Few steps for a successful local SEO:
- Your neighborhood name can be added at the end of the business page. (Example: Ray’s Pizza, South City East)
- If you have a website, don’t forget to add the texted version of your neighborhood name.
- Your neighborhood name has to be added to the website on the title tags area.
- Be aware and check thoroughly whether Google Maps has defined and placed your neighborhood correctly.
- Don’t forget to add your neighborhood to all the citation profiles that are local.
You need to follow the guidelines above to successfully optimize your business for the local search.