If you’ve been following an SEO strategy for some time, you know one thing. SEO is always changing.when it comes to Local SEO, it’s more important than ever to optimize your onsite and offsite SEO strategies for potential clients and customers looking for your local business. Local competition is fierce, and even if you aren’t at the top of the rankings, your competitors will be there.
Here are five solid local SEO tactics you can use this year.
1. Title and meta description tags still matter
Title tags and meta description tags are HTML elements that you can customize to reflect the content of your web page. The text of the title and description tags will appear in the search results. Think of this text as a “mini ad” that needs to be carefully crafted.
Last year, Google increased the width of the main search results area to 600px. For this reason, a typical length for a title tag is around 50-60 characters and a description tag around 160-200 characters. Make good use of this space and use it wisely. Also double check that the title and description are not cut off in the search results.
If you’re not sure how your title and meta description tags look, or how many characters you can use, try using an emulator like SEOmofo or Yoast’s SEO plugin for WordPress.
Writing titles and descriptions is considered an art in the SEO world. If this text is unique, compelling, and non-descriptive in a sea of competing search results, your CTR will drop. Plus, one extra word or letter can cut your text with the dreaded ellipsis (…). This may not be a true tragedy, but especially when it appears in the middle of a sentence, it weakens the impact of titles and descriptions and makes them seem unprofessional.
lesson? This space is precious. all characters are countedHere are some tips.
- Don’t waste space on page names that don’t provide useful information.
- If you want to reach local customers, include the name of the city where your business is located or the neighborhood you serve (for example, “Serving Iowa City and Cedar Rapids corridors”).
- Focus on using one targeted keyword and carefully place that keyword as close to the beginning of the tag as possible.
If your business shows up in search results, getting people to click your link is a snap. Don’t blow it away with useless characters that don’t help convince searchers that you’re worth watching.
2. Online directories and citations
According to Google, approximately four in five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches. However, many small businesses do not charge a single local business listing online. This is a big missed opportunity.
Getting your business listed correctly and consistently in top online business directories such as Yelp, Merchant Circle and Citysearch is critical. You will also want to find a good local directory to list your business. please. You can also search by keywords such as “”.[your city] Use Directory to search other local citation sites or directories.
It’s also important to capture your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on major citation data aggregators such as Infogroup, Neustar (aka Localeze), Acxiom, and Factual. Always make sure your company’s NAP is consistent across as many of these directories and citation sites as possible. Mismatches such as misspellings, abbreviations, missing room numbers, and incorrect phone numbers can wreak havoc when Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct. If Google isn’t sure, it may show incorrect information or not show your business at all in search results.
3. Google My Business: Claims and Optimization
Google My Business (GMB) is considered a directory, but it’s a big deal and needs its own section. It is very important for local businesses to claim a Google My Business (and Bing Places for Business) page. It’s free, and if optimized enough to appear in Google’s local 3-pack, you’ll get incredible exposure.
To register your Google My Business page, please visit google.com/business. When Google sends a postcard with your PIN to your business’ physical location, it must go through a verification process. (PO Boxes are not allowed.) Then you can verify your business by simply logging in and entering your PIN.
This verification process is necessary for Google to verify that your business is legitimate and that you are, in fact, the business owner. According to Google’s terms of service, business owner You can apply for a GMB page. If you’re working with a digital marketing agency on your SEO efforts, you can give them permission to become admins of your pages. you If you end your relationship with an agency, you will still maintain control of your listing.
The next step is to optimize your GMB listings with solid descriptions, categories, hours of operation, accepted payment types, etc. Also, be sure to upload a logo and photo of your business, product or service. (Usually we recommend uploading at least 3 photos).
your listing is completionIf you’re in the service business and don’t have a place for your customers or clients to visit, don’t worry. You can choose to hide your physical address when setting up your Google My Business listing.
As mentioned earlier, Bing also has a comparable page for local businesses called Bing Places for Business. The process is very similar to his GMB, and the business must also exist in Bing’s local directory.
4. The Importance of Online Reviews
Businesses are finally starting to realize the importance of online reviews from their customers. A recent survey found that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, 7 out of 10 customers leave a business review if asked by business.
There are several reputation marketing software and tool options you can use to track, manage, and proactively get reviews. Here are some to check out:
Additionally, many social media platforms such as Hootsuite and Tiny Torch allow you to monitor and receive alerts whenever your brand is mentioned. Whenever a positive or negative review is left about your business, be sure to reply to it. This shows other people reading your reviews that you, as a business owner, care about what your customers think.
Two places to focus on getting reviews are your business’s Facebook page and Google My Business page. These are the big ones. Many people use social media to see what their friends and family think about their business. So posting good reviews on your business’s Facebook page can help attract potential customers. Getting positive reviews on your Google My Business page is very important as these reviews will appear on Google when someone searches for your business.
Google also states:[h]High-quality positive reviews from customers increase your business’ visibility. ”
5. Use local structured data markup
Structured data markup, often called “schema markup” or “schema.org markup”, is added to your website’s code to provide search engines with detailed information about your business, such as the products you sell and the reviews you collect. can be provided to such as the services you provide.
Only 31.3% of websites use this markup, and most of them are very basic. Add structured data markup to your site as needed to help your local business stand out (and even rank higher than your competitors).
Google desire Structured data markup helps spiders make better decisions about what your site’s content is about. Google also offers a structured data testing tool, so you can check if your markup is implemented properly.
If the thought of coding drives you crazy, you can also use Google’s Data Highlighter to markup content with your mouse. (Note that your website must have Google Search Console set up for this to work.)
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to local SEO. Implementing his five local search tactics above will give you a head start on the competition. Start today!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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