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How to Use Social Media for Local SEO

As the owner of a business that offers its products and services in a local area, optimizing your website for better rankings in the local search engine results pages is something that you want to do. This will help you siphon potential customers who like doing an online search before walking into any store.

When ranking a page, search engines now take more than just “keyword density” or “backlinks” into consideration. They also take into account physical location, business listings, customer reviews and social signals.

Local SEO

Hypothetically, say you run a small taxi company operating in Leeds, England. If you go on to Google and type in “Taxi”, the results you’ll get will take into account your physical location. You won’t get results about taxi services in Phuket or Guatemala. Clearly, Google does take into account factors other than your keyword density for ranking your website and these factors include but are not limited to your physical location, your business listings and your customer reviews.

If you want to influence your rankings in the local search results, you should show the search engines where you are based. In terms of on-site SEO, the best way to do this is to have a very clear mention of where your businessis located. Keywords and content that mention the location of your business and your service area is the way to do this.

Local SEO can also be done by using social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Facebook

Facebook

If you want to bump your business rankings in the local search results, you should absolutely create a business page on Facebook. If you can manage it, get your regular customers to like your page. The simplest way to do this is to offer an incentive, for example, an exclusive discount for people who like you Facebook. Once you have a business page and your local customers are following you, that’s a good social signal for your business.

Earthegy

Example of a Facebook page of a small business that offers discounts: https://www.facebook.com/Earthegy

LinkedIn
Linkedin

LinkedIn is a more professional social channel than Facebook used for networking between businesses and industry experts. As such, if you are running a local business, you want a LinkedIn profile where you can post your company news. An active LinkedIn page can go a long way in promoting your business reach, especially if you contribute to the community regularly. LinkedIn may not be as popular as Facebook or Twitter on the scale of social sites but for local search, it’s a good place to be listed.

Google+ Local

Google Plus

Not as many people use Google+, at least not as their social site of choice, but for businesses, it might be the most important social network. The reason for this is that Google+ uses the Google Maps local business pages in conjunction with its business listings section. Basically, the businesses on the social site are the ones that appear on Google Maps when searching for results.

Check for yourself which of your competitors are listed on Google+ Local: https://plus.google.com/local

Twitter share-on-twitter

Twitter makes it easy for local businesses to connect with local people. As a start, you can simply search for the name of your city or a local landmark. You also have the option to only view “Tweets near you”. A third way of finding local people to follow is by searching for your city name, and then clicking on ‘People’; this will display the users who have your city name listed under their profile.

Want to go even more specific? Then use the Twitter Advanced Search here: http://search.twitter.com/advanced

Popeyes Chicken

Here is a local business doing it right on Twitter: https://twitter.com/popeyeschicken

Company Reviews

Last but not least, for good business rankings online, customer reviews are key. Having positive reviews can go a long way in boosting your online credibility and helping your local SEO strategy. Customer reviews help the search engines acknowledge you as a trustworthy business. To that end, do not fake reviews. Note that Google actually tracks where reviews come from and if you are faking them, you will be penalized.

Try to get your customers leave you feedback. If you head over to Google and type in “restaurants in new york” (without quotes) for example, you will see a few listings right above the organic results. If you look closer, you will see that they all have reviews left by real customers. Them having reviews and their placement in the SERPs is not a coincidence!

In Summary

For small businesses, local search is a tool not to taken lightly. You don’t need a professional agency to handle your SEO for you or a professional website designer to design the most comprehensive website. Sure, these things help but you can dominate the local search results by only doing your local SEO right and one of the best ways to do that is to go social. Social media is becoming an increasingly powerful tool for online marketing, more so in the case of smaller companies.



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