Directory Maximizer

A Handy Guide to Local SEO by Directory Maximizer

As a local business user, your SEO budget is one of the most important things you manage each month. A website’s listing on search engines provides peace of mind to thousands of business owners around the world by enabling them to get in touch directly with local customers, where word of mouth or physical advertising wasn’t cutting it.

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But local business owners tend not to overlap with technology experts or software engineers, but we do think that traditional businesses need to go through the learning curve of setting up a local SEO campaign. Here are some vital tips that will help with your local search rankings and enable you to get quick access to hungry customers.

1. Optimized Local Place Pages are Key

The first and most important step to take to ensure high rankings in local search pages is to build “Place Pages” for all the search engines you’re targeting. (Here are the links to Bing, Yahoo! and Google Places)

This ensures that the search engines understand you run a local business, which will then allow them to incorporate your listing into their search results.

However, it is vital for you to optimize your places page with accurate and targeted information, to make sure you are placed above your customers.

  • Categorize your business into the relevant category – uncategorized businesses are NOT listed in search results!
  • Ensure all of your information is accurately specified – you have the same NAP (Name, Address, Phone) everywhere, in all the listings, for consistency’s sake
  • Make sure you upload plenty of high quality photos
  • Detail your hours of operation
  • Specify the services you offer

2. Reviews Matter. A Lot.

Reputations make or break businesses. A highly rated business will get more clicks than a 1-star or 2-star listing – which is very important as far as SEO goes – a competitor who is getting more clicks will rise higher in the rankings. Moreover, it is becoming more and more apparent that Google is looking at ratings as a factor for rankings. Make sure you invite all users to your website to leave a review! Be proactive about responding to reviews – your involvement in the websites reputation is a very positive sign.

Don’t post false reviews! This is the easiest way to get penalized – let the reviews flow in naturally and honestly.

3. On Page Optimization

Your domain name should be optimized to ensure high relevance to the user’s search terms. Here are a few tips that you should consider incorporating into your website to improve on-site SEO:

  • If possible, include search terms in your domain name – ex: billsplumbingnyc.com
  • Include keywords on your page titles, in your description and a few times in your articles
  • Try to incorporate your business name, your email and your phone number on all pages, as a widget or footer

4. Link Building Strategies

We all know links are important to boosting a website’s rank. However, with the recent updates, it’s better to err on the side of caution rather than employ sneaky link building techniques that will get your business website kicked off the search engine listings forever.

Going slow and going natural are the keys here – encourage people to link to your website, spread your word across local forums, and websites (don’t spam!). Build mutually beneficial relationships with competitors, and other websites in your niche, and get community directory websites to link out to your site.

An important word about third party listing websites:

Trends are emerging clearer and clearer that Google is currently placing a lot of significance on leading local listing websites like Yelp, Google+, and TripAdvisor. You should consider getting listed on all these websites, and keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure all your information is filled out accurately
  • Make sure your business is listed in the appropriate category
  • If your business has multiple locations, create multiple listings, one for each
  • Lastly, make sure you don’t have duplicate pages on these websites

A listing and link from these websites will help boost your online profile as well as provide you with more organic traffic.

5. Get Social!

Not only does social media involvement play a significant role in ranking factors, a well managed social strategy can get you more customers, and more positive reviews – leading to a more successful business.

  • Engage your customers on all platforms that your business is on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+
  • Frequently issue updates, news about promotions, specials and exclusive discount codes, and events
  • Respond to each and every piece of customer feedback, criticism, suggestions and inquiries

Related Post:

Using Social Media for Local SEO



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