Local Search Engine Optimization is the Savy Choice for Local Businesses
Local SEO differs from general SEO in that it targets increased visibility for your business in local searches. If your business offers products or services that cater to a local audience you should concentrate on Local SEO. People who are searching on certain directories for a certain local business will see your business faster there, as opposed to generally searching it and having businesses come up that are nowhere near the location you are searching for.
Businesses that Benefit from Local SEO:
Brick and mortar businesses or franchises that have a local presence and cater to customers in the immediate vicinity can benefit from local SEO.
Examples of such businesses are:
- Real Estate Agents and Property Managers
- Medical/Dental/Eye/Veterinarian Clinics
- Accounting Services
- Beauty Salons/Spas
- Construction and Maintenance including support services like Electricians, Plumbers, Roofing Services, Landscapers etc.
- Legal Practices
- General Services such as laundromats, car washes, carpet cleaners
- Local retailers
Local Search Engine Optimization
So, in order to get local visibility what should these businesses do?
- Add Localized content to your web page
- Ask Local Customers to leave reviews on Google and other third party review sites like Yelp.
- Get listed on online business directories and citation sites
- Fill out your Google My Business (GMB) page and include as much data as possible. The things you shouldn’t miss are your NAP(business name, address and phone number) logo, pictures of products/premises, office hours and include a keyword rich description
- Local citations from well-known directories for various business categories help your rankings in Google local searches. For example, a restaurant may show a top result from Tripadvisor or Yelp.
- You can use local data aggregator services which can share your business information (NAP or Name, Address, Phone number is the most basic) across business directories they are partnered with.
Top Directories to get Listed on
Getting listed on directories is a great way to get visibility as well as backlinks. The more the number of citations from trustworthy sites with high local authority; the better is the chance of your business to show up on local search.
Here are the top general directories to help your local SEO:
1. Google My Business
2. Bing Places for Business
3. Apple Maps
12. Yahoo Local
37. Nokia Here
This list was obtained from Whitespark.
A Step Above
The directories mentioned above are great but they are also general directories that even your competitors might be using. If you want to do more, you can use tools which analyze the competition and identify the following:
· The best citation sources for your industry
· The best citation sources for your location
· The best citation sources for the search engine you want to rank on
For example, as per Moz, the top 10 Citation Sources for Veterinarians are:
4. Yahoo Local
8. Dex Knows
Which is certainly different from the top 10 in the general list above.
This again varies by city. For example, if you are located in Denver, CO, the top 10 citation sources for your local business per Moz are:
6. Dex Knows
8. Yahoo Local
10. Service Magic
As you can see there is some variation from the general listings and the business category listings. This will also vary for the search engines you are ranking for as different search engines have varying parameters. Depending on the industry or business you are in you should list your services in directories catering your specific audience.
Why Does This All Matter For Your Local Business?
Due to the spike in consumers purchasing and relying on their mobile devices, this correlates to more local SEO use because of the convenience factor. Think about it from a personal point of view: You are out in the city for the night with your significant other and want to grab a drink after your lovely dinner has come to an end. You whip out your phone and Google “Bars near me” and 9 times out of 10, you will be given a directory service that lists the many locations close to you that will let you wetten you whistle. By having your local bar posted on a directory you will have more chances of being seen as opposed to the massiveness of the entire, general, world wide web.
Some Cautionary Tips That keep Your Local SEO Strong
- NAP Consistency: Double, triple, quadruple check all our your information that gets recognized by search engines is consistent so it is easy to recognize. Not having all information the same on multiple platforms will lead the search engine to think you may be a robot or a fake business that should not be getting any sort of recognition.
- Target Market: Keep the number of listings for your business small and concise. It is better to keep your marketing precise so you do not attracted the wrong type of clientele because most of the time, those people really do not care about your business.
- Photos: Obviously, post pictures of your business that will make possible customers want to visit it. Society these days is focused on what is most appealing to the eye, so have your business be that.