Six Must-Haves for a Successful Local SEO Marketing Campaign
One of the many factors that keeps local small businesses from achieving success in their markets is not having a roadmap for proper SEO. The local search landscape is one that’s constantly developing and, coupled with the daunting prospect of having to operate in a sometimes-convoluted medium, can put off local business owners who may be thinking about dipping their toes into the waters of local SEO.
In lieu of step-by-step instructions on how to capture your local market, there are some key factors that can help to put any local business owner on the right track. Here are the top six features that any local business should be looking into, in order of importance:
1. Claiming your local pages
The absolute first step in any local optimization campaign is claiming your Google Places Pin. This pin, situated snugly on Google’s encompassing map system, allows your business to be recognized in its local area and signifies that you’re a member of the local economy. Google will use this listing to group you into local results, allowing you to optimize based on your location. From there, it’s important to look into Yahoo! and Bing local pages as well, to ensure that you’re appearing across search engines. These listings will give everyone the information that’s crucial to your business: where you’re located, what your hours are, what services you provide and what your website is.
2. Categorize and optimize your listing
Once you have a local listing on all of the regular search engines, it’s important not to just stop your efforts—it takes some optimization to ensure that you’re remaining relevant in search engine results. Properly categorize your business based on its services, explain your specialties and make sure that you’re standardizing your information so that there are no discrepancies across results. Also, be sure to give your business a face—meaning a logo, photos, biographies regarding ownership and an illustration of what makes you special.
3. Standardize your profiles
Moving beyond just your local places listings, it’s important to reign in all of the different profiles that you have on the Web. For example, you may manage a Facebook page, have a YP listing and a enjoy a few Yelp reviews—all of the information across these profiles should be current and consistent in order for your business to have a clear and concise reputation, no matter where you’re found online. Standardize your NAP, hours of operation and other contact information first and foremost.
4. Go get some reviews
No one likes to trust a company that they know nothing about, so it’s paramount that after your business has gained some traction across its many online listings, it’s complemented by some genuine reviews. Have customers fill out reviews on various sites like Yelp or Angie’s List and prompt longtime clients to help you bolster your online branding through their testimonials. Never write fake reviews, however—it’s sure to land you on the wrong side of the SEO fence!
5. Add photos and video
People aren’t interested in reading a wall of text when they get to your website or sifting through page after page of text when they’re seeking to learn more about who and what you are! Upload quality photos to your site and all peripheral channels that you’re active on, as well as videos if you’re fortunate enough to have any. Pictures tell people much more than words can about your company and being able to tell this story can be the difference between a conversion and someone who simply passes over your business in favor of another option.
6. Optimize your website
The last step in creating a comprehensive online branding experience for your local small business is being able to optimize your website to show up in local listings, While the steps prior to this will certainly help your cause, this is the grand accomplishment of any successful local small business. Geotagging your site’s keywords (attaching a location), engaging in content marketing and continually revising your content for a more local user-friendly experience will give you a hands down better approach to local SEO than competitors who abandon their efforts before this last step.