Now that a majority of consumers are using the Internet to find local businesses that provide the products or services that they need, SEO has become increasingly important for local business owners. A typical consumer will run a Google search for a product that they’re shopping for and will visit the websites of some of the businesses listed near the top of the results. If yours is not among them, there is a very high chance that you’re simply losing customers to your competitors. The good news is that you can take steps to improve your ranking on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. This will give you more visibility, more search traffic to your website and most importantly of all, more customers.
What Is Local SEO?
Search engine optimization for local businesses, or local SEO, is simply a collection of methods and techniques designed to give your website a more prominent place in search results for keywords that your customers are using. It shares a lot of elements with traditional SEO. Because of this, you should have a website that includes useful and unique content that is related to your business and what it has to offer. Your site should be easy to navigate, load fast and be compatible with mobile devices such as smartphone and tablets. However, there are also certain aspects which are unique to local SEO.
How to do Local SEO the Right Way
To start, you should make sure that your company’s name, address and phone number (NAP) are featured on all pages of your website. This can be included in the footer, header or in a sidebar. Next, you will want to ensure that there are as many positive mentions of your business on other websites as possible. This is called building citations and is actually simple to do.
You should create a Google + profile for your business and ensure that your listing contains correct contact information. Next, you should also create profiles on other social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, then keep your social pages updated regularly with useful content.
Another important factor for local SEO is reviews of your business. Companies that have a respectable amount of positive reviews on Google + and various other reputed websites like Yelp tend to get better rankings, as it shows that they’re running a quality business. Encourage your customers to leave a review online to detail their experiences with you.
Another way to get citations and boost your search engine visibility is to try to get the word out about your business on other websites. For example, if a journalist writes an article praising something good that your company did, the mention of your business will help your SEO efforts.
One final thing to keep in mind is that SEO is a gradual process. You may not see a jump in rankings overnight, but if you keep doing the right things you can expect to see some positive results over the next few weeks or months.