The Ultimate Checklist to Become a Local SEO Expert
Do you have a brick-and-mortar business — that is, a business with one or more physical locations in a specific geographic area? If so, you need to understand what local SEO is and how it might make or break your bottom line.
Want to know how to become a local SEO expert?
All About Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
What’s the Difference Between Local and Organic SEO?
You already know that SEO, or search engine optimization, is what helps your website get ranked higher by Google. Local SEO differs from organic SEO in that it puts the emphasis on your location.
After all, a someone who needs a dentist in Dallas isn’t going to search for one in Minneapolis.
Local and Organic Go Hand-in-Hand
However, these are interrelated. The higher your organic rankings, the higher your local rankings — and ideally, you want to be ranking for both of them.
So if you haven’t taken any SEO action, now is the time. Using keywords effectively, blogging on a regular basis, and good website design are just some of the ways to improve your rankings overall.
The two forms of optimization are onsite and offsite. Onsite optimization requires certain efforts, like updated content and an easy-to-navigate site, which affect the visitor’s UX (user experience) Others, such as meta tags and anchor text, work behind the scenes.
The cornerstone of offsite optimization is building high-quality links, which can happen through a number of channels.
Becoming A Local SEO Expert
Not surprisingly, it all starts with Google — Google My Business, specifically. Set up an account, and verify it. You will need a physical address to do this, and you’ll also need to provide the Big G with accurate information about your biz.
Your NAP — name, address, and phone number — is most important. Providing your hours, website URL, business categories, and images will also help boost your local SEO efforts.
Claim Your Business on Other Sites
Establish a presence on Yahoo Local, Bing Places, Foursquare, Yelp and any industry-specific listings (like UrbanSpoon for restaurants). Check and double check that your info is consistent across all directories.
Since shares also contribute to your local SEO, stake your claim on social media sites, too. The most important are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Reviews Are Critical
Not that kind of critical! Hopefully, reviews of your business are generally positive. What we mean is that they’re an important ranking signal.
Don’t be shy about asking customers outright for them, either. Calls to action are effective for conversions, whether it’s sales or getting people to review your business.
Reviews with photos, or even photos that you post yourself, are another relevant ranking signal. They should have keywords associated with them, as well.
Mobile Readiness and Proximity Search
Make certain your website is optimized for mobile. Any local SEO expert worth his or her salt will tell you that proximity is the number one ranking signal.
What does that mean? In layman’s terms: if your business comes up in a smartphone search, but your website is hard to read or navigate, the searcher will go somewhere else.
Want a peek into how your site is performing? Try a free site audit. The results may surprise you!