For the first decade of this century, it was extremely hard for local businesses to get high rankings on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. But with the advent of mobile devices, these large search engines shifted their focus from listing the bigger companies to focusing on what the user was actually looking for. For example, if someone searched for restaurants, big chains may pop up and a local single unit restaurant wouldn’t appear unless you looked specifically for the restaurant name. The good news is today it’s much different. Local has moved to the forefront of search, but local businesses are still struggling because the lack the knowledge and tools to get the higher rankings.
What is Local SEO?
There are several components to local search. These include optimizing your website, offsite pages, social properties and review sites, verifying and creating citations, link building, and much more.
Optimizing Your Website for Local Search
Optimizing your website for local would include such things as making sure that your company NAP information is correct on you site, NAP is Name, Address and Phone Number. This is very important because search engines seek out this information to enhance their local listings. It is also imported because local directories, review sites and social sites and applications use this information to provide their users with your information. Also, insuring fresh, relevant information and content, relevant keywords, local content and insuring your website is mobile responsive are all steps that need to be taken.
The Power of Citations in Local SEO
The optimization of offsite properties (review sites, social platforms) involves claiming and insuring correct information on popular (and some less so) like Google+ Business, Bing Local, Yelp, TripAdvisor, YP.com, Zomato and others. These are referred to in the Local SEO world as citations. These citations help in ranking your site because search engines that take backlinking into account in their algorithms usually view these sites as powerful and give your site more “juice” when ranking you.
There also more nuances the Local SEO, for example, creating citations. There are several hundred sites that can list your business locally. It is advantageous in search for your business to be listed on as many relevant sites as possible. But it is time consuming. We have the tools and know how to get you listed on these sites to get you seen and ranked higher when someone in your area goes to search for your business.
Reviews and Local Search
Other Local SEO tactics involve obtaining reviews. While some review sites openly discourage asking for reviews (such as Yelp) others do not and some will even help your business get reviews (TripAdvisor, for example, occasionally will provide cards you can hand out requesting reviews). Search engines like Google will use these reviews in their local ranking algorithm and that helps put you higher on the page.
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