Let's get right to it. Here are 8 ways to do local SEO.
Before we dive into some SEO techniques that can help you get that much needed search traffic, we need to address this question:
“Why would people link to/share/talk about my site?”
Everybody’s answer these days seems to be “compelling content.” We’re arguing that this isn’t a necessity by any means. Still, Google is obviously looking for editorial links, and a website with just a company backstory, a sales pitch, and driving directions isn’t going to earn many of those.
SEO pros know this one inside and out by now. If you’re hoping your local business site is going to rank because your domain name matches the keyword people will be searching for, it doesn’t work that way anymore. In fact, Google had an update specifically to fight this issue.
Using a good brand name for your domain is smart for more traditional marketing reasons, but it actually offers SEO benefits as well.
Google analyzes search behavior as a way to determine which sites are authoritative. With millions of people searching for “Amazon” every day, and clicking on the link to Amazon.com, Google knows these people aren’t looking for info about a river in South America.
The average local website offers a sub-par user experience. This is because most local businesses fail to properly anticipate what people are looking for when they visit.
Here’s what I mean. Take a look at most local restaurant’s websites. Here’s what you’ll often see:
For starters, you’ll need to decide on which keywords to target. While it’s true that “long tail” keywords are becoming more important, and that Hummingbird is allowing Google to interpret queries better than before, keyword targeting is still a very important part of SEO.
While Google killed the old AdWords Keyword tool, the new Keyword Planner is still a good way to discover keywords. Moz has a great guide explaining how you can use it to find keywords for local search.
You absolutely must get your business verified in Google My Business in order to make sure that you show up in Google Maps properly, and to increase your chances of showing up in the search results.
Take care to fill out your full profile, add photos, and make your listing almost as valuable as your website. Consumer reviews will influence your visibility in local search results. A large number of natural reviews can get you listed closer to the top of Google Maps results, even if other businesses are closer to the searcher than you are.
Citations are huge when it comes to success with local SEO. A citation is when your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are listed on the web.
Citations from authoritative places help boost your visibility in Google Maps and local search results, and the more of these you have, the better you can expect to perform. In this way, they serve a role similar to links.
It’s important to ensure that your listings are consistent. Inconsistent listings can hurt your visibility in the search results, or even mess up your location in Google Maps.
Reviews are nearly as important as citations when it comes to your rankings in local search results, and they are clearly extremely important as far as converting skeptics into buyers.
It’s important to encourage your customers to publish reviews on Google, as well as other business listings like Yelp, SuperPages, Foursquare, UrbanSpoon, etc.
As mentioned earlier, you can embed Google reviews on your site as well. This can be helpful not only as a way to send more people to your business, but as a way to encourage reviews.
While you don’t necessarily need to fully invest yourself in all of these platforms, it’s a good idea to at least set up profiles on Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Flickr, and Instagram.
As mentioned in the first section, communities can be a powerful way to drive business, and can even be the main draw when it comes to linkbait. For this reason, it’s worth investing yourself wholeheartedly in one of these social media platforms as a way to create that sense of community.