How to Conquer Your Local SEO Business Listings
If you have a local, brick-and-mortar business, local search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for getting a leg up on your competitors. But playing the SEO game can be frustrating for local businesses due to Google’s constantly changing ranking factors. Read on for an easy guide on how to conquer your local SEO business listings.
Claim your local SEO business listings
The first thing you have to do is claim your business listing online. This is important because there may be multiple listings that have accumulated over the years of not being claimed. Make sure you claim all business listings under your name, even duplicates, and make sure what’s left is completely updated.
If you aren’t sure how to find all your duplicate listings, utilize some online tools such as Moz Local to help you find them all. You’ll just need to search for your business name, and Moz will provide you with all listings, including duplicates or inconsistent entries.
Update Google My Business
Next, login to Google My Business (GMB) to make sure all the information there is correct. This info will include your business name, address, phone number, description, website link and hours of operation. You’ll also be able to include a logo and other images like exterior photos or even product photos. One tip: if your photos are not high-quality, it’s better to have no photos at all than pixelated, blurry images that could harm your online image.
GMB is vital for ensuring internet searchers receive the correct information when they type in your business.
Link social media platforms
If you have social media platforms, now is the time to make sure they are linked to your website and your GMB account or other business listings. Linking your accounts together help give your local business validity and increase your domain authority on Google.
You’ll also want to make sure the information listed on your social media pages matches what you’ve put on GMB. Differences like business hours can confuse your patrons. Additionally, Google could notice, and it could harm your local SEO rankings. Ensure searchers are receiving consistent information.
Backlinks are an important part of local SEO because, like social media accounts, they provide your website with validation. If Google sees other reputable sites linking back to your site, the search engine algorithms recognize that your business is legitimate. To acquire backlinks, make a list of the businesses or organizations that you partner with or sponsor. Include any fundraising events your company has participated in in the past. Then reach out to a contact at each entry on the list and ask them to include a link back to your website.
A robust content marketing plan is another important part of SEO, and local SEO is no different. By providing search engines with fresh, relevant content, it shows that your site is a) helpful to visitors and b) kept up to date on a regular basis. Most businesses choose a blog or resource center to help with this content plan. Some blog types you could produce include:
Commentary on local news stories
Content centered on your business or industry
Content centered on your business or industry with an emphasis on your area
Answering local questions
Generating local media coverage
Hosting or sponsoring local events
Guest posting on local blogs
Reviews are a significant ranking factor on Google and other search engines. Encouraging your loyal customers to leave a Google review for you may be the most important local SEO tactic available. The review helps you rank better within search results but also gives you the opportunity to take up more real estate on the search engine results page (SERP).
From a user perspective, reviews help provide valuable social proof. If searchers see good reviews from their peers, this lends your business more credibility than any claim you could make.
It’s true that customers are most likely to leave a review at all if they’ve had a bad experience. But you can combat that with a couple of strategies. First, remind your customers to review you — and feel free to let them know how positive reviews can help you stay in business. Second, respond to every review — both the good and bad. Responding to positive reviews will make others want to leave reviews too, and responding to negative reviews will help bolster your credibility by showing you care enough to address customer concerns.
Since we live in such a digital world, your business’s online presence can sometimes make or break it. Local SEO gives you the opportunity to make your business visible to online searchers and control what they’re seeing.