The days of the big yellow phone book are quickly dying. More and more people are turning to the internet to find restaurants, dry cleaners, plumbers, repairmen, and all other businesses imaginable. How can you leverage this to your advantage? Optimize your website and your business for local searches. For businesses with a physical address, local SEO is a vital aspect of your SEO strategy. Putting together a SEO strategy for Google and local SEO rankings is essential.
Fortunately, local SEO is slightly easier than general SEO. Instead of competing for rank against the entire internet, you are only competing against other businesses in your local region. Because you are only competing against local businesses, the results page for a locally targeted keyword search in Google is slightly different:
For example, a Google search for “plumber Washington, D.C.” will yield three sets of results: paid ads, Google Places, and organic search results. The two we want to focus on are Google Places and organic search results.
Google Places is Google’s integrated directory feature that uses a unique algorithm to provide results based on location. The Google Places algorithm is separate from the standard Google search algorithm, so you will often see different results.
Under the organic search results, you may notice that over two-thirds of the results are directories, with only a few actual businesses included on the front page. Google’s algorithm is set to return any directories that are related to the local business search to provide the user with the most useful information possible about businesses in the area.
So what does this mean for you as a local business? It means that you want to make a good impression online to convince customers to come through your door in reality.
Here are some Local SEO tips:
1. Complete directory profiles
If you have a physical address, one of the first things you should do when performing SEO is to claim your Google My Business page and set up a complete directory profile to be included in Google Places. You should also set up profiles in Yelp, Angie’s List, The Knot, or any other directory that is popular in your industry. You should also search for regional directories that are specific to your area.
Include as much information as possible in these directories. Go beyond your name and phone number. Give your email address, your website, price ranges, a sample list of your products, and more. The more complete your profile is, the more visitors can get to know you, and the easier it will be to convert them into customers.
2. Post pictures
Photos are key to helping users get to know you before they step foot in your door. They allow users to imagine themselves as your customers, enjoying a meal or browsing your store. Photos of your location also serve the practical purpose of helping your customers find you.
Many online directories allow you to post several photos of your place of business. Carefully select images that best display the environment of your business. If you’re a restaurant, show off your seating area and provide high-quality photos of your popular dishes. If you’re a law firm, post some pictures of your conference room and attorneys on staff. Help make your potential customers feel welcome from the very first online impression.
3. Get reviews
Reviews add a crucial finishing touch to your directory profiles. 88% of customers rely on reviews when choosing a local business. According to Moz, a team of top SEO experts, customer reviews are one of the top ranking factors for the Google Places algorithm. The more reviews and the higher rating you have, the more likely you will attract new customers.
Would you like some help developing your local online presence? We’d love to help! Contact us to set up a consultation!