It’s no secret that SEO is vital for online success. And for small businesses, local SEO can be even more important. You can’t thrive if you can’t be found. With much of the population doing daily searches to find their favorite products and services, it is imperative to optimize the site locally. This is even more relevant now that mobile users are growing. Nearly 60% of search queries are performed on mobile devices. With so many SEO strategies and techniques available, let’s focus on the ones that will give you the most impact short term that will set you up for long-term success.
Before you can be found online, you have to set up your website to be found. Identify the keywords that identify with your business like products, services, and location and incorporate them into page titles, meta descriptions, and content. We utilize the Yoast SEO plugin on all our websites to add these details in. This plugin is great in helping make sure your page titles and meta descriptions are not too short and more importantly too long. God forbid you get the dreaded … when showing up in search results! It’s not the end of the world, but it is sloppy and unprofessional.
Make sure that your name, address, and phone (NAP) information are incorporated onto all pages of your site. *SEO tip – try and fit your phone number in title tags on appropriate pages. Also, include the city your business is in or serves in titles and/or meta descriptions.
Approximately four out of five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches. If your business isn’t listed, or the information listed is wrong, you run the risk of not showing up in search results.
Search local listing sites like Facebook, Google, Yelp, YP and Yellowbook to make sure your business is listed, that you have “claimed” your listing, and that the business name, phone, and address listed are correct. Updated your listings as necessary and delete duplicate listings. Local sites like Google+, Yelp and TripAdvisor hold a lot of weight in search results, so it’s important to get it right.
Make sure that you utilize photos, videos, your website URL and other key information to make your listings more informative and attractive to potential customers.
Claim Your Business On Google
Yes, you can count the Google My Business (GMB) page as a directory, but it’s probably your most important one so it gets its own section. To claim your business, visit google.com/business. After you’ve entered your business address, you’ll have Google send a postcard with a PIN to your business’s physical location. (No P.O. boxes allowed.) After you receive it, simply log in and enter the PIN to verify your business.
Optimize your GMB listing with an appropriate description, categories, business hours, types of payments accepted etc. Upload your logo and photos of your business, products or services.
Structured data markup, AKA schema markup or schema.org markup, can be added to your website’s code to provide search engines with more information about your business, like the products you sell, reviews you’ve collected, or services you offer.
Approximately 31.3% of websites are using structured data and only utilizing the basics at that. Make your local business stand out (and possibly rank higher than your competitors) by adding structured data markup to your site where appropriate.
Google wants you to use structured data markup because it helps their spiders better determine what your site content is about. Google even offers a Structured Data Testing Tool so you can check to see if your markup is properly implemented.
There you have it. Some tools of the trade to help you get started on the neverending SEO journey. After you get these quick wins implemented, then it’s on to the longer game. Link building, review/reputation management, content writing, etc. Stay tuned for more SEO tips in the weeks to come.