Local SEO. A lot of people ignore it. What is it? What does it really do? Does my business need it?
Here at Atilus, we’re always searching for new ways to get the most out of local SEO efforts. The industry is constantly changing & there are always new “gimmicks” or companies that guarantee “instant results.” But we know that local SEO takes two things to be successful: time & proper setup.
For this blog, I’ll break it into two phases.
Phase One – Setting Up Local SEO
There are some obvious & some not-so-obvious steps that you should initially take while trying to rank on the local searches.
- Search some common keywords you would use to describe the business on AdWords keyword planner.
This gives you an idea of how many times per month a certain keyword is searched. Be wary though, if you use a generic keyword you’ll likely be buried in search results along with all of the other businesses using the same keyword. On the contrary, if you use a super specific keyword that only gets a few searches a month, no one will find you! The key is to balance between generic & specific keywords.
- Claim the business on Google my Business & Bing.
If you aren’t doing that then your business will not show up as frequently in local searches. When you set these listings up, be sure to keep your phone number, address & description of the business consistent. If you want to track how many phone calls you are getting from a platform try using a call tracking software on your website like Callrail. A majority of call tracking software will let you place code on your site (typically within the header) & it will dynamically switch the phone number depending on where the call originated from.
As you can see from the image, Atilus received 24 phone calls in November & 10 of them were from Bing. (insert image of Callrail pie graph)
- Sign up for other major directories (ie. Yelp, Foursquare, Yellow Pages, etc.)
Get your company’s information on as many major directories as possible. Trust us, it really does make a difference when someone is searching for local businesses.
- Sign up for any industry-specific directory.
If you are in a niche industry it really helps consumers find you. Just the other day I was looking for a place to get my tires filled with Nitrogen. I ended up on a directory that showed car dealerships & maintenance shops that were “NitroAir certified.” Sure enough, I called the one closest to the office & they were able to help. Moral of the story – get your business’ correct information on as many directories as possible!
- Make sure your social media profiles reflect the same information NAP.
If the information is conflicting between what’s on the IYP’s and social media you might not rank as high. If you’re not on a major platform, consider signing up for it! At Atilus we consider the “Big 4” to be Facebook, Twitter, G+, & LinkedIn. If your brand is more visual consider also joining Instagram.
*Be sure to sign up for G+ with the same account you created the Google my Business account with. This will allow the postings to show up under the business & create additional SEO value.
- Structured data.
Including structured data or “schema” throughout your website can help search engines find applicable information more easily. For example, having structured data surrounding the address in the footer of your website will show Google that it’s your address. Using Atilus as an example, if you Google Bonita Springs Web Design we’re #1 in the search results.
Make sure the metadata on the website is properly set up for all pages on the website and reflects the keywords that you decided on in step 1. At Atilus, we use the Yoast plugin.
Phase one is mostly one time-steps that you set up, check that it’s working, & then time takes over. As you probably know from other SEO articles & tips, SEO takes time; it is not an overnight fix. The same goes for Local SEO.
Phase Two – Ongoing Local SEO Maintenance
Local SEO requires maintenance. As I mentioned before, Local SEO takes time & if you change things too frequently you aren’t able to see what is working & what doesn’t work.
- Update meta information on the site.
Check the keywords from step one of Phase One. Does your website rank for those keywords? If it does, great! You don’t have to do anything else for this step. If you don’t rank, do some more research & change up some of the keywords you’re using.
This should be done monthly. Blogs are a great way to introduce a ton of new keywords to the site while providing content for the user. When writing the blog keep in mind the specific local keywords you’ve chosen.
- Get reviews – offer a discount on future services or something similar
- Respond to all reviews – especially the negative reviews. Even if you respond with a generic response immediately & contact the individual privately, it shows potential customers that you care about the consumer.
That about wraps up Local SEO in a nutshell. Have you tried these steps? Did they work for you? Let me know below in the comments!