There’s an old saying in comedy, ‘Local humor get’s local work.’ Or was it local laughs? Well, regardless the idea is clear. Targeted efforts get targeted results. That is the essence of local SEO.
First, let’s look at some hard numbers which explain exactly why you should care about local SEO.
These are just some of the hard data observations we have about local searches. With numbers like these, it is irrefutable. Local SEO is a huge opportunity for businesses. Really in this day and age it’s more a necessity to see your business succeed, your clients and customers to grow, and your profits to surge. How do you do that?
There are a few actionable steps that can be taken right now to make sure you are on the right track. These are just 3 of the top-ranking factors for Local Searches. Address these, master these, and your business will rise through those rankings, and in turn net you more business than ever before.
To better illustrate these points, let’s use an example business. Say, we have a tire business named Tires 4 All based in Chandler, AZ.
In creating your Google My Business page you’re given a number of text boxes to fill out. These all relate key pieces of information about your business that when accurately selected will allow google to zero in on you in relation to searches. The system allows the choice of up to 9 sub-categories all from Google’s predetermined categories. Carefully go through these categories to find those that fit your business
For Tires 4 All, we will want to make sure our information is filled out in Google’s tools accurately, selecting categories that apply and ignoring those that would mislabel our business.
First and foremost. Have a Physical Location.
Having a physical location or storefront gives you an address and that address places your business on Google Maps. When nearby searchers turn to Google to find a business, Google spits out those businesses that are nearest to them. If your local listing is properly optimized you can appear at the top of that list. I will share more on the specific optimization steps you should be taking in just a bit…
When a computer or smartphone performs a search for a business or business type Google always prioritizes results with addresses in the city the search originates from. If the address is not optimized and listed it gets excluded from those results. even if your business would be happy to serve them.
This can have a detrimental effect on certain businesses. Those that service a wide area or businesses that are just outside of certain city limits in metro areas, especially those that are in an industry where customers would happily drive a few extra miles will find themselves not on the radar for searchers.
To continue on with our tire analogy, if a customer pulled out their phone in Chandler and searched ‘tire shop’ our business will display, so long as we have all of our ducks in a row. If searchers are out in Glendale however, Tires 4 All is unlikely to display.
The only recourse for this is to build city-based landing pages for the business’s website. Building up a web presence that represents the work and relationship the business shares with a particular city can see it gain visibility in organic results.
A citation is in any mention of your business on the web. The name, address, phone number whether partial or full all make up your web citations. These are referred to as NAP in our circles. When it comes to these, you want consistency. The name, the number, the address, all uniform across every mention.
These errors or changes can slip in over the years as businesses move locations or new pages are created. URL addresses being messed up, typos, incorrect or old phone numbers. There are so many places where citations errors can slip through.
Here’s why having consistent citations matter. The more differences between information, the less Google trusts the information. The less it trusts the info, the less inclined Google is to share those pages and results. Even if your business is the exact thing searchers should be seeing Google will think twice. That’s a problem.
Back to our Tire Biz. We Google it and we find three results.
First the correct NAP:
Tires 4 All
123 Correct St.
(480) 555 – 5555
Then two that are older or just plain incorrect.
Tires 4 All
456 Old Ave
Tyres Four All
123 Korrect Dr
Some of these changes are drastic and clearly incorrect, some are just out of date. When Google has these three options to pull from how does it know which is the accurate address to send people’s way?
To make sure your citations are correct across the board you will need to research the listings the various directory sites have, the Googles, Yelp, Yahoo, and Bings of the world. There are others of course but that gives you the idea. Search your business and start sifting and compiling a list of what’s right and wrong. Find those mentions where it is inaccurate and remove or update them.
Is it easy? No, it can be very difficult. Especially as you remove on only to have it proliferate or repopulate elsewhere. It can seem quite the Herculean task, cutting one head off the hydra only to have to find it again elsewhere. But it is possible.
Now that you have put all this work into getting your business popping up in those local searches, you need to draw those searchers further. In a search, the first item that appears below your business name is a rating. Find a way to cultivate reviews from your customers. Seeing a high rating from a large number of reviews speaks volumes about the quality of your business.
These are just a few steps that any businesses owner can implement now! There are many other maneuvers, techniques, tricks and tools we have under our digital marketing belt that can be used to improve local SEO, but the groundwork can be laid by you.
Feel you have done as much as you’re able? Ready to kick your SEO efforts into higher gear? Need help claiming those organic results for neighboring cities? We have your back.