Local SEO and its Importance to Your Business
Local search can be challenging and identifying the exact cause(s) as to why you are not ranking how you want can be an intense and time consuming endeavor. Here at 92 West we have the tools and expertise to quickly identity these issues, but even without the professionals there are a number of items that you (or your team) can do to enhance your local online presence.
Why Local SEO Is Important To Your Business
According to BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey, 92% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in 2014.
Google noted that searches containing “near me” have increased 34X since 2011.
The use of smartphone searches is largely responsible for this, and this shift to a more mobile consumer base has made local visibility critically important for all business.
Why Your Locations Don’t Rank
You have been social marketing. You have been doing content marketing with blog post. You have even done some SEO. Yet, your locations are not visible in local searches. Why is this?
The backbone of local search engine optimization is a mix of onsite updates to show your local business location(s), maintaining your business directories and making sure your business posts quality content on your site, social media locations and externally (off-site seo). It takes a bit of hard work initially, but when consistently posting quality content you can create your own SEO network and regiment.
Here are the top four issues we see that are hurting multi-location businesses from achieving local visibility in search.
1. Website Issues
Google has a bad habit of providing vague and contradictory advice for rankings; however, when it comes to ranking individual locations, it has provided fairly clear instructions.
- No location pages. Each store location should have its own unique, optimized page. Now you can create a single page that covers a given area or region, but think about it from a user perspective, it is rare that they will find the information they need from that single page.
- Non-discoverable location pages. If your location pages are only available through a search or deep in your site, then Google may not be able to find them. If Google can’t find your location pages, they won’t index them — then they do not exist online.
- Poor location page quality. Do these pages provide the user with everything they need to contact your business? Are the opening hours there? Is there any specific local information? Do they link to other elements of the site that are relevant to this location? Is there a map? The more relevant information you put on this page the more likely Google will pick it up, and place more value on this page.
- Poor overall site quality. Is the site over-optimized? Are the location pages 90% the same? Is the content on the site well written? Is the site responsive? Does it load fast? Quality, uniqueness and relevance should be your main focus.
2. Google My Business
Getting set up with a Google My Business account is extremely crucial to getting your business information visible in Google products like Search, Maps and Google+.
Common problems tend to be with the following elements of a Google My Business profile:
- Name. Make sure the business name that you provide is the exact name of your business. You do not want to put the location name, or any keywords here. Your name should be your name.
- Address. Your business address should be accurate and consistent with how it appears elsewhere on the web. It also helps to make sure Google understands your address and move the pin if need be to get it correct.
- Phone. Your phone number should be a local number that connects people directly with the local store.
- Website URL. The website URL should be your actual website.
- Categories. There are a multitude of categories to choose from. Choose the most accurate category first, do not over use the categories. Less is more.
- Completeness. Fill out your profile and make sure it is 100% complete. Include great photos and good descriptive copy.
3. Citations & Name, Address and Phone Number Consistency
Every mention of your business around the web is known as a citation. The more you have the better, and the more that they are the same the greater. Make sure with you business citations, or listings everything is the same. Example if your number on your site is 402.123.1234, on your business listing do not have it as 402-123-1234. These are technically different.
- Name changes to the business. If a business has changed its name or has name variations, this causes problems.
- If a store close or moves. If this happens, citations become out of date, the old listings remain for business locations that no longer exist. Update your business listings to be 100% accurate.
- Multiple web addresses. If your site has changed its URL (or has URL variations), then having variations across your citations can have a negative impact. Think .com, .co. .net, .us, or another vexation that is not your main domain.
- Address variations. Your address should be something that Google understands and is 100% consistent across your website.
4. Local Content
Having clear location signals is easy when you have a single location. Effort has to be made to connect the business with the local community and bolster location signals.
The following are great ideas to get you started:
- Testimonials. Your clients love you! Ask for some simple testimonials and have them on your site, and see if they will post them to your Google business page, Yelp, and many more.
- Clients. Show your work with local clients! Let other local business how you are doing great work for other local businesses.
- News. What is going on with you business? Is your business doing any local events? The more local content you can produce, the more local currency your location will have.
Local search is often about providing quality, unique, relevant content and just going that extra mile.
For your local SEO needs contact 92 West for a free evaluation and quote to reach your search engine optimization goals!
Digital Marketing Strategist
13504 Stevens Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68137
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