Locals are looking for you. Can you be found?
Do you have a Local SEO plan? A local what???
Your website needs to be attracting local business without depending on newspapers, radio ads or word of mouth.
You need to be attracting locals in your community who are looking for services or products near to them, because you may not need the whole world to find you – just your neighbours. So you have to strategize to drive more local business your way.
So how do you do this?
Well if you are the one in charge of building and tweaking your business website you will have a lot of work to do, but in the end it will be worth it. Here is a list of best practices to optimize your website for local SEO.
The base for every SEO plan is keywords. It means finding out the phrases or words people are typing into Google to find you. Going local means narrowing down your keywords to be very specific to your location. For example, if you sell wedding dresses in London Ontario, you need to optimize your website with those words. Brides-to-be will be typing in dress locations in the town they live. Using the keywords “bridal gowns” won’t give you any views as it is not specific enough and very competitive.
Use your Google Keyword Planner to play around with more keyword phrases or long-tail keywords to see how locals are searching for you and start blogging or creating content on your web page about your localness.
One of the most valuable elements of SEO is your title tag. This appears as the main text in search engine results. Your title gives the user an idea of what to expect when they click and allows Google to get what your page is about.
When you focus on the title tag keep it under 55 characters which allows Google to correctly display your text and always fit your brand name into it.
Meta tags are the tools a search engine uses to gather information about your website. What’s your page about? When you fill in the meta description of your web page always keep it enticing and inviting for people to click it. Keep it under 156 characters, but pay attention to every word.
This commonly referred to as NAP – Name, Address, Phone Number. It is very important in the local search factor. Google absolutely needs to know where you are physically located. Your visibility will grow the more often your business is clicked on and you need to make sure that everywhere you have entered your NAP online it is updated and correct. You should put your NAP on every local directory available, such as your Chamber of Commerce and industry specific ones.
For locals and tourists that visit you, a review is extremely valuable. The more positive reviews you have attached to your business the better. This is because over 90 percent of consumers will read online reviews in their search for a service or product. How online reviews impact your SEO.
An image can be optimized in a way that allows your business to be found as well. Here are few ways to make sure your image is SEO ready.
- Put keywords in your file name.
- The title text will appear when someone hovers over your pic – use your local keywords
- Alt-text happens when a picture doesn’t load properly – again use keywords
- Properly size your pics so they load well.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. It’s time to realize that most people will view your page on their mobile devices. Google wants you to be mobile friendly and if you aren’t you won’t get the search results you want.
Social Profiles and Citations
Having a mention of your business and its location on a social media platform is called a citation. Having as many social profiles as are relevant to your site is very important. Always update your current location, name, and address on all platforms. Be sure to write a description of your business including your story, what you offer and how you are different. More on Citations.
When someone links to your business webpage it gets you more authority and Google likes it. You get others to link to your page by reaching out to them and persuading them to link to you. It will establish your brand, build exposure and increase your rankings. Link Building Basics.
Building your online presence and addressing your local SEO will only help you grow. It’s a simple set of instructions that you will eventually turn into a habit when you post blogs or update your site with content. Consider everyone in your area looking online before they look outside so be found.