Visibility for local businesses has seen a surge since 2014 with the release of the Pigeon Algorithm Update. This update, which took place on June 24th, was aimed to increase the rankings of local listings in the SERP. The update affected the local pack by replacing the original 7-pack style with a section of only three listings. According to Google, a third of all mobile searches are location-related and, with mobile usage surpassing desktop, local SEO matters now more than ever.
Here are some strategies to consider in order to increase your company’s ranking for local SEO:
Claim Your Google My Business (GMB) Page
Claiming your GMB page is important, as it helps Google verify your business’ authenticity. You’ll be able to customize your profile, supplying web searches with accurate and up-to-date information on your company. In order to amp up your GMB page as much as possible, be sure to add high-quality photos that represent your business in a good manner, and select the most fitting category for your business type.
Conduct A Directory Audit
A directory audit can be carried out by checking your local listings for accuracy in terms of the business name, address, and phone number (aka the N.A.P.) Make sure that you claim these listings and ensure that they are all consistent across other directors such as Yelp, Bing, Yellow Pages, Four Square, CitySearch, and SuperPages.
Improve Your Reputation
Reputation is one of the single most important aspects of owning a business, and it is equally as influential for your online presence. By improving your ratings and reviews on search engines such as Google, you can move up the local search pack. Someone on your team should be regularly monitoring the reviews and replying directly to your consumers, which will ideally inspire more engagement.
It will also be helpful to encourage your customers to leave testimonials if they’ve had a good experience with your business. This can also be done by other businesses that you have worked with.
As an example, let’s take a look at a dentist’s office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cottonwood Dental. Right off the bat, users will notice that 77 reviews of this company have averaged out to 4.9 stars, which is extremely impressive. Additionally, they’ve left pleasant responses to nearly every review, good and bad. Cottonwood Dental has also included all the necessary information to create an elaborate GMB page (address, phone number, store hours, etc.) This is a perfect representation of how your GMB page should look when it is fully optimized for high ranking in local SEO.
Optimize Content For Local SEO
The content you publish on your website should be structured in a way that benefits your local SEO as well. While conducting keyword research, make sure you add high volume keywords that are specific to your target area. These primary keyword targets should be placed in the following locations:
- Title tags
- Meta description
Add Location Pages To Your Website
If your business has multiple locations, each one of them should have their own location page on your website. These additional pages will help supply your consumer base with the correct N.A.P., business hours, promotions, testimonials, and Google Maps for specific locations. Take care not to duplicate this content across other location pages.
For companies that only have a single brick and mortar location, an elaborate About Us page will do the trick.
Ensure That Your Website Is Mobile-Responsive
Mobile performance has been outdoing desktop searches for a while now. As a result, your website must be optimized for mobile search. Each page on your website should show the same content, with the same quality of experience across all mobile platforms.
Local Link Building
Gathering local links can quickly strengthen your ranking for local SEO. They can be carried out by guest blogging for other local businesses, gaining media coverage, working sponsorships or partnerships, becoming involved in the community, and reaching out to your partners for a feature in their directory. Your website should, on some level, be a valuable source of information for people, so that they want to link to you.
It’s Worth It
Many businesses don’t put a lot of energy into maintaining and improving their local SEO. But they are missing out on a huge, and relatively easy, opportunity to gain visibility on Google. Don’t be that business. Take this opportunity to get ahead of the game, and your boss will thank you for it.
I am a social media manager and content creator at New Dimension Marketing and Research.
Outside of work, I also am a stand-up comedian and run my own website, Slow Boat Library. I speak five languages (English, French, German, Italian, and Arabic) and studied marketing, communications, and journalism in more than six countries in Europe and the Middle East.