May 4, 2016
I always forget how much local SEO affects me until I’m searching for something nearby. All too often I’ll find myself Googling the “best brunch spots in Midtown” or “most affordable yoga classes near me,” and this is the kind of search that local businesses should be most concerned with.
It should come as no surprise that the majority of users are searching from mobile devices. What may come as a surprise is that of those local searches, the majority usually end up in a purchase at a business. Ergo, local search = traffic and money for local businesses. How, then, do you cash in on these local search trends and use it to make money? If you’re a local business owner, it might be easier than you think and could result in a significant increase in overall sales.
What is Local SEO?
Plain and simple, local SEO is about using specific techniques to help your website rank higher on search engines in local markets. It’s exceptionally helpful for businesses with physical locations, especially those independently owned businesses that may need a leg up on chains.
What are the techniques?
Local SEO techniques include citations, listings, and reviews for your business, all of which will include an accurate business name, address, and phone number (NAP). It’s critical that your business NAP be the same everywhere it’s listed online to drive search engine ranking.
Citations are places online that mention your business name and address, but don’t necessarily provide a link to your website. If the NAP of your business is listed in an online yellow pages, but doesn’t include a link to your website, that’s a citation. Search engines really like and respond well to citations, so it’s important to have as many as you can. Many places online (chamber of commerce or business association pages) allow you to post business citations for free.
Listings are online profiles that also include your business NAP, as well as other details (store hours, promotions, etc.). By having plenty of listings, you ensure that your business gets plenty of visibility on the internet over your competitors. You can create free business listings on Yelp, Google+ Local, Yahoo! Local, Internet Yellow Pages, and a handful of other spots. The only drawback to listings is that for some business indexes, you have to meet certain qualifications and verify your business (warning: this can get tedious and time consuming).
Finally, there are reviews, which are, perhaps, the most user-friendly and attainable form of local SEO. There are many obvious reasons reviews are beneficial to businesses, especially since they serve as a living reputation. But there is also SEO value to reviews, mainly being that a lot of good reviews can increase your business’s local ranking. When I run a search for “best brunch spots in Memphis” the results are automatically filtered by scores from reviews.
By utilizing local SEO citations and listings in conjunction with good reviews, your business could rank among the top results within your local market. When you consider the end result of having those rankings in a city like Memphis, where tourism rakes in more than 10 million visitors a year, and it boils down to a lot of mobile searches that could be pointing people in the direction of your business.
Local SEO Take-Aways
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