Reaching the top of the search results isn’t what it used to be.
Back in the glory days, it was pretty easy to get found. You named your business “A-1 Service Type” and you were listed #1 in the phone book. When someone needed a plumber, they went for the first one they saw, and you got the call. Good times, right? Unfortunately, we don’t live there anymore. So now we’ve got to do more than ever to get found by the world of searchers than ever before.
With all that said, if you do it right you can reach more people than ever before and win business you wouldn’t have otherwise. So here are 6 local SEO tactics that you can use to beat your competition to the top of the search rankings.
1. Be Consistent
Search engines are complex algorithms, that doesn’t mean they infer data very well. Make sure that you’re not confusing them about anything. This is especially true when it comes to where you’re located. With more and more people doing mobile search for terms like “plumbers near me,” it is paramount to ensure that there’s no doubt about where you’re located.
Your location information is stored in directories and maps all across the Internet. When these directories contain inconsistent information, it can lead to confusing results. Tools like Yahoo small business can help you clean up these directories and maps so that they contain only the most up-to-date information. While there is a cost associated with using tools like this, it’s cheaper than the time it would take to do them all manually.
2. Create Local Content
You could write a blog talking about preventing frozen pipes, which may or may not get read or rank. Or you could talk about how you can prevent pipes from freezing in Northern Michigan. Using local weather that you know, locations that would be familiar to the reader, and language which speaks directly to the people that you service will not only help the reader know you’re local, it will help Google.
Local content serves visitors by letting them know that you’re giving up information to help them. When they’re in need, who are the ones that they’re going to call? Additionally, search engines give preference to websites who answer questions that people have. So give that information over, and see your rankings climb in your area.
3. Extend Your Local Content Strategy to Each Branch
Do you have a store with multiple locations? Optimize for each location. Doing so can be complicated, but the right strategy can push you past your competitors—large and small.
For instance, we’ve worked with organizations to create local blog posts and landing pages for each of the major cities where they did business. This content helped them rank higher for each city, and expanded their regional footprint.
We’ve also created localized blog posts so that each branch could post store-specific content. Since these outlets didn’t share the same sale schedule, this hyper-local customization helped our client deliver more targeted content.
4. Get Reviews
Word of mouth is the best referral. However, those that don’t have anyone to refer them often rely on reviews to help them make their choices. Whether you’re using Facebook, Google, or (shudders) Yelp, those reviews can be the difference between using you or your competitor for their needs.
Ask your customers to leave reviews anywhere that you want them to be found. Often Google reviews will show up in your map listing (and are a ranking factor) and can help folks figure out if you’re the right vendor for them.
5. Add Schema Markup Code
Schema markup is code that you add to your website to help search engines parse the important factors about your page or blog entry. One of the up sides to using WordPress is that there are a number of plugins that help you organize and input this information without having to write code yourself.
Like everything else, make sure when you’re adding it to include local keywords to help the search engines know that you’re focusing on a specific area.
6. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
While a mobile-friendly site is important for all businesses, it’s especially crucial for local businesses. This is because many of those searching for a business “near me” are doing so from their smartphone. And if they’re on their smartphone, it’s a fair bet they’re looking for a place nearby because they want to go there now.
They could be looking for directions or researching your store or restaurant before they make a visit. Either way, if your website isn’t easy to navigate, it’s likely they’ll turn to your competition.
Local SEO takes time, but the results are worth it.
Local SEO can be pretty time consuming without some tools. But, like learning how to do any task, it has its rewards. If you don’t feel you have the time to do these things, there’s always agencies like ours to fill that need. Unlike the phone book, we can’t guarantee that just because your name is A-1 that you’ll be on the top of the list. But we certainly can get you in a better position for that to happen organically.