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Since the rather recent release of Google’s Hummingbird update I thought it would be helpful to offer some SEO strategies to help improve your local rankings! As we know it has become even more important for small business owners to boost local rankings since geographic search results take on a prominent role in search engines. While it was reported that 61% of local searches resulted in purchases back in 2012, the biggest search engines have become even smarter than before in returning customized and localized search results to meet user’s needs. Therefore, if you are looking for a steady stream of new customers, it is likely that your SEO will need a serious update to stay competitive in your local marketplace. Read on to find out more about the hottest local SEO strategies for boosting your local rankings, improving your business’ visibility online, and outshining your local competitors.
1. Research Long Tail Keyword Phrases
Depending on the amount of local competition your business has, it can be challenging to rank on search engines for your most important keywords and head terms. Consequently, current local SEO strategies suggest that you focus on finding “long tail” phrases that will likely rank better on search engine result pages due to more specific terms. Since Google better understands users’ intent more effectively than in the past, you will want to use longer keywords that are less common, but still will cause relevant search-driven traffic. Whether you decide to track keyword ideas on an Excel spreadsheet or use a professional keyword generator, always keep in mind the language that your customers will likely use to look for your business.
2. Optimize Your Website’s Content
While past search engine optimization strategies preached stuffing content with keywords, this is no longer a feasible strategy for boosting rankings in Google or any other search engine and will likely turn off potential customers who visit your website. In today’s World Wide Web, it is essential that websites are filled with high-quality content that is optimized for both the search engines and customers. Since it is usually what Google chooses to publish within its results page, make sure that you compose a quality meta description that is both inviting and relevant to your keywords. Wherever it is natural, also mention your city and state within your content to let the search engines know where your local business is located for optimal results.
3. Make Your Business Noticed on Google+ Local
In order to ensure your potential customers are landing at your business instead of your competitors, you will want to create an optimized Google+ Local page to obtain more visibility as well as open up pathways of communication with customers. Although adding a listing on Google+ Local may sound easy, there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration to boost rankings in the search engine. First and foremost, you must make sure that accurate name, address, and phone number information is available and that is matches what is provided within your website. Furthermore, having more reviews on third-party sites and a higher number of quality links to your page will increase your exposure.
4. Build a Mobile Responsive Website
Did you know that over one million more mobile devices and smartphones are activated on a daily basis worldwide than there are babies being born? As a result, it is no surprise that mobile devices are the key to future of local search engine optimization, especially since the vast majority of individuals never leave home without their smartphone or tablet. While having a mobile presence is important for all business in today’s era, it is even more critical for local businesses whose customers are on-the-go when searching for their services. Rather than publishing a website that cannot be viewed properly on a smaller screen, you must create a mobile responsive site that will ensure all customers have an awesome experience looking at your business across all of their devices.
5. Increase Your Social Media Presence
In addition to the previously mentioned Google+, local business should take advantage of the vast number of social media networking platforms available, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Slideshare and LinkedIn, to gain more exposure. Across all of your social media profiles, make sure that you have clearly listed your business’ name, physical location, and website URL to direct local customers back to your website. Even if you have already created a Facebook page, be sure to list your page as a local business so that customers can check in at your location and boost your business toward the top listings.
6. Kindly Ask for Customer Reviews
As hinted at earlier in the article, reviews are important for local SEO because they impact your ranking in Google’s local search results, affect which search results are clicked on, and have an effect on prospective customers’ purchasing decisions. Even if you do manage to boost your local ranking for your chosen keywords with little to no customer reviews, you will likely lose customers to businesses that have more reviews or a higher rating. You should kindly ask previous customers you have served to leave a genuine review on your Google+ Local page or whatever review site they prefer. However, you should never under any circumstances solicit fake reviews, which will only create bigger problems for your business when the search engines as well as customers begin to catch on.
7. Claim Local Citations for Your Business
While there have been no major changes in the local SEO strategies related to citations, it is necessary to note that local listings have only obtained increased importance in getting your website noticed on search engines. Claiming local citations from quality local directories, review websites, and other relevant sites are extremely important for obtaining higher rankings in Google searches, especially with algorithm of the Hummingbird update. In addition to Google+ Local, you will want to make sure your business is listed on other local directories, such as Bing and Yahoo Local. Whenever possible, add a link to your business website to have the most success at boosting your local rankings!
8. Get A Free SEO Evaluation for Your Business
We offer a 30 minute consultation where we can do a free SEO evaluation of your site. We will shed light of other areas where you can improve your local SEO rankings.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.