Politicians have a phrase: “All politics is local.” Oddly enough, the same can be said these days for search engine optimization, or “SEO.” Local SEO, as the name implies, is how you make your local business or branch location achieve buoyancy in a specific locale or region.
With the explosion of big data, search engines know a lot more about today’s searchers. They understand, for instance, that if a searcher in Phoenix is searching for “Starbucks” he is not likely to be looking for their corporate headquarters in Seattle. Because web search engines are so wonderfully clever, your marketing team needs to be equally smart. So here is my list of 5 things not to forget if you want effective local SEO.
1) Name, address and phone
NAP, for short. If you want to improve your business’ local ranking on search engines like Google and Yahoo, make sure your website displays your business name, address and phone number. As marvelous as your company’s 800 number may be, your local phone number is more important for organic ranking. To have effective NAP you also need to be uniform. Make sure your local listings are consistent across all local search directories. In other words, your listing on Yelp needs to match your listing on Google+ and vice versa.
2) Be thorough
Sure, filling out all these separate directory listings can be a royal pain. But here’s the deal: it simply has to be done and the more thoroughly you do it, the higher your local locations will rank. Fill out every line with as much information as possible. Every added citation gives your brand some more SEO uptick.
3) A social media account is essential
When it comes to helping your local business thrive, a social media presence does you more good than a company website. Does having a website help your local SEO? Sure, but a business Facebook page will help your local ranking far more. Strange, but true.
4) Customer review juju
Positive online customer reviews can help supercharge your local SEO. Look for ways to motivate your customers to share the love. Freebies, discounts, shout outs. Try whatever happens to work. Contented customers are less inclined to post reviews than discontented ones. Give them a nudge.
5) Neighborhood pseudonyms
Neighborhood nicknames don’t always show up on the map. For instance, a sushi bar on the corner of Elm and Main street may be in the heart of a neighborhood known to locals as Japan Town or Deep Ellum or The West Side or the Warehouse District. For this specific designation to help your business with local SEO, you need to optimize the neighborhood nickname on your business website with title tags that include this terminology. Otherwise, it will not likely come up in a “Westside Sushi” search. You may also want to add this language to your Google My Business page. For example, Blue Fin Sushi Westside. Also, you can submit an update to Google MapMaker to include a popular neighborhood alias.
With more and more searches being done on mobile devices, local SEO has never been more important. Get it wrong and you undermine the success of your local business. Get it right and you’ll be a hero.