How to Master Local SEO Without Keyword Stuffing
Driving thousands of users to your website every day with a killer inbound marketing strategy is awesome. It should increase your website authority and rankings across the board. But, if you’re a brick-and-mortar business, what you really want to do is focus on bringing local users to your site who will actually walk into your store and buy your products and/or services. After all, the ultimate goal of any marketing campaign is to increase sales.
This is what local search is all about. By focusing on optimizing your online presence and content for residents or visitors in your area, you’ll get more potential customers to your website and begin building a close relationship with them. As mobile use continues to dramatically increase year after year and search algorithms become more advanced, local search is only going to become more important. Now’s the time to get local. Here are the top ways you can optimize your online presence for local search and bring your neighbors through your doors.
Properly Manage Your Local Citations
Consistency is key when it comes to your online citations. In fact, according to Moz’s ranking factors survey, the presence of NAP (Business Name, Address, and Phone Number) is the fourth most important ranking factor for search. It’s essential to make sure your business information, including name, address, phone number (NAP), website URL, and email address, is correct, consistent and easily visible across all online listings.
You’ll want to start by updating your Google My Business page and adding as much information as possible to it, including high-quality images. Make sure everything is correct. Then, set up an account with Moz Local to automatically send that same business information to the top local listing services, such as Acxiom, Best of the Web, and Localeze. Use Moz Local to delete duplicate listings, fill out incomplete listings and correct inconsistent ones. You’ll have to manually claim and update your listings on top sites such as Yelp, Google+ and Yellow Pages, though Moz Local will point out if there are any issues with your listings on those sites.
Barnacle SEO: Optimize Your Profiles On Online Directories
SEO is no longer just about your website. If you search for “coffee shop in San Francisco”, it’s much more likely that you’ll see Yelp or Google reviews appear in the top results than your website. That’s where “barnacle SEO” comes in. Barnacle SEO involves optimizing your listing on popular online directories. After you’ve filled in your basic information, populate your listings with compelling images, keywords, and as much information as possible to improve click through rates and rankings. Also, place a link to your listings on directories on the homepage of your website and respond to reviews on websites like Yelp. This way, your listings will appear higher on both the directory website and the SERPs.
Attain More Reviews
We know as well as you do that getting more reviews is easier said than done. But there are strategies you can implement to get your customers to write about you more. Along with Yelp, you should encourage your customers to leave reviews on Google+ and Facebook. You can ask customers to leave you reviews on these sites after you’ve served them in your store, or hand out a card that asks users to give you reviews. Just beware of Yelp, because you technically can’t directly ask your customers to leave you reviews on the site. Make sure to always reply to negative reviews with an apology, explanation and solution.
Another great strategy for building reviews is to ask past customers to rate their experience at your business via email. If their feedback is positive, ask them to leave a review on Google+ or Facebook. If it’s negative, ask them how you can improve. You can use a program like Get Five Stars to make this process easier.
Make Your Website A Local Haven
Now that you’ve worked on optimizing for local search outside of your website, it’s time to put the focus back on your online space. If you maintain operations in multiple locations, create individual pages for each location that include specific information about it.
You should then build out local landing pages for your main locations and surrounding areas to improve user experience and leads. These pages should include a good amount of specific local info to help associate your page with the area and provide users with beneficial information that would be difficult to find elsewhere. Speak to store managers and customers from your business location for insider information about the region that you are building landing pages for. Along with building out additional pages on your website, you should write long-tail content on your blog that targets a specific location, such as “Earthquake Insurance Tips for California Residents”. You can get even more specific by targeting cities and towns. While doing keyword research for this type of content, make sure your research is local by setting your targeted location in Google.
Remember, you don’t have to include city names all over your page titles and headers to rank for local keywords. This can look spammy. Google typically knows where your business is located thanks to online citations.
Perform Local Link Building
Obtaining back links from local businesses and nonprofits can reinforce your association with a specific location and build your authority. Do volunteer work and sponsor local charity events to get to know your community, build links and gain positive press. Try to get links from other local businesses by building relationships with them. You can offer their customers discounts or provide them with your business’s services.
As the internet gets more personal and mobile-friendly, local SEO will become increasingly important. This is great for both you and searchers. Searchers will be able to find what they are looking for near them and you’ll get more customers at your door. That is, as long as you are more optimized than your neighborhood competitors.