With 2017 coming to an end, now is a good time to make a New Year resolution to improve your local SEO. However, before you begin this endeavor, it may be a good idea to learn the top five local SEO strategies for local businesses that will make waves in 2018.
- Build Directory Citations
Research shows that nearly 80 per cent consumers are highly dependent on online searches to find a local service provider. Hence, it has become more important than ever to be listed on the best local business directories, like Yelp, Merchant Circle, and Citysearch.
Create a complete business profile for each directory citation. Run an online search to find existing directory citations. Look to claim those listings. Ensure that your business’ NAP – name, address and phone number – is accurate. Use a local phone number rather than an 800 number. Get rid of duplicate listings.
With so many online directories, it can be tedious to visit each one individually and fill in the details. Now, you no longer have to do it with TribeLocal. It allows you to build and track citations in more than 100 local and niche directories. If you don’t have the time, use a trusted and qualified local SEO agency. You can find one through RankLocal.
- Focus on Local Link Building
You may be unaware that building links for local SEO is quite different from conventional link building. You can have links to your site even from a business that is not connected to yours. When you concentrate on local link building, you can improve your Google SERPs. This is because local business is about relationships and when local businesses link to one another, it shows good relationship. Hence, Google will rank such pages high in search engine results.
You can build local links by looking to sponsor local events, getting involved in community events, or running a donation drive. These events will automatically give your local links without any effort.
- Get Your NAP Right on Your Website
Make sure your business name, address and phone number are the same as those in the citations. Don’t forget to add area code to your phone number on the website and directory listings.
Check the header, footer, about us page and contact us page to ensure the name, address and phone number are consistent throughout your website and blog. If you are functioning in more than one city or area, create area-specific pages with search engine optimized content. Ensure that the content is high-quality and unique. You should avoid duplicate content under all circumstances as Google will penalize your site by pushing it down SERPs.
- Get Those Customer Reviews Going
Before prospective customers purchase anything, a majority checks reviews to determine whether they will go with a particular service provider. Hence, reviews are extremely important for local SEO.
Ask your customers to leave reviews on your official Facebook page and Google My Business page. There are even tools that alert you when your business’ name is mentioned online. So, get familiar with such tools and begin using them.
Get familiar with Schema Markup. It is a way to showcase the reviews your business has received in search engine results. People do check these reviews. So use software to manage your online reputation. Ensure you address negative reviews to show readers that you are keen about improving customer experience.
- User Experience
In 2018, user experience will be in the forefront. So, sites that are able to ensure seamless user experience will be viewed more favorably by Google. However, there is more to user experience than just SERPs.
If a visitor has a good experience visiting your site, chances are high they will engage with your site. So, work on improving the download speed, readability and site navigation. Make sure your site is responsive so that it can be viewed with ease on handheld devices.
The Bottom Line
Local SEO looks to engage target audience and converting them into loyal paying customers. So, avail early mover advantage by getting your local SEO right in 2018 and you will leave your competition behind.