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Local SEO: Where Do You Begin?




“Siri, find a Chinese restaurant near me.”

Have you ever said something like this to Siri before, whether on the road or otherwise? No doubt, many of us have.

Consumers are searching for businesses and shops “near them” more and more often. Google has stated that these kind of searches doubled back in 2015 and in many cases “near me” is often implied. After all, a person in Detroit searching for “pizza” is likely uninterested in pizza restaurants in New York City.

Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the best way for you to reach these customers searching for you or businesses like yours. There are many tactics for improving your ability to reach consumers on search engines, but here are some DIY tactics for getting started:

Remove or edit incorrect or inconsistent information about your business that is found online. If your business information (company name, address, phone number, etc.) is listed in multiple places across the web, and these listings aren’t matching up, Google will have a difficult time deciding which information is correct which negatively impacts ranking for related searches. When this happens, your best course of action is to claim these incorrect listings and update them accordingly. For more information on removing or correcting duplicate content, read this Moz article.

Have a plan for acquiring and responding to customer reviews. One study showed that over 80 percent of people regularly consult online reviews in their searches. The quality and number of reviews you have, as well as the ranking of the sites on which your reviews are posted, can have an impact on your business’s ranking in search. Start by creating a listing on the most prominent review sites (Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook, etc.). Follow that up by engaging with customers on these platforms.

Keep your hours up-to-date. This includes updating your website with holiday and summer hours. Your hours, company name and address should remain consistent across web properties. If you need to change your business hours due to a holiday or season, be sure to update these across web properties. You don’t want someone finding your hours are different on Facebook compared to Google, or having to decide for themselves which hours are accurate.

Earn links to your website and link to other websites in return. Link building can be one of the most challenging tactics for improving your local SEO. Some sources will tell you backlinking is bad, some will say it’s good. The truth is, link building can increase your search ranking, when done the right way. The first step to building quality links is to create quality content worth linking to. Once you’ve amassed enough content, don’t just try and buy links, but spend the time necessary to build quality relationships that will help get you links. Connect with others on LinkedIn, attend local networking events, and more. Once you’ve built out your network, you can begin reaching out to others to suggest contributing content or in other ways linking to your website from theirs and vice versa. Relationship building is key when building links.

Though somewhat tedious, these are great ways to get started with local SEO, but there are many other tactics that can help boost your ranking. Continue to educate yourself on SEO, as the rules are always changing.

If SEO is not your thing or you don’t have the time, you can always work with a local partner to optimize your listings as well. View our Marketing Provider Directory to see who might be able to help you on your SEO journey.

Becky Harris

Contributed By: Becky Harris

Becky Harris is a content marketing specialist at the Local Search Association.

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