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Increase your SEO rankings to get ahead of the competition with just a handful of simple steps.
These six strategies will help B2C companies who are just getting started with local SEO.
Optimizing for local is so extremely important for B2C companies. Local has become one of the biggest SEO trends in recent years. In fact, 4 out out of five consumers use online search to find local information—meaning you could be missing out on 80 percent of your target customers.
To gather information for local searches, search engines crawl and rely on signals, according to HubSpot. These signals include local content, keywords, social profile pages, links, etc. in order to provide the most relevant results to the user.
For example, if you were searching for “best dry cleaners” in your city, you would want Google to give you a list of dry cleaners close in proximity to you. As a business, here’s what you should know when crafting your local SEO strategy:
1. Optimize Your Website for UX
First things first, before you can be sure you’re ranking high in local search, perform an unbiased audit of your existing site.
Pay close attention to the user’s experience once they land on your page–can users easily navigate your website and is it easy to navigate on a mobile device? Is there a prominent CTA on your homepage? Does it clearly display information the searcher will need including, phone number, hours of operation, contact form, etc. These foundational questions should be addressed BEFORE implementing your local SEO strategy.
2. Claim or Verify Your Google My Business Page
It’s important to have a verified Google My Business page is an incredibly important tool in ensuring your business shows up in local search. You’ll want to create/claim this page with relevant business information but keep in mind that you must keep things consistent.
Verify your business using your business phone number—where customers can reach you during operating hours. Also, if you are a service radius business (no brick and mortar storefront), set up your business accordingly. After you set up your page, start using it! Use Google posts, encourage customers to use Google reviews, respond to reviews authentically, etc.
3. Conduct a Local Pack Analysis
If you’ve searched for a local business in your area in the past year, you’ve probably noticed Google’s display of the three-pack.
What was once the seven pack and prime real estate on page one, has now been trimmed down to just three results; most-likely because of Google’s broader push to serve mobile users. It’s no secret Google wants to feed the user more information directly in the SERPs without having to navigate away from the first page.
The three-pack not only displays clickable phone numbers, but now displays important business information such as business hours, addresses, sometimes “closing soon” notifications depending on when you are searching, etc. While ensuring your business shows up in the local three-pack is never guaranteed, it’s wise to conduct an analysis of the three that are showing. Browse their website, take notes and then optimize your own website according to your competition.
4. Consistency Across the Web
Create a strategy for ensuring your business details–or NAP (name, address, phone number with area code)–are displayed consistency and effectively across all platforms. Monitor all mentions of your business on the web and avoid or correct misspellings. For example, if your Google My Business page displays your address with a suite number, and on a different directory there is no mention of a suite number, this is inconsistent.
Discrepancies can be problematic. If Google cannot figure out which is the correct listing, you risk your business not being displayed at all. Managing your directory listings and obtaining local editorial mentions is a great tactic for building inbound links to your website—or proving to Google you’re a legitimate company and boosting your local SEO. Don’t forget to leverage your own personal network such as the Chamber of Commerce, news outlets, sponsorships and niche local sites.
5. High-quality HTML and CSS Coding
If your business has multiple locations, it’s very important you have a landing page for each location and optimize each one for local search. One way to do this is by adding relevant schema markup to your HTML code that helps search engines display more accurate results for users on search listings.
Schema allows search engines to understand your business’ local relevance—showing your business page along with rich snippet info (address, ratings, reviews, etc.) to the user. This type of high-quality coding enhances your website’s overall readability and is important for local SEO.
“For our business, connecting with nearby prospective customers is a critical for driving revenue. Schema markup specifies our services and coverage areas for each of our landing pages in respective cities we target,” explains Earl White, real estate expert and House Heroes Vice President.
It’s best to run your website through the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure the schema markup is done correctly.
6. Don’t Forget Social Signals
A successful local SEO strategy should never rule out a strong social media presence. Even though Google has stated social signals do not affect search rankings, it’s still a possibility they are taking note of it. At the end of the day, engagement metrics are an important part of any digital strategy and social signals are just that. Customers keep up with local businesses via social media and often interact with them—checking-in, leaving reviews, posting pictures. Even if you aren’t able to post everyday, create a content calendar and post a few times a week to keep the engagement going.
This article is written by Holly Rollins. Holly is the president and owner of 10x digital. She has more than 20 years experience in marketing, public relations, digital marketing and content marketing. She has created successful content marketing and digital marketing/PR for diverse sectors; from healthcare and wellness to global retail and commercial real estate.