Google Business Listing can be overlooked or not set up properly. We can boost it with effective SEO.

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Local SEO and Google Business Listing

What is Local SEO?

Online marketing comes in many forms – one of the most effective of these is known as Local SEO. But what is local SEO, exactly? This form of online marketing enables local businesses to be found easily by local customers when they’re searching for the service you provide. Through the use of search engines such as Google and business directories such as Yelp, Local SEO is a great way to promote your business.

Use this Local SEO Checklist to Match your Business Type with your Local SEO

How visible is your brand to potential customers? Local businesses that haven’t yet optimised their online presence with Local SEO are missing out on golden opportunities to be found by customers searching on mobile or desktop.
So if you’ve been wondering “What is Local SEO?” and keep thinking it’s something far beyond your reach, think again! It’s simply a series of steps that we can help you with to connect your business with your web-savvy customers.

1. Technical website criteria

This is essentially the process of optimising your site for Local SEO using the necessary techniques applied in conventional SEO. This means that local businesses of all types regardless of their model should ensure their websites are easily indexable, free of errors, comply with the plethora of devices, structured well, and optimised properly.

Additionally, Local SEO requires your site to have a ‘Contact Us’ page displaying the name, address, and contact number of each of your offices. In instances where businesses have 10 or fewer offices or staffed locations, the contact details of each one should be displayed in the footer element throughout the entire site.

Your NAP (name, address and phone number) should be both highly visible and easily clickable when viewed on mobile devices. Be sure to be consistent when displaying your contact information – any discrepancies may cause confusion, decrease customer trust, and decrease your search rankings. Ensure all of your site’s pages are linked to from a high-quality navigational menu. For those who would prefer a little privacy and don’t want to make their street address public, ensuring a telephone contact number that is staffed during your stated opening times will suffice.

2. Get local content right
As content is a vital element of any SEO campaign, it’s important to ensure you’re not undermining your own efforts with duplicate or lack lustre content. This list points out many of the common mistakes, and a checklist of methods to improve your Local SEO.

• Do not scrape content from other sites – It may be tempting to ‘borrow’ content from other websites but this is one of the quickest ways to get penalised by Google, which will massively harm your SEO efforts. Make sure all content you publish Is unique.

• If your service is provided in many cities, think about creating unique pages for your service for each city, rather than simply duplicating the same information. Think about how you can effectively distribute your information throughout your website for each city, and don’t publish useless information for the sake of it.

• While publishing websites for each of your different businesses may seem like a good idea, numerous specialists agree it is usually a better idea to incorporate all your businesses/services into a single website to promote your brand and services, therefore saving time, talent and funding.

3. Methods for creating unique, user/search-friendly content
One way to create unique content for pages that need to be location-unique is to divide customer testimonials between each city’s page, if need be. Building and maintaining an on-site blog can help create more fresh and unique content which will do wonders for both Local and general SEO. Publish images and videos – which also count as content – using appropriate text tags, and also consider providing transcriptions for videos. Another method is to offer schedules, specials or calendars for each city, enabling you to differentiate your provided services in each location. For example, one branch may offer schedules meditation classes, while another may offer a special on gardening services at the same time, allowing you to rotate your scheduled services, keeping your content fresh and location specific. Include staff bios at different locations or branches so your customers can see who they will be serviced by. Consider sponsoring events, teams or organisations on your designated cities, then write articles or blogs about those sponsorships. Offer tips or interview experts relevant to your businesses and locations and publish these on the relevant city’s page.

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4. Basics of Citation
Create individual sets of citations for each office, ensuring the NAP and URL are correct on each citation built. Abbreviation varies from platform to platform, (Street/St., Road/Rd., etc) but ensure you know which abbreviations are acceptable. Citations are only acceptable for physical locations, and not for virtual offices or P.O. boxes. Problems can arise if citations are applied incorrectly, so ensure you understand how the relevant data for local businesses exchanges through the local search ecosystem. Make sure all links point towards the right landing page – for example, point your Sydney citations to your Sydney landing page and point John Smith’s citations to John Smith’s page on your accountancy firm’s website. The majority of local businesses would initially want to be included in the major data platforms listings, but also create citations on other, more geographically and industrially relevant platforms such as your local Chamber of Commerce, your local newspaper, or a contractor’s association. For the more private business owners, citations can be built on platforms that support hidden addresses. As with content, be sure you do not duplicate your citations.

5. Clean up any duplicate listings
Duplicates can find your site penalised by search engines so finding and removing them is essential. Many tools are available to detect and remove duplicates, such as Moz check Listing.

6. Earn Reviews
Due to their incredibly powerful contribution to conversion and ranking, customer reviews are vital for local businesses. Following these steps can help with earning you reviews:

•    Ensure your business is correctly listed on the major review platforms such as Yelp, Google My Business and Facebook.
•    Ensure your business is correctly listed on any geographic/industry-specific review sites.
•    Google reviews are rated as being the most impactful for Local SEO. Creating a shareable Google review link can often be a challenge but we can teach you how it’s done.
•    Make sure you know and closely follow the guidelines of any review platform – some such as Yelp and Google have very particular guidelines.
•    Ensure you’ve explored all possible avenues for earning customer reviews.
•    Don’t set up a physical kiosk at your business address to ask for customer reviews
•    Always ensure customers are leaving reviews using their own accounts
•    Testimonials and reviews are not the same – testimonials are positive reviews published on your own site, whereas reviews are genuine customer experiences left on third-party sites.
•    Although widgets can be added to your site for customers to add reviews directly, asking for too many at once can cause filtering on some review platforms – it is better to have reviews come in slow and steady rather than all at once.
•    Remember that review acquisition is an ongoing process that will likely continue for your business’ life online.
•    Realise that every business – yours included – will at some point receive negative reviews. Be sure to respond to these professionally.
•    The greatest method of preventing negative reviews is to consistently strive to provide excellent customer service and outstanding work.
•    Respond to positive reviews and publicly thank your loyal customers.

Summary
When putting your efforts into making your brand easily found by web-users, the above steps will put you in good stead. If you have dabbled in SEO for your business site and have ever wondered “what is Local SEO?”, now you know! By following these steps you’ll successfully rank your website in local search results, and the best part is you won’t be competing against the entire world, but rather establishing yourself as a reliable and consistent resource for web-users in your locality. By pairing properly implemented Local SEO, and consistently providing a quality service, there’s no reason your business shouldn’t see a huge Increase in local success.