Search Engine Optimization is the long game for getting your site to rank higher in search engine results, but what exactly is Local SEO? Many may not realize that Local SEO could be a critical part of your digital marketing that has been neglected. Read on as we discuss what Local SEO is, if Local SEO is right for you, and how to manage it. 

What is Local SEO?

Website SEO is a series of steps maintained by a website that allows Google and other search engines to easily see what the site is about, that it is properly maintained, and that it is easily understood by its audience. There are a lot of technical aspects that go into the full explanation but if you want an explanation in simple language, review our blog post here. Local SEO is an aspect of SEO that focuses on making sure that your website and business are easily seen and found right where you live and work. Local actually refers to the physical place you do business or where your target customers live. 

Is Local SEO something my business needs?

If you have a brick-and-mortar storefront, have multiple locations for your business, or want to connect strongly to those Locally, then Local SEO would be very beneficial for your business. It will make sure that when someone searches for your keywords, your listing shows up and your customers can easily find where you are located, when you are open, how to get to you and see that you are active and responsive online. In other words, your customers will feel a stronger connection to you because they will see when searching for you that you are more than just a web listing result. They will see that it is important to you that the details of your business are communicated with them and that you want to make things as simple for them as possible to find you. To me, Local SEO is the first step in digital hospitality. 

What does Local SEO look like?

When beginning your Local SEO journey you want to first find out where the majority of your customers are looking for you. While Google and Google My Business are the first and strongest you would be surprised at how many people could find you via other search engines such as Bing, Apple Maps, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Yelp, and many others. Making sure you have a strong presence on each of these platforms is key to Local SEO. 

In all of the places your customers are looking for you, you need to make sure all of your information is correct and enticing. Your business name, phone number, website, and address should be correct and consistent as the foundation. In addition to those, you should have quality photos, videos, and links. The description should list your main services and the keywords you wish to rank for. Reviews and response times should be shown and in good standing.  

The HTML Side 

This is the most technical part of the Local SEO process. It is not impossible for a business owner to run their own site and maintain proper SEO but is that what you really want to be doing as a business owner? If you run a restaurant – you should be cooking and greeting clients – not in the back hidden updating your site and worrying about SEO. You started your business for a reason and it is usually not to be spending a lot of time on your website and search rankings.  

With that said, to have a strong Local SEO presence you want to make sure the following is happening on the HTML side of your website:

  • On all of your pages:
    • Title
    • Description
    • H1 & H2 headers
  • Copy that includes:
    • Directions
    • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Local landmarks that help guide visitors to your business
    • Anything else that shows that you are truly Local to the area.
  • Images with alternative (alt)  text and keywords
  • A correct google map listing
  • Correct Contact Information
  • Correct Profile Linking

If you have multiple locations then you need to make sure all of the above happens for every location. We cannot stress enough how important consistency of your name, address, and phone number across all platforms. These should also be included in crawlable HTML text on your site. This information is most commonly in the header or footer of a site. Many include their contact information in the alt text of images but forget that search engines cannot crawl images. It is much more important to be sure it is correctly included in the HTML. 

Optimize Directories and Citations

There are four data map aggregators that provide a large amount of data for Google, Apple, Yelp, Bing, and many more. They are:  Express Update, Neustar Localeze, My Business Listing Manager, and Factual. You need to make sure that your name, address, and phone number are exactly the same on all of these. If you leave out a suite number or misspell a street on any of them then Google may choose to not show you location at all because it cannot deem what is true.. Consistency is key! 

Links, Links, and More Links

Inbound links are very powerful in boosting your local SEO. Every link you have verifies even more with Google that you are, in fact, a real business. Partnerships, guest bloggers, and Chamber of Commerce connections are ways to boost your inbound links. Hosting community events or promoting something local you love also reinforces to Google that you are a valuable asset to be shown to more people locally. 

Be Active on Social

We believe every business should have a consistent social media presence. Yes this is engaging to your audience but it also increases your Local SEO rankings. Be sure to add content to your Google My Business profile and then share that profile on your social media pages. This dual reinforcement will strengthen your Local SEO presence. 

Don’t Be Overwhelmed

Chances are that you chose to begin your business in the area it is in because you care about your community. Local SEO is a great way to show that digital hospitality to those nearest you. There is a lot that goes into optimizing your Local SEO for your site and it can be overwhelming. In a nutshell, Local SEO wants to make sure your contact information is correct and consistent anywhere someone is searching for you. It shows that you are truly local to the area. Like traditional SEO, it shows that you are taking care of your site, are active and responsive, and that you care that those that search for you have a quality visit when they are there. 

Dogwood can help. In addition to traditional SEO services, we are well versed in all of the aspects of Local SEO. We can help your customers find you whether your target audience is all over the nation, the state, or your city. Let us help. Let’s get the conversation started. 

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