If you run a business out of New York City but are showing up in Los Angeles search results, your business is going to go downhill quickly! The people that reside near to where your business is established must be able to find your business. Check out what you can do to better your local SEO presence below.
How to Stake Your Claim in Local SERPs (Search Engine Results Page)
There are two types of search placements, known as paid and organic. Depending on your company’s marketing budget, you can pay for advertisements or be a part of Google’s Guaranteed Listings. Google’s Guaranteed Listings is exactly what it sounds like; you pay Google to make sure your business shows up on local SERPs.
You can also use Google My Business to better your SEO alongside organic placement. Google uses relevance, proximity, and prominence to judge whether a business should appear on a results page. Aside from when you first purchase or rent a location, there isn’t anything in your power to manipulate proximity. However, there are many ways to better your relevancy and prominence!
- Make a Google My Business for your company
- Evolve and correct your Google My Business account as often as necessary
- Don’t wait, Generate; get your existing customers to write reviews
- Get your business in appropriate directories
- Have a consistent business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) throughout the internet
- Have your physical address on your website where page visitors can easily find it
- Utilize Schema markup
- Focus on keywords associated with your business
- Make the meta title & description on your home page accurate & concise
- Don’t allow other important SEO practices to slip through the cracks
- If your budget allows, think about paying for advertisements and/or paying for Google Guaranteed Placements.
All this information can be beneficial. But, if you don’t know what a local business search is, these eleven tips might be going straight over your head.
Local Business Searches – The Foundation of Local SEO
Google has constructed its algorithms to give searchers exactly what they’re looking for. You don’t want your business in New York City appearing in a Los Angeles SERP, and someone in Los Angeles doesn’t want to see your New York City business appearing in their Los Angeles SERP. As stated before, everyone loses. Let’s talk about how Google chooses what gets placed on a SERP.
Organic Listings on a SERP
Organic listings do not pay for advertisements or Google Guaranteed Listing. The listing(s) shows up on SERPs because the business(es) uses strong SEO practices and constantly perfect their practices.
Paid Listings on a SERP
A paid listing is a business that uses search engine marketing (SEM) to get their business listing on a SERP. You can tell when a listing is a paid result thanks to the “Ad” in bold in front of the listing’s URL.
Google My Business Listings on a SERP
A business that has a Google My Business account is more likely to appear on a Google SERP (as you can probably imagine). Google spotlights businesses with a healthy Google My Business account.
Google Guaranteed Listings on a SERP
If a business buys into Google’s Guaranteed Listings program, they will show up on specific SERPs no questions asked. If you have the money and don’t want “Ad” to be in front of your URL, this would be a better marketing option to go with. Do you choose listings that have “Ad” in front of their URL? If not, then why would you want “Ad” in front of your listing’s URL?
In order to have your business appear in a city or state-wide search, your business will have to do more than show up due to their organic practices and placement. Here’s how you can expand your horizons.
Make a Google My Business Account
If you want to be a top local result in a community or state-wide search, you’re going to need a Google My Business account. Not only will this help your quest to rise to the top as a Google My Business result, but it will also make your business a bigger fish in the internet pond as well as making it more likely for your business to appear in an organic SERP.
Evolve and Correct Your Google My Business Account as Necessary
Just because you make an account doesn’t mean the work is done. Your account has to be the cream-of-the-crop and everything needs to be on point. When your business or business practices change, your Google My Business will also have to be updated and changed. Use compressed photos and videos that will not cause your website to lag when loading, as this decreases your SEO ranking. Edit your profile and add relevant keywords to the “from the business” field. Make sure searchers can see your business’s products or services and post at least once a week to engage your audience and stay relevant.
When you do update your profile and post, use the keywords in the “from the business” field in your updates and posts. Keep your customers and possible consumers aware of any sales and special events your business is holding or planning. When searchers ask questions, publicly respond back to show other consumers that you care about your customers and like to engage with them directly. Speaking of questions, creating a Frequently Asked Questions tab for your account is highly recommended!
Don’t wait, Generate – Get Your Existing Customers to Write Reviews
One of the most critical parts of your Google My Business account is your reviews. The way you articulate to searchers and your timeliness in responding to reviews impacts your business’s reputation greatly. If you have many negative reviews, your listing may be at the bottom of a SERP.
On the flip side, if you have four and five-star reviews praising your company, customer service, and products, and you’re responding in a timely manner, your listing has a much better chance of showing up at the top of a Google SERP. The best way to generate reviews is by asking your customers to leave them! When you release a new product or service that you know is going to go over well, state in your social media post’s caption (or in your advertisements) that you’re seeking customer reviews.
If you know a product or service is a grand-slam, this is a sure-fire way to receive many, positive reviews in a short period of time. All you have to do is be prompt in your response to these positive reviews, and boom, your SEO rank is increasing.
Get Your Business in the Appropriate Directories
Your company should not be limited to Google My Business. There are many listings, both local and national, you can and should add your business to. The more listings you have, the more listing companies are communicating with Google that your business is trustworthy, which only helps your business rise to the top of SERPs! Every business should have Facebook and Instagram, depending on your industry, it may also be worthwhile to have an account on Yelp, Angie’s List, City Search, Foursquare, Yellowpages, and any other directory you deem appropriate for your company.
It may get a little dull setting up all these accounts, but you have to keep everything uniform. Some businesses have nicknames given to them by locals and regulars, but when it comes to the internet, you have to keep everything the same if you want to see your SEO rank increase. Aside from the information, the formatting of the information should be uniform as well. If you’re in a suite, you need to decide if you are going to write your address as “1234 Example St, Suite 1” or “1234 Example St, #1” and follow the formatting for each and every listing account you make.
Have Your Address on Your Website Where Searchers Can See it Easily
If you want your business to appear on local SERPs, it is mandatory that Google’s crawlers can know beyond doubt where your business resides. Include your address in your website’s footer and choose a font and color that is easy to read.
If your business has multiple locations, you will have to create a landing page for each one. The footers of each location’s landing page should have the unique address, hours, and phone number applicable to the proper location.
Utilize Schema Markup
A schema is a form of structured data. This information is included by developers and only seen by search engines, not searchers. The information allows search engines to understand the content on your website and present it to searchers.
A local business schema is still structured data. It is focused on relaying your business’s exact whereabouts and industry to a search engine. By exploring and adding all relevant schemas to the backend of your website, you can increase your business’s prevalence in similar searches.
Focus on Keywords Associated with Your Business
If a consumer uses words associated with your business or industry in their search; it is important that your business appears on their SERP. To make sure your company is on a result page, aim your focus on keywords that are relevant to your brand.
Relevant keywords are words or phrases that acknowledge your business industry and your surrounding location. If you own a pizza place near New York City’s Madison Square Garden, you may want to aim your focus on “New York City pizza” or “Madison Square Garden Pizza.”
It is critical to stay current with language to have the best keywords associated with your business and listings.
Make Your Meta Title & Description Accurate & Concise
Metadata is code included in the backend of a webpage. Meta tags inform search engines in detail about your website. When you see a listing on a SERP, you actually see their meta title and description; this is what sells your listing to a searcher in an attempt to convert them to a customer. Every page of your website is unique and should likewise have meta titles and descriptions complementary to it. However, your homepage still needs to be in the best shape of them all. You will have to decide for yourself what the best keyword for your company is and add it as well as your exact location to your website’s homepage meta details
Don’t Allow Local SEO Practices to Slip Through the Cracks
There are many methods to better your local SEO, but you don’t want to let on-site, off-site, and technical SEO slip through the cracks. These practices will aid your business in appearing on local SERPs. The best thing you can do is make it easy for users to navigate the content on your site. When you have links bringing searchers back to your site and surpassing technical SEO demands, you will better your ranking for local SEO.
Pay for Advertisements and Google Guaranteed Placement if Your Budget Allows
It’s all too common for small marketing teams to have little to no budget for advertising, but if you have the money, it may be the breakthrough you need. Organic SEO and a Google My Business account are not the strategies for bettering your local SEO. If your organic local search isn’t getting the coverage you’re hoping for; you can always try paying for Google advertisements or paying to be included in the Google Guaranteed program.
Be At the Top of Local Searches and Convert Consumers to Customers
If your business depends on the consumers relative to where your company is located, your most concern needs to be appearing in local searches. Use what you have learned to begin perfecting your business’s online appearance and reputation. After some work, your business should start appearing in the searches of nearby consumers when they type your focused keywords and phrases.
Local SEO for Your Business
Do you want your business to be found by local consumers actively searching for products or services that you offer? If so, then you will benefit from implementing local SEO. Biewer & Associates has been helping small businesses for more than 20 years; contact us today!