Know Your Local SEO Score and How You Stand against Your Competitors
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Before you get to business with the website, social media profiles, and pages, etc you want to optimize, you will need to know the keywords. In case of Local Search Marketing, you aren’t just focusing on industry-specific terms but also geo-specific terms as well.
Take a look this example for better understanding:
A local plumbing business has numerous locations in California. When devising an effective optimization strategy, the business will notice some geo-specific keywords + plumbing to evaluate the frequency of the search using Google AdWords Keyword Tool.
If you are a plumber in Florida then there must be specific cities in north or other directions that you serve. So, the keyword you target should be Plumbers in Los Angeles or Plumbers in Hollywood, etc. You need to localize your search by specifying the city and area that you want to target. This is done because local businesses like Boutiques, restaurants, plumbers, etc don’t serve a global audience base but instead a localized audience base.
There are other ways of getting keyword ideas too. You can check different keywords by typing ideas in the Google search and then scrolling down on the suggestions to see related searches.
This way, you can also check your top competitor’s website and see what keywords does it rank the highest for using SEMrush. Using a free account, you can check 10 keywords.
You can use a combination of these tools along with research on local competitors to check the local search keywords for your business for local SEO.
When you have your keywords listed, you can begin with on site optimization for local search. Now, you need to know how to optimize your website for local search?
Tell search engines the locations you are targeting by mentioning geo-specific information, keywords and phrases in the below listed specific options:
In search results, your website’s SEO title tag and meta description, or related snippet matter a lot since they are the first thing that visitors see.
Note that when users look for plumbers in Los Angeles, they will see results that have keywords emboldened in a title as well as the snippet (also called the meta description). Get these two emboldened by doing the following:
Locally Optimized Title Tags – The SEO title tag is also integral for on-site optimization. Although, Google sometimes picks alternate titles when showing search results but Locally optimized title tags retain importance. Google might pick your specified title tag to link to your website when showing search results. So ensure that it includes your primary keywords along with location and stays within 70 characters.
Locally Optimized Meta Descriptions – Google might pick a text snippet from your website but it’s always great to have an optimized meta description. Ensure that there are primary keywords in it. Also include the areas your business serves and important phone numbers and all within 165 characters.
Local street address and phone number should also be included on all pages as they are a great way of signalling the search engines. Most businesses generally put this information in the footer of their website. Webmasters should ensure that it is mentioned in a text form and not an image to allow detection by search engines. Text also offers better presentation for mobile users.
What to do when you have a single website but numerous locations? Simple: Just make a page on your website for each physical location. This way, anyone looking for the specific location will reach the specific page.
Want to add the map to your website? Just get an HTML embed code by entering an address on Google Maps. Click on the link icon to receive a code.
You can also press the “customize” link to pick sizing and other features for the map before you embed it on the website.
It not only helps the visitors find your location locally but also helps you expand your market locally.
It’s absolutely important that you tell Google where you are.
To do this, just create your website a geo sitemap and a KML file. Geo Sitemap Generator has made the job much easier for business owners.
All you need to do is fill in your company details. Then download the files and upload the same to your website’s root folder.
After that, visit the Google Webmaster Tools and add your website. Verify it with your Google Analytics code or other options depending on which one you find suitable Then, add your geo sitemap’s URL under Site Configuration and then to the Sitemaps.
Don’t wait for Google to find out your location, instead tell Google where you are for better local SEO.
As you get done with optimizing your website for local SEO, move on to off-site optimization. The first places you look at should be applicable local search directories.
Here’s a list of seven of the top local search directories:
You don’t want to settle for anything other than the best Google Places listing. But what does it mean? Generally, it could mean getting your local businesses to rank top on the first page, above the organic search results. Here is how to get started:
If you want to, you can also hide your address by choosing “Yes, this business serves customers at their locations.” This option is fantastic for businesses based out of homes that focus on local customers. On choosing the option given above, you will get a check box. Clicking on that will help you hide your address.
Once you are done with your profile, click on submit. Then verify your business with phone or through postcard by mail (delivered to business address). Phone option lets you verify immediately and postcard option takes around three weeks.
As your Google places profile goes live, promote reviews from your patrons and clients. Make sure you monitor them so they are balanced and not spammy. Reviews are a great way of seizing customers’ attention and winning them over with great customer service. You can also use a point based or credit based incentive system for authentic reviews to promote them.
Using the responses is a great opportunity of advertising how friendly you are. This would help you lure potential customers and grow your customer base. Furthermore, don’t stress if customers choose other sites to review your business on as most of them use google places to log/feed into.
Yahoo Local should be your next stop on local search directories. Adding and claiming a basic listing is available for free. Via the free option, you can mention all necessary information like
There is another option for enhanced listing that’s available for $9.95 that lets you add coupons, images along with a 3,000 character company description. You can also mention a 150 character tagline with the description. The enhanced listing package lets you run a report to evaluate click and impressions number you’ve received.
What’s great about Yahoo local is that verification is done at their end and only takes couple of days before you go live.
Bing Local lets business owners add or claim a free listing and add around nine photos for the business.
Right now, the submission system is in beta and hasn’t garnered points for being user-friendly. Compared to Google or Yahoo, it’s not really competition but it’s worth your time. Verification process is quite slow, done through mail, and takes around two to three weeks.
What’s great about Bing’s local pages is that it shows reviews from a multitude of other local search sites. Unlike Google, it shows the number of ratings and stars from all websites that are listed into Bing’s local search results.
Yelp is a famous local search directory. Adding and claiming business is easy and available for free and you can also add multiple details other than just contact information.
If you are into sophisticated customer service then you can make the most out of the review options by responding positively to them. Yelp also lets you advertise through pay-per-click options so you can expand your business visibility online better.
Need more tools and options? There is a great tool called Whitespark Local Citation Finder that lets you find best local directories for your business.
You can also start looking with the names of your main competitors to see which sites they are listed on so you can get listed on the same.
If a business has been there for quite some time, there is a strong chance that there is already a listing with the business’ address and phone number in place. Keeping that in mind, it is absolutely essential to claim the business. A lot of local directories don’t have any tools or methods to prove that whoever is editing the listing actually owns the business or belongs to it.
If you claim your listings on major and local directories, then you are actively keeping your business listed and alive on the directories. It will also help you prevent your business from getting modified or deleted.
Look at some proven tips for getting impressive social local search reviews.
Now, let’s talk about bad reviews or negative reviews. It doesn’t matter how great your business is, you might attract some negative reviews. But like I mentioned before, you can use Google Places and Yelp and other websites to respond to the negative reviews individually.
Be regular in your approach when monitoring your reviews and respond accordingly. Business owners shouldn’t ignore the reviews that are bad as they will stay there and influence more people. Answering them and trying to resolve them will help you garner better reputation among clients.
Furthermore, by dealing with bad reviews, you are really just showing your potential to make new customers happy. This is good for business.
With 2.2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a great platform to find your target audience. Take a look at some ways to ensure that Facebook users from your area come across your business:
After getting your local listings up and running, you should focus on building links to your website. Keep in mind that you don’t want to overdo anything as Google’s over-optimization penalty may prove to be hard for your website. But there are quite a lot of interesting ways to acquiring links.
Take a look at some local linking options:
Since we are almost done with the most local search marketing bases, let’s focus on local social marketing strategies.
For best local optimization results, always setup your Facebook page as a local business. If you don’t have a facebook page, create one as a local business. When creating the page, you will get numerous categories. Pick local business as a category and further pick information based on the number of fans.
If you already have a page, check its category by going to Admin panel then Manage and then edit page and then Basic information. In Basic information, you will be able to see the category and sub-category of your business.
After creating your page, furnish all of your local details including your local address, phone number and business hours. Mention your city with zip code if you don’t want to provide your exact address.
Keep the About Us section of your Facebook page in mind when creating the page. Mention all details like category, location, phone number and business hours.
You can make your website visible at the about us section by removing your phone number and business hours. Depending on what’s more important for your customers and leads, make the decision.
There is another way of mentioning all information without being forced to choose by adding a status update. Mention the link to your facebook page in the status update and pin it atop the page where it will show in the top left column.
Once you are done optimizing your local facebook page, you should look forward to a local audience. Here are the simplest ways to accomplish the mission:
One advantage of twitter profiles is that you don’t have to stress about proper categorizing of your profile for them to be local friendly.
All you need is minor editing in your Twitter profile. So, mention your location in your information and further add a local keyword in your bio on Twitter. Owing to the keyword, your profile will become easily searchable.
Twitter is growing large day by day and has already amassed 330 million active users as of January 2018. Moreover, twitter is really useful as it lets you interact with users without needing either party to follow each other. Here are some quick ways of ensuring that your business gets found on Twitter by users within your area:
As you already know, you can easily interact with anyone on Twitter by mentioning the @username in a status update. Here are some tips that you can use to grow your profile a broader local audience:
Once you find people worth following (based on their taste, content, region, etc), follow them and engage with them. Initiate interaction to get more local followers for your profile.
If you want your profile to show up in searches for professionals in your area, make sure that you mention the right basic location information. Then, further, use location in profile headline for better keyword optimization. Also, add location information in current and past job experiences listed for better results.
LinkedIn is the go-to network for most professionals. So, if you are targeting professionals, LinkedIn is your best bet. Here are some suggestions that will help you foster a local audience on LinkedIn:
LinkedIn encourages real life connections as opposed to the virtual connections that Twitter and Instagram promote. Here are the tips that you can use to enhance local real connections on linkedIn:
So, these were the simple tips to improve your local threshold on the market and social networks. Use these to enhance your local marketing strategy and start seeing results quickly.