Saturday, April 28, 2018

Local SEO - Best Practices | SEO Tips

Take Control of Your Local Rankings with 3 On-Site SEO Best Practices

Local search results got you low-key raging?

As a marketer, you get SEO. That’s the thing! That’s what’s got your foot tapping resentfully as you stare at a quick Google search for “best ice cream” in your area.

What you don’t get is why even though you made your client’s ice creamery an easily digestible website— with metaphorical whipped cream and a cherry on top— their good-for-nothing local rival, Suzie’s Creamery, is still TWO positions higher than your client’s on the search results.

Instead of pouting like a frozen fudgesicle with a stick up your butt (excuse this crudely accurate yet stone-cold illusion), it would be more helpful to reassess your greatest ranking asset— your website.

Your website— or is this case, your client’s site— is one thing you have full control over, and it should be your starting ground for making improvements to boost your local ranking.

Try these perfectly doable on-site SEO tips to increase your site’s position on local searches:

1. Keep Your “NAP” Consistent

This step seems simple, but it should not be taken lightly.

Your local rankings depend heavily on search engines understanding that you’re a local business. That means keeping your businesses name, address and phone number accurate across your website and social platforms, citation listings and anywhere you’re listed online.

Keep your NAP identical— word for word, including abbreviations and spelling— anywhere your business information is listed.

George Freitag’s article on Moz, Why Listing Accuracy is Important, tells us why Google likes consistency.

“If there’s enough sources out there saying something that’s contradictory to what you’re saying in your own Google My Business page, these places can actually override what you’re providing and Google will deem them more trustworthy than the information that you’re directly providing to them.”

Ensuring that your company’s NAP is listed correctly on your own website is a great place to start, but don’t forget to check that it matches across all platforms like social, Yelp, Google My Business, etc.

But remember, the SEO game always starts at home— with your own website.

2. Beef Up Your On-Site Location Page(s)

Create Dedicated “Locations” Pages or a Localized “Contact” Page

Do you have multiple locations? If so, do each of these locations have their own pages?

As a company with more than one location, it is worthwhile to consider building out individual location pages for each office or physical location of your business.

Now, this may sound like a lot of work. Why does each location need its own dedicated page? What the heck can I use to fill up a whole page of space, and wait a minute! Why put in all that effort when I could just list my addresses on my contact page?

Alright Twenty Questions master, hear us out!

Your location page is your gift to Google (and other online search engines).

Having an optimized page about where you operate puts you a point ahead in the local SEO game. It’s a special place that tells the “big papa” search engines, “HEY Google! I’m in Fort Myers, Florida talking about ice cream!”

Why? Because some of your competitors probably don’t have dedicated location pages. They’re making search engines dig deeper for location cues— and although Google is smart as hell, their algorithms, much like actual users, like it when don’t make them think so hard.

When someone types in “ice cream parlor,” Google’s wheeling are spinning— and no matter if you’re on desktop or mobile, the search engine is pulling local results based on your IP.

You’re giving Google a shortcut— telling the search engine to crawl no more, for you’re serving them a local “ice cream parlor” banana split on a silver platter.

We all know that search engines serve URLs that they find most relevant; and your page that’s about your niche in that specific area is relevant AF for local searches.

If you own a successful company with only one location, you can spruce up your contact page with all the same fun on-site SEO stuff.

Here’s what to keep in mind, either way:

Optimize Your Contact or Location Page(s) for Local Search

Regardless of if you’re a small neighborhood shop or a multi-office regional entity, you can show your website some local SEO lovin’ by:

  • Including “location” rooted words like “located, near, by, directions, office,” etc.
  • Linking to other close businesses in your niche (or businesses complimentary to your services)
  • Listing out a few sentences giving step-by-step directions to your business
  • Inserting a Google Maps iFrame of your address
  • Adding links to local attractions

Adding “Location” Rooted Words

These words are location-based or rooted words that signal you’re talking about something relevant to the specific area. Try using words on your page like “located near…” or “our Fort Myers’ office is by…”

Linking to Similar Businesses

We’re not saying to link to your biggest competitor here, but I’m sure Suzie’s Creamery wouldn’t mind a friendly shout-out. Maybe they’ll even link back to you too!
Adding hyperlinks to similar local businesses is just a signal to search engines that you’re relevant in your industry.

If you don’t want to shine light on the other ice cream shops in your area, maybe give a shout-out to your favorite slushie shop for those looking for a refreshing cup of Italian ice.

Linking to Local Attractions (when applicable)

Sometimes it’s nice to add a little flair about your area, and what makes this location special to you and your business. Give your audience ideas for things they could do around your company to make planning easier and give out-of-towners some insights into what’s hot in your city or town.

Giving Detailed Directions & Using Google Maps

This step is just as much for search engines as it is to help real prospects find your business.

Tell them the highway you’re off of and what road to turn onto to hit your shop. Point out the gas station that’s directly to the left of your store and that you’re only 15 minutes away from a super popular attraction that’s more commonly recognized in the area. And link to these businesses! It’ll show search engines your regional connection and improve your on-site SEO.

With Google being the largest search engine, using their Maps iFrame is kissing SEO ass in a good way. You’re telling the bots exactly how to find your business in their own tool. Plus, it’s a quick way for users to pull up directions on mobile.