LSEO’s Founder Kris Jones has been involved in the digital marketing and SEO industry since 2008. He is the best-selling author of SEO Visual Blueprint (which has sold over 100,000 copies) and is a sought after public speaker.
Over the years Kris has founded and served as CEO of multiple leading Internet marketing companies, including Pepperjam, which was a three-time Inc. Magazine fastest growing company and was later sold (2009) to eBay. In addition to LSEO.com, Kris is also the founder of local e-commerce company ReferLocal, mobile app development company APPEK Mobile Apps, and the popular mobile app called French Girls.
Not surprisingly, over the years Kris has had the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the top Internet marketers and SEO’s in the world, including experts like Bruce Clay (Bruce Clay Inc), Rank Fishkin (Moz), Matt McGowen (Google), Neil Patel (Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg), Wil Reynolds (SEER Interactive), Marcus Tober (Search Metrics), and Dennis Goedegebuure (Fanatics), among many others who have provided Kris and LSEO with exclusive, never before made publicly available (for FREE) insider information on Local SEO!
The reality is that local search engine optimization (LSEO) is a fast evolving industry with significant implications as recent statistics have been released by the United States government regarding the number of US operating business asthere are nearly 30 million small businesses in the US, which are interested in ranking high on search engines like Google and Bing. While leading SEO experts agree on many common LSEO ranking factors, such as properly verifying your Google My Business Page, maintaining consistent NAP information, and getting quality citations from local directories, there are many additional perspectives on both priority and importance of a wide range of LSEO strategies and tactics.
Keep in mind that search engine optimization is an ongoing process and requires you to follow best practices and test often. Before you begin reading through the following content keep in mind that search engines will continue to modify the methods used for ranking websites. What works today may not work tomorrow or next month for reasons outside of your immediate control. Remember – there is no silver bullet with SEO. SEO is a process that requires your ongoing commitment and investment of time and resources.
Without further adieu – the following represents exclusive content from 15 of the most respected SEO colleagues in response to the following question:
What are your top tips and strategies for Small Business Local SEO?
When it comes to small business local seo…
- Keyword research – know the handful of keywords that will best cover your products or services and make sure that they are in your descriptive text and available for submission.
- Research competitor local entries and be better – these are the sites you are trying to best, so visit their local entries and determine how you can be better in each part of the page. And pay attention to entries for your business created by competitors (you need that fixed right away).
- Complete your entries in a consistent manner – all sources seem to allow a different number of characters for each entry. There is not standard or consistency to the data elements from one service to the next. So, to perform well you should size all fields to the smallest. Do not stuff keywords after your company name as not all local indexes and directory sites allow that many characters for the name field. Be legal, precise, and submit the same content everywhere being sure to not stuff keywords at each opportunity.
- Make sure you provide all the data – pictures, hours of operation, local area code phone numbers, etc. as this is a definite tie-breaker. The local results look at how complete your site is, and they understand that missing data is not a good user experience. Be sure to not disqualify yourself by missing content.
- Submit uniform data to all listings – once you have all data elements and that you know the optimal size of each field, complete those elements and submit to all local indexes and directories. At this time there are over 340 of them, so be prepared. There are also automated submission services that can do it for you, commonly under $100 per site to long lists of local indexes.
- Claim your profiles – have your site listed in all social networking sites and maps (social profiles, Foursquare). There is every indication that Google+ profile pages will matter to the Google+ local results, previously Google Places. Likewise there will be new local services driven by social media in the future. We strongly recommend that you match your profile pages to the standard data submitted to the local directories above… different is bad in this case.
- Be found by Mobile users – when submitting your information be sure to include mobile sites and indexes. But not all queries show the local directory pages in the results. For some search queries local web pages will rank instead of a local results area, and for that to happen your website must be SEO optimized for the location. This is complex at times, but it should be done in general. As for mobile, your website should implement responsive design elements to reformat your site information just for the mobile platform the user has.
- Get some reviews – reviews supply trust and in essence are votes of confidence. Do not falsify entries or gather paid reviews. It is unlikely that you will have a perfect review history, so users trust ratings more if a few lower scores are in the mix. But submit your site for reviews, and encourage customers to comment (especially of they are repeat clients).
- Build a brand local searchers will recognize – brands generally make you first among equals, usually because nobody gets in trouble for buying a brand. So work to make your company name (or product) into a brand so trust will allow you to get more visitors.
- Local listing sites like Yelp rank higher on the search engines than most websites due to their authority. You already know that you should be on all of the local sites like Judy’s Book and Yelp, but you probably aren’t building links to your listing pages.By linking to them from your website and by building other links to these profiles, you’ll be able to have them shoot up in the SERPs.
- If your business has multiple locations consider creating a new web page for each location versus putting them all on one page. And don’t just place the name and address of each location on an individual page, but spend the time to build each page out. Add pictures, descriptions, testimonials and anything customized to that single location.This will help your web pages rank higher for localized terms. In addition to that you should notice that your conversion rates should also go up.
- You already know that link building is a great way to boost your rankings, but have you thought about localizing your link building efforts? Connect with all of the local business and the chamber of commerce in your city. Many of those sites will gladly link to any local business, which should not only help boost your rankings, but also help drive foot traffic to your company.You can also donate money to your local library, and in many cases they’ll gladly put a link to your business for supporting the library.
When it comes to small business local seo…
- Include local KW’s in Page title’s & on page content – Attaching a location with your brand, especially in the title tag of the page will help target your local audience and build a connection between your brand name and its destination. This allows the website to be found on Keyword combinations of the location and the brand or service the company performs. For example, if you would look at a local Tax-Accountant in San Francisco with [company name], these keywords would need to be added to the title tag of a page and you would build content on the page around the target keywords (Tax Accountant in San Francisco).
- Have local targeted content on your website – If you would like to rank on a specific local keyword combination, as a business owner you should imagine how your target audience would search for information using a search engine.What keyword combination do you think they will use?
Could you map these keywords to content on your site?
If not, can you create content around these topics, and fit it into the site structure?
- Get local links – Within SEO, a link to your website is still an important signal for the search engines to determine if your site is relevant. For local companies, it is more important to get links from the websites that focus on servicing readers from that particular location.
- Stimulating local (brand) queries – If a company were able to rank high on certain queries for its brand, it would benefit from an increase of such a query in the target area, where the searchers click on the company’s page in the search results. Increase in search traffic, and click through on the company website is a signal the website is relevant to searchers in the area. You could think about using specific taglines in local TV or Radio commercials where you would know your website is ranking on the first spot. Stimulating the query can be a powerful tactic when performed in a local setting, since the costs are limited to a certain area.
Publish pictures with Long-Lat data embedded into EXIF data – EXIF data stands for “Exchangeable Image File Format.” It is a standard specifying the format of the image, and other information on the image like camera used, focal length and aperture.
One often overlooked field of tags in the EXIF data are the Geo-location of where the image was taken. From the fact that you can search within Google based on Longitude – Latitude coordinates which will show you images on the location, local businesses can increase their relevance for such location by adding pictures, with the updated EXIF data which includes Long-Lat data, to their websites. I wrote a blog post on the possibility of Location data in EXIF data in images being a future ranking factor for image SEO.
Matt McGowan, Head of Advertising Strategy at Google and YouTube, Former Managing Director, Incisive Media (Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo / Search Engine Watch), @matt_mcgowan
When it comes to small business local seo…
- Claim your profile, specifically Google My Business (Formerly Google+ Local). That being said – Yahoo and Bing Local too.
- Ensure consistent NAP (name, address, phone) information across the web.
- Ask for, build, and disseminate between both structured and unstructured citations/reviews (its ok to have bad reviews, no company is perfect!)
- Ensure your website is optimized for mobile and that it includes your full mailing address and your local or toll-free phone number (if relevant) on every page.
When it comes to small business local seo…
- Citations from as many authoritative sources as possible.In Local Search, the term citation refers to a mention of your brand that is closely associated with a physical address or phone number. A listing on a traditional Internet Yellow Pages site is the most common type of citation, but citations can also be mentions in local newspaper articles, blogs, or “best of” lists–any piece of content that Google can associate with a location operated by your brand.In order to accrue citations, the core business data for each location must be accurate, complete, and widely distributed across the Local Search Ecosystem (in addition to being verified at Google+ Local, formerly called Google Places for Business). Pay particular attention to the word “accurate.” The use of local- extension tracking phone numbers in digital marketing campaigns diminishes Google’s trust in the accuracy of a location’s contact information, which can wreak havoc on your Local Search rankings if those numbers find their way into Google’s index.A second reason to manage your location data actively is that Google is not the dominant player in Local Search that it is in Organic Search. While Bing/Yahoo runs a distant second in market share, a wide range of third-tier players collectively make up quite a large percentage of the market. In particular, you want to make sure that your information is accurate and complete on the sites and apps relevant to your industry, such as UrbanSpoon for restaurants, Angie’s List for home improvement, TripAdvisor for hotels, etc. These sites drive a sizable chunk of prospective customers in each of these industries, in addition to serving as prominent citation sources for Google +Local.
- A unique, indexable, optimized page on your website for each location you operate.As the proportion of Blended search results increases, making sure Google can associate an individual page on your website with each location that you operate has become almost a prerequisite for Local rankings. Even the organic results since Google’s most recent update have become more heavily influenced by Local signals, meaning an optimized page for each location you serve–with the corresponding address and phone number in HTML–can give you a big boost in those results as well.
- A steady stream of customer reviews.While some of the social aspects of Google Plus don’t seem to impact rankings, such as number of +1’s or mentions of a business in Plus posts, reviews do. Simply put, the more reviews you have–and the more frequently customers leave those reviews–the better you are likely to rank. (Somewhat strangely, the ratings associated with those reviews do not seem to have the same kind of algorithmic impact.)And reviews are important far beyond Google Plus. Although third-party reviews have taken a dramatic backseat visually on Google Place/+Local pages since July 2011, most experts think Google still factors them into ranking.
When it comes to small business local seo…
- Claim and fill out your listing profiles comprehensively with data points and popular things you sell or services you provide, hours of operations, brands you carry and nearby points of interest. Better filled out listings that are consistent with data (name, address, phone number, hours of operation etc) will typically rank better.
- Get detailed reviews from people that review sites often or are power users of a site like Yelp elites. Place yelp and other stickers on your place of business as well as on any frequency/loyalty cards you may offer.
- Put your phone number on every page of your web site prominently.
- Create deals and coupons and distribute through sites such as retailmenot and yelp, which will drive more traffic to your store.
- Think carefully about your categories and use categories strategically. You can be in the vegan and vegetarian section by adapting your menu or creating an additional menu or section of the menu. You should be in more than one category.
- Ensure you have citations of your web site around the web from complimentary businesses, which will raise the profile of your business in the eyes of the search engines.
When it comes to small business local seo…
- Use Authorship Markup – It’s not just for publishers!Use Authorship Markup and Publisher Markup on your Website and blog. To do this, create a Google+ page for your business and don’t be afraid to fill out all the profile details. Tell your company’s story. Fill out every detail for customers to find you and contact you. Phone numbers, email addresses, links back to your Website, and any other social media outlets you have. Once the link from Google+ to your website exists, link back to your Google+ profile page using Authorship markup using rel=”author” and rel=”publisher” attributes on your website.The link should resemble the following:Google+ Text and/or LogoThis creates a link between you and Google, verifying your business with them. Google has outwardly stated that website pages belonging to verified authors will be ranked better in search engines.
- Claim and optimize your Google My Business ListingJust because your Google Business Page is verified doesn’t mean you’re done. Look in Google+ Local to see if your business in on the virtual map. If it is, click the “Manage this Page” button under “Is This Your Business?” If it isn’t, get it listed! If you have more than one location, you’re allowed and encouraged to create a page for each location. Verify each page by having Google send you a PIN number via postal mail to your business location. Once you receive the PIN number in the mail, enter it on your Google+ Local page and you’re verified!While Authorship Markup verifies your website, Google+ Local feeds Google Maps, Android Navigation and countless other third-party apps that rely on Google’s mapping technologies. Mobile is no longer a trend, it is an integrated way of life for many people. If you’re not on Google, the odds of being found on mobile searches are much less.
- Don’t Forget About Bing!Bing and Facebook have a unique partnership, sharing vast amounts of data. Bing powers Facebook’s Graph Search and all maps within Facebook. Claiming your location on Bing Local is just as important as with Google. To do it, go to bing.com/businessportal. You will need a Microsoft Account. If you have an old Hotmail account, that will suffice.You want your business found. The more information you give, the more your customers and would-be customers will appreciate it. Don’t leave out information like parking availability, hours of operation, payment methods you accept and even photos of your establishment. If your location is hard to find, make sure you include a picture of the front of the building, taken from the road so people using navigation apps might recognize it easier.Similar to Google, when you’re done completing your information, make sure you use the Verification tab to have Bing send you a postcard with a PIN number. When you get that PIN number via postal mail to your business address, enter it in the Business Portal and your business will be verified with Bing.
- Use structured data markup on your Website.Structured data are simple, (mostly) standardized data formats for organizing and better describing the content on your site’s pages. Authorship Markup is one form of structured data. Just like how Authorship Markup helps identify an Author, every local business has attributes that help identify and categorize it. These properties include a location (address), a phone number, hours of operation and so on. By using structured data markup on your page, you’re identifying these attributes in a semantic manner search engines and local apps and Web services can understand.Structured data exist for products, too. These include descriptions, sizes, shipping weights and even whether the product is in-stock. Combined with local business structured data, local searchers looking for products specifically near them have a better chance of finding you through your associated products.You can find more information at schema.org, a joint partnership between Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com. Many content management systems have plug-ins available to make the task of adding these tags easier for you.
- Spend the money and buy a good domain – you’ll never regret it later. Go for your prime keywords .com and try to buy the best name you can find in the
aftermarket. MiamiFishing.com wasn’t cheap, but worth every penny long term. Go out and write some emails, and make a few offers, you might get a great domain for two or three thousand dollars instead of just a good one for $12. It’s almost always an investment worth making.
- Get a local phone number, and be consistent with it when you register for local directory citations. Make sure your local Name, address, and phone number (NAP) is consistent on all sites you register for.
- Use Getlisted.org or Yext.com to manage your listings. It will make your life easier. Remember, consistency in your listings is key
- Incentivize and solicit citations. You can incentivize with content, trades, widgets, or other value propositions or linkable assets. Make sure you’re working to grow your local citations, and try to get some links from other local businesses, local chamber of commerce, and any other spots you can call in a favor.
- Incentivize and solicit reviews.Your reviews are the lifeblood of your local business. Make sure your customers know how much they help you, and don’t be afraid to ask them to
help. The volume and quality of your reviews are a big piece of local ranking and generating new business. Don’t slack. Reward your best customers, and be sure to go the extra mile, or thank the customers who help you with reviews. For our fishing business, we trade photos of the customer’s catch for writing a review. It takes a little extra time and effort, but rewards their extra effort.
- Stop doing SEO. Stop hiring SEO firms. Got your attention? The point of this tip is to point out that you need to take control of your own copywriting, your own reputation, and your own ability to engage with real world customer responses online. At $500 or $1,000 a month, a traditional “rank-focused” SEO shop, or a “large scale local” SEO firm, can no longer do all that is required for you. The competition for “prime keyword real estate” is so great, you aren’t going to win it with a few old parlor tricks. What counts is doing *real* marketing and *real* reputation building. Unfortunately, if you agree to pay that kind of firm $2,500 a month or even more in the hopes they’ll work harder for you, they may add a longer to-do list (what Jill Whalen calls ‘boondoggles’), but they might not make you more visible online. And the reputation won’t be created directly by you, so it won’t feel real. Stand up and be counted, or lose sales to a competitor who is more willing to do so.
- Appoint someone in your company to learn about how to be a “community manager.” Your reputation depends on communications. You can’t cover every social venue from Facebook to Pinterest to whatever new flavor comes out next, but consider that customer care and “having a face and a voice” typically happen in a few major places online. Cover these, and you will be OK. Twitter is very common, for example. But if you’re small, who’s going to follow you on Twitter? Well, they will follow you if you integrate this strategy with the other four tips I provide here. Last time I checked, Jose Bautista and Mark Cuban were incredibly busy guys facing significant downside for any slip-ups they might make in social media, but they still bothered to figure it out and show leadership. They know that being more “known” is the best inoculation against any hiccups that might come along. They have reputations for showing their faces, not hiding. That can go a long way. The community manager can be a loyal staffer, or the business owner. It probably can’t be someone brand new with limited experience. Looking to cherry-pick some tips on what kinds of things Community Managers do today? Check out Marty Weintraub and Lauren Litwinka, The Complete Social Media Community Manager’s Guide. You don’t have to do all of it. Study the key principles. If you’re really not comfortable living life as a “digital native,” you could read Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation. You might not like the finger-wagging tone, but the tips are real – and the finger deserves to be wagged. A better book, still not outdated, is The Cluetrain Manifesto. “Markets are conversations.” Has there ever been a more powerful statement for how & why online tools for consumer/customer engagement must be addressed by companies?
- Create and nurture ‘rich profiles’ on Google+ Local, Yelp, HomeStars, TripAdvisor, or whatever rich “user generated” and “local listings” sites seem most applicable to your industry. Work with those websites to figure out the best advertising options (or free value- adds where you can show your face and be a credible authority). Don’t skimp on time, care, or funds in this area. This is where the users are going — even more so very soon as these venues grab attention with convenient apps that help consumers look for high-reputation businesses that are close by.
- Create your own content, ideas, and “social objects” for sharing. If mortgage brokers, sellers of quality paper stock, and mattress store owners can come up with interesting things to say on their email newsletters and blogs, then you can probably come up with something to say about your industry. Even if it’s a few tips about common scams in roof repair, why & how you reduce the sodium in your Thai menu, or the importance of pesticide-free lawn maintenance… I know you can do it. If you participate in local events, or even if you are just having a sale and your most photogenic staffers are thrilled about it… get those shots posted up there along with the content. Is your work visual (photographer, landscape architect)? It’s not enough to occasionally post a new photo on a static page on a static website. A regular publishing format is a must – forget the fancy content management system or the IT guy who updates your site once a quarter. Be able to publish new posts using something like a WordPress site/blog, or look into portfolio presentation software like 4ormat… and then share the posts & visual objects on Twitter at the very least, and Google+, Facebook, and Pinterest (etc.) according to taste & time. You must leave a trail in order to be found. A trail that includes key visuals makes you more real. It can also generate genuine customer excitement, aka passion.
According to high-placed Googlers, “Google+ is Google.” That means you should open a company Google+ account, figure out how to get people +1’ing your content, figure out how to identify yourself as an individual author (rel=author) and tying your content to that account. Authorship, identity, context, etc. — these are going to be the ways that you rank in the “new” Google as opposed to the old. You don’t have to live in Google’s social network, but you do need to understand that this can be an advantage for you and is worth your time. Facebook has peaked. Google is still throwing everything it can at a whole range of tools all flowing together and towards your Google+ account. It will require effort to leave the right breadcrumbs, link disparate parts of you and your business together so blog posts show up with your avatar and get noticed when a few people in your circles “+1” them. In the early days, we grumbled about the whole business because we weren’t sure it was worth the effort. It will be, because Google is bent on rewarding real engagement, original content, trusted companies, etc. They are completely uninterested in rewarding firms that can come up with $1,000 a month to hire an SEO firm to go around the web asking for and buying links with fudged anchor text.
You may feel the need to outsource all of this, but ideally you’d get a firm to coach you through most of it and only implement the parts you cannot handle yourself. This is not a cookie-cutter service; it’s real world marketing and PR as well as long-term project management, or what the corporates call “kicking dead whales down the beach.” Depending on scope, it can be a big-ticket item, but it provides far more value than the fakery of traditional SEO firms. Personal opinion.
Here are some Search Engine Optimization Tips for small businesses…
As a SEO consultant and former Google employee in the Search Quality team, I am always encouraging my clients to look at the basics first when it comes to SEO. Because it is in the basics where most mistakes are made and where there is the most to gain. This also applies to Local SEO for small businesses where time and money ARE often limited resources and hiring consultants is often too expensive.
So going back to the basics, what does that mean?
- Make sure you have registered your website with Google Webmaster Tools, submit a sitemap, set your preferred domain and geographic area (if possible) and resolved any problems highlighted in the HTML Improvements and the Crawl Errors sections.
- Use Schema.org to add additional structured data to your website about your address, location and hours of operation. If you use WordPress, I recommend you have a look at the Local SEO Plugin from Yoast as this may make this process a lot easier for you. Afterwards, be sure to test your structured data using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to find and resolve any errors.
- Claim your local listing on Google+ Local (5) and make sure to complete your listing until it’s at 100%. This includes adding images, videos and more. Repeat this process with other local listing services like Yelp, Facebook, etc. Note: When completing your listings, do not use any keywords or location names in your business title or business description that are not a crucial part of your official business name. You want to avoid looking like a spammer.
- If you have happy clients you should do everything to have them share positive reviews on Google. The more positive reviews you have the better. Just keep in mind not to take the easy way: e.g. don’t spam or buy reviews. Instead think of ways of putting your Google+ Local profile in front of your customer, for example by showing it on your front door, sending it out in newsletters, including it in your email footer, etc. Just keep in mind that you should not directly solicit reviews, just make it easy and to encourage your customers to leave great reviews.
- Last but not least, always be linking from your local community. Also important here is not to take the easy way and “buy links” as this may be detected by search engines and may result in significant loss in rankings. Instead do local networking. For example, if you sponsor a local soccer club or other local event, be sure to ask for a link on their website. If you help people in a local community forum try to encourage people to visit your store and your website and to leave you feedback via email or your Google+ Local profile. Try to find out where your customers may hang out online and be there too. Don’t spam them, but provide great online support, solve their problems and they will be happy to leave you positive reviews and links to your website.
Here are some tools Fili recommends you bookmark:
2) http://schema.org/docs/full.html (search for ‘LocalBusiness’ to view your options)
When ranking your small business for local search….
- Don’t forget about optimizing your onsite content for the areas you service! Many search results pages for terms like “
checking account” include at least one “regular” organic listing above the local pack – get those in your belly!!!
- So many people are focused in on the various listing services – which are certainly a core requirement of any local business online strategy – but you have to make sure
that everything is right. Some companies offer the ability to update various central feeds that are and will probably continue to be relevant (Axiom for example).
- Spend time asking for links and other brand mentions from the people you sponsor locally, such as schools, hospitals, banks, etc. These provide a ton of value to the domain as a whole, for geographic relevancy.
- Make sure you have your physical location, Google maps, phone number and other location- related attributes on the site to help Google understand your location.
- Check your backlinks and make sure that you have a good number of backlinks from either your related location and/or country – i.e. not from other countries.
- Again check if backlinks to your site have location names like city or country in them to help Google understand further where you’re located.
Do not overdo any directory submissions, but being listed in a local merchant directory or having a link from your city-homepage will really help.
- Target the right keywords – Most local businesses don’t target the right keywords. Mostly these business target keywords that are too broad (short-head), which are very competitive. Make sure that keywords that are relevant for your business and address are covered. Also include typical synonyms that people use in your area. That could also be non- official area names, e.g. Flatiron district in Manhattan, New York. Generally describe very well where you are located and what your business is.
- Have proper Onpage optimization – Local businesses have mostly non-optimized pages. Framesets, many images instead of text content and too little content. The competition for local SEO is mostly low. That’s why one of the keys is very good text/content with clear and keyword rich descriptions of the business. Optimal local SEO includes good internal linking structure with details about the products etc on subpages. And don’t make the major mistake. Never have a single Welcome page with few links or just one. From the homepage you should link to the products and the homepage should welcome the user and have the description about the business (use the right keywords) directly on the homepage.
- Use schema.org for markup of Place, Business and Address – Google Local is the key for local businesses. Local related queries get a lot of space above the fold. Optimize your site by using Schema.org markups to let search engines “understand” your address and your business. Schema.org: http://schema.org/LocalBusiness, http://schema.org/Restaurant, etc.
- Reviews and Ratings – Use reviews and ratings on Yelp and Google+ to increase your popularity. The number of reviews and good ratings help businesses rank better for local related queries in Google. Also businesses with better ratings and more information than competitors get more clicks (higher CTR). Engage your users to write good reviews on Yelp, Zagat, Google+ etc.
Matt Bailey, President, SiteLogic, @sitelogic, @mattbaileysays
Some tips for small business owners on local seo…
Look at your analytics and find out your smartphone demand. You may have to create a specific mobile site for customers who are mainly looking for you as they are out and about, and not in front of a computer.
- Create a site for mobile – test it. Only last week I worked with a major hotel brand and showed them that their mobile site did not work on an iPhone4S, but it did on a 5. As such, I could not contact them from the airport to arrange my shuttle on my iPhone4S. Make sure your developers are testing in ALL major OS and mobile operating versions.
- HTML phone and address on the site – in a clear and visible placement for people to click and call, or click for directions. Use microformats like hcard, hcalendar and hreviews to enable your content to be understood and re-published in search engines and other platforms.
- Simple Sales Tracking – Who is responsible for handling leads? How are they tracked? Who updates the site? How frequently? Are you tracking calls from the website by using a different phone number for mobile than the website? Who manages the Google/Bing/Yahoo/Yelp/Foursquare business pages and offers? Does everyone in the organization know about the offers?
Too many times there is no clear workflow in dealing with Local SEO business or leads. Someone must not only know, but also track measure and know the flow of information and
responsibility. Leads can’t sit in your email or on your Voicemail and never be picked up! No amount of SEO will replace simple sales follow-up.
Eric Enge, CEO at Stone Temple Consulting Corporation, Co- Author of “The Art of SEO 2nd Edition” (O’Reilly, 2012) @stonetemple
- Claim your listings for each of your locations in Google Places. This allows Google to put each location through a verification process, which increases their confidence in the data you provide them. In addition, take the time to fill out the information Google asks for. Make sure the information is accurate and complete.
- Make sure your data is correct across all the local information providers. These include Google Places, InfoUSA, Acxiom, yellow page sites like SuperPages.com, YellowPages.com, and much more. There are at least 50 important online sites where you want to have your data consistently listed, and the sites you need to work with do change over time. No single publisher should try to stay on top of this on their own, as it is a massive undertaking. However, it is a critical one. One client of ours with about 1,000 locations just had an audit done to see of their locations had the right data in all the various online sites. 95% of their phone numbers were inconsistently listed. The reason this is important is that Google does not want to provide high prominence in the search results to locations for which it finds inconsistent data. It knows that inconsistent data increases their chances of sending a user to the wrong place, or have them calling the wrong phone number. This adds up to unhappy users.Put simply: Consistent data drives higher search engine trust, which causes the search engine to rank you higher.”
Want more information on how to rank higher on Google?
So when push comes to shove improving your search ranking in local results comes down to optimizing specific local SEO ranking factors. Here you’ll find detailed information on local search engine optimization ranking factors, including:
Start here with an Introduction to Local Search Engine Optimization.
Local SEO Education:
At LSEO we take great pride in helping you execute your local SEO strategy – if we can help, contact us. If not we still want to help you.
Local SEO is a process that includes a series of steps. We conceptualize each step as a “Ranking Factor, which Google used to determine whether to rank your business over the competition. Optimize each ranking factor and you’ll be in the drivers seat. Click any of the links below to learn more about Local SEO.
Ranking Factor #1 – Google Business Listing Optimization (formerly Google Places and Google+ Business)
Ranking Factor #2 – Business Reviews (Quantity, Velocity, Sentiment)
Ranking Factor #3 – Local Link Building (Quantity and Quality)
Ranking Factor #4 –Content (Quality, Quantity, Resource Laden)
Ranking Factor #5 – Local Citation Management (Consistency of NAP Information)
Ranking Factor #6 –Social Media Signals (Size of Audience; Quality of Engagement)
Ranking Factor #7 – Avoid Negative Ranking Factors
Ranking Factor Bonus – Small Business Local SEO Tips from 15 Top SEO Experts, including Bruce Clay, Neil Patel, David Mihm, Matt McGowan, Chris Boggs, Christoph Cemper, Marcus Tober, Matt Bailey, Andrew Goodman, Eric Enge, Thom Craver, Todd Malicoat, Fili Wiese, and Chris Boggs.