Are you aware that 50% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day? The numbers on other devices are almost as good. 34% of consumers who searched on a computer or tablet visited a store within a day. If you have been ignoring local SEO for your business, now is the time to wake up. Users are not only searching for local products and services, they are taking action on what they find.
SEO is about so much more that just links and content. It’s about attracting and engaging with users who want and need what you provide. If you are serious about growing your local reach, having a dedicated local SEO strategy is extremely important. In this post, I want to share 3 things you need to do to grow your presence in local search.
Claim and Monitor Citations
A citation is an online reference to your business’ name, address and phone number (NAP). They also usually have a link back to your website. Citations are found on sites like Google Maps, Yelp, Angie’s List and so on. When it comes to local SEO, citations play a huge role. Along with reviews and links, Google uses your citations as a ranking factor for local results.
Step one is claiming your citations. There are a few ways to go about this. The hard way is going to each member site, signing up for an account and then claiming your business. Do this a couple hundred times and then you are done. Now, as you can see this process can be very daunting. Thankfully there are tools you can use to speed up this process. Sites like WhiteSpark will help you find citations and clean them up, Moz Local is a tool that helps you claim and clean up your listings, but our favorite is Yext.
Yext not only helps you claim your business, it helps you monitor your business citations as well. Duplicate listings are one of the biggest hassles for local businesses and Yext helps you take care of that with a click of a button. To see how your site is listed, get a free scan with our Yext tool here.
Claiming and maintaining your citations is about more than just pleasing the search engines, it also impacts the user. When someone is searching locally for you online, they may land on your citation first. If you have the wrong information on that listing, you may lose them altogether. Making sure your information is correct across all accounts and channels will help your users find you and connect with you faster!
Think Mobile First
Mobile is the primary driver of search today. This is one of the reasons Goole split their index and made Mobile the primary index. According to official Google statements, more than 50 percent of search queries globally now come from mobile devices. But we don’t know whether the number is 51 percent or 60 percent, or if it varies significantly by country. (Search Engine Land) What we do know is that mobile must be a focus for local businesses.
It starts with your site. If your site is not mobile-friendly, your users will likely bounce and find somewhere else. The best way to fix this issue is with responsive design. This allows your site to adapt to your user’s screen making it easier for them interact with your content. To check if your site is mobile-friendly, use Google’s free tool here.
If you are blogging for your local business, accelerated mobile pages (AMP) are where search is headed next. AMP is all about speed. We know users want their content and they want it right now. The push for AMP is to make the mobile web as fast as can be. Having AMP versions on your blog will help show Google you care about your users and could even result in higher mobile rankings.
Local Links and Partnerships
You can’t talk about SEO without talking about links. Links are and will continue to be the main ranking factor. But as I have said many times before, it’s not the amount of links that matter, it’s the quality. Link building can be very tedious and ambiguous to many site owners. Where do I get links? How do I know if a site is good? How do I get a link? These are simple, yet very complex questions I get all the time. When it comes to local SEO, there are a few tips that work great.
For local businesses, you want links in your neighborhood. This means you want links from businesses around you. Joining local business groups, nonprofits, and sponsoring events is a great way to generate links and build business connections. If you are not sure where to start, check out ZipSprout. ZipSprout works with businesses to find marketing opportunities with local nonprofits, events, and associations.
These connections will not only help your digital marketing but your reputation as well. By becoming more involved in the community your business will be seen as a part of the community. This builds connections with other business leaders and the public which can result in more business for you!
Local SEO is powerful for local business for many reasons, but the 3 I outlined in this post are enough to get any business owner’s attention. If you own a local company, take control of your listings and citations, make sure your site is mobile-friendly and use partnerships to help your digital marketing and reputation. If you have any questions on the process or any of the tools I shared in this post, please reach out and connect. Since 2009, I’ve been working with local companies helping them improve their presence in local search and would love to help you as well.