Local SEO is key to getting your business listed in the Google Maps sections of the search results. This has several different names that people like to describe it as, but if you take a look at the image below you can see what we are talking about here. Some common names of the local listings include:
- Google Business Places
- Google Maps
- Google+ Local
- Google+ Business
These listings are prime real estate and can help to drive local customers to your website or physical business location when you are ranking on top.
1. On-page Optimization
There are six things you will want to make sure you include on your website to help you rank higher in these local results. (If you would like a complete on-page optimization guide make sure you check out our definitive on-page optimization guide)
Location in your URL: If you have multiple locations you will want to create a landing page for each one, making sure to include the city and state in the URL extension.
Optimized images with the city and state: You should be using images on your landing page, so there is no reason to ignore alt-image tags. Use your location in the alt-image tags to help the search engines identify your location.
Use your location in the site copy: Make mention of your location within the content of the page. There is no need to write spammy copy, just simply make mention of your location a couple of times. This will help the search engines classify your location accordingly.
Title tag containing the location: Make sure to include your location in the title tag. This can really give your local listing a boost, and further proof that solid on-page optimization alone can really propel your local listings to the top of the map results.
Location in the meta description: Google doesn’t use the meta description data in their search algorithm, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Including your location within the meta description can improve your click through rate in the local results, so be sure to include it.
Location in the headings: You should always include you location (city and state) in your H1 or H2 headings. Think of your headings as information you want the search engines to pay attention to. This helps them to identify the page with your particular location.
A business citation is often referred to as a NAP, or the Name, Address, and Phone Number. The search engines gather this information to make sure listings are correct and they are displaying the most accurate information to their audience. If a business has multiple NAP variations it will have a negative impact on the search rankings. It is important to show precise accuracy when creating citations across the internet.
There are several companies offering to create citations in bundles of 100, 250, and more, but we would advise against that and only focusing on creating high quality NAP listings on reputable local business directories instead of just spamming your NAP all over the internet. All of the citations we build for our local SEO service are done by hand and we only creating citations on business directories relevant to the client’s business.
The number one thing to focus on when creating your NAP listings is to maintain the exact same formatting that you use on your website. For example, let’s assume your address is:
123 Example Street
You would want to use that exact formatting every single time you create a citation. Some examples of variations include:
123 Example St
123 Example Street
123 Example Street
Using a variation will create multiple variations of your listings and will have a negative impact on your local search results. Consistency is key here, so take the time to make sure you are using the same formatting. There are several online tools that will pull up all of your citations and allow you to audit them and submit changes. Take the time to d this correctly, as it will benefit your local SEO.
3. Local Reviews
Reviews are a big part of local SEO so it is important that you do everything possible to help earn as many positive reviews as possible. Many local businesses wonder how they can get their customers to leave reviews, and you just have to simply ask them!
Now, this isn’t suggesting that you ask them to leave positive reviews or give them incentive to leave reviews, but simply telling them that you would love to hear their feedback is a perfectly fine approach to use.
With so many different review websites out there you want to make it as simple as possible for your customers to leave reviews. To do this, create a dedicated page on your website with detailed instructions showing how to leave reviews on sites such as Google+ Business, Yelp, etc. Use a simple URL such as YourWebsites.com/reviews that you can easily point your customers to.
We have several local SEO clients that use a “thank you” card that they include in every bag or package shipped. On this care it points them to the page of their website that contains the review procedure instructions and simply states that they would love to receive their feedback.
Dominating the local search results can really help your business grow, so make sure that your local SEO strategy include these simple three pieces.
Read more: Local SEO Can Deliver Business Results