Basic Local SEO – 4 Steps to Start Your Local Business Online

Basic Local SEO – 4 Steps to Start Your Local Business Online

Smartphones and Internet have seeped into our lives completely. Modern people stay connected to the worldwide web 24 hours a day. Residents of the metropolitan areas more and more address the Internet to sort out their local issues. Things like purchasing, booking, delivery, and other services become easier every day. At the same time, however, competition between local businesses also rises. This article will tell you how to get your place on Google Local SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) in 4 steps.

Local SERP Example

Do not fall behind

If a search engine does not know in what city or district you provide your services, it will not rank your site in top 10 on the local search query, so your potential client will probably not find you.Google My business

Users and search systems can find out more about a local business with the help of Google My Business. While creating an account, companies are able to:

  • post company info, news, and announcements (special offers and discounts for clients) on Google+;
  • answer their clients instantly, using Google Hangouts;
  • follow and correspond to the reviews on their profiles

The most important thing you need to know is the verified information about your company means that it will help your brand to get on the first page of the extended search results. Alternatively, users will be able to find your company right on Google maps and build the route in a matter of seconds.

Add a company in Google My Business

  • Fill out all fields on the Google My Business page. Indicate the category your company belongs to.
  • Check the “I am authorized to manage the business and I agree to the Terms of Service” box.
  • In order to verify the information, Google will send you a confirmation code on the mail you indicated.

Fill out the company page on Google+Google Plus

  • Add company description with links to the company’s website.
  • Add as many as possible company photos (front of the building, interior of one of the offices, employees).
  • Enter phone number (business phone is a must, contact phone is optional) including area code.
  • Enter company address. Make sure the address is the same as on the company’s website and other sites. Google does not trust companies which provide inaccurate or false information. This can affect the site’s ranking.
  • Upload your profile photo. The resolution should be 720 x 720 pixels minimum.
  • Include company’s working time.
  • Ask your regular clients to leave reviews.

Build backlinks

Let the local leaders of thought know about you. Leave mentions about your business and they will attract clients from the right area to your site like a magnet. For this purpose, links from local directories, sites, and forums will do the trick.

Remember, link building has the same level of influence not only for traditional SEO, but for local SEO as well. 

Post information about the company in the local directories, sites, and forums. Leaving backlinks without anchor texts (plain URL or words, like here, on the site, etc.) is more preferable.

Select services you have personally tried. Keep in mind simple rules of choosing the right directory:

  • The directory has a category that matches your business;
  • The directory for sure targeted on your Local Area;
  • The directory is trustful according to the search engines (i.e. users visit it, popular sites link to it, etc.);

When building a link to your company’s website on the local directories, place a priority on those which allow for displaying your physical address, not just a link and a name. We recommend using all possibilities available during registration and building your profile on business listings and directories.

Review's Are Important

According to the statistics, 88% of buyers trust online reviews of a local company more than advice from their acquaintances. As stated in the same research, the majority of people read on average 6 reviews about a company, before making a purchase from it. For another thing, reviews influence site’s ranking position in the local search results.

Ask your clients to leave feedback

Google allows for this, but you cannot offer clients discounts or money for this. At least, do not mention this in the post on a Google+ page. And try to always reply to every review.
Positive reviews work in favour of local sites, when it comes to their ranking. However, try to avoid a too rapid reviews overflow since Google might find this suspicious. Also, it is important that reviews come from the accounts that are active.

Track new reviews and citations

With the help of Google Alerts, you can add name and time of an alert. Alert notifications will appear on your gmail.

Optimize Your Landing Pages

After you followed the steps above, it is time to return to the site’s optimization. Only if you did not do it before can you proceed to optimization. For to get into the extended search results by pinning your location on the map, you need to get to the top 3-5 privileged companies. The on-page optimization of your site is the most important side to your future business.

  1. Optimize one page (or several pages sorted by regions) of your website for local SEO
    • Include keywords with regional names into semantic core, choose the most relevant query and insert it in the Title of a landing page. Include the keyword into Description, where you can also add name, address, and phone number, if it is relevant and looks natural (remember, you create Descriptions first and foremost for people, so they ought to be easy to read).
    • Use the keyword in the H1 Header and page’s URL.
    • Use the regional keywords on the page, but within reason. Add your name, address, phone number in the site’s Footer and in the page’s Body, if needed.
  2. Use Shema.org semantic markup.
    • Shema.org hides its markup code from users, although it is extremely essential for search engines. With its help, you let search engines identify a certain part of a text, like name, address, and business phone.
    • Here you can find a very detailed and comprehensible information about microformats.
  3. Optimize images
    • Post photos of your business (office, canteen, cafe) on the website and definitely use regional keywords (e.g. «hairdresser in Toronto») in image name, Title, and Alt text.
    • Compress your images to increase site load speed.
  4. Check if the site is mobile optimized.

Keep working on your site

Following all of the things described above guarantees that your web resource will be ready to get into Google's local search pages. However, these actions do not necessarily mean that you will get to the top of Google search or a pin on a map widget. Therefore, if you are serious about conquering the first positions, you definitely should not stop there. Continue to develop your web resource. Improve the content of old landing pages and create the more relevant content on your site. Keep track of your competitors’ achievements and make the same, but much better ones. 
In the next series of articles, we will talk about other more advanced techniques to advertise your local business online.
Have any ideas or comments? Did we forgot to mention anything important? Need help with your SEO tasks? Contact us and our team will get back to you ASAP.