“Local SEO is focused on optimizing a business’ online presence so that its web pages and search engine business listings will be displayed by search engines when local users enter searches for any information related to what a business provides as a product or service.”

How to get found on Google with local SEO

If you’re just getting started with SEO, and want to learn the premise of it all and why it’s important I recommend you go check out our recent post What is SEO.

 

Here’s what we’ll be discussing and going over in this post:

  1. How people find local businesses online
  2. Local Google business listings
  3. How to make sure your business is getting found on Google business listings
  4. Optimizing your website and business info for local searches

How people find local businesses online

If you’re a local company or have a local business presence it’s important to realize that many people are searching for products and services like yours and are using search engines to find them.

 

Let’s first acknowledge that search engines are VERY good at giving users what they want right when they want it.  For instance, if someone had a medical emergency and was in a new town visiting without any reference to any doctors or medical places around town, they would most likely pull out their phone or other smart device to search for a nearby medical location.

 

And in a matter of seconds (if they’re using Google) a list of multiple places that are closest to what they are searching for and nearest to them based on their location, are right there at their fingertips for them to choose from that they can then click on to provide directions to the one they see is the most suitable for their needs.

 

Local results show lots of different information about the different business listings in the area of the searcher.  It shows reviews, hours, contact information, directions, questions and answers and more.  So, if you have a local business the bottom line is you need to have a local listing in the search engines. Otherwise, you won’t be able to take advantage of the potential clients that would come to you for your products and services that would be coming from the free tools that google provides you to display information about your business for free to its users.

 

So how do we make sure that your local business shows up when people are searching for products or services like yours?

 

The first thing that you want to do is ensure that you have a local business listing with Google.  The first step to doing this is heading over to Google.com/business to go through the process of setting up and verifying the business listing as soon as you can which we’ll go over more here shortly.

 

About 80% of users use Google over other search engines but you should also make sure that you have these taken care of on other search listings as well.

 

The next thing we want to make sure you understand is the concept of a citation.  The more citations any business has from any quality sources such as yelp (or other review sites that aggregate information about businesses) the more your business establishes credibility with each search engine. And what it does is tells the search engines that your business is a business that searchers are looking for. This also adds to a business’s ability to rank on Google search results and establish the business as an authority in a certain location and about specific types of information.  Every mention of your business’s name, address and phone number is considered a citation.

 

Another big factor that google takes into account is your website. This should be one of your biggest variables that you weigh in your online marketing strategy. This is essentially what you’re telling Google is the hub of your business online.  This is also where online users will visit when looking for more information about your business and what your business has to offer.  You want to make sure that you have very structured and separate pages for every product or service and category of product or service that your business has to offer.

 

It’s also important that you have keywords that are relevant to your products and services within each page of your website surrounding whichever products or services that are on each page.  You’re also going to want to add something called schema by making sure that you’ve added the necessary markup to your website pages. You can find out more about local markup here.

How to make sure that your business is being found online

Google My Business is where businesses can place themselves online to display information about them and what they do.  When you first start, you’ll have an opportunity to add all kinds of different information about your business.  This is also where people will leave reviews for your business.  As an admin of the google my business listing you also be able to view stats about your visitors and how they found your business.

 

But this will only occur if people are able to find your website or business online in search results.  You’ll be able to see exactly what terms people have searched for to find your business which will give you insight as to how people are searching and what situations they are in when searching for businesses like yours.

 

The three major variables that Google uses to display your website and business are:

  1. Proximity
  2. Relevance
  3. Prominence

 

Proximity – Local searches are bound to a specific geographic location and google uses the information that it has about its users and the devices being used to refine and better help searchers locate the nearest locations and services related to what they are searching for.

 

Relevance – Google uses the search query (what someone typed into Google’s search bar) to match up what they’re looking for with the best result according to word usage and the sequence of words used in the search by the user. A majority of the time, the more complete the business listing is, the easier it is for Google to understand what your business is about which tends to indirectly impact search results in a positive way the more information you provide.

 

Prominence – Google looks at how well known your business and your website is across the internet. If it sees that your website and its pages are good sources of information according to the variables that it measures like social shares and other pieces of evidence that indicate you are a topic of conversation, this will increase the chance that you will show up higher on the listings.

 

Having all of these factors integrated and optimized is a surefire way to make sure that you show up higher in the local business listings which will undoubtedly increase the number of opportunities to do business with people who are searching for products or services like yours.

 

When going through this process make sure you provide as much information as possible in your business listing.  Make sure you take the time to properly enter hours of operation, payment methods, and photos/videos if you have them available.  If searchers can see that what you offer meets their needs faster than other companies like yours, they’re more likely to choose to do business with you because they aren’t risking wasting as much time finding out if your solutions, hours of operation and other parameters that your business operates within, meets their needs.

 

So overall, the more detailed and clear you are about the business on the listing the better the chances are of searchers choosing your business to serve their needs.

Why reviews are important to your business SEO

Online reviews can be a huge asset for you and your business. This is especially true for local SEO.  The majority of searchers say that positive customer reviews increase the likeliness of them using that local business and that they trust the reviews as much as they would trust an actual personal recommendation.

 

You’re missing out on massive opportunity if getting reviews online isn’t happening right now. Integrating a level of importance and emphasis on receiving reviews from customers would help dramatically for almost any entity. The effects of doing this are again, even greater from a local SEO standpoint.

 

Reviews commonly come in three different ways:

  1. Offline reviews
  2. Email reviews
  3. Online reviews

 

Using methods like email, phone, physical mail and in store exchanges to connect with customers or clients to ask about their experiences with your business is an opportunity for improvement or testimonials for your business that you can use as credibility builders and promotional materials if needed.

 

One of the best ways to receive reviews and testimonials about your business is through email. And if you aren’t yet using your website as a source to capture emails and  use your email list as a way to connect with your audience in some way other than your website you’re truly missing out on one of the highest points of leverage for your business.

 

Collecting emails and creating an email list of your customers becomes a massive asset for your business that can be leveraged and used at any time. Whether you want to connect with your customers to promote an article, an in person event, a new product release, or customer satisfaction surveys, email marketing campaigns can help.

 

Make sure that there is a place on your website where customers can freely share information about your business. But don’t forego making sure you are seen on industry specific reviews and listings. You can use Moz local to help you with syncing all of your website and business information online and making sure that reviews are seen and responded to.

 

Yahoo, Google My Business, Bing Local, and City search are some of the common review sites people use to review and do research on a business. Google your industry specific review sites. No matter how you collect them, make sure that collecting reviews are a part of your local SEO process.

How to optimize your website and business information for local search results

For your business to get the rankings in the search engines your business needs to be constantly pushing out valuable and relevant content for local searchers. For instance, for someone that has a business in Las Vegas you could create a piece of content with this title format:

 

“How *your target audience (business owners, dog owners, software engineers, etc.)* in Las Vegas are using *Your products/services* to increase/decrease *pain point or desired outcome*.  

 

An example of this would be something like: “How this local business owner increased their company’s sales by 37% and lowered their online ad spend by 72% using local SEO tactics and strategies”

 

After creating content (blogs, infographics with data about your industry, videos, memes or other any other media that would create value for your audience) you should be distributing it on social platforms and anywhere that your audience may be hanging out online.

 

Another task that you should be checking off your local seo checklist is making sure that the contact info and schema are correctly displayed on your site and that you are using the correct schema elements that make sense for your type of business. You can use Schema.org/LocalBusiness to help with this.

 

There are all kinds of specific schema that should be used in different scenarios, so make sure that you are using the right kind of schema for each of the different types of information you will be displaying on your website.

 

The last thing we’ll go brief over is one of Google’s very helpful tools called Page Speed Insights. This tool lets you see what your site looks like on mobile devices that people will be using to view your website on. It also scans your site in order to make recommendations on potential areas like page speed loading time that could be negatively impacting your website’s SEO.

Conclusion

Focusing on your website user experience, on page optimization, contact page, schema mark up, and specific device performance/friendliness will make sure that you are headed in the right track for more local business visibility.

 

If this was helpful to you at all, please take a moment to let us know in the comments what you found was the most helpful part of the post so that we can create more content around that topic.

 

If you’d like help getting your business ranking on Google reach out to us here. We’d love to help you get ranking higher so you can start increasing your awareness, leads, sales and overall revenue for your local business.

 

If you’d like access to our 103 steps to SEO Greatness so you can go through your website yourself or hand off to an employee to see everything that could help with your Search Engine Optimzation, click here.