500 SEO Tips: Essential Strategies To Bulldoze Through Google's Rankings, Increase Traffic and Go Viral
Chapter 7: Local SEO
If you have a local business that needs more customers, you can use these tips to get started with the basics of Local SEO. Whilst they aren't extensive and are not advanced Local SEO strategies, they will still put you ahead of other competitor websites.
247. Get Your Business Listed On Google
You need to get your business listed on Google. This is the first part of your local SEO strategy. This will require you to fill in basic details about your site such as opening hours, contact details and location. It will then build a page about your business based on the information you give. This page will then rank in search results. So, when someone searches for "dentist denver" or "dentist near me", your page on Google My Business will rank. Get your business page at www.google.com/business today.
248. Check If Your Business Is Listed With Its Phone Number
Sometimes, one of your colleagues may have gotten your business listed with Google already. Always check beforehand since Google discourages duplicate listings of the same business, and a mistake like that could ban you from getting listed entirely.
You may want to check if your business is listed already, but don't search for your business name. Google only provides exact match results, so if the name isn't exactly right, it won't show up in the results. Instead, search for your business's phone number on Google Places. Since your phone number is unique only to your business, no other businesses will show up.
249. Add The 'Local Business' Rich Snippet
You can also optimize for search results by including a "local business" rich snippet on your website. This rich snippet will contain all kinds of juicy data such as contact details, location and opening hours. Go to www.schema-creator.org and select the Local Business Rich Snippet. Then, fill it out with all the details of your business. Get the generated HTML code and paste it into your website!
Once you have that done, you need to check if the rich snippets are working. Go to Google's rich snippet (also known as structured data) testing tool at www.developers.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/ and paste in your URL once you've clicked on the "Fetch as URL" button.
250. Get Reviews
The next step to getting your local SEO on the road to successful, is to get positive reviews on your page, and lots of them. These reviews will show to Google that your business is doing an excellent job and that your business can easily be trusted. Trust equals more customers in the search engine world. If Google thinks your business is more trustworthy and does its job better than competitors, it will drive more searchers to your business by ranking you first.
251. Generate The URL To Write Reviews On Your Business Page
Firstly, before you go asking people to review your business service, you need to generate the URL to do so.
The problem with just sending them the link of your page is that they will have to navigate through the page to find the reviews section. It's very tedious for them, and could result in less conversion. Instead, you can generate a URL which loads up your business page, and cause a pop up to appear which asks them to review your business.
Get the URL of your business page on Google My Business. Then, remove the "/posts" part of the URL. Paste the following snippet into the end of the URL:
252. Print The QR Code To Submit Review On Business Cards
Rather than using your default business cards which have your contact information, you can create a new set of business cards which are only related to getting the review on your business page. First, get your URL for your business page that has a review pop up (see above). Then, generate a QR code by using www.qrstuff.com.
What I love about this tool is that it allows you to change the colour of your QR code, meaning you can add your website logo to the QR code.
Print this QR code on your business card, and also, add an incentive or free discount if they write their review (see below).
253. Send Past Customers A Link To Review
Write an email asking all your past customers and clients to write a quick review of you on Google. You can offer them a discount for future purchases, if they write an honest review. You can also give them a phone call, and ask them to write a review. Whatever it is, make sure all your past customers are asked to write a review!
254. Offer Discounts/Incentives For Readers To Write A Review
There's a difference between paying them to write a review and asking them to write an honest review in exchange for a voucher or extra incentive. Provided their review is unbiased, totally honest, I wouldn't think there is anything wrong with doing this. Reviews are hard to come by lately, and if an incentive will get them to review, it's well worth your time.
Maybe you could offer them a $10 discount voucher for their next purchase or a free gift that's paid by you. Whatever it is, make sure it isn’t too expensive as you don't want that eating into your budget!
Also, emphasise on an honest review. Mention to them that just because they received something from you, doesn't mean they have to write a perfect, five star review. Tell them that whatever negative points they have will be taken as constructive feedback and will be worked on in the future.
255. Add Review Stars To Your Website Too
Don't ignore adding review stars on your website either. Getting reviews from the Google My Business Page isn't the only way to get reviews!
By adding review stars, your website will stick out hugely in search results as well as the Google My Business Page listing too. That's killing two birds with the one stone! Once you get a couple of reviews on your website, you won't need anymore. The rest of your "review getting" efforts will have to go into the Google My Business Page.
256. Use Photos In Your Google My Business Page
Very few businesses and companies are actually using the photos section of the "My Business" Page. The last time I've seen an image in a business listing is a couple of months ago at least.
Images are what will attract more customers. They don't just want a map of your business location, they want to see what your office looks like or the products you provide. Maybe, you could provide an image of your service in action! That would really look exciting!
A few simple images can really improve click through rates and set you apart from the other businesses ranking for your keyword.
257. Get The Opening Hours Right
You'd be very surprised at how many people get the opening hours wrong. I've seen a lot of listings on Google which said they were closed in the morning, when clearly they were opened. Since so many people are checking opening hours of companies through Google now, you could really lose out if you get your opening hours wrong. Pay attention when you're inputting the opening hours into the listing.
Also, do a check now and again by searching for your business on Google, and check the opening hours.
258. Insert Geographic Keywords In Your H1 Tag, And Content
If you're targeting a certain area such as Brighton in the UK, you need to insert the keyword "brighton" in your title tag, h1 tag and content for optimization. Many companies have seen jumps of three to six pages just by including geographic keywords on their pages. Obviously, there's no need to include these keywords in blog posts and infographics, but for your main "sales or information" pages, you'll need to include the keywords there.
259. Target Your Regular Keywords Too
Don't forget about targeting your regular keywords too! For example, if you have a pizza delivery service, make sure you include the keyword "pizza delivery" or "delivering pizza" in your title. That way, when you mesh the geographic keywords and regular keywords together, you get something like the following as your title tag:
Pizza Company X | Delivering Pizza To Chicago
260. Build Citations
A citation is an online reference to your business' name, address and phone number, without actually including a link to your site. Similar to backlinks, Google count the number of quality citations your business gets and ranks you accordingly.
This is an example of a citation:
Name of Business, 99 Links Street, City, Region, Post Code (Phone Number)
Your citation should be exactly as named on your Google My Business page. Don't change the business name around or the arrangement of the address. Everything has to be the exact same as what's on your page.
You can build citations through:
· Industry specific directories
· Guest posts
· Profile pages
· Forum and Q&A signatures
· Video and SlideShare descriptions
A lot of the linkbuilding techniques that are covered can also be applied to building citations. Instead of adding a backlink to your site, you can add a citation to your business instead.
You can also find the best places to get citations with this nifty tool: www.whitespark.ca/local-citation-finder
261. Get Listed On Other Sites
Get listed on Yelp and Yahoo Local as part of your local SEO strategy. Again, these sites will require you to fill out all the basic but essential information about your business such as opening hours, contact and location. These sites will provide a lot of link juice back to your site.
262. What Factors Will Boost Your Website In The Local Search Results?
The number of reviews, number of citations and how positive your reviews are overall, are the main factors which will determine your local search ranking. By continuing to work on these, you can really boost your website's ranking in local search results.
You need to keep getting a couple of reviews and citations every month, and keep the stream slow but steady. You don't want a huge spike in reviews over a week, and then receive none for the next six months.
Also, make sure that you have optimized for geographic keywords by including them on your website's homepage and sales page.
263. Don't Buy Reviews, You'll Get Into Deep Trouble
Don't start getting black hat with local SEO. Buying reviews from others is a sure-fire black hat SEO technique. It's never going to work. Just like buying links and getting penalized, Google will stamp down on your reviews.
They have intelligence beyond your wildest dreams.
For example, if they saw two five star reviews written in New York about a flower arranging service in Brighton, UK – things would start to look ugly. Unless the person writes the review in your local area, there is no chance for paid reviews to work. So just get them naturally, through the methods I've outlined above.
264. Should You Keep Working On Local SEO? – Compared to the likes of normal SEO where you have to keep chugging away at it, local SEO can be done and then put on the backburner for a while. After all, once you get listed, add your rich snippets, get a few citations, optimize for geographic keywords and get some reviews, you're pretty much set for success.
However, I don't mean you stop your local SEO entirely. You still have to get a stream of reviews and citations every two months, just to keep your business relevant and looking up to date. If you continually ask new customers to write reviews and get some citations from local websites, your local SEO is sorted for that month anyway.