If you’re the owner of a small to medium-sized business in Green Bay, WI or elsewhere, you’re probably not looking to target a global customer base (yet). It’s the surrounding communities that fuel your business, and having your business show up at the top of local search results is the best way to ensure exposure to potential new customers.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best practices to help you get on the fast track to boosting your local SEO:
1.) Conduct Keyword Research
Publishing regular blog posts to keep website content “fresh” and position your team as industry experts is a great foundation to improving your SEO. However, incorporating industry-, service- and/or product-specific keywords and locality can make your content writing more valuable and results-driven the next time someone uses a search engine to find your field.
For example, if you’re a restaurant, incorporating keywords and phrases similar to “Sunday brunch buffet in Green Bay” clarifies your service offerings for search engines and verifies your location—which can help better your rank in “near me” searches.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a quintessential resource for keyword research. It can help you discover new keywords and identify which keywords generate the most traffic.
2.) Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Claiming or updating your Google My Business listing is about as easy and as important as local SEO can get. Google dominates the search engine market, maintaining an 87 percent market share as of January 2020. Ignore it, and your business will languish in the digital dark.
Basic tips to optimize your Google My Business listing:
- Fill out every detail of your Google My Business profile with comprehensive, up-to-date information. All of the fields should be the same as they are currently listed on your website.
- Be sure to reference your keyword strategy when choosing a business category. It’s important to be as specific as possible.
- When writing your description, focus on grabbing the attention of potential customers and making your offerings and brand differentiators clear. This section does not need to be stuffed with keywords. Also, know that only the first 250 characters of the description are displayed in the main listing panel—so, structure your information accordingly.
- Adding professional photos to your listing will showcase your business in the best light. Most people are visually oriented, and buying decisions are often made based on how a product, service, or experience looks. The visual presentation is especially important for restaurants, hotels and other businesses within the hospitality industry.
3.) Be Consistent with Your Business Information
It’s important to verify your business’ NAP (name, address, phone number) citations are consistent across the following map data aggregators:
These aggregators provide a large amount of map data for Google, Bing, Apple, Yelp, Trip Advisor and other major websites. Duplicated listings or any form of inconsistency in business information will negatively impact your local search engine ranking. Even small differences in abbreviations can cause confusion for search engines.
4.) Test Your Website’s Load Speed
Studies show that 40 percent of visitors will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Search engines also penalize a site that doesn’t load quickly.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is an easy way to test your website’s load speed. The tool provides a detailed report pinpointing what’s slowing down the website along with remedial recommendations.
5.) Develop Local Link Building Strategies
While it can be time consuming, building links from reputable websites can greatly improve your local search ranking.
Some examples of this include:
- Finding local events that have a connection to your industry or attract attendees that fall within your target market
- Most sponsorship opportunities include the placement of a logo and link on the event’s website.
- Working with a related business to develop a cross-promotional marketing strategy
- Launching a public relations campaign promoting a unique offering, community-driven initiative or human-interest story
- Any online media coverage will likely include a link to your business’ website.
- Applying for local business awards
- Winners are often highlighted and hyperlinked on the organization’s website and in the media.
Developing and maintaining a local search presence takes time and persistence—but if carried out effectively, these tactics will give your business a clear advantage in the increasingly competitive world of local search engine optimization.
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