February 18, 2015
Search engines are constantly changing their ranking algorithms, increasing and diminishing the importance, or "weight," of various optimization factors. Currently, one of the more important factors is local search optimization.
Of course, businesses with brick-and-mortar locations will find this especially important, but even on-site service providers can greatly benefit from local SEO.
Below is an example of local businesses making use of organic search opportunities through their listing.
Local search optimization offers you several opportunities to show-up in Google's search engine results. Businesses can appear in what's known as the "local pack," which comprises the Places or Maps listings on the Search Engine Results Page (#1 in the diagram above); in the organic listings for local-specific search queries (#2); and your directory listings, reviews, and social media pages can also rank in addition to your site (#3). A comprehensive local SEO plan can have your business's name showing up in multiple places on the SERPs.
There are a number of elements that go into a website's local optimization plan, including local directory listings, contact info confirmation via social media channels, listings on review sites, and -- of course -- on-site optimization and keyword use. However, one of the best places to start your local SEO efforts is signing-up for Google My Business and taking full advantage of all the features your listing offers.
Here are some tips on getting started:
- Start with a local phone number -- not a 1-800 number. This will reinforce the locality of your business.
- Create an individual listing for each location/address of your business.
- Include your hours of operation, using your local time zone.
- Make sure you link your listing to your website.
- Carefully choose your business categories -- not only should they be accurate, but they should also reflect how your customers most often search for your business.
- Use keyword-rich text when filling out your summary. Again, use the terms that potential customers would use to seek your services or products out.
- Add photos and videos, being sure the file names reinforce both your location and category keywords.
- Encourage customer reviews.
- Set-up a Google Brand page, and match the location and contact details to your My Business listing exactly.
- If your business has multiple offices or locations, create a unique landing page on your website for each location, that you link to your listings.
Once you have your Google My Business and Google accounts fully set-up, you can then use the data and keywords from your listing to optimize your on-site content and create listings on all the other local, directory and review sites.
Brave River Solutions' team of Rhode Island SEO specialists can help you develop and execute a full-scale local search engine optimization plan, in addition to a traditional on-site SEO plan. For help with getting your business on the SERPs, contact us for a free consultation today.