Local SEO continues to change — almost on a monthly basis it seems. But is your business changing with it?
It’s about monitoring how your organization is doing online and always making it a priority to take the next step into SEO evolution — particularly investing in localization efforts.
Optimizing for local search
Launched in July 2014, Google’s Pigeon Update is the latest algorithm providing more useful and accurate local search results tied more closely to traditional Web search ranking.
“User location is now a ranking factor in Google search,” said Coles VP Marketing Brian Coles. “Local search results are included on SERPs (search engine results page) based on a keyword query.”
The changes affect the search results shown in Google Maps as well as the regular Google search results. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is sign up or claim your listing on Google My Business and confirm that listing is accurate and complete.
“Then sign up or claim other local business listings like Yelp, Manta and Yellow Pages, making sure all the information is consistent,” Coles said.
Directories that dominate
“There may be twenty to forty important listing sites depending on the industry,” Coles said.
Some of primary local directories are as follows:
- Yelp – one of the most-used websites for consumers to find a quality review
- Google Business – Google outperforms every other search engine by a huge margin
- Facebook – the second-largest local business directory in the U.S., behind Google Places
- Yellow Pages – an organized directory receiving millions of searches a day
Coles referenced an article by Chris Marentis on “Search Engine Land” that said cleaning up directory listings is “tedious and time-consuming work. But it is work that pays off big time when done right.”
Capture customer reviews
Once you have your business listings set, it’s time to generate reviews from your customers.
“User reviews are one of the many factors that help your local visibility online,” Coles said. “Google tries to emulate the human offline experience as much as possible and is constantly updating their algorithm to better the search experience. A deciding factor in whether a consumer purchases a good or service, both online and offline, is the experience had with that company.”
Gathering those customer reviews can be a bit of a slippery slope. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Promote reviews by asking customers or clients to leave a review on sites like Google Business, Yelp or Facebook.
- Be cautious how you ask. Many review sites don’t like solicitation.
- Leave a laptop at the front desk to capture customers as they leave to ensure the review gets done.
- Respond to reviews, positive or negative, as soon as possible.
Sharing helps searching
“A best practice for all search is to generate relevant, consistent and timely content and to engage with your users through blogs, social media and sharing,” Coles said.
Local SEO is about your website as well as your active social media profiles. The more activity and content on your company’s social media pages the better. Especially if that activity comes from your customers. It increases the visibility of your local listings as well.
Want to get started on your digital media strategy? Coles Marketing has the insight and digital tools to help you with your local SEO campaign and help you reach the right audience in the right way.