Local Search Marketing Strategies: Citations and SEO Tips

GainTap is a Chicago based digital marketing company and Google Partner. SEO is a specialty of ours and we’ve helped clients recover rankings and get more business through search engines. Contact us to learn how we can help your company.

Getting your small business in front of the right people is critical to your success. And in order to compete nowadays, it can feel like you have to be a modern SEO expert. But by using a few simple local search marketing strategies, you can boost your search rankings and bring in new business.

Fortunately, as a local small business, you already have certain advantages over nationwide companies; due to your physical address, you have a much higher chance of ranking locally, for example. But you’ll only rank higher if you’re website’s optimized properly and if you’re telling Google all the right things.

Every local search strategy revolves around one thing: consistency.

Your number one goal for a local SEO strategy is the consistency of information. As you work through the different items on this page, make sure you’re laser focused on precise, accurate information.

How to Ensure You Have a Consistent Web Presence

Make a spreadsheet or add a tab to your existing marketing spreadsheet; call it “Business Citation Info,” or something simple like that. If you have multiple business listings, break these out into separate tabs or columns in the same tab. Whatever works for you.

Enter the following information – making sure it’s 100 percent accurate – in the spreadsheet:

  • Business Name
  • Address (including suite number)
  • City
  • State
  • Zip Code
  • Phone number
  • Fax number
  • Description
  • Email
  • Business hours
  • Link to photos (ideally five photos)
  • Link to your logo
  • Website URL
  • Social media URLs

Whenever you need to add this information to any website, you’re going to copy and paste it from this sheet. No manual entry allowed.

Local Citation Template For Online Listing Services

The template also lists the top 50 local citations with links to create them, research courtesy of Hubspot.

I also put together a short video explaining the above:

Top Local Search Strategies for Better Rankings

1. Secure your Internet presence

Get Your Business on Google Maps.

You do this through Google My Business. Keep your information, including store hours, phone number and address, updated. And don’t forget to include your suite number; it’s especially important if you’re in a building with multiple businesses. Also, make sure you take the time to enter relevant categories so you have a greater chance of ranking for those terms.

Get in local online directories.

Do a quick local search for a phrase that’s important to your core business. Do you see any non-business sites such as Yelp and Yellow Pages on the first three pages of Google? If so, write them down and spend time making business profiles on these sites. If they rank for local terms, and you’re listed on them, they’ll pass those good vibes onto your site.

Directory listings are important even if they don’t link to you; they list your business name, address and phone number (together, those three pieces of information are commonly referred to as NAP). That sends powerful signals to search engines when used consistently on quality local directories.

And, since you’re copying and pasting from the spreadsheet, you don’t have to worry about inconsistent information.

Get your social media profiles up and running. Dislike social media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure you your secure social media profiles, even if you don’t plan on using them. I know you’re too busy to Tweet, Like, post and Snapchat. But set up your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn, at least. And make sure you link back to your website and have accurate information, including descriptions.

2. Understand How Your Website Fits into the Google Local Search Ecosystem.

A mindmap from Moz showing the Google local search ecosystem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a mind map from the wonderful people at Moz.com; it shows the Google Local Search Ecosystem. Where does your business fit into this?

Your website is part of a community online. The image above shows how local search information is interlinked on the web – it’s just a fraction, too. Overwhelming, right?

You don’t have to get every one of these right, but your competitors likely have a presence already. So there’s never been a better time to optimize your website for search.

3. Invest in Creating Useful, Quality Local Content

Think hard about who you want as customers. Where do they go in the community? What do they like to do with their free time? Who else do they do business with? Create content that will interest them and make sure they see it. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a good place with tips on writing content that drives visits.

Write for humans, first.

It’s tempting to pull keywords, do a little math and drop them all over your page. But you should focus on what people want to read first. There’s more and more research showing Click-Through-Rate is the number one metric to focus on. That’s why it’s important to write eye-catching informative titles, headlines and call-to-actions.

Keywords aren’t dead yet.

Plenty of SEO’s love saying keywords are dead. They’re not.

Search engines still look at keywords as a ranking factor. In fact, it’s really easy to get a penalty for over optimization of keywords. But if you can get penalized for over optimization, that must mean there’s an ideal way to use keywords, right?

Have a general theme for each page; focus on a handful of keywords and work them into copy naturally. If something reads awkwardly to you, it will be extra weird for your readers. There are plenty of keyword tools out there to help you.



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