It’s a new year, and for many companies, it’s time to take a look at their SEO strategies and figure out where they can improve. There’s no question that local SEO is more important than ever before. 56% of all mobile searches are local, meaning that they include city names or other local information in the keywords used.
What does that mean for you as a local business owner? It means you need to be hyper-focused on maximizing your local SEO. It’s the only way to make sure that local customers don’t miss you when they search for you. Here are the top ways to connect locally and grow your business.
Research Local Keywords
One of the biggest mistakes local business owners make when building their websites is not optimizing for local keywords. As stated above, the majority of mobile searches include local keywords. Customers who are out and about search for local businesses. If they can’t find yours, they’ll visit one of your competitors instead.
You can use Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner to find the best local keywords for your business. You should be using a combination of short and long-tail keywords for the best results.
Optimize Your Meta Data
Have you optimized the meta data on your website for local search? Meta data includes all of the tags and alternative descriptions on your site. It also includes the meta description that displays on Google beneath the name of your page.
A lot of local companies don’t give enough though to their meta data. They miss out on opportunities to connect with their target audience because they don’t bother using local keywords.
Now is a good time to review all of the meta data on your website and update it to include your chosen keywords. It’s a change that probably won’t take much time to make, but it can make a huge difference in your site’s rank on Google.
Optimize Your Content for Local Keywords
Another way to make the most of local SEO is to optimize each piece of content you publish for your local keywords. An Atlanta bakery might use keywords like:
Atlanta GA bakery
Bakery in Atlanta GA
Atlanta wedding bakery
When you optimize your content for your chosen keywords, it’s important to keep the focus on quality. Google does not look kindly on websites that stuff their content with keywords. Make sure to use your keywords in important locations, such as your title, subheadings, tags, and in the first 100 words of your content.
A good rule of thumb is to aim for approximately 1% keyword usage. That means that for a one thousand word blog post, you would use your primary keyword 10 times. You can also use some secondary keywords. As long as the content is relevant and highly readable, you’ll reap the full benefits of your keywords.
Make Your NAP Listings Consistent (use be consistent image)
When was the last time you checked the consistency of your NAP listings online? A NAP listing is any listing where your company’s name, address, and phone number appear.
All of your NAP listings must be identical if you want to optimize your business for local search. It might seem like a silly thing, but even something small like using Ave instead of Avenue in a listing can compromise your SEO and make it more difficult for customers to find you.
Review all of your NAP listings and contact any website that has your information listed incorrectly. You should also check all of the address listings you control, including those on your website and social media profiles.
Optimize Your Google My Business Page
If you haven’t already claimed your company’s listing on Google My Business, you should make it a priority for 2017. Google My Business is a free site for business owners. You can use it to give your SEO a boost.
The first step is to verify your business by clicking here. Once you’ve done that, you should review the existing information and update it to reflect your proper NAP listing, business hours, and other relevant information. We also recommend adding photographs and using your local keywords in the image tags.
Everything you write on Google My Business should be optimized for local search. That means that your company description and everything else you post there must include local keywords. This information will improve your Google search rank and ensure that local customers are able to find you when they search your chosen keywords.
Private Blog Network Links
A private blog network, or PBN, is a collection of authority websites that you use to build links back to your primary business site.
If you’ve heard of PBNs, you may also have heard that link building with them is considered problematic in some SEO circles. The reason for that is that some marketers have made a cottage industry out of building low-quality sites.
A low-quality PBN is one that includes sites that contain “spun” content – content that’s been slightly rewritten but is essentially a copy of existing content. Google frowns on that practice and has penalized sites that feature spun content.
The key to using a PBN is to make sure that you post only high-quality content. You can cover similar topics, but it’s important not to copy or nearly copy what you have on your own site. Google will pick up on that and it can cost you in the long run.
All of the content you post on your PBN should be optimized for local keywords. It’s also important to keep in mind that you should vary your hyperlinks. If every hyperlink is for a keyword, Google will notice and may penalize you. Make the links look as organic as possible for the best results.
The key to making the most of your local SEO is to be consistent and persistent. Any time your company name appears online, you should be using local keywords and other SEO tools. The more consistent you are, the easier it will be for the customers who are most likely to buy from you to find you.