Local SEO, like many aspects of marketing, is changing all the time and can be challenging to master. However, it is critically important if you want people to find your business online.
Do you want your business to show up when someone searches for “home theater installation + your city?” If so, then you need to focus on local SEO, and you won’t rank high on Google by chance.
The basics of local SEO aren’t as complicated as you might think. My goal with this article is to provide you some fundamental areas you can focus on to get started.
Let’s get to it.
Tip #1: Google My Business
Having a Google My Business (GMB) page for each location you have is an absolute must for any local business. Your GMB listing shows up on the right-hand side of the search results page when anyone searches your company name. Your listing can offer a ton of useful information about your business, including:
- Name, address, phone number (NAP)
- Photos & videos
Setting up your GMB page is not difficult, and a great first step in getting your local SEO efforts headed in the right direction.
Tip#2: Online Reviews
There are many reasons to focus on building your online reviews, and one of them is to improve your SEO rankings.
The quantity, quality, and velocity of your online reviews are all important. How do you get more reviews? Put a system in place to ask for them consistently and make it as easy as possible for customers to leave you a review. Here’s an oversimplified example:
A few weeks after finishing your next project, send your client an email similar to this:
It was a pleasure working with you on your home theater. We hope you and your family have had some time to enjoy it.
Can you help us out? Online reviews provide us valuable feedback and help potential customers understand what it’s like to work with us.
Can you take a minute and leave us a review here: [insert a link to GMB listing]? We’d greatly appreciate it.”
(By the way, Google My Business allows you to set up what they call a “profile short name” that makes it easy to provide the link to your listing.)
Wash, rinse, and repeat this process after every project. The key here is to be consistent.
Tip #3: On-Site Elements
On-site elements (also referred to as on-page) are elements that exist on each page of your website. On-page SEO can get a little technical, and you’ll hear terms like title tags, header tags, meta descriptions, keywords, and internal links.
Where’s the easiest place to start? Place your name, address, and phone number in the footer of your website so they appear on every page of your website. Then you can focus on optimizing your other on-site elements. When you are ready, this article will walk you through how to do it.
Tip #4: Backlinks
A backlink is a link from one website to another.
Are you a member of your local Chamber of Commerce? The Chamber will usually list your business in their member directory with a link to your website. That’s a backlink!
The more backlinks you have from what Google views as high-quality sites, the better your SEO will be. Getting local backlinks from local organizations or associations you belong to, local events you participate in, and sponsorships are a great place to start.
Tip #5: Directory & Citation Listings
Online business listing directories are all over the place. We’ve all heard of Yelp and TripAdvisor, but there are a host of others.
In all fairness, I don’t believe directory listings have the impact they used to on local SEO. However, it’s not difficult to set up all your listings so they are consistent.
Make sure your name, address, and phone number are the same on your directory listings, Google My Business page, and your website.
How do you set up your listings? Using a service like Whitespark or Bright Local makes it easy. You can select the directories you want, input your information, and they will take care of the rest for you.
These five elements will serve as the foundation for your local SEO. That wasn’t so hard, was it?
Be patient, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. With consistency, you will significantly increase your chances of showing up in local search results.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. He spent 10+ years in the consumer electronics industry as a partner in a distribution company before getting into marketing consulting & digital marketing. He helps take the guesswork out of marketing for system integrators so their business’ can grow.