The Need to Know Details About Local SEO

There have been so many changes in the SEO industry over the last few years that keeping up as a small business owners is overwhelmingly frustrating.

It is more prevalent in businesses with brick and mortar stores or offices who are led to believe, by num-nut internet marketing sales people, that SEO consists of nothing more than getting listed on Google, Yahoo and Bing maps and having a Facebook page to post one time a month. WRONG! 

There is WAY more involved in local SEO than just a couple listings and a Facebook page.

The Challenges for Local SEO
Believe it or not, the businesses that are suffering the most are the ones that have been in a staple to a local community for decades or maybe even generations with their “regular customers”. You know, the bars, restaurants, CPAs, attorneys, banks, gyms, the list goes on.

These small businesses are used to that foot traffic for their revenue, so entertaining the thought of hiring a local SEO company barely ever crosses their mind, unless they are hastily hanging up the phone on a sales rep.

From the business owner’s standpoint, local search marketing can’t be beneficial because they believe everyone knows who they are. However, most don’t take into account people traveling into town or those looking for something different from the next town over. They very well could be missing a large amount of new foot traffic and paying customers.

How many times have you boasted to your friends about ABC Pizza from that city close by, which blew your mind? As a local SEO service provider, we want to be the reason why those friends found your business.

Convincing the Masses That If It Ain’t Broke – You Still May Need to Fix It
There is nothing worse than trying to convince people who have been conducting business a certain way for decades to change AND spend money in the process. There is nothing more frightening than changing for something they aren’t entirely comfortable with. But, once a local search company can outline and provide proof on how local search strategies are beneficial such as getting more listings to the bigger search directories, writing more content for local tips, facts and advice, or a detailed FAQ section to address common questions asked to the business owner, they become much more apt to bite. Very few regret it when the campaign is implemented properly.

Local Search Engine Optimization Tactics 

  • Keyword research and selection
  • Responsive website design
  • Proper on-page optimization
  • Optimizing Google+ profiles
  • Submitting to major online directories
  • Writing informative blog articles on the website
  • Preparing FAQ sections on the website
  • Setup and testing Schema markup (NAP: Name, Address, Phone)
  • Testing Rich Snippets
  • Asking for and obtaining online reviews
  • Creating social media posts

Can You Do This Yourself?
Absolutely! However, do you have the time to learn how to do it correctly? It is no small chore to get your website setup for peak performance and great content published consistently. I don’t do our taxes because I don’t know all the new tax laws and loops in the system to save me money each year, so I hire a competent accountant.

It is recommended to spend a little time interviewing several local search marketing companies. Compare their “packages” (most companies will local SEO packages) side by side and dollar for dollar. Ask for references AND actually contact them to ask questions. Don’t make a snap decision. Have the desire to work for the company that you feel comfortable with and try your best to speak with the one physically doing the SEO work. NOT the sales person.

Your time is better spent going through this process of interviewing a few companies, rather than learning SEO, making changes and updates, writing content and come to find out it was all for nothing when the search ranking needle doesn’t move.

Are You Appealing to the Growing Mobile Searchers?
Let me rephrase that. How does your website appear on an iPhone, Android or an iPad? Do you need to pinch and zoom to read the content or click on links? Do you have a dedicated mobile website on a sub-domain? Or, have you spoke with your website designer about migrating to a 100% responsive website?

Our recommendation is get your website converted to a responsive design as soon as humanly possible!

With the increasing number of people driving around Google’ing at breakneck speeds or putzing around on the web from their couch on their phones, your business has a greater chance of keeping those users on your website longer when you have a mobile friendly site. Responsive websites will automatically adapt to any device, therefore, for local searchers, you become even more attractive and up to date with technology. Putting your new website visitor at ease and hopefully earning their phone call or order. Mobile friendly websites are proven to outperform non-mobile sites, thus making it a requirement in order to leap past your local competition.

What Will Be Some Local Search Trends in 2014?
So, what is the hottest trend that is to develop in 2014? There are predictions, and most of them I agree with. Google has made major updates to how they present search results and that will never change. Their goal is to provide the best, most relevant website for their users. If you aren’t up on their algorithm modifications, then you’ll be lost, and fast.

We feel 2014 will be a continued effort by Google to rank more, higher quality content. Plain and simple.

That being said, Google Authorship will be a big help in supplying additional local juice to your website to improve your rankings. Writing and publishing more content to your website and linking to high authority websites will develop links and exposure in the local online market to label you and your business as a local expert. Another big task in local SEO efforts to advance will be the social media engagement and social signals created from promoting and sharing content.

As SEO specialists, we are always learning and evolving with Google and now, many of the other major search engines to match their search criteria. Like a medical doctor or a financial advisor pursuing their continuing education classes or certification courses, we are required to educate ourselves almost daily these days. It is a job requirement and your SEO company should be adapting as well or being as proactive as possible in setting up your website for success in the local search environment.

About the Author

Patrick McCoy - Internet Marketing Consultant
As Founder & President of Whiteboard Creations, Patrick is just as dedicated to writing articles about website design and internet marketing as he is managing the day to day operations for the business. Keep connected with Patrick via Google+ & LinkedIn.

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