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2018 Local SEO Strategy: How to Outrank Competitors

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For brick and mortar businesses, local SEO is more important than ever.  Think of the last time you went to use your phone to locate a nearby restaurant, gas station, or store.  When you did a search, what popped up?  Reviews?  You may have even clicked further to call or get directions to the establishment.

Here are some effective ways to help you get your business appearing withing a specific geographic area and drive customers to your establishment.

Make sure your company name, address and phone number are consistent

Before going wild with posting on the Internet, make sure your company name, address and phone number are consistent on all your listings.  Search engines crawl this information and can impact your visibility if information is not correct.  Making sure this information is correct also plays an important part in branding as well as making sure customers can find you accurately.  Make sure your listings are consistent on social media, maps, and review sites.

Don’t forget local citations

Posting your business all over the Internet is important, but when doing it for localized optimization, you should also focus on citing your business with localized keywords.  Ex. Philadelphia Barber, Los Angeles Restaurant, etc.  Remember to add localized keywords on business and review listings such as Yelp, Yellowpages, FourSquare, BBB, Angie’s List and other authority websites that link to your website.

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Google My Business Listings and other directories

When you do a Google search for a local business and Google Maps comes up, this information is added on to Google through Google My Business Listings.  It is important to you list your business here if you want it to appear within range of a certain geographic area.  The best part is that it is free.

You will be asked to verify your listing and Google will send you a postcard with a pin to confirm that you own the address that you have entered for your business.  Once your business has been verified, accurately enter your business hours, add photos of your business, and manage and respond to reviews to help bring in customers to your business.

Also do the same for Bing Places and Yahoo Business listings.

Create localized webpages and content for your services and local keywords

If you have a website, adding keyword specific pages targeting your products and services combined with local keywords can give you extra web estate and visibility when customers search for your business.  Ex. Philadelphia Barber, Los Angeles Restaurant, etc.

Create web landing pages on your website containing a description of your most popular products and services combined with a local city and zip code.  You may also want to include reviews, videos, testimonials, and anything else that will attract customers to visit your establishment.

When optimizing for keywords, make sure to enter localized keywords and target keywords in your title tag, meta description, H1 tag, content, URL structure, and alt tags.

Mobile Optimization and Page Speed

Because a good number of customers will be searching for your establishment on mobile, it is important that your website is also mobile friendly and responsive.

Page load speed has also become an important ranking factor for mobile search.  Make sure your website is optimized for both these as they can influence search results.

Schema markup for local business

Schema markup is a piece of code that you can add to your HTML and helps search engines display more accurate results.

You can specify what kind of organization you are and give more relevance your search result on Google with Schema markup.

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Embed Maps

Embedding Google Maps on your website can help give potential customers an easy way to find your business and can also tell google to co-relate information from your website to Google Maps.  This can help you rank your website and other listings higher in organic search results.

Encourage Online Reviews

Online reviews are one of the biggest drivers in bringing traffic to your establishment.  They help customers decide which business they will choose to go with.  The more positive reviews you have, the higher listings also tend to appear on search results.

If you do get negative reviews, try reaching out to reviewers to make things right, or respond to the review in a kind and resolving way.

Focus on high authority review sites such as

  • Google+ Local
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Trip Advisor
  • FourSquare

Backlinks

As with all SEO, high quality backlinks from sites with high domain authority and content relevant sites can help give you a boost in search ranking.  You can build links through many outlets including directories, review sites, press releases, news, social media, guest posts, etc.

Voice Search

2018 and beyond brings the development and advancement of digital assistants like Siri, OK Google, and Amazon Echo.  Try to focus your content on making sense rather than stuffing for keywords.  Make phrases more conversational.  Use tools and plugins like Amazon Polly on your website that are friendly with voice search to help your website to rank and become favorable with digital assistants.

Pay Per Click

In addition to all these methods, you can supplement your local search optimization with pay per click campaigns.  Google Adwords and Facebook Ads can help you target potential customers withing certain geographic areas.

If your industry is highly competitive, pay per click campaigns can be very effective and give you an upper hand on your competition.

 

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