Cincy SEO

Local SEO can bring in hundreds, even thousands of visitors a month for your business.

In this article, we’re going to cover key actionable takeaways your business can use to leverage your online business to gain more customers.

But first, what is local SEO? 

Local SEO is the process of leveraging search engine’s (like Google) local ranking factors to place your business at the top of the search rankings.

Local SEO can also help you show up in Google’s local three pack:

 

Along with this, your business can show up for certain keyword phrases like “city + keyword”

On top of all of this, local SEO can also help you be featured in voice searches.  When using voice search, the first listing in the 3-pack will be shown to the user.  

If you’re the top spot, it gives you even more of an edge over competition.

1. Google My Business

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GMB is widely considered the #1 ranking factor in terms of local SEO.  (If you don’t have one of these, you won’t show up in the 3-pack. Period.)

GMB serves as an additional resource Google uses to identify your business from others. 

Your GMB listing could very well be the first touch point between you and your customers.

Some important key information you’ll want to include in your GMB listing is your:

  • Your business NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
  • Business category
  • Photos
  • Hours of operation
  • Business description
  • Menu
  • Your website’s URL

GMB helps make the user’s searching process easier.  It’s more encouraging for a customer to look at a business’s photos, reviews, and location all at a glance than go sifting through this:

 

Only 44% of businesses have claimed their Google My Business listing (Local Marketing Institute).

1a. GMB categories

Along with claiming your GMB listing, categorizing your business greatly helps Google understand what your business does. 

If you claim your GMB listing and correctly categorize your business, you can potentially be listed on Google’s first page in the ‘Google Maps’ results.

1b. Photos on GMB

Photos are another great way for you to distinguish your brand and make your listing more attractive.  Although, Google has stated that consistently adding new photos to your listing will give it a boost in rankings, the general idea for uploading photos is to showcase your brand.

It should go without saying, but don’t upload photos just for the sake of it.

2. Online Directories/Citations

These types of websites can be immensely be important to your business in more than one way.

Remember NAP (Name, Address, Phone)?

Online directories, and review sites like YellowPages and Angie’s List serve as your business page where you also have your businesses information live on those sites.

Google takes your businesses NAP very seriously.

In terms of accuracy, Google likes to associate a businesses name with an accurate address and phone number.  If you have inaccurate listings over the web, this can actually hurt your local SEO rankings.

It’s important to take the time to audit your online local directories and ensure they are accurate.

3. Reviews

Another reason why sites like FourSquare, Yelp, and your Google My Business listing are important, is for reviews!

Reviews are one the essential ranking factors Google looks at when ranking a website.

And it shouldn’t be a secret to any of us.  No matter what you’re buying, you’re wondering who to buy it from.

And that’s what ratings and reviews helps us decide.

And you probably guessed it.  5-star ratings carry more weight in the algorithm. 

As a side bonus, reviews that have been respond to by the company are seen to give additional value from Google.

Not only does this give you a slight rankings boost, but other customers will see that your business listens and responds to its customers feedback.

You can set up Google alerts to notify you when your business has received a new review.

You can use this tactic to be notified when you receive a new review, and this can help you stay on top of your responses and allowing you enough time to craft your response.

You can read Google’s article on how to setup alerts for your business here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/7198436?hl=en

One last tip about reviews.  You should always be personal with your response.  A simple thank you may not carry much weight.  However, a thoughtful, well scripted response can encourage that customer to buy from you again.

4. Social Listings

Your social listings like your Twitter, LinkedIn, and especially your Facebook page can be used as additional resources in leveraging your brand’s local SEO.

Just like directories, Google also uses the metadata from your social listings in its algorithm.

But more importantly, your social media profiles can be used to fill up your rankings when it comes to your brand’s SERP (search engine results page).

When you have a Facebook, Twitter, and other listings, they can all show up as a ranking in Google.

This can help draw eyes to your brand on your branded keywords, instead of your competitors.

5. Mobile Responsiveness

In hopes of your website to show up either in the search results or in the local 3-pack, your website needs to be able to show up on a mobile device.

It’s now estimated that over half of searches are being done on mobile.  And in some cases, as high as 70-80%.

Below is a tweet from Google’s Webmaster twitter account highlighting that it’s recently started primarily crawling a website as mobile-first

 

6. Location + Keyword

Another great way to rank for keywords in your local area is by simply adding your city name to your keyword such as “Cincinnati Coffee Shop”. 

This is a great tip if you’re a relatively small business that hasn’t had time to build an authority and an online following in your community.

By adding the city to your page’s keywords, you assure Google that you are in that location.  

Especially starting off as a new business online, it can take Google a few months to figure this out.

 

7. Inbound Links (from Relevant Sites)

Lastly, one of the more difficult things to accomplish in any SEO campaign is acquiring high quality, relevant links to your website.

Inbound links to your website gives you the authority and trust Google seeks to rank your site.

Receiving backlinks is like a personal recommendation.  It’s something you can’t buy, but more so earn.

Getting links to your site may not be as daunting as it seems though.

Being upfront about the type of content that currently lives on your site, and the content you plan to put out can save you time, effort, and is what can get you results in the long-term.

8. Bonus Tip: Schema Markup

Put simply, Schema helps make Google’s search results even more visual and interactive.

With just a little bit of your time, effort, and code, you can jump from rank 5 to rank 1.

Have you ever heard of a ‘featured snippet’? 

If you’re looking up the American average credit score, the answers result will look like this:

Every question will prompt a different result in Google’s SERP (search engine results page), but by adding Schema, you can start looking to grab some of these ‘Rank 0’ spots.

So what is Schema?

Schema is code that you put on your website, usually in the header, so that Google can retrieve certain information first when it crawls your site.

Schema is how you can give additional context to Google, which can provide many benefits.

Notably, Google gives websites that use Schema a small increase in rankings much like it does for fast websites, and websites that are mobile-friendly.

What different types of Schema are there?

There are many different types of Schema to implement on your site to help make it stand out in the search results.  However, there are common Schema types that almost every business can see benefits from implementing.

The first being ‘Local Business’ schema.

The bread and butter of schema for local businesses.  Within this type of schema, you can help Google by providing information like:

a.       Business Name

b.       Phone Number

c.       Hours

d.       Address

e.       Website

f.        Reviews

The best use of this schema when implemented correctly, are the reviews section.

If you’re looking for a plumber, which of these sites would you click on?

A 4.6/5 star review with 1,977 reviews?  No brainer.

Schema can be your best asset when it comes to drawing users to click on your website.

Besides the ‘Local Business’ markup, there’s Schema markup for:

·         Person (for more detail on name, birthday, address)

·         Product/Offer Markup (price, status, availability)

·         Article (news, blogs)

·         Breadcrumbs

Not sure how to implement Schema markup or if your business is using Schema?

Google’s free data testing tool can show you Schema placed on your site, or any site.

https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/

If you’re looking to stand out on Google, schema and local SEO can really help you stand out from the crowd.  

To learn more about our affordable local SEO services, get in touch with us or send us an inquiry at [email protected]

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