SEO or Search Engine Optimization is like having an ex that you are still in love with. It’s pretty tough how to handle them, you try extremely hard to get back with them, and when it pays off, it can make you unimaginably happy.
The only difference between SEO and your ex though is pretty simple: even though it takes time, if you do it right, chances are that you will almost definitely succeed with SEO. That is not a knock on your ability to get back with your ex though. Just how keeping things simple and correct lands you the rewards with SEO.
The same is true for its hotter and better version for the local businesses: Local SEO. If you have a brick and mortar version of the office and have opened up internet at least once to register yourself online, chances are you have heard of someone on the internet shouting at the top of their lungs: “YOU NEED LOCAL SEO TO SURVIVE AND GET THAT JAR OF COOKIES YOU ALWAYS WANTED!” And while I am unsure about your choice of cookies, I am sure that Local SEO can be even sweeter if you play your cards right.
Unfunny life comparisons aside, in all seriousness, if you are a small business, you do need to put some effort in your Local SEO game in order to generate a sustainable business model in the Age of Ultron Internet. Here are some of the most important factors that will help you gain a sound footing on the topic of Local SEO and will get your business in the thriving mode:
1. Have location in the title tag
It’s a no brainer. If you want people to visit your store, you need to provide them with the location where you are situated. And before you start pulling out your keyboard and typing in your entire location, WAIT! The following example from Papa John’s will help you out in understanding the amount of information required when it comes to adding location to your title, and helping you rank better.
2. Have Business name in the title tag
So, you have a customer who wants to utilize a service/product that you deal in, and you are located close to him. That should help him identify you easily, right? Well, sounds good so far. But how do they identify you if you are missing out on your brand name in your title tag? With that in mind, eat your spinach, and show off that anchor of SEO knowledge by including your brand’s name in your SEO title tag like WIX does here:
3. Have the keywords in H1 and title
The last and perhaps the most important part of the title tag and H1 is including the most important keyword needs special mention. Let’s say that your specialty is delivery of pizza, then “Pizza delivery” is something that should be a part of your title as well H1. And to arrive at the perfect keyword for your title, you need to some exception keyword research. Go through this article from Neil Patel on keyword research in order to get a better understanding of what it takes to continuously be ahead of your competition. Moreover, following is an example of how your keyword should be included in your title and should help you in crafting yours:
4. Have a click to call phone number on your website
The idea behind Local SEO is that the customer should be able to access you easily and in the shortest possible time possible. What better way to make it happen then to readily make your contact/phone number available to him as soon as he searches for you. That can prompt a quick phone call over which you can understand your potential customer’s issue, and explain how you can best help him. This not only helps you in acquiring a new customer, but also helps create a better relationship than any review might create. You can follow the below mentioned example of how to put in your phone number that one can call on:
5. Average Google desktop speed score should be above 80 and average Google mobile speed should be above 70
Having a fast website is one of the most essential things to rank higher these days when it comes to Google. Thankfully, you can check out their own insights that will help you rank better, and create a lighter, faster version for your business. Also, keep in mind that the same goes for the mobile version of your website, and hence it should not be neglected.
6. At least 800 words on the top display page
Your topmost ranking page should be descriptive enough, so that a user can fully understand what your service or products are. According to a google release, few of the top ranked pages have in excess of 800 words in them, which includes the major keywords that represent their industry. Therefore, do some A/B testing for your page, and figure out the best content strategy that will help you rank.
7. Have a form with at least 4 fields and a captcha
There might be a case where a user may not want to interact with you right now, but may be interested with you at a later stage. Therefore, not storing his information would be detrimental. Consider it as turning away Scarlett Johansson when she is asking you on a date. Nobody wants to be in that position. Therefor in order for you to not make that mistake, include a form, including a captcha which can store the customer’s information. You can reach out to him regarding the query later to establish that you do care about your potential customers, thus earning some brownie points. Here’s a brownie just to remind you how sweet it could be if you can get customers on board with this little trick.
8. Have reviews/testimonials present on your website
It is extremely important for the customers to know that they are not the only people visiting your website. They try and look for others who have interacted with you before, and what they think of you. You can include reviews or testimonials that help them gauge how much your other users have put their faith on you, and what they think of you. In terms of order of priority, you should try and get a small video from your customers, because it shows the amount of faith they have in your product/service.
Next up, would be a testimonial with accompanying photo and perhaps a title and lastly a testimonial with merely a name. But don’t start harassing your users to share with you their reviews, as that strategy might backfire. Pick and choose the ones that you believe had the best experience with you, and then share that experience. Here’s one example of an Asian restaurant which did the same:
9. Have a staff photo/video present on your website
Just like it is important for the potential customers to know your brand through your other customers, similarly they would like to know you through your employees. How does your internal staff feel about you as a brand is equally as important as how the others may feel about it. With that in mind, always include a section which provides details of staff members, with possible videos of them going in detail about how they love working for you.
10. Have links to sites pages where the review of the company is located
While we are on the topic of building up trust for your potential customers, always include links to your reviews provided by customers on other websites as well, especially if you have reviews from major websites like Amazon, TripAdvisor or Zomato. It helps ease up the user and brings up his faith in your product by a notch. Following is an example of what might attract the attention of the user:
11. Have local photos of the shop
The essence behind Local SEO is to make it as localized as possible. And nothing screams local more than having some photos which seem real and helps user figure out whether he should be visiting your place. Therefore add a few images from your shop or store, and make it enticing for the customer to visit your store.
12. Have NAP consistency
NAP is an acronym for Name, Address and Phone Number, although looking at the amount of importance it holds for a Local SEO business, it should perhaps be renamed as No Amount Possible without this.
My streak of bad jokes aside, this is perhaps the most important detail that should be present across every directory or listing where you enter your details. And the below mentioned things are what you should keep in mind when it comes to NAP details:
Name of the business should be correct across all listings
Address with Zip code. Keep in mind that special characters might not be allowed on certain listings, which might be detrimental in your rankings
Phone number with extension should be mentioned across all listings
Your domain email address should be the one mentioned across all listings, as well as your website, unless you are a very small team/individual
Do not use 800 numbers in your listings
The category in directories should be proper and should be kept as consistent as possible
Conduct Local SEO Audit every month to check whether there are any issues
Google “your business name + BBB.” to check the inconsistencies of the details for your business listed across various directories
Include Schema.org local business markup
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”>
<p itemprop=”name”>COMPANY NAME</p>
<p itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<p itemprop=”streetAddress”>ADDRESS LINE 1</p>
<p itemprop=”telephone”>PHONE NUMBER</p>
<meta itemprop=”latitude” content=”LATITUDE” />
<meta itemprop=”longitude” content=”LONGITUDE” />
Include the things that the customers want to know from a business stand point. The following image helps you with an idea on what the customer is looking for in Local SEO.
13. Add a good number of backlinks to the top page
Even though it is one of the oldest SEO techniques, it is still one of the most powerful ways to rank on any search engine, especially Google. The only thing you need to keep in mind is not get backlinks from non-reputable websites. When it comes to acquiring backlinks, keep the Triple P rule in mind, and do not confuse it with Triple H. The Triple P here stands for Poker, Pills and Porn, and any website belonging to any of these categories should be stayed away from.
14. Have a button or text with direction to the store
Simply having a google map embedded might not resolve all your queries. For all the non-smart phone users, as well as those who might be facing internet connectivity issues, you need to have a set of directions in plain text, with landmarks near to your place in order to help them reach you faster in case of ease of travel on their part.
15. Embed a Google map of your location
A decent number of users these days browse for services or products, especially in the food and beverage industry via their smart phone. Therefore, it is a good idea to include a google map which enables the user to check the distance between you and him, in order to enable him with a better understanding of the time it might take for you to deliver on his needs.
I now think you are ready to go out in the world, and crush your local competition into oblivion. In case you have any doubts, you can drop in a comment below, and someone from our team would reach out to you as soon as possible.
Good luck and May the Force be with you!