Local SEO beyond Google Maps

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Local SEO has numerous nuances and can’t be underestimated. If your company is providing local services, climbing to the top of search engine results is highly important for the success of your business.

Did you know that 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles?

Or that 89% of consumers search for local businesses at least once a week?

Even if your company is trying to settle in a small town’s niche, it’s bound to have competition. Attacking it from all fronts is the key to winning the game. Google Maps is far from the only place you should make your presence felt. Local SEO can help you shine from different angles.

In this article, you’ll learn about major steps to make your Local SEO efforts prominent.

1. Geo-Tag Your Images

Geo-tagging is an excellent way to bring clients to your website. By embedding metadata into a photo, you are increasing your chances of being found by the local clients. Search engines create a connection between your images and a certain location.

When a potential client searches for a service in your area (for example, Flower Shops in Boston, MA), if Boston’s coordinates are part of your image metadata, your page will appear on the search results.

2.Take Full Advantage of Online Directories

Even though being visible on Google Maps is bound to bring you some clients, this service is far from the only one you should be using. One of the best parts about online directories is their accessibility and low (or often no) cost.

The advertising potential of online listings is powerful. However, it may be tough to figure out which ones to use. Spending hours and even days listing your business on each and every platform could mean an inefficient use of your staff hours.

Figure out which platforms are the most attractive to your business. Take advantage of such major sources as:

  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • LinkedIn
  • White Pages
  • Yahoo Local
  • Show Me Local
  • Yellow Pages

Next, browse platforms that have a direct or at least high relevance to the company’s industry and location. Get listed in the highly appealing directories without wasting time on trying to become visible everywhere possible. The top two benefits of listing your company in niche directories are:

High-quality one-way link from a reputable niche directory is a huge step toward upping your position on the search engine results.

Listing your businesses in the same place as your competitors is an excellent way to be noticed. You are exposed to new clients every day even if they initially come to look at your competitors.

It’s usually a time-consuming and frustrating task to make local business listings. Entering information over and over again is a waste of effort. Several services exist to make the job easier. You fill out a form with your company information and get the service listed on top-quality platforms.

It’s vital to keep your company’s data updated on all the platforms it appears on. Meanwhile, you should carefully read reviews left there by clients and answer them timely. When people see that you pay special attention to feedback, they are more likely to choose your company over a competitor who doesn’t appear involved.Among customers that read reviews, 97% pay attention to the businesses’ response to them

3. List Your Service Area Business Properly

Listing your service area business properly is possible only when you understand that each directory requires a different approach. Let’s see what the top directories offer for the local SEO efforts:

Google My Business – select service area radius, enter cities served by your business, submit list of postal codes served by your business.

Facebook – list city and state in which your business operates. The directory will show a zoomed-out map.

Bling and Foresquare – list city and postal codes.

Yelp – enter six top cities served by your company. Any city within a 100-mile radius of the ones you listed will also appear as your service area.

Make sure to take full advantage of all the options offered by directories. Share detailed information.

4. Go the Extra Mile with Online Reviews

Acquiring a review from a client may be a challenge. But the more reviews you get, the more chances you have at attracting others. The power of word-of-the-mouth marketing is tough to underestimate. It has made its way over to the internet. People are looking for reviews to form an opinion about a company. It’s up to you to make these reviews available.

Make it easy for a client to leave a review. Send follow up emails with a one-click review form, set up stands (as they do in airports), have a special spot for reviews in your app, and the like. A client shouldn’t be looking for a place to leave a review. It should be right there for them. You can even create a form with information fields to make reviewing easier.

Make sure to thank each reviewer. This will encourage them to continue reviewing your products and services.

Once you get the much-needed review, make sure it’s available everywhere you can possibly post it. From the website to social media pages, it must be there for others to see.

Encourage clients to use keywords in their reviews. When sending out letters, asking for a review, you can use a few tricks. One of them is being intentionally non-descriptive in your request. Instead of asking to review the “flower bouquet”, write something similar to:

Kindly take a moment to review the products you recently purchased from our shop. Your opinion is very important to us.

Such a request is likely to push the client to write something similar to: “I loved the flower bouquet I purchased in this Boston store”. Rather than “I loved your products”.

Another way to encourage keyword-containing reviews is to ask direct questions:

  • What is the best part you liked about the product?
  • What can we do to improve your experience?
  • What would you tell other buyers about the product?

Don’t ask something too specific like “Did you enjoy your experience in the Boston shop”. All you’ll get is a “yes” or a “no”. Consider asking something “Could you tell us which one of our shops you visited today”? The answer is likely to be “I visited your Boston flower shop”. Bingo! The local keyword is in place.

5. Take the Time to Design Location Pages

For a local business, location pages need a careful approach. Besides keywords, you have to look at the following important factors:

Images – consider using images of your local area to help clients identify with your business. Interior photos are highly important for all companies, from flower shops to healthcare facilities. Make them so appealing that clients can’t resist visiting. Make exterior photos of logos and signs as well. They can help potential customers find your company. Don’t forget to optimize the metadata of each image

Content – write powerful content to describe the company on each of the location pages. It’s a great opportunity to use keywords, list services, and make proposals. Each location page content must be unique.

CTA – location pages should contain calls to actions (CTAs), such as “make an appointment”, “book now”, “call today”, etc.

Directions – these pages must contain detailed directions to find your company and an embedded map to make the search easier.

Loading speed – pay special attention to the loading speed of the location page. It must be as high as possible.

Each location page is a separate opportunity to market your company. Take full advantage of it.

6. Write High-Quality Content

Everyone in the marketing industry knows that content is king. You need to make sure the content you use on your website contains all the right keywords while offering highly valuable information to your clients.

Keep the customer’s problem in mind when writing the next article, be it a blog post or a service description. Clients visit your website to find a solution. Don’t overwhelm them with unnecessary details. Get straight to the point.

Your content should be designed to appeal to the local audience. It’s possible to talk about community life in the blog section, offer tips on spending holidays in your town, list places to visit, and more. As a local company, you have an excellent opportunity to build an online community on your website.

7. Work with Inbound Links

As we already know, word-of-mouth marketing is the power any local company must use. When another website recommends yours as a trustworthy source, your rating goes up. It doesn’t just work for the clients, it helps you get to the top pages of search engines.

That’s why it’s important to work on inbound linking. One of the best ways to do it is to offer high-quality content. You can also consider writing guest posts for other local websites or trade links with colleagues and competitors.

Share links to your content on social media. Make it easy to share them from your blog. Share, share, and share again. If your content and services are valuable, eventually other companies and people will start linking.

8. Don’t Forget about Analytics

No matter how excellent your local SEO efforts may seem, it’s hard to understand how well they work. That’s why you should use all available tools to analyze the way your campaign progresses.

It’s important to be realistic about the local SEO campaign’s results. You won’t see any magic two days after you start making an effort. By using analytical tools, you can see if you are going in the right direction. Some useful local SEO analytics services are:

  • Google Analytics - to analyze local SEO campaign
  • Synup - to analyze listings and NAP data
  • Ahrefs - to analyze backlinks
  • PageSpeed Insights - to analyze page loading speed

Local SEO: Conclusion

Local SEO isn’t an option. It’s a necessity. Without making your company visible for local clients, you are falling behind the competition. Search engine optimization can help you stay on top of your game by bringing virtual clients to your website and turning them into real visitors at your doorstep.

Google Maps is hardly the only place you should practice your visibility. Use the above tips to help your company grow and develop on the local scene.

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