2016 is the year of Local SEO

That is the bold prediction of industry observers who gazed into a crystal ball, and saw that consumers are growing accustomed to mobile payment platforms like Google Wallet and Apple Pay. The increasing popularity of these and other payment systems, according to these digital seers, means that the search engine giant Google will double down its investment in Local SEO.

“Google has definitively embraced the notion that localized searches convert at higher rates,” said Brian Smith, the director of local solutions at Placeable. “Therefore, large brands must ensure that their location data is accurate and can be found where consumers conduct local searches.”

In other words, Local SEO is more important than ever before.

Local SEO Has Enormous Potential

The trend in Local SEO illustrates how far Internet searches have come. In the beginning, there was Archie: generally considered to be the world’s first search engine. Archie was launched in 1990, at the dawn of the modern Internet age, and by present standards was primitive, indeed.

Other early search engines quickly followed. Alongside their development came the digital marketers, who recognized the enormous potential of web-based commerce and sought ways to manipulate search engine results. They learned keyword stuffing and excessive tagging. By the mid- to late-1990s Yahoo and Google emerged, and improved on Internet searching. They also began to define and level the playing field with the rules and regulations we have today.

Optimizing Search Engines

Today, seeking information on the Internet is common to any cyber experience, and Google is so dominant that its very name is synonymous with searching. The field of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, has seen tremendous growth; it has been reported that nearly one million people on LinkedIn have “SEO” in their job title.

Small businesses, especially those with a brick-and-mortar presence, increasingly rely on local SEO. “Any business that gets some or all of its customers or clients locally should consider local SEO,” said Sam McRoberts, the Chief Executive Officer at Vudu Marketing, an Internet marketing firm. “If you have a physical address in a city and expect people to go there, you should be doing local SEO for that location.”

Local SEO is SEO that targets local results in Google and other search engines. It has much in common with ordinary SEO: the same on-page factors, social indexing and links. But there are additional features that set it apart:

A local profile on Google.
A citation
Reviews

Let’s take a look at each.

  1. Local profile – Creating a local profile on Google is probably the most important feature. When someone searches for a business, Google finds its local listing.
  2. Citations – A citation involves a business name, address and phone number, usually shortened to the acronym NAP. Search engines find the NAP wherever it appears online, so it’s important to be consistent with it. A street address must always appear as, for example, 100 Main Street.  If this example were to appear as 100 Main St. on a business homepage and 100 Main Street on Facebook, Google may not find each instance. There are different ways to get local citations, such as using a service like WhiteSpark, or a tool like Majestic to run some competitive link research.
  3. Reviews – What can we say about reviews?  Good reviews are good for business, and you want as many as you can possibly get. Positive reviews on your Google Places page, and lots of them, are critical factors in Local SEO rankings. Strategies for encouraging positive online reviews include making yourself visible on sites like Yelp. Negative reviews are inevitable, so remember to respond constructively, if you respond at all.

Google Maps

Get your business to show up on Google Maps. That way, potential customers can easily find your location and contact information. That contact information is important, because people might know about your business but not have the address or phone number.

For the most effective Local SEO, include the address of your business (in Schema.org format), along with the phone number, throughout your business website: not only on the Contact page, but in the header or footer of each page on the site.

Additionally, the business address should also appear in the title tag in your website’s HTML markup. According to the inbound marketing company Moz.com, the city and state in your site’s page title is among the most important things you can do for Local SEO.

Mobile-Friendly

In addition to all of the preceding, it is more important than ever before that your business website be mobile-friendly. Google Search has expanded its mobile device-friendliness as a ranking signal. Since doing so, users have been getting better search results on their smart phones and tablets.

…It is more important than ever before that your business website be mobile-friendly.

And this cannot be emphasized enough: the use of mobile devices continues to rise, and is surpassing traditional desktop computers in terms of time spent on screen. An astonishing eighty percent of all Internet users own a smartphone. Local businesses that are unable to reach their target audience through mobile devices are going to fall behind their competition.

Embracing Local SEO Will Go A Long Way Toward Helping Your Business Rank

All of this points to that bold prediction that we are in the year of local marketing. The trend is likely to continue, so embracing local SEO will go a long way toward helping your business rank high in the search engines. It not only improves your company’s bottom line, but can be a critical component of your reputation management strategy.

Google has always shown respect for small businesses, and Local SEO helps them raise their online profiles and stay competitive

 

We found this article on Visibility Magazine.com and wanted to share it with your. If you would like to read more from Visibility Magazine, click the link below.

 

Marketing your Business Online is not one thing or another. It is a balanced approach of all things digital. Like Local Offline advertising, it is a sum of all your efforts. And One effort should create a domino effect designed to improve your business to public interaction and ultimately your profit margin.

 

seo marketing, SEO Marketing Lacombe,SEO Marketing Red Deer

Here is a great article from James Hickey – an internet marketing expert. With a list of Ten Strategies that are worth establishing as a routine practice to market your business.

Top 10 Strategies For Local Business Marketing. Many Business Owners and Entrepreneurs struggle with SEO and Search Marketing.

Here are Tried, Tested and True Strategies For Local Business Marketing

1. Develop an Search and SEO marketing plan first. Performing keyword research, reverse engineering competitor’s SEO, and determining the right link building and SEO tactics are important to do upfront. Make sure your website’s design and content are structured to perform well in search engines.

2. Install and use website analytics programs to drive website marketing decisions. Analytics programs tell you how people found your site, if they are staying on your website, where they are coming from, what content they are viewing, if they are taking desired actions etc. If your website is under performing, the information available in your analytics can help explain why.

3. Content quality and context are key areas to focus. Website content should be unique and it should be high-quality. Content should not be scraped or derivative (source: Matt Cutts, Google). Search will increasingly look at semantics and the intent of the searcher. Keyword integration alone will not be as effective. “Content consumed on a mobile device should be optimized for that channel. Understand how your audience is going to use and view that content and then build the right experience around that concept.”

4. Geo-targeting and local search will remain essential for local businesses. All local businesses that are targeting a geographic area should make sure they pursue local SEO tactics, such as optimizing map listings, adding Citations (local listings and directories), and ensuring their website is optimized for local search to name a few.

Make sure your website is “right” first

5. Make sure your marketing message is clear to your customers. Equally important are your Call-To-Actions (CTAs), where you ask a visitor to take a specific action that moves them down your conversion funnel. Strong content directly impacts the effectiveness of your SEO campaign. Make sure your website is “right” first.

Optimizing for Mobile IS Important

6. Mobile can be an important part of getting the edge over your competition. Whether it is your website, your Google PPC ads or your social content, chances are you could improve performance if you were mobile-friendly. Optimizing content for mobile devices is highly recommended.

Searchers Review Your Online Footprint And Go Elsewhere

7. Own your online reputation. Be proactive and make sure it is positive, professional, and accurate. If it is not, you may be missing out on potential web traffic from your SEO campaign as searchers review your online footprint and go elsewhere. Getting customers to post reviews, issuing news releases and making sure you dominate search engines like Google for searches on your company name are important.

8. Pursue link-building with caution. Especially since Google’s link penalty filter via the Penguin update, links should be from authoritative, credible websites. Spam links or purchased links are not advised, as they can lead to ranking penalties.

Craft A Social Media Content Plan

9. Choose your social media “outposts” carefully. According to a Content Marketing Institute study, the most successful business-to-business marketers were active on at least seven social media marketing or content channel networks. Seven social networks are often too many to manage for a small business. It’s important to carefully select the right ones where you will get the most return on your time invested. Craft a social media content plan that addresses how each social “outpost” will be used by your company.”

Make Sure Your Offline Customer Contact System Is READY To Handle Incoming Leads

10. Make sure your customer contact strategy is fine tuned. If SEO brings a horse to water, it’s up to your office to be able to close a deal, convert a phone call to an appointment or sale, and manage your internal sales process.

Originally Published here: SD Entrepreneur