Getting the top spots in SERPs for local keywords is a daunting task for many business owners. Luckily, SEO can be an immensely powerful tool for local businesses. Creating content for specific areas, localized backlinks and keyword optimization can do wonders for local SERPs. Here’s your ultimate local SEO checklist with everything you have to know about the best practices:
1. Titles and meta tags are your best friends
Titles, meta descriptions and tags are the first things your customers and search engines come across when checking out your content. Obviously, it’s critical to get them right. Here is where you can include small catchphrases or details about your location and your area of specialty. Think about adding something like “best HVAC in Tampa” in some of your descriptions. Take advantage of this “free” advertising space as much as possible and make it visible for everyone.
2. Focus on directories
Contrary to popular opinion, directories are not dead. They are up and alive and can be a great way to advertise your local business. Google will love it and will appreciate your efforts. Go on directories like Yelp, Citysearch or Merchant Circle and make your website public. Similarly, try to contact your local Chamber of Commerce or newspaper. Get your business everywhere, and Google will take notice in no time.
3. Google My Business
This is the best local SEO tool coming from Google itself. It’s easy to use, it’s free and you can’t go wrong with it. Claim your page as soon as possible and add any contact details, business hours and any other information your users might find helpful. There is a verification process, but it takes only a few minutes to complete. Add photos, categories and product descriptions to complete your profile.
4. Pay attention to reviews
Reviews coming from previous customers are super important when it comes to SEO. Most of them will be localized, as customers from your area will generally review your business. What’s more, people trust reviews, and Google knows it. Having a dozen of great reviews will let Google know your business is good and people love it. It will also localize your business to a set geographical area, as people will check in. Try to create a business account on major review websites and always monitor what your customers have to say.
5. Use a local structured data markup
Also known as schema markup, this tool can bring further information about your business to search engines. This means that your business will better localized and the search engines will be able to give better, more reliable localized search results. Google loves websites who use local structured data markup and gives you plenty of tools to check its implementation. What’s more, schema markup is not used by most marketers (only 31 percent of websites use it*), so your website will certainly stand out among the competition.