According to Google, over 46% of search queries have local intent. For small to medium sized local businesses, that means you want to optimize your presence to ensure you show up when people are looking for you. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, no need to worry! We are here to walk you through the process of getting up and running online, and we at Zee Creative can handle all of this for you, leaving you more time to work with customers and do what drives your business.
Local SEO Best Practices
In order to thrive online locally, a business must do three things: optimize their Google My Business listing, update their website to contain local information, and stay present on relevant channels across the web. This is the first step in Local Search Engine Optimization.
Google My Business
With Google reigning supreme out of the 3 main search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo!), Google My Business (GMB) has become the standard for local search. If your business has more than one physical location, you will want to create a location listing for each location and optimize individually.
Verify Your Listing
The first thing any business owner will want to do for local seo is claim their GMB listing and verify ownership. Verification can take anywhere from 3-5 business days depending on your validation method. Most commonly Google will “snail mail” a postcard with a 6-digit code, although sometimes you are able to get the verification code via phone call or text. Once your listing has been verified you can add additional users to help manage your account.
After you have verified your GMB, the next step is to optimize. To do so, begin by posting different types of media often, ensure your listed business hours are up to date, and respond to reviews within a timely manner (even negative reviews, should it happen). Photos should be large, clear, high quality images. When potential customers see your Google business listing, it will show a preview of your posts in the knowledge panel. Those posts are only shown on the Google My Business listing for 7 days, so it’s important to post frequently so customers know that you are actively engaged.
Download the GMB App
Google My Business has a mobile application available for download on iOS and Android. Using the app allows you to respond to messages from your customers directly, view your business on Google Search and Google Maps, as well as post on the go.
You can use the mobile application to:
- Update your business hours, location, contact information, and description
- Post statuses and pictures
- View search insights
- Interact directly with customers
You cannot use it to:
- Delete your GMB listing
- Change your profile settings
- Give ownership of the listing to another user
Update Your Website To Contain Localized Information
SEO is all about intent, and when search engines analyze a new query for local intent, it takes into account three core elements: proximity, relevance, and prominence. That is, how close are you to the user, how relevant your service is to the query or search, and how well you rank in reviews. To satisfy these needs, you will want to have a single location page for each physical location you serve clients. Pages should include physical address with city and state, business hours, and contact information. While building these pages it helps to include localized keywords in the URL of the page, the page title and included in the meta description.
Have A Presence On Relevant Channels
When it comes to local SEO, the type of links directing to your site matter. You may not have the bandwidth or desire to post on social networks, but because of their high domain authority, it behooves you to at the very least setup a profile and optimize it for search. Aside from standard search engines, Facebook and YouTube are increasing in popularity as a user’s preferred social search tool, so why wouldn’t you want to be where your potential customers are?
The Giants: Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, YouTube & LinkedIn
Even if you don’t post frequently, it is a great idea to claim your profile on the major social networks. To optimize your profile, choose a cover photo and save it in different ratios to fit perfectly on each channel. Upload your logo in square format, and post a single welcome post. If you do not plan on being active on that network, attach a link to your website, or the network you choose to use.
Facebook Business Location Pages
If you have multiple locations, you should create your business page as a brand, and add as many locations as needed. Facebook location pages can be setup to show posts made on behalf of the brand page, or posted to individually.
Always Keep Your Presence Up To Date
When it comes to any SEO, relevance is always key, so if you have a change in your business’ normal routine (closed on New Year’s Day?) be sure to update all your online listings to reflect the same. This includes your website. Posting content and creating links within your own website will help to establish you as a resource related to your business category.
If all of this sounds overwhelming, or you just don’t have the time, give Zee Creative a call or shoot us an email. With over 20 years of business experience, we have helped many companies big and small with their digital marketing needs and are happy to help you as well!