Are you new to the concept of local SEO? Looking where to start? Here are some important tips to start your local SEO campaign and dominate the local search results.
As we all know, Google search engine result page is dominated with three Google pack, top to organic search results. It is important for every business to have strong local presence. When comes to local SEO, its more important than the SEO, paid promotion and social media marketing.
Nowadays, local competition keeps on increasing. If you are not at the top of the rankings, it’s hard to drive potential traffic leads to your business.
Here are 5 local SEO 2017 ideas that help your business to rank higher in Google Local Pack.
- Google My Business: List and Verify Your Business
Google My Business (GMB) is considered as Google Map citation for business. Here, you can create profile for your business with Name, Address and Phone Number.
To get started, it is important for local business to create and claim their Google My business and Bings Places page. Businesses can claim their profile for free and dominate the Google local 3 pack with proper optimization techniques.
Creating Profile on Google My Business:
To create and claim Google My Business page, please www.google.com/business. Then, click Start Now. Here, you need to fill the application with correct business address.
It ask important details like
- Business Name
- Street Address
- Pin code
- Phone Number
- Business Category
- Delivery option (Yes/No)
If the location is not recognized by the Google, you can use marker option to point the location.
Then, click ok. Upon successful completion, you need to agree “I am Authorized person to manage this Business”, then click ok.
Then, Google will send post card with verification code to your address.
Verification process is mandatory, because Google wants to confirm that your business is genuine, your business is active in given location and make sure you are authorized person to manage the business. If you are a Digital Marketing Agency, you can get access to manage the page from the respective business owner.
Next step is to optimize your Google my business page with operating hours, profile image, cover image, website address, description, operating hours, business photos, etc. Make sure your business profile optimization score hit 100%.
Verifying the page:
Once creating the profile, Google will send post card with verification within 12 days of time (Purely based on your geographical location). Once receiving, you need to login into your Google my business page, click verify option at the top. Then enter the code and get verified.
On successful verification, you profile will display “published symbol”.
Google My Business Page offer complete insights about the page that includes number of views, clicks and engagement. Keep on updating your business profile to stay connected with your customers.
Business with Multiple Service Areas:
Businesses with operations in several areas can make use of add location option in Google My Business page. Here, you need to create new profile for the location (new service areas). The creation and verification process remain the same.
Create Business Profile on Bing Places:
To create business profile on Bing places, visit https://www.bingplaces.com/. Then click get started. Then click, create new business. You will be redirected to login page, use Microsoft Login details to get logged in.
You need to update the form with correct business details
- Business Name
- Add Website
- Street Address
- Pin code
- Phone Number
- Business Category
- Add Facebook & Twitter Business Page
- Update photos
Once completing, Bing will send post card containing the verification code. You need to verify your business by entering the code.
- Optimizing Title and Meta Description:
Title and description will be displayed on the search engine result page. It also called as identity of business. You need to write catchy, descriptive and search engine friendly title and Meta description to your business.
- Recently, Google update its main search result area to 600px.
- Acceptable title length is 55 to 60 characters
- Acceptable Meta description length is 155 to 200 characters.
By taking these into count, we need to use this space wisely.
Tips on writing effective Title and Meta Description:
- Use the given space wisely. Don’t waste the space using unwanted characters
- To promote local business, you can add business areas in the title tags (ex. Car Service New York)
- Optimize your website content with keywords widely. Don’t fall prey to Google Panda, by using unethical practice like keyword stuffing and over optimization.
You can take advantage of SEOmofo or Yoast’s SEO Plugin to preview your title and description length.
Businesses offering their service in several areas can consider creating pages for each location to dominate the local search rankings.
For example, if you are running a business in two locations with main branch in Chennai and other in Pondicherry. You need to create separate page for Pondicherry with location centric titles and Meta description.
- Make use of Online Citation and Directories:
Based on a survey, about 4 out 5 consumers use search engines to find their desired products and services. Business without strong local presence, may leads to miss the opportunity hugely.
Business owners need to make use of various online directories and citation sites to get your business listed. You need to add your business in all available local directories and classifieds submission sites. You can check with newspaper and various online resources to find online directories that are centric to your location.
Online directories reputation and visibility depends based on the country and location. For instance
- Yelp – United States and UK
- True Local – Australia
- Yellow Pages
While adding your business pages in online directories, you need to be very consistent with NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number). If the information is not consistent, search engine does not give more priority to your business.
- Online Reviews Counts:
Based on a recent survey, 84% of customers trust online reviews and they take it into consideration when buying a product or service. If asked, 7 out 10 consumers are ready to review your business.
Nowadays, business started to realize the importance of customer reviews when comes to build trust among the new consumers. Strong online review and credibility is important for every business to stay ahead than their competitors. You can make use of various social media platforms and online directories to review your business.
- Facebook Reviews
- Google MY Business
- Business Places Reviews
- Reputation Loop
- Give Five Stars
When comes to India, you can have various online directories like Justdial, Sulekha, Crunch Base, etc…
Google Also suggest that “Business with high number of positive reviews from customers will have more visibility”. These factor is also important to have higher rankings in Google Local 3-Pack.
- Make use of Local Structured Data Markup
Structured Data Markup – called as Schema.org, Schema markup, Micro data markup. This piece of code is added into your website code with detailed information about your products and service.
According to Google, only 30% of website are using structured markup. To dominate the local business rankings, you need to add the structured markup data across your website.
Search Engine recommends using structured data markup, as it helps search engine robots to determine about your website.
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness"> <h1><span itemprop="name">Beachwalk Beachwear & Giftware</span></h1> <span itemprop="description"> A superb collection of fine gifts and clothing to accent your stay in Mexico Beach.</span> <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress"> <span itemprop="streetAddress">3102 Highway 98</span> <span itemprop="addressLocality">Mexico Beach</span>, <span itemprop="addressRegion">FL</span> </div> Phone: <span itemprop="telephone">850-648-4200</span> </div><div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Place"> <h1>What is the latitude and longitude of the <span itemprop="name">Empire State Building</span> </h1> Answer: <div itemprop="geo" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/GeoCoordinates"> Latitude: 40 deg 44 min 54.36 sec N Longitude: 73 deg 59 min 8.5 dec W <meta itemprop="latitude" content="40.75" /> <meta itemprop="longitude" content="73.98" /> </div> </div>
You can make use of structured data testing tool to validate the markup code.
You can also make use of Data Highlighter option in Google Search Console to add Markup data. This tool allows you to add markup data with few mouse clicks.
Make use of these 5 local SEO 2017 ideas to dominate the local SEO results. Happy Beginning.