10 Tips for Successful Local SEO
Have you been frustrated by unsuccessful local SEO strategies in the past? Are you looking for approaches that are actually effective? These 10 tips are among strategies that will transform your SEO campaign and make 2015 the year of ultimate success.
On July 24 2014, Google released a local ranking system that brought a revolution to web rankings. Dubbed Pigeon, the algorithm modified how Google handles and interprets cues of location. It is therefore very important for you to understand the new trend. Consider the following tips:
- Avoid overusing keywords
If you thought filling your web page with as many keywords as possible is effective, forget that trend. You cannot fool Google. It is one of the most intuitive tools in the digital age.
Therefore, ensure your home page has real meaningful information, not text that is jumbled up carelessly. In fact, potential customers will hit the back button as soon as they realize that content is lacking or does not make sense.
Another out-dated tactic that you should eliminate is using long titles and subtitles in a website. The tactic may have worked before, but not now. In fact, Google and other search engines will instinctively truncate the words.
Instead, let your primary keyword be at the beginning of the title and the name of the business at the end. Otherwise, overusing keywords paints the picture of a desperate SEO campaign.
- Bank on local optimization
Since search engines look for meaningful metadata, it is important for you to place it appropriately. For example, let the name of your city or state run on the title tag. This is because it attracts visitor’s eyes faster than anything else.
Similarly, search engines know where the user is located and are bound to display relevant results first. In the same vein, include the name of your city, town or state somewhere on the subheadings.
However, this is not to say that the keyword phrase should be similar in all headings and subheadings. For example, if you are a family law firm in New York, use phrases such as ‘the best family law in New York, New York family lawyer, family lawyers in New York’, et cetera.
Generally, the keywords must not follow the same order throughout. Instead, spread them out logically in the sentences, headings and subheadings. Similarly, use local optimization keywords in your alternative text, content, image captions, and URLs.
- Master the art of meaningful links
It is important for prospective clients to be referred to you through external links. However, this tactic is only effective if the site linking prospects are reputable and respected. In fact, it is better to have a few high quality links than many second-hand ones.
Examples of respectable links would be instances where the media mentions your company and/or products. Similarly, opinion and editorial articles are high quality links.
That said; focus your campaign on having stories about your company published. When this happens, talk about it on social media and create a buzz around that publication.
- Optimize your website for mobile devices
A recent study conducted and released by GlobalWebIndex revealed that 80 percent of internet users have smartphones. In addition, these users spend close to two hours browsing the internet in an average day.
These statistics are a clear indication that your SEO efforts should focus on mobile devices now more than ever before. After all, the study sampled 170,000 people across 32 different cities of the world.
Invest in modern protocol and syntax. Next, stay updated with modern algorithm for mobile SEO and marketing. You can take advantage of popular free and paid tools such as the Google Webmaster Tool.
More importantly, let the search engine be aware that you want the URLs on your site to pop up on the results of a mobile device user. Alternatively, build an independent webpage for mobile devices and implement effective SEO approaches. After all, various research results indicate that mobile has surpassed desktop.
- Monitor, monitor, monitor
The statement that you should monitor your sites regularly sounds like a cliché. However, it is imperative to check the effectiveness of your local SEO optimization from various locations. Log in to your sites from the following locations:
- Cyber café
- Hotel with Wi-Fi connection
- Shopping mall
- School or institution
- Other public places
Checking your website and Facebook account from various locations enlightens you. While you learn the experiences of your potential customers, you will get intuitive insights to solving their challenges.
In addition, monitor your sites from various endpoints within a larger geographical area. Log in from different devices such as a PC, smartphone, iPad, etc.
- Keep up with social media trends
Local optimization can be effective with regular updates to social media platforms. Take advantage of free and paid networks such as:
In so doing, ensure that communication remains social. Even if you are a law firm representing suspected offenders, social media networks need to be lively and interesting.
For this reason, let the texts, images and videos be captivating and transformative. Otherwise, if the content is too serious and official, you run the risk of scaring away the new fun-loving type of clientele.
- 7. Exploit directories and forums
There are a number of free directories online that enlist local businesses. Take advantage of them this year. Even when you have to pay membership charges, doing so is sensible as they bring your business innumerable benefits.
Users searching a product will easily get it from these directories as search engines trust them. However, do not imagine that users will buy your services, ideas, or products if your website looks messy. After all, these directories will only refer clients to you if your house looks in order.
- Yahoo Local
- Yellow pages
- Encourage business reviews
Most search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo! depend on the opinions of end-users. These are actual people who have used your products and can give an honest opinion. Therefore, offer quality services and encourage your customers to comment on their experience.
Examples of honest business review sites include:
- Bing local
- City search
- Better Business Bureau
Whether a review is bad or good affects how potential customers view your site. For example, too many bad reviews will make new customers shy away. On the other hand, too many good reviews without a single negative one is too good to believe.
Most reviews allow the companies involved to comment on the opinions expressed therein. In this regard, ensure you react to sensitive issues raised. Do not give excuses for shoddy services.
Instead, clarify any misleading information about a certain business aspect and state the correct position clearly. At the same time, thank the users for expressing ideas, whether good or bad.
- Do not forget blogging
While it sounds obvious, blogging is an effective tool for boosting local SEO. This is because you write blogs about the availability of a certain product or service locally. At the same time, blogging discusses the experience that local end-users have.
If possible, start a blog dedicated to each geographical location. This makes your readers feel ‘special’ when they read articles and blogs about them, their neighborhoods and people they know.
Let people share their opinion at the bottom of the page. When replying to their comments, address them personally by mentioning their names and other identities. This personal communication establishes a healthy friendly relationship.
- Invest in secure encryption
At the end of 2014, Google announced a scheme that decreases the visibility of web pages with low value. Apart from overused keywords, the other indicator of a low value page according to Google is unsecure encryption.
As a rule, the search engine recognizes websites using the HTTPS protocol as secure. The biggest reason for this change is the fact that HTTPS is one of the most trusted methods of information transfer across various online platforms.
In fact, the protocol would become a ranking tool. This means that Google does not rank your site highly if it uses other protocols. The downside is the fact that it costs money to maintain it.
For example, you would have to be SSL certified for you to use HTTPS on your site. Another disadvantage is the tedious procedure of editing URLs into recognized algorithms.
Consider realigning your local SEO strategies to conform to the new rules of the game. Remember that anything that comes easily is bound to go away easily.
Therefore, it is better to spend resources on methodologies that work than keep useless age-old practices.
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