Do Local Citations Matter? Tips for Boosting Your Local SEO

Today, it is essential to know what you’re doing on the web. This means that it’s also essential to know the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) for our business. However, not everyone can be a computer savant, which means that not everyone is up to date with common SEO practices.

It becomes even more complicated when faced with the task of local SEO (basically just regular SEO, but focusing on the “where” of your business alongside the “what”). Frankly, it may be easier to just hire a local SEO company to do the grunt work for you.

Either way, you should be aware of the basics, so you know what to look for. Check out these tips for boosting your local SEO:

Set up a ‘Google My Business’ listing

Considering that Google is the most popular search engine out there, claiming a Google My Business listing is the ideal first step. Plus, this service is free (it’s operated by Google itself) and will give your business an edge on Google searches.

In the listing, you should be including keywords in the title and choosing the most relevant category (both will make it easier to be found online). Note that while Google may be the most relevant place to be listed, consider other local directories as well, like Yelp or white pages.

Bonus tip: you should also always make sure the name, address, phone number, (commonly referred to as our business’s NAP), and business hours are up to date on all platforms. Any of these things being incorrect can really sway customer opinion when they search for your business.

Manage and respond to reviews

Positive reviews from customers will improve your rankings on Google, but it’s important to keep track of your negative reviews as well. Taking care of negative reviews makes it more likely that you’ll get more positive reviews in the future. This will get that ranking up.

The proof? According to review trackers, 63.6 percent of consumers check Google reviews before visiting a business, and 53 percent expect the business to respond to a negative review within a week.

Pay attention to links

Linking to relevant content with locally relevant keywords (should be used as the anchor text) helps draw traffic to your site. These links allow you to get your NAP out there. Also, try getting other local sites to link to you as well. For example, local media sources (local papers, local blogs, local shows, etc.) or other local businesses that is open to linking your site on their page.

Also, be sure to optimize your site for “near me” searches — for example, searches like “your product + near me”. Failing to do this results in missing out on a lot of local business.

Prepare for voice search optimization

With the booming success of Siri and now Alexa, more and more people are searching the web by talking to their devices. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that your SEO is ready for this type of interaction.

The best way to prepare for this it to create lists of natural language around your business (again, remember the “near me” searches) and remember conversational keywords. The Search Engine Journal predicts that by 2020, up to 50 percent of online searching will be done by voice. This emphasizes the need to be voice search optimized.

Social media is a must, but also consider a blog

Today, everyone is on Facebook. In fact, Facebook is currently the most popular social media platform on the web (perhaps especially for business). This makes it vital that your business has its own Facebook page, which will also help boost your local SEO.

Blogging can also help you connect with your audience in a way that both promotes your business and boosts your rankings in search engines. Customers that read your business’ blog are 97 percent more likely to click on your website, driving up traffic and boosting your SEO even further.

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