1. Optimize for Google My Business.
Google My Business has become the best place to start for local search — since Google understandably feels most comfortable sharing content it can support and verify, Google My Business is their tool to help your business meet Google’s needs. If Google can verify your business as authentic, the search engine could potentially reward your business with a coveted sidebar space in Google local search.
To ensure you’re optimized for Google My Business, you’ll want to create and verify a Google My Business page, use Google Posts within your account, encourage your customers to share reviews online, and respond authentically to reviews, specifying location. For example, “We appreciate your feedback on [product/service] in [city, state]. We value your input and look forward to working with you again. Thank you from the [full company name] team.”
If you need help setting up your Google My Business, we are here to help.
2. Improve your internal linking structure.
Although external links pointing to your site are ideal (which I’ll discuss soon), adjusting your internal linking structure will also boost your SEO rankings.
At Unbound we are strong advocates of internal linking and have seen some great results for sites by just improving on-page SEO, including improving internal linking.
Why does internal linking matter? It does the following:
- Supports website navigation
- Assists with information architecture and website hierarchy
- Distributes page authority and ranking power among pages
If you want to improve your internal linking structure but aren’t sure where to start, check out Kissmetrics’ The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking for Top-Notch SEO.
3. Good On Page SEO
When it comes to content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site, a new page on which to target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Every time you write a piece of content, you need to optimize the content for search engines by using high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body. If you’re having trouble coming up with geo-targeted content, consider highlighting customer success stories and case studies.
4. Location pages on your website.
If you have multiple physical locations, create location pages. Location pages provide readers with your name, address, phone number, store hours, unique store descriptions, parking/transit information, promotions, and testimonials from happy customers.
It’s also important you avoid duplicating content across multiple location pages. For single location businesses, create a locally descriptive About Us page. You’ll get big time bonus points if you add a Google Map to your website on your respective location page(s).
5. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.
Local search and mobile search go hand in hand (nine out of ten smartphone users conduct local searches on their devices!).
Some of the most common ways people will use your site in a mobile environment is to look up reviews, find directions to your location, and search for contact information.
Make it easy for your prospects and customers by making your site mobile-friendly.
6. Ensure your name, address, and phone number are consistent online.
You’ve got to make it easy for people and search engines to find you. To do this, set up your NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number (with area code). This should be included as crawlable HTML text on your site.
Avoid the common mistake of only including the NAP within an image — images can’t be crawled from search engines like HTML text. The most common location for the NAP is in the footer or header of the site.
7. Optimize online directories and citations.
Local directories provide a large amount of the map data for Apple, Yelp, Bing, Google, Trip Advisor, and more.
Consistency is key: verify that your citations are consistent and complete across these local directories.
Discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number or wrong phone number can be problematic.
If Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business at all in search results.
Additionally, be sure to remove any duplicate listings you find. Bonus points for emphasizing a Chambers of Commerce membership in your community, which will garner you an external inbound link.
8. Get inbound links with relevance and authority.
Inbound links are incredibly powerful opportunities to boost your local SEO — every inbound link tells Google you’re a legitimate company, and inbound links can also raise your domain authority. Here are a few ways to get inbound links:
- Sponsorships or Partnerships
- Guest Blog Posting
Start with your own personal network, which may include the Chamber of Commerce, business improvement districts, licensing bureaus, trade associations, resellers, vendors, and/or manufacturers and other affiliates.
Consider sponsoring a webinar or meet-up, hosting a community event, promoting something local you love, and building relationships with prominent people and influencers. Additionally, learn to feel comfortable reaching out to partners to see if they can feature you on their partner directory.
Also, being a guest blogger can help attract links. Talk to and about (positively, of course!) other people in your industry, and act as a resource provider for the community. If you’re an active participant in community conversations, the buzz around you grows in the form of inbound links, social media growth, and media coverage.
9. Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business.
Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before.
Now that you’ve carved out a beautiful Google My Business page, share the page on social media, further aligning social and search.