Are you a small business owner or webmaster hoping to improve your local business' web presence? Local search engine optimization (SEO) can be a daunting undertaking, particularly if you're not sure where to start. Don't worry, we've got you covered. Here we'll outline some basic do's (and don'ts) for local SEO that will help you to hit the ground running.
In this post, we'll cover:
- Checking for consistency across a variety of major search indices
- Making sure that your business location, review, and image information are all accurate
- Back-end techniques to improve search engine result page (SERP) ranking for your business
- Checking for (and removing) duplicate listings from online directories
Consistency is key
The first step to any local business' search engine optimization efforts should be auditing your online presence. There are a few great paid tools (such as Moz Local) to help you do this, or you can save a bit of money and try to do it yourself.
Your goal here is to make sure that your business' vital
information is accurate and consistent all across the web. In particular, you'll want to make sure that the
name, address, phone number, and website (or "NAP+W") for your business is consistent.
It should also go without saying that, if you haven't done so already, you should claim your business online. This can be a relatively painless task, but it can take up to several weeks to complete the process, so get started now!
Make sure that you are you
Have you ever tried looking up your business online only to find a different (but similarly named) listing pop up? Maybe you Googled your business and saw an incorrect (or maybe even upsetting) image in Google's Knowledge Graph for your listing.
Make sure that any details about your business online are correct.
This extends beyond your mere NAP+W to things like making sure your address is reflected correctly in map apps (you don't want your customers getting lost!), checking the images associated with your business, and making sure that online reviews accurately reflect your business (you don't want to be getting someone elses' bad reviews!).
Do a bit of programming
Just because you're not a webmaster doesn't mean that you can't do some simple back-end work to improve your business' web presence. Optimizing your business' website using markup code will likely improve your SERP ranking. We've even written a handy guide to get you started!
Using markup code is easy (even if you're not a programmer) and highly effective. Markup lets search engines know more about your business (from the services and products that you offer, to your business hours, to what kind of categories your business fits into), which is always a good thing!
Get rid of duplicate listings
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but one of the most effective ways to improve your business' online presence is to get rid of duplicate listings. This includes (but isn't limited to) finding and removing duplicates from Google Maps, Bing Places, and sites like Facebook and Yelp. A potential customer that wants to find out more about your business (or maybe even do some online shopping) will lose interest quickly if they can't find the correct information for your business.
Getting started with local optimization can seem like a headache, especially when there are so many different hats that small business owners need to wear. Fortunately, we've outlined some great starting points that will show you the importance of web optimization.