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How to Master Local SEO

If you’re a business that needs to meet clients in person to perform your service, or a local retailer or restaurant, the world of SEO may seem like it’s not as much of a concern for you as it is for larger or online businesses. After all, you’ve survived - and possibly thrived - thus far on word of mouth and foot traffic. Why should you bother with search engine optimization?

Let me rephrase that question: do you want more money?

For local businesses, investing in search engine optimization can actually be more effective than for national or online only businesses. Why is that? Well, for the simple fact that you’re only competing against similar businesses in your area. You don’t care about the competitor in the next town or city over. That means that by putting in a small amount of effort, you’ll yield huge returns on investment.

If you want to show up at the top of the results for “plumber,” “pizza,” “psychologist,” or otherwise for your immediate location, and attract all of the residents that are not already fiercely loyal to a competitor, then this handy guide is for you:

Have A Great Website

Depending on your industry, having a functional, user friendly website may make a huge difference in itself. Take a look at your competitors’ sites and notice what they have in common. If you notice most of them are outdated and only semi-functional, you know that investing in a site will be a huge help. If most of your competitors don’t even have a website, then this will likely send you to the front page of Google by itself.

How do you know if you have a user friendly website? Take some time to think about why a person would visit your website - what are they looking for? A great rule of thumb is to make sure that your contact information and services or menu are highly visible and easy to find. Ideally, you’ll put this information on the first page.

Next, put your logo up, and write a bit about your company so that customers can get an idea of what kind of experience they’re going to have. This is the first content you’ll be putting up, so take your time and proof read it.

Now that you have a site and your core information is displayed, make sure that your design is memorable but also legible. Pick an easy to read font, and lean towards simplicity for design, regardless of what experience, service or product you sell. Even if you’re a fireworks company.

Get Reviews

Reviews have an incredible impact in your local SEO. They serve as both fresh content for your website - which helps with ranking - as well as act as a sort of inbound link by Google’s (albeit still mysterious) ranking algorithm. Whether or not you consider it a “bonus” that 88% of consumers consider reviews as important as personal recommendations is up to you, but we think it’s a bit of an understatement.

Claim Your Listings

This may be the easiest task of all, but also the most time consuming. Go through your listings on Google Maps/Places, Swarm, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, Google+ (yes that’s still a thing) and any other site, and claim them. This may involve calling or filling out forms, but it’s 100% worth it.

Here’s an insider tip that will save you some time - put your information into Moz’s Local Listings finder, and it’ll pop out with a handy to-do list. Don’t skip any!

Get Social

That’s right, social media. Whether you have a love/hate or hate/hate relationship with it, as a business owner, it’s time to log in and show your public some love. Make a schedule for posting that’s consistent, express your brand’s personality (stay PG 13 though), and be entertaining as well as informative. If you aren’t sure how to master social media just yet, or what you should post, check out your competitors, both locally and nationally. See what types of social media activity gets them the most news, the most likes and the most attention, and copy it.

Lastly, always know that it’s okay to ask for help! Calling in a professional if you’re unsure is a wise investment in your business. Just as you wouldn’t replace the wiring in your home unless you knew what you were doing, don’t feel pressured to run the marketing for your company if you’re feeling unsteady. Reach out anytime - we’re here to help! EndFragment

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