There are a number of factors that you need to consider to ensure your company ranks well in local search results. To help you to cover the basics, we have prepared this essential local SEO checklist:
Local SEO Checklist
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can go and have a lie down for a couple of hours! Ensure that you have included your name, address and phone number (NAP) on your website. A phone number with a location specific area code (e.g. 0115 for Nottingham) is better than an 0800 number.
- Google My Business
Google My Business is an essential tool that helps you manage your online presence. It can help your business get found across Google, whether people are trying to find you using search, Maps or Plus. Register with Google My Business and set up your business and local pages. If you find that your business already has a page, you can claim it as your own. In any case, you will have to go through a verification process, but it’s worth the effort. You must ensure that your profile is 100% complete, that your NAP details match those on your website, and that you have listed your business under relevant categories.
- On-site optimisation
Start by registering your site with webmaster tools and Google Analytics. You then need to ensure that you optimise key elements of your pages for local keywords, such as the ALT tag on your logo and other images. City or service specific pages can also prove hugely beneficial. You can even go one step further and add the Google+ rel=publisher tag to your website, so that it tells Google where to find your Google+ and local page. This code highlights and promotes your website in search engine results pages (SERPs), creating the sort of rich snippets that result in higher click-through-rates (CTRs).
A citation is a mention of your business on another website or place on the internet, and can take a variety of forms. Whether they are local or industry specific, having your business listed in relevant, high quality directories tells Google where your business is located, and what you do. Quality is valued over quantity, and it is vital that your NAP details match those on your website and your Google business and local pages. As with Google My Business, you must ensure your listings are as complete as possible, and that you are listing your business under relevant categories. This lets the search engines know what industry you operate in.
Achieving a diverse review profile can help improve your rankings in SERPs. You can read more about the importance of reviews for local SEO here. Google loves user generated content, so think about how easy it for customers to leave reviews about your services. For example, if you are in the travel and hospitality industry, encourage customers to leave feedback about their great experience on TripAdvisor.
Schema is microdata that helps search engines read certain pages on your site better. It can be applied to certain elements of a website to define the content. Schema markup can help search engines differentiate between places, people, organisations, events and reviews. It is a great tool for showcasing your reviews and testimonials, and it can really help your website to stand out from your competitors in SERPs.
There are many benefits of having a strong local SEO strategy. Increased visibility in local search results leads to increased brand awareness, and local SEO as a whole can be less costly and competitive than national or international SEO. Through implementing the steps highlighted in this local SEO checklist, you will be on the road to local SEO success.