by Elaine Bennett
Local SEO has been gaining importance and value among entrepreneurial circles in recent years, and as any experienced #girlboss will surely tell you, local SEO is one of the best ways to position your brand as the leader in your market. Think about it, how else are you going to rank your business high in the local SERPs, and most importantly, set your brand apart from all of the competitors in your niche if you don’t optimize your digital presence specifically for local search? You can’t, so let’s get to it.
Today, we’ll be looking at some of the most effective ways to build your online reputation and elevate your standing, all the while setting your business up for future success. Here’s what you need to do.
Register on GMB
Let’s start with the basics. Claiming your business on Google My Business is the first step towards verifying your existence online and telling the popular search engine that it can list you for local searches. While you’re at it, be sure to set up your information on Bing Places for Business as well – hey, you never know, someone has to be using it, so why lose out on some free exposure? These platforms are completely free and can give you some much needed exposure in local listings, plus, it’s easy to set up in a matter of minutes.
With that in mind, you could also find out that your business already exists on these platforms. In that case, be sure to claim your company in order to control the information displayed in local searches. You will need to pass the verification process to do this, but doing all of this will be well worth the effort. Be sure to fill out all of the relevant fields during the set-up process in order to give all potential customers the information needed to build brand trust and awareness.
Gather 1st party and 3rd party reviews
User-generated content is extremely important nowadays, especially when it comes to building brand trust and authority in the competitive marketplace. When it comes to ranking higher in the local SERPs, though, gathering as many positive reviews becomes imperative. It’s only logical – Google and other search engines will prioritize local businesses that boast positive track record and enjoy a strong rapport with their audience.
This is an essential part of the brand-building process overall, and will help you boost your exposure while at the same time improving the quality of lead generation for your business. However, there is a difference between 1st party and 3rd party reviews, and you need both to maximize exposure. The former is the type of review you publish on your own website – this is your content. The latter is the type of review other people post on third-party platforms (such as Google Reviews) – you don’t own or control this content. Use both to your advantage.
Optimize content for the search engines
So, you’ve probably heard a thousand times by now that content is king in the online world. Well, the timeless cliché is very much true, and it becomes even more important when you’re trying to boost your brand’s reputation, recognition, and awareness in the local SERPs. The key to making your content SEO friendly is to use relevant local and general keywords that the search engine crawlers can pick up on and sort according to the most relevant search queries.
Now, you not only need to dish out new content on a regular basis, but you should also go back to your existing content and tweak it for local SEO. Don’t do this manually, because a good DIY SEO tool can crawl your website for you to discover problems with your content and site in general, and suggest the most effective solutions in terms of performance and keyword integration. Plus, it can spot any broken links within your content that can affect your ranking, so use it to your advantage.
Boost site speed, responsiveness, and UX
Website design and development are not specific to local search engine optimization per se, but they are still essential to the whole concept of higher ranking in the local and general SERPs, so let’s dig a bit deeper into these essentials of a successful business. First up, be sure to boost your site’s speed (loading times) in order to appeal to the search engines and online audiences alike. Your site needs to be responsive and easy to navigate in order to enable a seamless browsing experience.
Speaking of experience, make sure that your site has a clear-cut structure that guides the user, and don’t forget to put a site map at the bottom of every page – search engines love those. And finally, do make your website easy to browse through on all devices, mobile included.
Tend to some organic backlinking
And finally, start building a strong backlink portfolio. Guest blogging is one of the best ways to earn quality backlinks to your site, which will in turn spread some of the SEO juice from other authority websites in your niche to your own online presence. So be sure to write some amazing articles, sprinkle relevant local and general keywords in, and ask the admin of the site to give you a shoutout in the form of a do-follow link to your website.
Yes, it’s important that your business appears on the first page of Google when people search the terms relevant to your industry and niche. However, if you’re looking to boost your brand’s reputation locally, be sure to integrate these tactics into your SEO strategy as soon as possible.