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Local SEO. Getting the Basics Right.

Local SEO: The Basics.
Local SEO isn’t like regular SEO search engine optimization. Local search results change more often that you may imagine and careful planning can make all the difference in the world.

Now, more than ever Local SEO needs to be consciously integrated into a company’s digital marketing plan. As search has moved from the desktop to tablets and smartphones, the importance of being visible in mobile search has skyrocketed. It’s no longer an option. It’s a necessity of business.

“Google” almost any product or service you can imagine and you can see immediately that the focus is virtually entirely local. Not only that, but a majority of the first page search results are dedicated to review and other local “directory” style listings such as Yelp, Google My Places, YellowPages, Foursquare, and the list goes on. While traditional SEO campaigns are as important as ever, careful attention to “Local SEO” in a mobile context is just as important.

Mobile Search and Customer Expectations

Google My Business and Beyond
Step One: Claim your Google My Business page and get it up to date. Not only does it immediately create your business presence in Google search results, but it also helps Google to better understand your website and business. And the more Google knows about you, the better. It also gives users ability to write a review about your business and we all know how important reviews are in the digital economy.

Wondering how to get reviews? Just ask your existing customers. Many of them will be happy to let people know how great you are. Post a sign on your front sales counter. Put a QR code on the table or menu allowing them to scan and review. Have your service personnel ask for reviews at checkout. Place a kiosk in the lobby for them to leave a review. Sometimes, all people need is a little encouragement.

Step Two. Claim your Yelp listing and fill it out completely. Information, business hours, products and services, and above all pictures, pictures, pictures. The internet is a visual medium, after all.

Step Three. If you are heavily involved in B2B commerce, and even if you’re not, don’t forget LinkedIn. LinkedIn can be an amazing place to garner new business and give Google and Bing clues with which to deliver meaningful search results

Someone once said that effective search engine optimization isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. You have to keep watching, creating, engaging with visitors and potential customers (Wash, Rinse, Repeat). But the first step to effective Local SEO is claiming and maintaining your local listings. A famous politician once said, “All politics is local.” So is search engine optimization and visibility.

Related: The Decline of Desktop Search

Here are five simple rules to increasing traffic to your website or blog:

1. Get Social
There’re all kinds of social media networks out there: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, YouTube, the list goes on and on. The more quality posts you create and share, the more likely you are to attract the kinds of people (and customers) you’re looking for. Be sure to use hashtags to help your content be found. We’ll discuss hashtags in another post.

2. Write really good content.
What you write about is important to you and to your audience. Always strive to give something of value to your audience. You don’t want to read boring, rehashed stuff and neither do they. They came to you for information. Give it to them. Inspire people with what inspires you and gives you the passion to get out of bed each morning.

3. Links. Links. Links.
Regardless of which social network you happen to be on, be sure to include your website URL (address). Basically, it boils down to “the more inbound links to your website the better.” A word of caution: be conscious about where you are getting those links. Low quality links can be bad news when it comes to Google ranking your pages in search results.

4. Don’t stuff your content full of keywords.
Keyword stuffing is a Google no-no, and you’ll get your wrists slapped and your website demoted for it. Keep it natural and you’ll be better off in the long run (and so will your website traffic).

5. Video is hot!
You don’t just have to write articles. You may not feel comfortable doing that a lot. Not to worry. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Between YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, not to mention your own website blog, there’s plenty to share along with your written words. Mix it up with relevant, well crafted videos and pictures to keep your audience engaged and more likely to share your content and your message.