Beginner's Guide to SEO
"Hey Google, I need a haircut"
If you’re a local business, there are plenty of extra steps you can take in order to get more exposure.
Guidelines for representing your local business on Google
If you are a local business there are even more tools in your SEO toolbelt for you to use to your advantage, from local directories to social media accounts, that can make a big impact.
Google My Business Page
One of the best tools for local businesses is a Google My Business listing. In order to qualify for a Google My Business page, you have to operate locally and have some type of contact with your customers.
We made a small guide on how exactly how to list, verify, and optimize your Google My Business listing.
Some basic principles you should follow when creating your page are very similar to what we’ve been talking about this entire guide:
- Be sure you are the one who has access to be creating and managing this page.
- The content you put on your page should be relevant and accurate.
And of course, things to avoid:
- Be misleading with the information on this page.
- Display low-quality or irrelevant information.
- Display offensive or inappropriate content.
- Create fake reviews.
- Keyword stuffing.
This is a lot of information we’ve already learned about Google, but it doesn’t hurt to quickly reiterate the importance.
Local search results
Here’s something we really haven’t touched on yet and is super important for local businesses! Search engines index information into a different drawer for local business listings and local SERPs are created slightly differently than general SERPs. Local search results usually look something like these:
- Pizza delivery near me
- Best vegan burgers in Milwaukee
*This is why creating Google My Business Listing is so important*
When it comes to these local search results, Google adds a couple of different factors to determine which pages it will rank high:
This isn’t a new term for us, but it’s meaning when it comes to local is a little different. How well does a local business match what the searcher is looking for, is one of the top things Google will be looking at when ranking pages with local searches.
When you conduct a local search on Google, they use your geo-location to make sure your SERP is the best it could possibly be. You’ll notice that if you do a search in one city for pizza delivery, it will be completely different in a different city – sometimes even if you include the city in your search.
Google rewards businesses that are well-known and loved in local communities. They use online factors to determine prominence, like these:
Reviews – These are like “local backlinks” in SEO terms. They’re not easy to get and might hold even more weight for local searches than backlinks.
Local Engagement – You can think about your Google My Business Listing as your local web page powerhouse. If people engage well with your listing, and like the content you have you will be rewarded – Much like your web pages on your web site.
Local information on your website
If you are a local business, be sure to include your address, phone number, and business location throughout your website. Depending on what your KPIs are, a lot of websites will plug this information on their header or footers.
There are plenty of plugins and widgets that allow you to add your Google My Business Listing straight to your web pages too.
Another way to reach out to your local community is by utilizing social media. Facebook is the best social media example for local SEO. Not only does Facebook have their own search engine that is incredibly localized, but another ranking factor for search engines is the strength of your social media accounts for your business.
You’re able to have a bigger local footprint by being a local expert on social media, by posting your expertise, sharing your content to drive more traffic (and build social backlinks), and building an entirely new bucket of reviews (now called recommendations) on Facebook.
There are plenty of other local areas you can focus on that you’ll know better than us since you are a local in your area. Get involved in communities, sponsor events, donate your time, these are all things that when done right, can improve your online brand.
ONE LAST CHAPTER! And it’s an easy one! We’re going to wrap up this guide with making sure you can track all of these awesome efforts you’ve been doing up to this point in Chapter 6: Tracking & Analytics