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Every Company Needs Local SEO: Best Tips for Implementing an Effective Campaign

A large number of businesses overlook the importance of local SEO, allocating resources to building a comprehensive website that Internet users can quickly find. If you are serving a particular location and its surrounding areas, then optimizing your website locally is crucial, especially if you want prospects to choose you over competitors.

There are a few essential elements to consider when optimizing your website locally. Remember that your goal is helping customers find your business, and identify it as a potential candidate.

Keep reading to learn how to locally optimize your website and generate more leads.

1. Optimize Pages with City and State Information

City and state information is of paramount importance for local SEO, especially if you want to show up as a local business in Google Places. According to Greg Gifford, director of search and social at AutoRevo, city and state information should be included in the title tag, headings (specifically H1 headings), URLs (except for your homepage URL), content, alt tags, and meta description.

Every time a customer goes online to search for products or services similar to yours in an area where your business operates as well, your website will likely show up higher than competitors, which will gradually generate more leads.

2. Beef Up Your Citations

A citation refers to the name, address and phone number of your business, information that is usually presented as NAP. Gifford states that Google expects local businesses to have their NAP information included on certain websites, such as Yelp, social media platforms, and more. “If you don't have citations on the important sites, or your citation information is incorrect, it can really hurt how your business is ranking,” says Gifford.

When his company, AutoRevo, was hired to optimize the website of a car dealership located just outside of New Orleans, Gifford and his team of SEO experts discovered that the company’s name has been misspelled five different times on the homepage alone. Although the business in question had paid for radio and TV advertising, they still didn’t show up in local searches.

The next step was correcting the business name on the website and updating misspelled citations. This resulted in gaining the second organic spot within search engine result pages, and top result in the map pack. Ensuring that your business name is spelled correctly and that all citations are error-free are both important to ranking higher in search engines.

3. Build an Easy Citation Campaign Workflow

Most local businesses lack a citation campaign workflow. Many of them submit their NAP information to local listing directories such as Yelp, but never take the time to review this information, or consider other citation opportunities. The follow citation campaign workflow has been partially adapted from Greg Gifford’s:

• Run an Initial Check

Gifford suggests running an initial check with Moz Local, a useful tool that will help you see the current status of your citations. This will allow local businesses to see a brief overview of how their NAP information is distributed online, so they can get a better idea of how they should update or beef it up.

• Fix Any Issue

Once you get all of the links where your citations show up, you should start looking for missing citations, update incomplete listings, and fix any other issues identified by Moz Local.

• Run a Citation Search

According to Gifford, Whitespark is the best tool for citation search. Companies should be running two distinct reports: one to check your current citations, and one for identifying citation opportunities.

• Set Up a Campaign in BrightLocal

Although Whitespark and BrightLocal are quite similar, the latter one gives you more information on your citations. The tool offers three tabs of info: active citations, pending citations, and potential citations. You can add notes to each specific citation to keep track of your efforts over time. Any new citations that you add from Whitespark to your “pending citations” tab will move to the “active citations” list when you re-run the report later.

• Keep Improving Your Citations

Gifford recommends consistently using Whitespark to find potential issues with your NAP information and also to identify new citation opportunities. Use BrightLocal to add notes and keep everything properly organized.

4. Work on Your Reviews

When it comes to local SEO, reviews are one of the most important aspects to consider, as Google Plus Local now displays reviews in an isolates popup that allows users to read them before seeing any information about your business.

To make sure that your company is receiving only the most positive reviews, you must go through a simple process.

• Create a Review Page on Your Website

We recommend that you make the URL of your review page as simple and easy to remember as possible for employees and customers alike. The best option is domain.com/reviews, which is straightforward and tells customers what the page is about. Gifford suggests that you include instructions for leaving a review, along with a direct link to your business’ Google Plus Local page. “It's also helpful to let customers know that they'll need a Google account to leave a review (and instructions for setting up a Google account if they don't have one),” he states.

Focus on Google Plus Local until you get at least ten reviews, then make this process simpler by allowing customers to use any review site they are comfortable with.

• Create a Review Handout

Instead of using one of those complicated review handout generators, Gifford suggests creating review handouts that point customers to the review page at domain.com/reviews that you set up for your website at the previous step. This will bring more reviews to your website and will prevent creating confusion, which is inevitable since there are many review sites to choose from (and many people might not be familiar with them).

• Ask for Reviews

Letting your customers know that you’d appreciate if they left a review and shared their experience using your products or services is oftentimes the most straightforward way to get reviews. Instead of handing them a thank you card, consider a card that also asks consumers to leave a review, and then being grateful for taking the time to do so.

Final Word

If you are away and don’t have the time to take care of your local SEO, look into hiring a travel SEO services specialist, which can handle the process for you.

Doing local SEO can be cumbersome for small businesses, especially if you have no idea about what this process entails. Once your SEO strategy also includes a healthy portion of local optimization methods, your website will rank much higher as compared to competitors, and will also show up in Google Plus Local too.