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Local SEO tips

5 Important Aspects of Local SEO in 2017

SEO world is evolving rapidly and it is crucial to follow latest updates to stay ahead of your competition. Local SEO in 2017 has become significant for small businesses and those who understand it’s worth are adopting it to improve their profits. Local SEO require both on-page and off-page strategy to target relevant areas from where you expect customers to come for your services or products. Local SEO competition is on the go, if your business website is not ranking in local search results then it is a fact that your competitors are far ahead of you in the rat race.

Below are five helpful tips of local SEO that can help your business rank higher in local search results in 2017.

Local business marketing online

1.      Page Title and Meta Description Tag are still Vital in Local SEO

You can customize the HTML elements of page title and Meta description tag to show the content of your web page in a precise manner. Your page title and description text appear in search results. You need to be very careful white writing them.

Back in 2016 the main search results area width was increased to 600px by Google. The Meta description tag can be approx. 160 to 200 characters without spaces, while the standard page title length is approx. 50 to 60 characters without spaces. You have to make sure that the page titles and descriptions are not cutting off in search results.

Writing page titles and descriptions is an art in SEO world. In the current competitive digital marketing world it is important to write unique, descriptive and compelling title and description. It will help increase click through rate. Additionally, a single character exceeding the limit can cut off the title in SERPs. This will look unprofessional and can ruin the impact of title. Keep these 3 points in mind given below:

  • Avoid wasting space on page names, which are not helpful
  • To reach local customers, always include your business service area with the local area name where your business is in
  • Use one primary keyword phrase and insert it carefully in the beginning of title.

2.      Local Business Directories and Citations

Google conducted a study about local search and found out that nearly 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to do local searches. Ironically, many small businesses didn’t claimed a single local business listing online and they are missing an excellent opportunity. It is vital to enlist your business correctly and consistently on all online top local business directories such as Merchant Circle, Yelp, Yellow Pages and many more. Additionally, it is important to find some other prestigious local business directories to add your business on them. You can ask your local newspaper’s website editor and chamber of commerce to add your business info on their site. You can use search terms like “(your city or county) + directory” to find out other local directory or citation sites.

One of the most important aspect of local business listing and citations is the consistent use of the same name, address and phone number (NAP) on all business listing sites. Any irregularity in NAP like lack of suite number, wrong phone number, abbreviations and misspellings can cause chaos if Google can’t determine which of your business info is correct. If this happens, Google might display wrong business info or in a worse scenario, it may not show your business in search results.

local business listings

3.      Create and Verify your Google Business Listing

Every local business should claim its Google My Business (GMB) listing. It is free and can give you unbelievable exposure if your business listing is optimized enough to appear in the Google’s local 3-pack.

In order to claim your Google business listing or page visit https://www.google.com/business/. Create your business page and add all the necessary info like business name, address, phone number, working hours, category, business logo and photos and description. After that, Google will verify your business by sending a verification code via post card on your business address. Google do this to make sure that your business is genuine and you are the actual owner of business.

As per Google guidelines only business owner can verify the GMB page. If you are engaged with a digital marketing company then you should first claim listing by yourself and then provide manager access to the agency to manage your page. In this way, you will always remain in control of your G+ page even if you cancel the services of your marketing agency.

In terms of popularity Google listing is highly supportive and Bing is the second best. Bing also offer local business listing feature called Bing places. Claiming your business on Bing is very similar to Google My Business and you should claim your business in Bing Places too.

Google business listing claim

Google My Business Page: Image Credits – Search Engine Land

4.       Focus on Getting Positive Online Reviews

Business are finally giving importance to online reviews after realizing that they have a huge impact on local SEO. According to a study 84% people trust online reviews and 7 out of 10 people agree to submit a review for a business if asked. There are many marketing online tools and software like Angie’s List, Foursquare and Business Bureau to manage, track and getting reviews. Also many social media management platforms such as Hootsuite can be used to monitor brand mentions. Every time your business brand name is mentioned in a review or other this tool will send you an alert.

When someone submits a negative review about your business then make sure you respond to it. This shows other potential customers that the business owner take care of their customers. Facebook business page and G+ page are the main two places where you should be focusing to get more reviews.

High quality positive reviews on your Facebook page, GMB page and Yelp can significantly increase your chances of more conversions and high rankings in local 3-pack.

positive online reviews impact

5.       Implement Schema Markup (also called Structured Data Markup)

Schema markup also referred to as structured data markup can be added in your website’s code to provide more information to search engines about your business. According to a recent study, only 31.3% websites use schema markup. You can rank higher than your competitors by adding appropriate schema markup to your website.

Google recommended the use of schema markup on websites as it helps Google bots determine website content. You can test your website’s schema code via Google Structured Data Testing Tool. If you are not good in coding then you can use Google Data Highlighter.

I have shared with you a small gist of local SEO insights. Enter the game of local search by following the 5 tips given above. These tactics will give you a good head start against your competition. Take initiative today and success will surely come to you.

Structured Data Markup for local SEO

Schema Markup: Image Credits – Tyton Media

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