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A Basic Guide To Location Based SEO
Most small businesses will worry that they are not going to be able to compete with the large companies regarding search engine ranking. While this may be true, when you look at location-based SEO it is much easier for small businesses to rank above large corporations. This is due to local SEO being based on slightly different criteria. If you are looking to rank for local searches, then you need to understand the basics of location-based SEO.
What Search Engines Look For
When you consider traditional SEO, the search engines will look at content, user engagement and backlinks. The information that search engines look for regarding location based rankings will differ. The search engines will be considering your on-page SEO, keywords, citations and NAP consistency.
The on-page SEO factors that they search engines look for include titles, descriptions and tags. If you want to rank in a particular area, you need to localize these regions. This means having local target areas in the title of your web pages and tags.
The keywords that affect location-based SEO are the ones with locations in them. You need to add a site to the keywords you are targeting to ensure that you rank for them. Targeting the keyword dog training will not help you rank for searches in a set location. However, if you have the keyword dog training in Tampa, then you are more likely to rank for searches in Tampa.
The citations that you need for location based SEO are from local directories. If your business is listed in a local directory, this will count as a positive citation and will help you rank. However, if you have no citations, then the search engines will have a hard time determining if your business is local. It can be easy to get your company listed as many online directories allow you to apply to them.
NAP consistency relates to the business information you provide the search engine. The name of your business, the address and phone number, are all vital parts of local ranking. However, this information needs to be consistent across all of the places your business is listed. It also needs to be formatted in a way that is easy for the search engine spiders to read. This is an important aspect in reputation marketing.
The Tasks You Should Complete
To get started with local SEO, you have to complete a few tasks. These tasks may not take long and could be completed within 30 minutes. However, they are vitally important to your rankings, so you need to take the time actually to execute these tasks.
The first task is to get your business listed on local websites. This could be the local directory or a relevant local businesses website. These local links will help you rank and will help you get more traffic. Other than the local directories you could reach out to a local business that is not a direct competitor and offers a link exchange. If you sell dog products reaching out to pet stores or the local shelter would be a good idea.
The second task you need to complete is ensuring that all your content offers valuable information and is engaging. While this does not have to be focused solely on the location, you are in the quality of your content will play a role in your rankings. If you have poor quality and a high bounce rate, you will not rank well. Offering information that is relevant to the area you want to rank for will help with local rankings and the targeting of your visitors.
The third task you have to complete is auditing your website. There are certain tools that you can use to crawl your site and determine if there are any SEO related problems that you need to fix. This could range from a slow load time on individual pages to broken links that need to be fixed. Making sure your website is functioning correctly will enhance your SEO strategy.
The fourth task you should complete is encouraging customers to leave reviews for your business. Having good reviews will help you rank above your competition. Good reviews will also increase the possible conversions you have and the number of people who click through to your business.
The last task you have to complete is making sure you are active on the relevant social media networks. Some companies make the mistake of opening an account on every social network they can think of. While this increases the number of people seeing your business, it might not be helping your traffic or conversions. It is recommended that you consider which social media platforms will work best for your business and which one your potential customers are actively using.
Assessing Your Competitors
Local search results can be a very competitive business, and you need to assess what your competitors are doing. There are some questions that you should ask when you look at your competitor's websites and social media accounts. The first question you need to consider is who your local and national competitors are.
Once you know who your competitors are you can assess which keywords they are using to rank. There are some tools that you can use which will help you do this. These tools will tell you which keywords the competitor ranks for and where they are ranked.
You also need to look at the structure of their content and how they are using their links. Where their links come from is important especially if they are ranking highly. Getting links from similar websites or the same site could increase your rankings for related search terms.
You should also consider what unique keywords they have and what your unique keywords are. If they rank highly for the unique keywords, you might want to tap into that market. If you have keywords that they have not considered, then you could be doing better than them in the market, or you could be missing the boat entirely.
You also need to find which keywords they use which are similar to your own. If they perform well for same keywords, you have to look at how you would beat them in the rankings. You can also tweak the similar keywords to make the unique and bypass the competition altogether.
Having A Google Places Account
If you want to rank for local searches on Google, then you need to have a Google Places account. This report will help you advise the search engine that your business is local and will give them something to rank. You can get a spot on Google maps as well which will enhance local searches for your business.
When you open this account, you have to ensure that your NAP credentials are the same as they ones on your website. If they are different, this could negatively impact your ranking. You also need to include local based keywords where relevant but, you have to ensure that you do not go overboard with this.
It is not only Google which offers these location based accounts. Bing and Yahoo have similar reports that will help you rank for local searches. Completing an account for each of the search engines will increase your chances of local visitors and will help with the cross referencing that the search engines tend to rank you.
Ranking for local searches is something that every business should consider. The SEO strategy that you use will differ from the strategy you use for general SEO as the search engines have different criteria for ranking local searches.
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