If you have to think about whether you’re a small business, you’re most likely a small business. Which means if you don’t have a local SEO checklist, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Why? Because local SEO is becoming more and more important for local businesses to take advantage of.
And really, you’re too smart a businessperson not to take advantage of an opportunity in front of you. Here are 10 tips to add to your SEO to-do list.
1. Perform a Local SEO Audit
If you cross nothing else off your local SEO checklist, you need to do a local SEO audit.
Think of it this way. You wouldn’t go hiking 50 miles through the jungle without first figuring out what you need to watch out for.
So why would you jump into SEO blind?
An audit tells you where you should be directing your attention and where it’s most valuable to spend your time.
Otherwise, you could miss basic issues in your SEO strategy.
2. Create a Google My Business Page
This should take you no more than 20 minutes to do properly.
It’s a hugely beneficial 20 minutes.
Google My Business is simple but effective. If someone Googles your business, this is what will tell them your name, hours, address, phone number, reviews and other information that they would probably consider important.
Here’s how to do it:
- Google your business
- Claim it and verify it with Google
- Check all the details to make sure they’re correct
- Proceed to housekeep: answering reviews, adding photos, etc.
Remember, this is a snapshot of your business. Make sure it’s a good one.
3. Establish Local Listings
Now that you’ve handled Google, it’s time to handle everyone else.
Literally everyone else.
We’re talking Bing, Yahoo, Angie’s List, Yelp, Whitepages, business associations, your local chamber of commerce.
At a minimum, everyone should have your NAP: name, address, phone number. Give the best succinct snapshot of your business you can.
4. Accuracy in Listings
It sounds obvious, but for the love of Google and your customers, make sure your listings are accurate.
Despite the fact that you know your business better than you know yourself, there’s this funny thing called human error. You sometimes put in the wrong thing without thinking.
Or you move. Or your information changes.
Your customers shouldn’t be puzzling over what’s the right information. If they have to play Clue, they won’t be customers for long.
5. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
Forget about pictures. Reviews are worth a thousand words.
Okay, don’t forget about pictures. But don’t neglect the power of a positive review.
Listen, reviews aren’t just about checking a box on your local SEO checklist to boost your rankings (though they do help your click-through rate).
It’s about giving your customers a reason to trust your business. And any true businessperson knows that’s invaluable.
6. Boost Your On-Site SEO
And speaking of invaluable, let’s talk about one of the things you should be doing already and might not be.
Let’s put it this way. If you’re an orthodontist in Alberta, how will your customers or Google know you’re an orthodontist in Alberta unless you put it on your website?
Most of this is common sense – showing your customers and Google the essential information on where you are and what you do in plain terms.
For example, listing directions to your office on your contact page. That’s on-site local SEO.
Don’t go overboard. Incorporating the key information (where you are, what you do, your business hours, etc.) as a part of natural verbiage will work quite well for Google.
7. Build a Better Link Strategy
Links to your website are a lot like reviews. They prove that you have relationships in real time, which is good news to Google.
Backlinks especially. Backlinks, or when an outside site links back to your site, are seen as a sign of credibility and factored into your SEO score.
A word to the wise. Don’t be shady. It’s tempting. Don’t do it. It will always bite you in the end.
Here’s how real marketers build backlinks without being shady.
8. Engage in Social Media
Welcome to the 21st century, where social media is central to business success.
Look, your customers spend a lot of time on social media. Meeting them where they are isn’t just a good way to remind them that you exist – it’s a smart way to boost your search rankings because social media updates so frequently.
The key here is to actively engage with your customers every day through strong social media accounts.
That doesn’t just mean product promotions and giveaways. It means responding to questions and highlighting stories that are relevant to them.
It means being a resource to your customers.
9. Create Relevant Local Content
Which brings us to our next point for the local SEO checklist. Creating relevant local content.
Content is king…if the content is actually relevant, useful and shareable.
Your key goal here should be to create content that informs your users, answers an important question, and entertains while doing it. A blog is the easiest way to build and maintain a steady stream of content.
But remember, you also want this content to be locally relevant. Think local place names, local events, local news, etc.
Know what’s even better than plain old content? Interactive content. Try these 5 types to wow your audience.
10. Ad Extensions for a Local Audience
You probably thought this would be first on the list, didn’t you?
Ads are important, but as a rule, they should be complementary to organic SEO instead of your primary focus.
The easiest way to manage local ad extensions is through Google Adwords. This will allow you to incorporate location data into your ads, like your exact location, a call button, or a link to a details page.
Why does it matter? Because this keeps your ad location-specific, which means you can target people within a specific location to come visit your business.
Which would tend to make sense for local SEO.
Make the Most of Your Local SEO Checklist
If your head is spinning with all the SEO tasks that have suddenly appeared on your to-do list, don’t worry.
Sometimes, you need a professional to take you to the next level (or to help make sense of what’s already in front of you). That’s what we provide with our digital marketing solutions.
Click here to fill out a marketing discovery form and request an estimate. We can’t wait to get started.