Local SEO Checklist — How to Make Sure Your Business Appears In Local Search Results

Local Search ChecklistPerhaps you’ve heard the phrase Local SEO, but are not quite sure what it means or if it’s something that will help your business.

With 94% of consumers now using search engines (especially Google) to find information on local businesses, optimizing your website to attract and engage those prospects should be one of your main priorities.

Local SEO refers to optimizing a business website with the goal of having the website appear on page one for the keyword phrases prospects are using in their search. Why should you care? 95% of searchers do not go past page 1 of the search results. If your website doesn’t appear on page 1, you are losing a significant amount of new business.

Two key factors you need to be aware of is that where your website shows up in the search results can vary between desktop and mobile search. Plus, if you are on page one, you can’t take it for granted the race is over. Local search optimization is an ongoing task. Your competitors are just as eager as you to be ranked on page one.

Figure Out Your Ranking

Begin by doing a quick search using the keyword phrases your prospects may be using on a desktop computer or laptop, and then on a smartphone or tablet. Some important factors that will influence the results include your location, the device you’re searching on, and your search history, so don’t be surprised if your mobile search yields different results.

Do you appear on the first page of the search results? If not, you have a lot of work to do. If yes, you still have a lot of work to do to keep your position and continue rising in the SEO rankings. (We’ll assume that if you’re reading this article your business doesn’t rank #1 in the local SEO results page for your most competitive keyword phrases.)

To get an accurate result of your website’s ranking you’ll want to check for a number of different keyword phrases your prospects are using. Don’t just use your business name, as that’s not an accurate reflection of how people search. To get an accurate reading of how your website is ranking, contact us for a free, no-obligation SEO audit.

Use Google My Business to List Your Business

Take control of your Google My Business listing to ensure accurate contact information, location, images, opening hours, and more. You will want to verify your status as a business owner using Google My Business. Once you do that, your business may appear on Google Maps, depending on the strength of your competitors listings.

Claim Other Business Listings

Having a Google Local listing is the fundamental requirement for your local SEO efforts, but there are many other authoritative sites on which you should list your business, most notably Yelp. Reviews on Yelp are especially important, as Google may display snippets from reviews.

Have you checked if any of your clients have left an online review? It’s important to check regularly as bad reviews will seriously harm your marketing efforts. Positive reviews will help your local SEO optimization and motivate prospects and clients to do business with you.

Manage Your Business Listings

Many local businesses make the mistake of setting up their listings and then forgetting about them. Did you know that if you don’t log into your Google My Business Account and post something or make an update (such as adding a photo to your listing) at least once every 6 months, Google may deem your listing to be outdated and remove it? That can be a hard blow for your local SEO. Yelp and other local business listing sites don’t remove listings unless you violate their terms of use, but if your listings become outdated, they can hurt your local SEO.

The problem is that managing local listings can be a pain. This is why it may be a good idea to invest in either a software management and monitoring tool, or even better, contact us for cost effective search engine optimization, including Google My Business management.

Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly

If it isn’t, you’re losing more customers than you imagine. Earlier this year, Google introduced a brand new mobile ranking system which uses mobile-friendliness as a major ranking factor. An effective way to stop worrying about whether your website is mobile friendly or not is to switch to a responsive website design if you haven’t already. A responsive design is often a more cost-effective and convenient solution than creating a separate mobile website, since you can start from a preexisting theme and customize it. To figure out if your site is mobile friendly, Google has a mobile-friendly testing tool available through the Google Search Console.

To maximize your marketing ROI, make local SEO a key component of your marketing program and Google as well as other search engines will reward you with a good search engine ranking that will bring you more targeted visitors and ultimately more customers.

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