Local SEO Exposed
Since Google has the lion's share of searches online, we all want to be on the top of Google. If you are a local business, the secret to top organic and Maps listings is an optimized website, complete Google Listing and Customer Reviews, although is less competitive markets, reviews won't count as much. But for most of us, having great reviews on Google is essential to top ranking, trust me.
Steps to SEO glory
1st - Optimize your landing pages. Website SEO is your first and most important step to higher rankings. You should be optimized for your general and specific keywords, using a descent optimizer / analyzer like Screaming Frog or SEO Profiler. SEO also includes your site structure, so pay attention to things like broken links, 404 pages and unnecessary 301 redirects. Other factors include structured markup, keywords in your header tags, italic and bold text, and keyword density in the page and METAs. Once you have your SEO fixed, move on, the rest is cake.
2nd - Claim your business on Google and optimize it. Google Business Listings will usually already have your business in their listings, but if they don't, you can easily add it. Once added and confirmed it will populate on the Maps section of local searches, but only if your business is near the searcher's area, and if it is optimized. Optimized means setting your categories, adding a keyword-rich description, and getting good reviews through the listing. Once you have your listing setup, send your clients a link to your Google Reviews page and ask them post reviews for you.
3rd - Create a Google+ Page. Take the extra time to create a Google+ page for your business and post some information about your business through G+. Keep your posts relevant, and be sure to let people know about specials and discounts you're offering. Even if you have no follower, Google puts G+ posts into search engine result pages (SERPs) that match keyword searches.
4th - Don't forget about Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter. many business owners cringe at the idea of getting on Facebook. But if you follow the instructions on the Facebook for Business pages, you will have a great FB page up in no time. You can post things about your business, specials and discount coupons and "Boost" them, putting them in front of a specific audience for as little as $5 a day. You can also Tweet your specials, syndicate those Tweets on your website with a simple plugin, and advertise to your customers to follow you on Twitter to get future specials. If you have any videos about your business, make sure they are on YouTube, are Public, and has keyword-rich descriptions and title. Pinterest is great for posting images of your business products, location or anything else you think is relevant to your business. Social networks are accounting for a tremendous amount of business online, don't miss out when all it takes is a few minutes of your time.
5th - Get on Yext. Yext Powerlistings puts your business listing on all the online directories, and makes sure you don't have duplicate or erroneous information on over 400+ directories, including Yahoo, SuperPages, Yellow Book and CitySearch, to name a few. This can have a huge impact on your Google rank, as these systems re-enforce your Google Listing.
6th - Submit your website to Google Webmaster Tools Sitemaps with an XML sitemap. Wordpress and Joomla CMS sites have plugins and components to do generate them, you just need to sign into Webmaster Tools and submit them. You can also use these tools to analyze your site and performance, as well as get alerts if Google finds an issue with your website.
7th - Backlink Building - When another website has a link to yours, this is known as a 'backlink'. Think of a backlink as being a "vote" for your website in the eyes of Google. The higher the quality of the backlink, the better the effect it will have on your rank. Quality backlinks are from trusted sources, and contain relevant subject matter to your website. So if you get a school website that teaches plumbing to link to you as a job placement company for graduating plumbers, that is a great backlink. But if it's from a blog about cooking pastries, not so much. Keep it relevant and consider hiring a backlink building company to help you out. Do not build backlinks too quickly, it may be seen as 'unnatural' growth in the eyes of Google. Slow and steady wins the race!
8th - Have patience. Google has 10 billion webpages a month to crawl, so it could take a few days to weeks for them to index your website and recognize the changes. Backlinks and directory listings could take weeks for bots to see and index, so consider a Adwords Express ad to get you going with a radius ad campaign. These campaigns are usually cheaper than regular Adwords, so are easier to handle. You can also get a coupon for a free $100 in Adwords, through a Google Partner like ourselves.
So, again I'm sorry to report there is no local seo magic formula, but there are a lot of things you can do to increase your pagerank and get more relevant traffic. Good luck, and if we can help, just ask!