With every keyword search comes a bustling marketplace, filled with hundreds of business owners screaming for attention. It is a never-ending battle of endurance— whoever can shout the loudest, the longest, wins. Unfortunately for most business owners, the customer very rarely looks further than the first page. The Google Search algorithm wants to ensure that you are worth the recommendation. Polishing your online presence through Local SEO is a powerful and organic way to increase visibility, and pushes you closer to that number one spot. Listed here are 7 effective ways to boost your Local SEO, and establish yourself as a trustworthy business in the eyes of major search engines like Google, and more importantly, the potential customers in your area.
1. Claim your online business listings
The foundation of your credibility begins with verifying your Google My Business Page and Yelp listing, the first step in building trust with your audience. While this first step alone gives you a slight edge over dozens of competitors, there are still over 70 other smaller business directories to consider. By authenticating your listings, you are making your audience aware that you take your business seriously. With every verified listing, you are another step closer to breaking into that coveted First Page.
2. Make sure business information is accurate and consistent
A slight discrepancy in your business name, an outdated address, or a wrong digit in your phone number will not only hurt your ranking, it also frustrates your customers. Be thorough in your effort to fill out the information on your business listings as accurately as possible, and leave no stone unturned. Remember there are over 70 directories that can affect your online presence, so make sure your business information is consistent to a T across the board!
3. Choose relevant categories
A simple and often overlooked task is to make sure you are including the correct categories when filling out information about your business. Your list of categories is a primary data source for Google algorithms. Choosing relevant categories is an easy way to increase the rate of recommendation for specific keyword searches.
4. Upload photos
We live in a fast-paced digital age where rich, visual content is a necessity. Setting your logo as your profile photo creates brand identity and makes your business more approachable. Uploading a gallery of your photos gives you a chance to make a lasting first impression. Post photos of the exterior and interior of your business, group photos of the staff, and images to highlight any products or services you offer. Remember to also write captions to accompany your photos and apply keywords to your business listing. Renaming your images to target keywords presents another opportunity to use a photo album to your advantage.
5. Be proactive about reviews and ratings
Train your staff to encourage happy customers to leave a review on Google and Yelp. A one-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. A steady flow of customer reviews will decrease your bounce rate, will increase traffic of new customers, and does the work for you to keep your listing active and relevant. Make it a habit to respond to your customer reviews, both positive and negative. Tread lightly when responding to a negative review, and if necessary take the conversation offline by encouraging the customer to contact your business. Responding regularly to your reviews not only allows you to showcase your customer service, but also provides fresh content to your business listing to push your ranking in the right direction.
6. Search and destroy duplicate listings
Ignoring this step will make a negative impact on your ranking, and creates unnecessary confusion for your customers. Start by making sure there are no duplicate listings on Google and Yelp, and work your way down to the smaller directories. Referring back to Step One, having a verified listing greatly increases your chances of getting your duplicate listing successfully removed.
7. Evaluate your current online presence
In addition to all of the above, there are many contributing factors that search algorithms consider to determine your overall ranking. An evaluation of your business combines the key attributes of your current online presence to give you a clearer picture of your place in the digital marketplace, and highlights the areas that demand your attention.
Although this is just the tip of a very large iceberg, taking these 7 steps will be a huge leap in the right direction— to not only getting to the top, but also making sure you don’t fall off.