The Only Local SEO Checklist Your Business Needs
Trying to bring traffic to your website can feel like a constant chase. You’re always trying to find content and search engine optimization strategies that will bring in a crowd. At the risk of overwhelming you by adding another challenge, allow us to say this: not all traffic is equal. Local users are the people with the highest chance of becoming paying customers, and that’s what you need. If your site traffic is increasing but your revenue isn’t, it’s probably because that traffic is from across the country or overseas.
To start attracting locals, start with this local SEO checklist.
1. NAP Time
Sorry but no, you can’t boost your local traffic by hitting the snooze button.
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. These three pieces of information are top priorities when it comes to local SEO.
First of all, establish a consistent NAP. Even subtle differences like adding or omitting “LLC” or “PC” from your name will limit your local recognition. Decide the exact way you want to list your business everywhere.
When you have this, make sure that consistent NAP is on every page of your website. Most businesses do this by adding it to a footer that appears on each page.
Make sure your phone number is clickable for mobile users so they can click it to call you. You can do this on desktop sites as well for people who want to use internet calling.
2. Get on the Map
There may be a lot of search engines in the world, but the one that is most crucial for your SEO is Google. Because of this, it’s crucial for your business to have a Google Maps listing.
Do a search to see if Google already has one for you. If they do, claim and verify your listing. This gives Google certainty that you are located where you say you are. It also gives you the power to manage your listing.
If there is no Google Maps listing for your business, create one. Be sure to claim and verify that listing as well.
When you have the listing, the most important step is to make sure that listing’s NAP is consistent with yours. Then go through the listing and make it as robust as possible. Make sure it links to your website, has your correct hours of business, and includes plenty of photos.
3. Stay on the Map
You’ve completed the initial stage of setting up a strong Google Maps listing, but you need to maintain it too. The more attention your listing gets, the higher it will appear on local search results.
On top of keeping the basic information up-to-date, add posts to your Maps listing on a regular basis. These can be simple posts about what’s going on, monthly specials flyers, and more.
Reviews will play a large role in your local listing’s success as well. The more people who review your business and rate it well, the more likely Google is to show and recommend your business to people in search results.
Launch marketing campaigns that encourage happy customers to leave reviews. Follow up with your customers in emails that include a link for where they can post a review.
4. Make Contact
You may have noticed that most businesses’ websites have a “contact us” page. This does more than creating a convenient way for users to get in touch. It’s instrumental for local SEO too.
Have a contact us page on your website that provides your full NAP and other contact details. Embed a Google Map or other type of map into the page. If you have multiple locations, list them all on this page.
Your page’s location on your site will also make a difference. If possible, include your contact us page in the main navigation menu. At most, it should be one step down in your navigation menu.
5. Go Directory Shopping
You’re more likely to believe a story if multiple people are telling you the same thing, right? Google works the same way. The more places list your business with your consistent NAP, the more confident Google is about showing your site to local searchers.
Go on the hunt for directories. Start by Googling your business and finding all the directories that currently have listings for you.
Claim as many of those listings as possible. Verify that the NAP they list for you is the exact same as the one on your website and tweak it if necessary. Beef up those listings with pictures, links, and other items if they give you the option.
Next, make a list of any directories you want to be on but currently aren’t. This can include major review sites like Yelp and Yahoo. It should also include directories that are specific to your local area.
Don’t forget about industry-specific sites as well. For example, physicians’ practices will want to have listings on sites like RateMDs and HealthGrades.
With your list in hand, set to work creating, claiming, and enhancing your listings on all those sites.
6. Play Tag
Not all local SEO strategies are things that will be visible to the naked eye. Some of the work happens behind the scenes, like your website’s tags.
You should already be using tags for every page, picture, video, and other elements on your website. Now it’s time to localize them.
Add the name of your city to your tags when appropriate. For instance, instead of tagging a page “craft store,” tag it “St. Louis craft store.”
Mix up your tags as well, getting more specific or more general. Your tags can include your metro area, your neighborhood, your county, your state, and more.
Creating Your Local SEO Checklist
Local SEO, like so many other types of marketing, requires a lot of work and know-how at the onset along with ongoing maintenance. The job is never “done,” but you can get to a point when it’s under control.
The trick is knowing how to get there in the first place. The local SEO checklist above can help.
For a more specific list and a look at your site’s strengths and weaknesses, start with a local SEO audit today.