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Google’s update on their local listings made the competition for webmasters to be featured in the listings harder than ever. Sadly, there is no easy way to be featured – which means every business must depend on a great local SEO performance to obtain much better online visibility.
Local search engine results pages (SERPs) are immensely competitive, and Google has made some revisions with the paid ads that reduce organic results to the lower parts of the SERPs. This means that SEOs have to give twice the effort to obtain the results that they want.
Fortunately, it isn’t all bad news. SEOs just have to make a few improvements into their local SEO campaign in order to have the substantial effect on your organic search rankings. Today, I’m going to give you some tips on how you could improve your local SEO campaign.
#1. Local Search Simulation
Essentially, a great SEO strategy starts with researching keywords – preferably using their favorite keyword tool. However, since Google removed their location search filter, simulations of local search results, when you are in a different location, has become complicated. To make up for this, numerous SEOs opt to do one of these:
a.) Incorporate the “near” parameter in their URL – After inputting a query, SEOs add “&near=cityname.” into the URL. This will garner results that would have shown up if you’re actually near that location.
b.) “uule” parameter – You can attach each search query with a base64 that is basically an encoded form of a location’s “canonical name”.
c.) Softwares that target GPS coordinates – The easiest and most accurate way to geo target your keywords is through the use of an algorithm.
Once you’ve found your desired keywords, it is time to start putting in work. You should generate content that specifically targets keywords that have low competition, and always remember that it is best if you add them to your HTML tags and anchor text.
#2. Link Building Opportunities
It is a well-known fact that a great link building campaign is essential for a successful SEO campaign. Therefore, it is also a priority whenever you do local SEO. Unfortunately, building and earning organic links takes up a lot of time. You will be needing a sense of authority through your content in order to have influencers trust you and the content that you publish.
Whenever an influencer deems your content as quality and top-notch, then you can take advantage of this link building opportunity. Using your content to earn links from influencers is not easy, but it will be worth the effort and time you put in. Focus on collaborating with influencers and finding other ways to improve your brand’s online reputation.
One way to easily earn some high-quality backlinks is to help webmasters look for and replace broken links in their content. Investigate high-performing posts in your niche and find out if it contains broken links, afterward, contact the webmaster and tell them about the broken link while offering up your own page as a substitute.
#3. Research Your Competitors for Link Opportunities
Go to your preferred competitor tracking tool to find out which websites are linking to your competitors. You can use this strategy to have more backlinks that can help your local SEO campaign. Here’s how to do it:
- Find out which websites link to your competitors, but not to you
- Determine their domain authority
- Compile the most influential and relevant domains
- Execute Link Outreach to the compiled domains
#4. Ensure NAP Consistency
It is imperative for you to make sure that your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is consistent on each and every website it is listed on. You may use a rank tracking software to oversee your citations. If ever there are inconsistencies, immediately contact the site owner of that certain domain and ask them to correct the inconsistency.
Since NAP is a part of on-page signals, it is one of the most important factors for both the local listing rankings and local organic rankings.
#5. Google My Business Listing
It is undeniable that your Google My Business page is the most important ranking factor for your local list ranking, and it is necessary for you to optimize it. All you have to do is:
- Add or claim your listing
- Verify your account
- Update your business details. From opening hours to category listings, make sure that they are all correct
- Link to your website
- Upload recent and high-quality images of your business
Once you have your page, all you have to do is to gain customer reviews and have citations for local listing in order to optimize it.
#6. Encourage Customer Proof
Social proof such as reviews, case studies, and testimonials are among the most important ranking signals that you can have. These are usually copies that help customers decide if they avail of your services or not.
Getting and encouraging customer proof takes effort, so here are some ways that you could use to improve the rate of receiving customer proof:
- Give them link building opportunities – Your customers also want to build links as much as you do, and many of them will take you up on your offer if you give them the chance to build links. It will mean free publicity for them and more engagement for you.
- Encourage customers to give reviews – Include a QR code on your business cards and receipts, give out some brochures, and personally ask customers if they are in your store.
- Request reviews – Not everyone you request from will give you a review, but you just need few positive feedbacks to get the ball rolling and slowly build up a great reputation.
#7. Structured Data Markup
You will be needing structured data markup if you wish to see your business appear in the local Knowledge Graph panes of the Google SERPs. It also helps your visitors find out your NAP and reviews through the snippet provided in the SERPs.
It is important to keep in mind that you will have to use different markups for different platforms. Google uses schema for their search results while Open Graph is used for social media sites. The great thing about this is that there is software available on the internet that will help you manage your markups from one place.
#8. Manage Your Image and Video Ranking
While most SEOs I know measure metrics such as rate of visitors and CTR, only a few know that if they have a great rank tracking software, they can also check up on their image and video rankings.
You can optimize images by compressing them to reduce their overall file size. Also, make sure that they are properly formatted – it’s either .jpg or .png – and then compress it using a tool that could preserve their quality.
For videos, you can optimize them by changing your titles and metadata to be more “click bait” – or clickable – and it would be best if you also include a keyword. Additionally, incorporating unique thumbnails, and transcribing your video’s text will help in Youtube’s indexation of your videos.
Before you start your SEO campaign, refresh your knowledge by first taking over your local search rankings. Through local SEO, you will be able to perfect some keyword research, understand Google My Business, do competitor analysis, and practice engaging your customers – which is important for your overall SEO campaign.
Start small and work yourself up until you gain success in the local SEO. There will be a lot of time for you to do some advanced SEO once you have mastered the basics.
Still having trouble with your local SEO rankings? Talk to me in the comments below, and let’s help each other out.