The marketing methods you use should continuously draw traffic to your business. At the same time, they shouldn’t cripple your business financially. The sad truth is many business owners unknowingly waste time and money on efforts that yield little to no results. This sinks their business into the ground sometimes right after they launch. It’s one of the reasons 75% startups fail within the first year. But whether your business is brand new or been around for many years, you can and should be using digital marketing. One form of online marketing every business should use is local search engine optimization (SEO). With a local SEO checklist, business owners can learn how to gain visibility for their brand without being experts. Of course, if you don’t have the time to implement any of the following, you can always hire an SEO professional. However, it still doesn’t hurt to learn with the process entails. Let’s take a look!
First, What is Local SEO?
Hopefully, you already have a website and are optimizing it for Google and other search engines. If so, then you’re already on the right path. The next step is to begin targeting local keywords. For example, if you own a local dental office in Spokane, a key phrase you can use is “Spokane dental practice.” The key is to make a list of keywords with cities you want to target. By optimizing your ads and content with local keywords, locals will be able to find you easier. Google is getting smarter – if it identifies a mobile user is in Spokane who types in ‘dental office,’ your business will pop up in the listings. If you optimize your listing correctly, a photo of your business, phone numbers, address, hours of operation, website URL and list of services/products will all show up. This helps consumers to determine whether your company meets their needs. And it provides them with all the details needed to reach out to your business or visit your physical location. Now, selecting local keywords is just one piece of the local SEO checklist. With the correct local SEO strategy, you should begin to see:
- Increased conversion rates
- Enhanced brand visibility and awareness
- Higher return on investment
Unless you have all of this already, it’s time to start focusing on local optimization. Let’s review.
Optimize Everything, Even Your Logo!
Search engine robots crawl your web pages looking for relevant content. Once it finds it, it uses it to rank your website. If your optimization strategy is on point, everything should go smoothly. However, you have to focus on more than just your web pages and blog content. Your images and even your logo are important as well. The way you go about optimizing your logo is to include a descriptive filename for the logo image. For example, rather than having it named mylogo.png, it should say Spokane-dental-office-logo.png. All of your images should have ALT text. For instance, you can have an image with the following text: ‘Randy’s Dental Office, Texas.’ It’s good to have keywords in your ALT text, but don’t overdo it. Don’t forget to optimize your title tag as well. And make sure to use the same logo and ALT text on all of your marketing channels. This includes your website, social media pages, Google Business page and so on.
Optimize Your Titles, Descriptions, and URLs
By optimizing these three key areas, you can help both users and search engines better understand your website. Users read snippets next to the link to see what the site is about before clicking it. And the snippet tells search engine bots what your site is about. When you look at the search engine page results (SERPs), you will find the title, link, and the description. By including local keywords in the title, URL and the description, it gives you a better chance of ranking higher. Just make sure the link has an SEO-friendly structure. For example, your page URL should read https://www.example.com/dental-office-spokane. Stay away from links that have meaningless numbers in them.
Check Your NAP
NAP is an acronym for name, address, and phone number. It’s very important to ensure your NAP info is consistent on your website, business listings, social media pages and anywhere else you have visibility. If your listings or website lack any one of these key details, it can hurt your conversions. For instance, if your listing has a different phone number than your website, it may confuse and frustrate users. Or if you relocated and never updated your address, then you may send customers to the wrong location. Do note that it’s best to use a local phone number versus a toll-free number. You’re trying to let Google know your business is local so it shows up in the correct search results. Also, make sure to claim all of your business listings, update the information and complete all sections for the best results.
Include a Google Map Image to Contact Page
You’ve likely seen a Google map image on various business websites. And while it does help draw in foot traffic to their company, it serves another purpose – an important item on your local SEO checklist. Having one on your contact page sends a signal to search engines about your business location. This further helps your site rank in local SERPs. It’s easy to implement a map – you just go to Google Maps and then type in your address. Afterward, click ‘share and embed map’ from the menu. Then copy and paste the code into your website. This is very easy if you’re using a platform like WordPress.
Put this Local SEO Checklist to Use
Now that you know more about local SEO, it’s time to start taking action. You can either take all the necessary steps yourself. Or you can hire an SEO expert for assistance. At Summation X, we streamline digital marketing for our customers. We cater to businesses that are looking to optimize for local and national search. Our services include web development, PPC management, and SEO. Contact us today to see how we can mark all these items off your local SEO checklist and more!