Your Local SEO Checklist

7 tips to help improve your local reach

7 tips to help improve your local reach

By LaToya M. Smith

When consumers are searching online for your type of business in your area, can they find you?

“With the rise of voice search and personal assistance, consumers are increasingly searching for retailers and service providers ‘near me,’” says Wes Marsh, director of digital marketing for Solodev, an Orlando, FL based web experience platform. “It is crucial that businesses show up in these local searches.”

Local SEO is an effective way to promote your products or services online at the exact time local customers are looking for them. This checklist can help improve your local reach, drive foot traffic to your store and boost sales.

Claim and Optimize Your Business Listings. To claim ownership of your company online, you must verify the business listing at sites such as:

  • Google My Business
  • Facebook Business page
  • Local directory sites
  • Yelp
  • Yellowpages.com

This enables you to appear in local search result queries specific to what your business offers, respond to reviews, and track user views. Be detailed, update your listing with photos frequently and encourage customer reviews.

 Get Local Citations. People discover your business through online mentions of your Name, Address, and Phone number. This is known as NAP. As you claim your business listings make sure your NAP is the same on all listings and your website. Clean up inconsistencies such as Ave. vs. Avenue. See how your business appears across the Internet.

Add Unique, Relevant Title Tags on Every Page Focused on Target Keywords . This is the link and main title that appears on search results pages (SERPs).

  • Length: < 60 characters
  • Format: Primary keywords | Secondary keyword | Brand name at the end if it’s not part of your keyword phrases.
  • Unique: Write different title tags for each page.
  • Relevant: Is the title accurate and concise?

Write Compelling Description Tags. This is the text that shows up under your URL on a Google SERP. This text, generally two to three lines, should entice users to click on your site. Keep it under 155 words, otherwise your text will get cut off.

Check Page Speed Optimization. 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if a page does not load within three seconds. Test and improve your load time with the help of sites like Page Speed Insights or GTmetrix.

“Follow as many of the instructions as you can such as optimizing your image sizes, alt tags, etc., but don’t obsess over getting perfect scores in those tools,” says Marsh. “Take the insights gleaned from this tool as a guide, not as a must-do.”

Create Content. Post relevant, authoritative, long-form (around 1500-2000 words) content for the targeted keywords you want to rank for – typically this is accomplished by your blog pages.

Use H1 and H2 Tags.

H1 = The title of your post.

  • H1 tip: Use an H1 tag that matches the primary keyword you want the page to rank for. At least one per page, but no more than three.
  • H1 goal example: You want to rank for water heater repairs.
  • H1 title example: What Homeowners Should Know About Water Heater Repairs

H2 = The subheading. You can have multiple tags as long as each one is relevant to the tag above it.

  • H2 tip: It can contain similar keywords to your H1, but not duplicate it.
  • H2 goal example: Help readers identify the main points of your content.
  • H2 subheading example: How to troubleshoot common water heater problems

Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean people will find you. Implementing these seven local search tactics can help you stand out in SERPs. “Small business owners must promote their websites in order to improve rankings and help potential new customers find them,” says Marsh.

LaToya M. Smith is a journalist and editor who covers finance and small business. Follow her on Twitter: @LaToyaReports.

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