[This article was written by Hannah Whittenly.]
Over the last few years, Google has made local search a priority. As early as 2016, 60 percent of searches were made from mobile devices in the United States. As a small business owner, local search engine optimization should be a priority for your company. To get the most out of your local SEO strategy, be sure to incorporate the following tricks:
Pay Attention to Google My Business
Not long ago, owners of small companies were expected to join the almost defunct Google Plus social network to boost local SEO. You are no longer required to do this; instead, you should focus on Google My Business. The postcard and PIN verification process of Google My Business will give you an immediate local SEO boost, but this is just the beginning. Make sure all your company information is always accurate and up-to-date. Keep in mind that the Google Knowledge Graph will pull information from Google My Business.
Maintain an Active Social Media Presence
All local businesses should have at least one active social media account in addition to a website. Facebook tends to be a good choice for local SEO due to its popularity and geocaching features, but micro businesses tend to do better with Twitter. If you operate a restaurant, OpenTable is a must.
Include All Communities You Serve
This is a powerful technique that can be easily accomplished with just a few adjustments to your main website. Make a list of all the neighborhoods your company serves. If your Ohio establishment is in Clintonville, you may want to add Forest Park East and North Linden to the list of locations where your customers and prospects reside. One great example of using this SEO technique is Logan A/C & Heat Services Inc. Although based in Columbus, OH, their site lists off the surrounding communities that they cater their services too as well.
Manage Your Online Reviews
Yelp and similar websites that feature reviews of local businesses are among the various factors that Google uses to determine search engine rankings. If your company has not yet been claimed on Yelp, visit the “Yelp for Business Owners” section and learn how to do this. The next step is provide Yelp with the same information you have entered on Google My Business. The final step is to constantly provide adequate resolution to all negative reviews left by customers.
In the end, you should keep in mind that mobile devices are the main drivers of the local SEO revolution. Make sure that your websites are designed for smartphones, and be sure stay on top of local SEO trends.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.