Having a local presence on the internet is an invaluable asset in the digital world. It opens you up to a new realm of potential customers. The best part of local SEO is that customers are looking for you, not the other way around.
All the major search engines have created their own local directories that contain local business information similar to the antiquated Yellow Pages.
These listings can be searched on their own or may be presented as part of a general web search (as is the case with Google’s famous 3-pack).
Many small business owners know how important a local presence is, but they don’t know where to start building it. We created this infographic to give you the basic steps to building out your online identity and a few helpful tricks we’ve picked up along the way.
The Five W’s of Local SEO
Before you start claiming pages, first figure out the Who, What, When, Where, and Why so you have a clear expectation of what kind of information you will provide the directories. It may help to organize this information in a spreadsheet.
Work on Google First
For the small business, efforts should be concentrated where there is the biggest potential for success. Google is the Holy Grail of local search.
The first step is to find out if your business already has a Google Places page that has been claimed. Go to Google Maps and type in the name of your business to see if a page was created.
Many times, there will be Places pages that were automatically created by Google from data it found on other websites. There is a good chance your business already has a page, so be sure to claim that existing page instead of creating a new one.
When you claim your Google Places page, be sure to use a Google account to which you will always have access.
Once a Google Places page is claimed, it’s a nightmare to reclaim it under a different account, so be wise which account you use to claim it.
Keep Track of Yelp
The next site you should tackle is Yelp. It is the go-to resource for local business information and reviews, so you want to stay on top of this account.
Google frequently pulls information from Yelp for inclusion in its Places pages, so make sure to respond appropriately to any negative feedback.
Get Your Name Out There
The number of citations across the web helps search engines determine what local results will be shown first. These citations include the name, address, and phone number of the business listed together on various websites.
It’s easy to build citations by listing your business on local directory sites. These sites are all over the place, and no site is too small, so start listing your business everywhere you can.
This can become a very time-consuming process, but thankfully it can be automated. For a small fee, there are many sites on the web such as the UBL that will submit your listing to hundreds of directories at once. This saves you time, and automation of this process is highly recommended.
Local SEO is just one of the key components of a successful SEO campaign. Take it seriously, and you reap the benefits all the way to the bank.