Undertaking Local Search Engine Optimization today is extremely important for all businesses trying to build a solid local online presence — just read our latest blog post on why Local SEO may be the best investment you ever make.
Today we’ve decided to summarize 5 local SEO FAQs you didn’t know you needed answered… or maybe you did, and that’s why you’re here? Either way, we’ve got you covered.
#1. Does my business require a website for local SEO to be most effective?
The top rankings in local search are given to businesses that Google can trust. Getting into the top positions of the Google ‘Local Pack’ requires some website SEO – so yes, it is important to have a website!
Google correlates the address information on a website with the information provided on Google My Business, and then further validates this with the information about your business that is listed across the Internet.
A primary trust factor with local search is having a website that includes relevant content to your business categories with Google My Business, as well as having accurate NAP information (Name, Address, Phone Number).
Google will attempt to match up your services in your business listing with what you show on your website. If there’s a match then the trust-factor, and overall effectiveness of local SEO, will increase.
#2. So, what makes a perfect local search listing?
There are three core components which together will ensure that your local search-listing stands head and shoulders above the rest.
1. Accuracy and Consistency: Your business information across all directories, websites and local search listings has to be accurate and consistent. Particular attention to detail should be applied to your NAP and website URL.
2. A complete listing: Every field in your local listing should be fully completed. This includes photos, opening times and a detailed description with your business keywords incorporated. Completing all sections of your listing, not only provides more information for the search engines to deliver better results, but it gives the searcher more information about your business
3. Up to date information: Keep all information up to date across all of your listings. This includes incorporating any special offers and updating your opening times if necessary. It’s important to also manage and respond to any comments or questions. Visit your Google My Business dashboard to check on reviews and update your information.
#3. Do I need to build links to my Google My Business page and directory listings such as Yelp, or is link building primarily targeted to the website itself?
Most people are linking to websites that they find are of high quality, or relevant to their own business, hobbies or interests. At least that’s what they should do anyway, so links to directory pages or a Google My Business page don’t make much sense. This also doesn’t represent a reason to rank a business higher than another business, as most of these links would be built by the business owner and not earned.
Generally, the type of links that help your listing rank higher are ones that point at your website.
#4. I’ve heard that submitting to directories can now cause ranking punishments by Google. How can I avoid this but still build the required citation links?
If the business listings are spammy and incorrect, then yes, Google may punish you. And it is correct that building links from low quality directories to gain links has been considered spammy for a long time now.
Even with high quality directories, a spam factor that Google would look for is a business name with search keywords stuffed in it, or categories with location keywords being used.
So, as long as you are creating/claiming local listings with high quality directories, such as Yelp and other top directory websites, and you keep your NAP information accurate and consistent, then you don’t need to worry about any kind of ranking punishment.
Tip: Use the local testing tool my Moz to see what local SEO score they give you and to test the accuracy of your listings throughout the top quality directories.
#5. What if my business is relocating?
Relocating your business is challenging in the real world, and unfortunately in the online world it can be very challenging as well.
This process of change is not easy, and it is vital that all citations and business information is amended quickly and efficiently. Depending on your specific circumstances, various strategies can be implemented to keep your online presence visible during the transition. Unless your team has experience, then it’s highly recommended to work with local SEO professionals to re-establish your new location online.
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Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
Our mission is to help small businesses thrive. With our services and training, we help small businesses succeed with marketing regardless of their budgets.
Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses create profitable digital marketing campaigns.
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