Many business owners worry that reviews on third-party sites, which they have little control over, can make or break them. The good news is that you have a huge amount of influence over local SEO. Do it right, and it will place your online reputation back in your own hands.
Here’s how to help improve your local SEO:
Set Up Google my Business
Google my Business is a free directory of local businesses maintained by Google. Claiming your company’s page is easy, but don’t forget to optimize it! Select a business category that’s an exact match for your brand – e.g. “Italian restaurant,” not just “restaurant.” Filling in every section of your business profile will leave a lasting impression on customers choosing between you and a rival.
Optimize Your Site for Local
How does a search engine know your business is local? The same way anyone does – it checks your address. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to have your full business address in the footer of your home page and on your contact page. Use the city your headquarters is in within your title tags and the text of your Web pages where it makes sense.
Publish Micro-Local Content
Publishing content of your own will attract site visitors by demonstrating your expertise. It also clues in search engines about your location and skills. Regardless of what your brand represents, content can work for you. For example, if you’re the Italian restaurant, you can post about Italian cuisine, local dining trends, and many other topics of specific interest to your patrons.
Encourage Customers to Review
Most people are more likely to share a negative review than a positive one. With that in mind, you should follow up with happy customers and encourage them to post their thoughts. Review sites like Yelp often operate as a “secondary” local search engine where people eliminate low-ranked options before choosing between the higher-ranked ones.
Reach Out to Area Blogs
Area blogs can boost your local search visibility. They don’t even have to be associated with an offline newspaper or TV station! Simply search for large, active blogs that cover news and trends in your area. Contact them to submit helpful, informative Web content and you could get a link back that has a long-lasting effect on local SEO.
Maximize your SEO potential even further by learning the 5 Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid At All Costs.