Do you remember the good old days when businesses could rely on word of mouth as their only means of marketing? Well, that no longer works effectively today, and it’s time to move on.
For better or worse, the evolving internet landscape has changed the way customers connect with local businesses. Nowadays, businesses can’t get by on good reputation or traditional marketing techniques.
They need to take advantage of the web.
Whether you’re a designer, an attorney, or anything in between, local SEO affects your business. Local SEO is the science of ranking well in local search results. It helps connect businesses with the 93 percent of online experiences that start with a search engine.
There are a few strategies you can use to dominate search results and start making conversions online.
Here are the SEO best practices for 2018.
Let’s face it: everybody uses smartphones.
It’s no secret that mobile search is overtaking desktop search. But it’s still important not to underestimate the value of this powerful type of search.
55 percent of purchase-related conversions occur within one hour of initial mobile search. These users aren’t only searching for local businesses on their phones. They’re doing so with the intent of making a purchase.
Mobile is also one of the SEO best practices for 2018 thanks to Google. Google’s recent algorithm update gives mobile-friendly websites a ranking advantage over non-mobile-friendly sites.
How can you take advantage? Make sure that your website is fast and easy to use on mobile.
Focus on mobile site speed when developing your site. You should also use large text that transitions well from platform to platform.
Of course, you’ll want to take advantage of your mobile traffic. Use call-to-actions on your site pages to encourage these purchase-hungry users to convert. It’s a digital marketing solution for any site.
How do you search for a local business? If you’re like most users, you’ll search Google Search and Maps.
Let’s say you’re looking for a local Italian restaurant in Seattle. You might type in “best pizza in Seattle” to find relevant results.
You end up deciding between two local pizza joints. One search result comes with no information other than the business title and URL.
The other search result includes information like hours, address, and a phone number. Which listing are you most likely to choose?
Not all users will click through to websites to get basic business information. You can showcase your business info my verifying your Google My Business Listing. This free tool allows you to give local searchers your information on the organic Google search results and Google Maps.
The key is to keep your information relevant and up to date. You need to add or claim your business listing to start this process.
There’s no denying the influence of online review sites. It’s just as powerful (if not more powerful) than traditional word of mouth. In fact, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Review sites are especially crucial to local SEO. Local searchers aren’t only going online to find and connect with local businesses. They also want to research and make sure that businesses have a solid reputation.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with handling your online reputation. There’s no shortage of review sites including from Yelp, Yellow Pages, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, and Urbanspoon.
How do you know which review site to use? Take a look at your competition.
Research what review sites competitors use in your niche. For example, an auto body shop might benefit from a Yelp presence. But it won’t get much of a boost from Urbanspoon.
Many of these websites have free tools for business owners to claim their listings. As you build and develop your profiles, make sure to keep your business information consistent.
This will not only benefit the user. It will make you look trustworthy and reliable in Google’s eyes as well.
You’ve set up profiles on review sites and Google. But you’re still not showing up on the first page of local search results. Now what?
One of the best things you can do to build up your search rank participates in local link building. By getting local SEO backlinks, you’ll build authority and trust on Google.
Building local links is easier than it sounds. Reach out to other local businesses to see if you can get a mention on their site. You can also offer to write a guest post on a local blog in exchange for a link.
This tactic might require patient. But it’s a crucial SEO practice in 2018.
Your rankings won’t grow overnight. But by sticking to a consistent outreach schedule, you’ll be able to build up local SEO backlinks, and a solid rankings boost.
Content may be king, but images are a close second.
Images are a valuable tool to build search engine rank. They make your site aesthetically pleasing, keep users on your site, and give you a rankings boost.
Adding images to your site encourages users to take action and stay on your site. One of the factors Google looks at to determine its rankings is site authority. Sites that retain visitors and get multiple site clicks per user as seen as authoritative.
Images also make sites more mobile-friendly. Aim to add images not only to your website but also to your Google My Business Listing. You can also add interactive media like videos to attract more people to your site.
You might have noticed that some Google search results look different than others.
One key contributor to this discrepancy is featured snippets. These are “snippets” that give extra information to searchers about a website.
How can you get a featured snippet for your website? There’s no exact science.
Focus on solid keyword research, question-answer sequences, and on-page SEO to give yourself the best chance of getting a snippet.
SEO is constantly evolving. These tips will help you dominate local search and enhance your web presence. Stay up to date on SEO best practices for 2018, 2019, and beyond to continue to attract local searchers to your site.
Are you looking for the kind of sales and growth your business deserves? Contact us to improve your local SEO today.