The first impression most people get of local SEO is that it is quite simple. You are removing a lot of the competition you would have with global SEO and, in essence, it seems quite easy to become a big fish in a little pond, so to speak. Unfortunately you really learn the hard way, that though you no longer have to fight tooth and nail for highly competitive keyword rankings, you really face a whole new set of problems that are equally challenging.
Understanding the Components
If you think of the actual ecosystem here on earth, you can remember back from grade school about how there are different components that all rely on each other and that energy and nutrients flow from one to the other. For example, you have the producers (plants) that are consumed by herbivores, that are in turn consumed by carnivores. They all decompose and become soil nutrients, which are absorbed by the plants again. Now, there are a few spots obviously left out, but you get the general idea – everything relies on each other and each part is essential. In local SEO, there is a similar ecosystem with similar components:
The website is a crucial component in the local SEO because it is essentially your content hub for your potential customers. Making a website SEO friendly is more than just content, however. You need to ensure that you have a very simple and intuitive website to maximize your user’s experience. Additionally, it also needs to be a landing board for more social media activity, as well as a great way to promote your products through coupons, sales, and more.
Social media has far more power in local SEO than most people give it credit for. You need to understand that your social media presence is required. These sites also allow for a lot of interaction, promotion, and content to be stored about your business. Thus, taking advantage of them is key to building a strong and loyal customer base.
Really, social media sites allow you to interact with your customers on a very personal level. With Facebook you can be on their feed daily, with Twitter you can update them with every new feature or product you are offering, and with Google+ you can find more people in your area and make important connections!
It’s quite a tall task to implement an effective local listing strategy. Your Name, Address, and Place (NAP) data must be identical in each place in order to be truly, authoritatively effective. This means that even simple mistakes (using “suite 201” in one place and “# 201” in another) can potentially cause issues that make your local SEO less effective.
In addition to this, you need to decide where to focus your efforts. There are many directories out there, including: Yext, Moz, Google, Bing, Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn, etc. All told? There are several hundred of them, and they have several hundred different formats they’d like the data in and levels of pliability when it comes to getting your listing in easily.
After you’ve decided where to add your business, you’ll need to decide how to optimize your listings and measure the results. These are topics that you could write an entire book on so we can’t cover them here, but from 64K feet, there is a lot to decide.
Out of all the components of local SEO, you will find reviews and ratings one of the most difficult things to build up. It takes one poor experience for a customer to go on an online rampage and completely tarnish the reputation of a respectable business. On the other hand, you can have hundreds of satisfied customers and not one of them will bother to go online and write a positive review.
Getting reviews out there will dramatically grow your business, but doing so in a reputable way is key. There are many review filters out there that prevent businesses from “buying” fake reviews. So you need to be avoid doing that at all costs. Additionally, the way you respond to reviews about your business can turn even the worst rating into a positive experience!
Local SEO is one of our specialties at New Perspective. Give us a call at (508) 755-6797 to find out more.