Building a business' reputation, even locally, requires plenty of legwork. When you're trying to increase your Google ranking and getting people to try out your product or service, you're essentially asking them to change their routines to accommodate you. Since humans are creatures of habit, you have to be a significant enough disruption for them to want to do that; you have to provide much more value than they're currently getting from brands similar to yours.
Create the foundation for your marketing efforts with our checklist for getting your local SEO off the ground. We have written before about why SMEs need local SEO and how you can boost traffic with locally-focused content. Here is a checklist to walk you through the things you must have in place to make your local SEO work.
Set Up A Comprehensive Google My Business Profile
Having a Google My Business profile allows you greater visibility on the search engine's products like Maps and search. People discover new places online these days. Besides word of mouth, people find shops and products by searching online. They are likely to type "restaurants in (your city)" or "pet shops near me" if they need a new go-to, and having a GMB profile means more people will find your information.
There are three things you should focus on when making a GMB profile. First, you need to create your page, and then you should claim or verify your profile, and finally, you need to choose the category that suits your business. Over 4,000 categories are available for businesses on GMB, so make sure you get one that describes your offerings and allows you to rank on SERPs.
Optimize Your Website For Local Search
What you need for local websites looks much like what you need for any other kind of SEO; high-quality content, keyword strategies, and links to those pages. Apart from these, though, some other ranking factors are slightly more critical for local pages. These factors are citation management and mobile-friendliness. Mobile-friendliness matters in local SEO because people are usually on the go when they conduct "Near Me" searches. If you make your page compact, use smaller images, and ensure that the UX looks great on small screens, you make it more attractive to mobile browsers.
Meanwhile, citation management matters because it makes you more reliable in Google's eyes. When your business name, address, phone number, and other relevant information are the same across properties, Google sees you as a more trustworthy business. Display your information prominently on your website and your GMB profile, and ensure that your social media also has the same information.
Conduct A Technical Audit
Increasing your Google ranking involves more than optimizing on-page elements. Besides checking your content, you must also examine the backend for anything that could trigger technical issues. Google might not be locating your pages because of a technical issue, so you would want to fix that before launching or re-launching your website. Use a site audit tool to automate this process. An audit tool will give you a list of warnings, notices, and errors on your website. It will also provide you with ways you can fix these. Broken pages, missing title tags or meta descriptions, and having no internal links are the most frequent issues that audit tools catch.
Make Connections Through Local Link Building
Once you've set up your GMB profile, optimized your website, and managed your citations, you can start reaching out in earnest to members of your community. Making connections, especially local ones, will establish your business among people who live or work nearby. When other organizations connect with yours, you can receive links from their websites.
To encourage other businesses to link to you, create content that they would share with their audience. You can also work on articles or videos with local blogs, neighboring businesses, or websites in your niche.
Organize Your Website's Structured Data
Structuring data is necessary so search engines like Google can better communicate with your website. Items like rich cards, snippets, and the knowledge graph appear on SERPs because of structured data from websites. Since algorithms cannot understand the context, you cannot just put information on a webpage and expect Google to know how to sift through the data to retrieve answers. To help Google understand what is on a page, you must "document" the information and indicate the relationships among concepts and elements.
Manage Your Reputation Online
Your online reputation can earn you new customers, but it can just as easily cause you to lose them. Reputation management online involves getting positive reviews on social media, review platforms, and Google. It also means engaging customers by responding to their questions and concerns promptly.
Something that could help you is the Google Marketing Kit, which they offer to stores registered with GMB. When you start getting reviews, let people know that you appreciate the time they took to leave feedback. When you start to get reviews, make sure you engage customers actively. Show your appreciation for positive reviews and have a solution or apology for concerns or issues that they raise.
Track The Impact Of Your Local SEO Efforts
Finally, you should track everything you do to market your business. Monitor the impact of your efforts; analyze your visibility on Google Maps and Google search. You should also track your performance in local packs, hotel packs, packs in related cuisines or industries, or other SERP Features that your keywords could trigger.
You can set up a tracking campaign on your console by going to Position Tracking and configuring the tool to target your area. You can focus on the state, city, and even zip code where you find your business. Different types of accounts allow you to track various types of devices in the same project. Campaigns update daily with your site's positions as well as that of your competitors.
Increasing your Google ranking, especially if you are a local business, relies heavily on your mobile-friendliness, responsiveness to customers, and ability to deliver targeted content. When you ensure all of these things, you will be more likely to become a go-to for locals and people who frequent your neighborhood.
Have a clearer local SEO strategy when you partner with Ranked. We provide affordable, high-quality content designed for local customers, and our data-driven strategies are sure to help your webpages rank highly. Get in touch with our team or activate your account today!