SEO is a long and laborious exercise used to boost a website’s organic, or “free,” local results. Depending on the amount of competition, this could take months for noticeable results. Now 2018 is coming to an end and we are approaching another new year in 2019. As time goes by, local SEO best practices change as well.
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is definitely a long-term process. If someone tells you they can quickly place you on the first page of Google in the free results, be wary.
Search Engine Optimization continues to get harder as Google updates their algorithm more than 500-600 times a year to look for websites that are genuinely good versus websites that have had poor optimization, or SEO. The problem is that people tend to forget the SEO Basics.
I have decided to prepare an article discussing the 6 basic components of Local SEO for 2019. Here they are:
This deals with what you do to improve SEO on the actual pages of your website. From optimization for meta data to images, Local SEO starts with making your website search engine friendly. Many people focus on link building or other tactics first. Ultimately, everything else you do in terms of marketing will either be helped or limited by how great your website.
Other tactics for on-page optimization include helping Google to crawl your website. This means using an xml sitemap, setting up Google Search Console, and ensuring there are no 404 errors that would limit Google from including all the pages of your website in it’s index.
Once you have a world-class website, it’s time to shift the focus outside of your website. Off-page optimization relates to link building or local citations outside of your website. Remember that millions of people search year start their searches at places like Yelp and Facebook. You will want to make sure you have a good handle on all the other places outside of your website that customers might look for you.
Another component of off-page optimization is local search. And it’s so important to consider the city, region, or county that your customers live in. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to target an area that is too large, like a state, or an area that is too narrow, like a small city.
Local SEO starts with understanding how your business address impacts where customers will find you. You will also want to have a solid local search strategy, and a fully optimized Google Business profile (like the one shown above). This ensures that customers can easily see more information about your business, and even read other customers reviews.
The majority of people use social media for personal and family connections. But did you know that people also research potential businesses on those same social media channels? The most common business listings on social are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Even if you do not have time to setup all three, Facebook is an easy (and free) place to start. Facebook makes it easy for a business to create a profile, share pictures, and allow customers to add reviews.
A key part of local rankings is reviews. And while most local companies understand how important reviews are, there are a few critical mistakes that are made when soliciting local reviews to boost your rankings. First, make sure that you do not pay for reviews or aggressively try to solicit too many reviews too quickly.
If you go from having 2 reviews to 200 overnight, you risk having your entire account removed from local results or having all your reviews discounted. The other common mistake is thinking that only 5-star reviews will help. There have been many studies run on trust and local reviews. Most customers know that a company with a perfect 5-star rating is simply too good to be true.
Having a mobile-friendly website is all about ensuring that your website looks great on any device. Imagine your customers not just searching on a desktop or a mobile phone, but an iPad or even a smart TV too. There are literally dozens of different screen sizes available today.
A mobile optimized website does not just help customers navigate your site across any device, it is an important ranking factor now in local search results. Some experts have even gone as far to say that local SEO and mobile are the most important factors you can optimize on your website. I will let you be the judge of that.
Ultimately, having a great website is a journey. It does not happen overnight, which is why when we work with clients we commit to a long-term partnership that works in 2018, 2019 and beyond.
We hope you can leverage these tips to get your website tuned up and ready for 2019.