30 minutes of local SEO every week
Given the current economic conditions, marketing teams are stretched and expected to do more with less.
If you’re a marketer focused on generating revenue from local areas, you know that fierce competition awaits to slow down your local marketing initiatives.
At times like these, it’s important to maintain a consistent framework of results that will help you stand out in local search results.
Here’s a checklist of 5 areas to focus on if you only have 30 minutes a week or less to devote to local marketing efforts.
1. Optimize Your Google Business Profile Listing and Social Profiles
A complete and verified Google Business Profile listing is one of the cornerstones of local SEO.
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make in local SEO is simply uploading a minimal amount of information to Google Business Profile (GBP) and then putting it on autopilot.
A powerful lever to get your business up the local SEO listings is to fill in all of your name, address, and phone number (NAP) information, as well as adding images, categories, hours of operation, and more. Moreover.
Once your GBP listing is populated, you need to make sure it is verified. Verification can be done by phone, SMS, email or video. Here are the instructions you need to make sure it’s verified.
Once verified, this is where you need to make sure you pay attention to your listing to respond to reviews or customer questions.
Check back at least once a month (if not more) to upload new images and check your listing’s performance in GBP.
Follow this same process for your main social media profiles.
Local social media search queries have grown dramatically over the past decade, and you want to make sure you can be found on Google as easily as you can on Facebook and Twitter.
2. Complete a job, ask for a review
Generating five-star reviews is one of the most effective ways to increase your presence in local search engine results pages (SERPs).
By increasing your average rating and rating volume, local SERPs tend to float those results higher. Plus, social proof pulled from five-star reviews is an invaluable way to get customers to trust your brand.
Before you make a concerted effort to generate reviews, you need to be careful about how you ask customers for reviews.
There are “review filters” on platforms like Yelp that omit certain reviews or penalize your business listing if they appear to have been abnormally solicited by the business owner.
Here are two effective ways to generate more reviews (without filtering them):
- Manually: After completing a job or delivering a product or service, simply request the review and leave a link (on the invoice) to where your customer can go to leave their review.
- automatique: Tools like GradeUs, Birdeye and GatherUp all offer automated solutions to drive people to your social profiles to leave a review. If your business has more than three to five new customers each week, this is the most convenient and efficient route (compared to manually requesting a review).
3. Create Localized Blog or Website Page Content
Your business needs a level of localized content to rank in local search
Without local signals on your site, search engines are less likely to associate you with your targeted geography.
Here are some common ways to localize your content:
On your product/service pages, include localized modifiers in text and image descriptions so your audience makes the localized connection.
One of the biggest mistakes local businesses make when creating their product pages is that they make the copy so generic that the page could be used for a business in any city.
Conversely, you shouldn’t stuff your web copy with localized terms. Search engines are pretty good at demoting your content when your copy seems abnormally full of local keywords.
The best way to check this is to read your copy aloud to a friend. If that doesn’t feel natural to you, you may have gone a bit too far when adding localized keyword modifiers.
If you provide services at locations in your area, show images of your work with a description of the type of product/service you offer and some localized modifiers in the description.
If your business has multiple locations, each of your locations should have its own page on your site.
On these branch pages, you’ll want to include your NAP, hours of operation, description of your branch location, and pictures of your location (inside and outside, if possible). These branch pages should also link to their individual GBP page.
4. Create backlinks from your network
The good thing about local SEO and link building is that in most cases you don’t need to build thousands of links. On the contrary, in most cases, you only need a handful more than your local competitors to help your SEO positioning.
The easiest way to build backlinks to your site is to generate them from companies you have a relationship with.
Here are some scenarios addressing the types of links you might pursue as part of common business activities:
- An electrical or HVAC company has a business connection with a local real estate agent. The real estate agent generally refers this service provider to his network of clients (by word of mouth). Depending on the realtor’s site, the service provider can get a link to the realtor’s site if it has a “trusted local providers” section.
- A business owner sponsors a booth at the local fair every year. This is a great opportunity to get a quote and a link by making sure your business is listed somewhere on the fair’s website.
So, as a first step, make a list of all the business connections you have in your area and identify the reasons why these connections would relate to you.
5. Generate Local Citations
Citations are simply mentions of your business name, address, and phone number on a website.
Citations are mostly found in general local directories (like Google Maps), but can also be found in niche-specific directories like APlaceForMom.com, which is a senior living-specific directory site.
Citations don’t necessarily need to contain a link for you to get value. Google considers mentions of your business name to be a local authority signal.
Here are the two main ways to increase your citations:
- Manually: The easiest way to get your first quotes is to list your business on Google Maps, Yelp, Bing and Facebook. Consistency is key when filling out your business profiles on these sites. If your business address is on a boulevard, avoid using different combinations of that spelling or initials each time you create a new listing.
- automatique: There are local citation building tools from Moz, BrightLocal, Semrush, etc. Although these tools are paid, they just require you to enter your business information and then go out and do all the list building for you.
Personally, I like a mix of these two methods because automated SEO tools can’t always fill in all information fields or fully verify profiles.
To get started, focus your initial efforts on Google, Yelp, Bing, and Facebook.
Next, find 5-10 niche-specific directories (that regularly show up in search listings for your target keywords) and aim to list your business there.
In conclusion, even if you don’t have a lot of time to spend on local SEO, that doesn’t mean you can’t generate impressive results.
You just have to be strategic about how you use that time and what areas you focus on.
Spending 30 minutes a week on the 5 areas we covered above will result in more traffic, leads, and customers for your business within months.
Featured Image: Perig Production/Shutterstock