Most online businesses know about SEO and have invested in the basics or more through an internet marketing agency. But did you know that there is another element of SEO that Small businesses and local businesses mainly rely on and that is Local SEO? Local SEO is used to build an online presence and increase exposure to more potential customers in your local area.

In this article, you will learn how to utilize proven local marketing strategies to improve your local search in 2018.

1. The Basics: Claim your Local Listings

It is crucial for every local business to claim their business listings. Do not worry, the majority of the platforms are free, and you can get incredible exposure if you have optimized your business to show up in Google’s local listings. Make sure to claim your Google Business listing.

2. The Basics: Add Meta Titles & Descriptions to Your Landing Pages

Last year, Google increased the width of the main search results page to 600px. This means that there is more room to script longer meta title and descriptions. All businesses with an online marketing presence should take advantage of this update in 2018 by writing keyword-rich, provocative titles and descriptions that entice humans to visit your website/store.

3. Optimize Your Website for Mobile

It goes without saying that every webmaster must have a mobile-friendly, responsive website. It is particularly important for local SEO searches because the majority of these searches are being done on mobile devices. In 2018, it will not suffice to have a mobile version of your website and think you are done. It is required of you to do A/B Testing at least once a month. The Google Mobile Friendly Testing Tool is a great starting point.

4. Leverage the Power of Link Building

80% of consumers rely on online searches for choosing who they do business with. If you have not claimed your local business, you are missing out on a lot of potential clients. However claiming and optimizing your Google Local page is not enough to make your listing powerful. In 2018, you will be required to capture space on other local business directories, such as Yelp, City Search and Merchant Circle. If you take any local business and do a search for them online, you will notice that reviews from sites such as Zomato and Yelp are factored in the rankings.

Use this HubSpot list of high-value business directories (50 of them) and start creating your business pages on these, 5 a day.

5. Focus on Reputation Management

A recent survey done by Search Engine Land found that 70% of users are willing to leave reviews and ratings if asked to. As well, 84% of people trust online reviews when making purchasing decisions. To optimize the power of reviews for your local SEO efforts, we recommend the following:

• Getting as many reviews as possible on Google My Business, Zomato, Facebook and Yelp etc.
• Using social media listening tools, such as Hootsuite, to be alerted when the reviews are negative.
• Append Star Ratings results to your website in search results.

6. Stock Up Your Website with Juicy Content

For the longest time ever, Google has been obsessed with rewarding websites with deep and keyword-rich content. The same holds true for local SEO. If you have sparsely populated location pages, you can boost their performance with the help of rich and engaging content that users search for and Google will use to answer consumer questions.

7. Remember the Guidelines for Spam

To successfully launch a Google Local SEO campaign, you must remember the following guidelines for representing your business on Google. Do a sweep at least once a month to ensure you are in compliance. The most common acts of spam include:

• Keyword stuffing the business name field
• Improper wording of the business name field
• Creating listings for ineligible locations, departments, or people
• Category spam
• Incorrect phone number implementation
• Incorrect website URL implementation
• Review guideline violations

It is important to note that a good user experience is of high importance at Google. And it is going to be increasing in importance in 2018 as the industry moves toward more voice automation. Your focus should always be on providing your web visitors with an excellent experience. If the experience is poor, the customer will not return.

About iRISEmedia | Internet Marketing Agency | Toronto

iRISEmedia.com is a Toronto based Digital Marketing Agency servicing companies throughout Canada and the U.S. We specialize in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media marketing strategy and management, digital marketing and online branding. Our team helps clients manage and grow their online presence and branding to increase qualified web traffic and online leads. iRISEmedia will review the current SEO status of all multimedia you have posted on your website and provide a free assessment of how it ranks from a visual search perspective. We will also provide recommendations on how to improve your website’s “searchability”. Contact us today to discuss further. We look forward to hearing from you!