Essential Local SEO Checklist for Small Business Success
Small businesses need a robust online presence to reach their target market and overtake their competitors. They must establish their brand, showcase their products or services, and attract more traffic. It sounds like a lot of work, but a Raleigh SEO company can relieve your worries.
This is a search engine optimization (SEO) checklist of top strategies, which includes:
- Google Business Profile (GBP) optimization
- Name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistency
- Local keyword research
- On-page optimization
- Local content creation
- Local link building
- Schema markup
- Local directory submissions
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Claim and Optimize Google Business Profile (GBP) Listing
GBP is a listing from Google that companies and organizations claim and optimize to improve their local SEO. Google uses the information on GBP to promote its Local Pack, a prominent listing of businesses related to a customer's search. GBP also works with Maps, so having accurate information on a listing can help people find you using their Maps app.
To manage their listing, businesses must claim their GBP and optimize it, keeping in mind the following:
- Update the business name, address, phone number, website URL, and hours.
- Choose the most relevant categories and subcategories if possible.
- Add high-quality images of the business, products, services, and atmosphere.
- Include a profile photo, cover photo, and photos of the storefront, interior, staff, and products.
- Share GBP listing updates, promotions, events, and announcements with Google Posts.
- Be active in the Questions and Answers section and respond to concerns.
- Respond to positive and negative reviews on your GBP listing.
- Use GBP Insights to track metrics such as views, clicks, calls, and direction requests.
Create Consistent NAP Information
Customers need three critical pieces of information to find a local business: name, address, and phone number (NAP). Therefore, companies must ensure their NAP information is consistent across all online directories, including their website, GMB listing, social media profiles, and local directories.
Also, consistency helps search engines understand the business's location. If business information appears across online directories, follow these techniques to ensure consistency:
- Audit and update the business website, social media profiles, and local directories, and review sites for NAP inconsistencies and outdated information.
- Create a master document that includes accurate and up-to-date NAP information.
- Use a standardized format for NAP information in all directories, contact pages, headers, and footers.
- Scan the web for mentions of your business with Moz Local, Yext, or BrightLocal to find and fix errors.
Perform Local Keyword Research
Customers use local keywords or phrases to find the businesses they need. Thoroughly researching these keywords can help ensure the company can effectively reach its target local audience. Create a list of these keywords and incorporate them naturally into the content, meta tags, headings, and image alt tags.
Use these best practices to perform local keyword research.
- Understand the target audience's demographics, interests, needs, and pain points.
- Find local keywords with Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMrush, or Ahrefs.
- Check search volumes, competition, and related keywords for the target location.
- Include location modifiers such as "best Raleigh bakery," "Raleigh bakery," or "cupcake shop near Pullen Park."
- Analyze local competitors' website content and strategies to find keywords they rank well for in local searches.
- Use Google Trends and Google Autocomplete to find long-tail and localized keywords.
Focus on On-Page Optimization
On-page optimization is a critical part of a local SEO checklist. It includes all elements found in a website, including content, website navigation, images, title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, and header tags. By optimizing on-page elements, search engines can easily index and locate your pages and show them to people looking for relevant information.
Here are some strategies to improve on-page optimization:
- Include city or region in title tags, meta descriptions, URL slugs, and header tags.
- Make the website mobile-friendly by loading fast and offering a good user experience.
- Research keywords and naturally integrate them into on-page content.
- Optimize title tags and meta descriptions for each website page by placing the primary keyword near the beginning of the title tag and including a call-to-action in the meta description.
- Create unique and informative content that provides value to your visitors.
- Use clean and descriptive URLs that include relevant keywords.
- Include keywords in image alt tags and file names to help search engines understand the image's content.
Create Engaging Local Content
Create high-quality, locally focused content that provides value to the target audience. Write blog posts, articles, or guides that address local topics, events, or interests to establish the business as a local authority and attract local backlinks. Follow these tips on how to perform local content creation.
- Identify local topics and trends in the target area.
- Use local keywords, landmarks, and colloquialisms that locals use to search for products and services in the content.
- Showcase local expertise by creating content with advice, tips, or insights for your local audience.
- Feature local success stories and testimonials from satisfied local customers or clients.
- Collaborate with local influencers or organizations on content, guest posts, or interviews.
Perform Local Link Building
Building high-quality backlinks helps improve visibility in search engine results. Google looks at high-quality backlinks as a vote of confidence and, thus, promotes a local business’s ranking on organic searches. Creating high-quality backlinks involves strategy. Here are the top link-building methods for you:
- Collaborate with local businesses and organizations relevant to the industry or community on projects, sponsor local events, or provide guest content for their websites.
- Find local partnerships and sponsorships for events, charities, and community initiatives.
- Use high-domain-authority local directories and Chamber of Commerce websites for local links.
- Create localized and shareable blog posts, infographics, and videos about local news, events, and resources.
- Connect with local journalists, reporters, and bloggers who cover industry or local topics.
- Use social listening tools or Google Alerts to track mentions of your business or brand online.
Add Schema Markup
Schema markup helps search engines better understand a website. By implementing schema markup on a website, you can ensure that search engines get more information about the business. Use structured data markup to highlight the business NAP, opening hours, reviews, and other relevant details.
A web developer or a Raleigh SEO company can help add schema markup to web pages by:
- Identifying relevant schema types based on industry and content, even down to the type of local business, e-commerce product, or event.
- Implementing basic schema markup on key website pages, including structured NAP and opening hours data.
- Using rich snippets to increase visibility, such as "recipe schema" for a Raleigh recipe site to display cooking time, ratings, and calorie information in search results.
- Exploring industry-specific schema types that provide more detailed information about products or services, such as the "menu schema" for Raleigh restaurants to display menu items, prices, and dietary information.
- Validating and testing schema markup and checking how it appears in search results to ensure search engines recognize it.
Submit to Local Directories
Submitting business information to relevant local directories, such as Chamber of Commerce websites, industry-specific directories, and local business associations, can help increase your online visibility and improve local search rankings.
Start by identifying local directories relevant to your industry and location. Choose reputable guides with high domain authority and attract a local audience through general directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, the Yellow Pages, or industry-specific directories. Include these tips to optimize submissions.
- Complete your business profile when submitting to directories.
- Add relevant categories and keywords.
- Monitor and update directory listings to ensure they are up to date.
- Explore niche and local directories that cater specifically to your industry or location.
Local SEO is an ongoing process; thus, it takes time to see results. Consistency, relevance, and a great user experience are crucial to improving local search rankings. Also, partner with an experienced SEO company, such as a Raleigh SEO agency, for the best results. Contact Digital Authority Partners, the best in Raleigh SEO.
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