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8 Steps to optimizing for local search

Posted by David O'Sullivan

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Every small business strives to reach as many potential customers as possible. But advertising and marketing has changed dramatically in recent years. Putting your name in the phone book simply does not work anymore. 

Nowadays, people turn to their smart-phones, laptops, and tablets to find local businesses. So, using local specific SEO is arguably the most effective way to build your reputation and increase profits. 
The truth is, local business SEO doesn't have to be confusing or tedious. There are simple steps you can take to build your brand and create a powerful online presence. 

Here are 8 easy steps you can take to get your business listed in the search results: 

1. Content is King

Publishing fresh and relevant content on your site on a regular basis is perhaps the best way to get noticed by search engines. Every new post is another page that gets indexed and helps you get found.
But not just any content will do. You have to create quality and informative posts about your business, your industry, and anything related to it that people may find interesting or search for. Also, it's important to post about local events and stories that are relevant to your business or customers.

2. Social Media is Queen 

If you aren't already using social media for your business, start today. If you are using social media to reach customers, make sure you are using it effectively. 
First, create a business account with each social media outlet. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram for example.
Whenever you create a new post, share it on your social media accounts. And, stay engaged with your audience. 
Make it a habit to ask relevant questions, respond to comments, connect with other locals in your industry, and create postings you think your customers will be interested in. 

3. Optimize SEO Elements

There are five crucial local business SEO elements that should always be optimized with keywords. Each of these elements should include keywords that are related to your business and local area.
These include: 

• Page title
• URL's 
• Page headers
• Internal Links
• Page content 

4. Do Long-tail Keyword Research 

Everybody uses a different combination of words when searching for specific products or services. Therefore, it's important to consider all of the different search terms that someone might use to find your business. 
Conduct a little research using Google's Keyword Tool to find variations that you might not have thought of yourself. Then, include these keyword variations in your posts, page content, URL's, and wherever else you can put them. 

5. Collect Local Links

When other local sources post links to that lead back to your site, it helps to build your reputation and reach new customers. Again, getting people to link to your site will have a lot to do with the content you publish. 
Create content that is interesting and worthy of being shared. Also, you can ask other local website owners to allow you a guest post on their site. Peak their interest by pitching a fascinating story that is relevant to your local area and business. 
This is also a great way to build relationships with people in your community and get involved with local events. 

6. Optimize for Mobile Devices

Don't forget about your customers who use their mobile device to search for and find local businesses. 
Smart-phones and tablets have become the most commonly used to search for reviews, directions, hours, and contact information of local businesses. Making your site mobile friendly will let these users easily find the information they are looking for. 

7. Ask for Reviews

Word of mouth is still a tried and true method of growing your business. Now, all people have to do is type your name in Google to find out what other people are saying about you. 
Glowing reviews about your business will earn the trust of customers that local businesses thrive on. Ask customers to post reviews about your products or services. They could personally send you the review through email, or post it on Yelp! and other popular platforms. You could even offer a small discount or other type of coupon to make it worth their while. 

8. Create Directory Listings

While directory listings have become less popular in recent years, local businesses can still benefit from them. For instance, Google+ local is an incredibly powerful tool to promote your business. Easily build a page that includes your NAP (name, address, and phone number) which is then integrated into Google's search results. 

Also, make sure your NAP's are consistent in every single listing and post created for your business. Having outdated, inconsistent, or incorrect information on your listings will negatively impact your local business SEO efforts. 

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This blog has one primary goal: to help you enhance your marketing. We have made it a company goal to continually publish and promote relevant marketing tips, advice, and news to our followers. We're a small team with a big heart - and we're focused on being as relevant as possible. 

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