If you’re a brick and mortar store or if you sell your products and services in a specific location, then local SEO is definitely something you want to care about. With more shoppers turning to search engines to find local services it can significantly impact your bottom line to be visible online for those key searches. Here’s how you can optimize your site for local seo so you start showing up in the local pack, finder, maps, and even organic results.

1. Google My Business

Google My Business ( GMB ) is a must-have listing for your local business and it’s absolutely essential if you want to rank in those valuable local pack results.  Having the knowledge panel show up for your business can also strengthen your visibility and engagement.

With proximity to the searcher being such a relevant factor thanks to updates like Possum, you simply cannot have a local seo strategy without GMB. Make sure your listing is optimized with the most relevant categories, description, photos etc.. for the best results

Google might be the big fish but don’t forget to set-up your Bing local listing as well. Brick & mortar shops can use their street address to make it easier for shoppers to find them where as service area businesses can simply select their service area from the GMB dashboard.

Local Links & Citations

If anybody tells you that link-building is a thing of the past you should go ahead and ignore them. According to a recent Moz survey seo professionals agree that link signals are the top ranking factor when it comes to localized organic search results. One that thing has changed compared to the spammy link-building practices of the past is quality over quantity. Here’s a few ideas to help you build the kind of high-quality links that will help raise you above your competition in the SERP’s ( Search Engine Results Pages ) so you can bring in more traffic and sales from your target audience

  • Leverage existing local partnerships, charities, and sponsorships. Most organizations have a website and often have a page where they recognize local partners
  • Find relevant local or industry directories where you can list your business
  • Take advantage of your expertise and guest post on relevant blogs
  • Create quality content for your audience that answers questions or presents an interesting perspective

Local citations are also an important part of the equation and these are any mention of your business online that typically include your NAP ( Name, Address, Phone Number ) Making sure your NAP info is consistent across major directories and data aggregators like Google My Business, Yellow Pages, and Factual are key to strengthening your local SEO signals. Inconsistent and inaccurate info can be confusing to search engines and detrimental to your rankings

3. Local Schema

schema.org provides a mark-up language that all the major search engines have adopted to better understand the context of what’s on your website so they can show the most relevant results to their users.

Any opportunity you have to provide more context to search engines about your business and what you offer is an opportunity to rank higher and with only 30% of websites currently using Schema – it’s just one opportunity to gain an edge.

Some types of semantic mark-up can also translate into rich snippets which help you stand out in the search results and deliver higher click-through rates to your site. One example is marking up reviews so that a star rating shows up for your business in search

4. On-Page SEO

With the rise of natural search language you’d think that older SEO staples like optimizing your page titles and descriptions might take a back seat but that’s just not the case. Not only is including your city and main keyword in your titles still a viable SEO strategy, the title/description combo are the headline and ad copy that will convince ( or not ) searchers to click-through to your page. If you don’t think writing compelling titles and descriptions are worth your time then I’d suggest you get comfortable with losing traffic to your competitors.

5. Reviews

Psychologists everywhere will acknowledge the well-documented value of social proof and chances are you’ve relied on it yourself. When humans are unsure about something we instinctively look to the people around us for some clues towards the right answer. Reviews are the digital version of that and they’re heavily relied upon when people are trying to decide on a restaurant to eat dinner or which business they should buy ( whatever you sell )  from.

Beyond social proof reviews can also help you rank better locally. While Google should be your top focus it’s not the only source of reviews that can help impact your presence online and be included in the knowledge panel for your business. Facebook is also a big one to work on and sometimes there are industry-specific review sites like HomeStars that can be influential.

Ultimately, these are just a few of the strategies and tactics that can help you rank better locally but they’re a great start towards being a serious competitor in your local arena so you can pull in more traffic and grow your business. Whether it’s Edmonton SEO or any other particular city/town you’re trying to grow in – local search is an essential part of your overall digital strategy.