What you will learn: The keys to success in local SEO.
Who should read this article: Marketing leadership of organizations in need of optimizing for local markets.
Local SEO is important both to local businesses and national/global businesses needing to optimize for strategically important local markets.
As SEO has evolved, local SEO has become a unique subdiscipline with its own extensive set of technical requirements and techniques.
The Rapidly Changing World of Local SEO
Topping the list of items needed for success in local SEO: staying current with best practices.
Google continues to get more sophisticated in its ability to identify high-quality local website content and give it high visibility for relevant organic searches. As Google’s technical ability evolves, certain local SEO tactics will become more important, other tactics will become less important, and entirely new tactics will appear. Bottom line: Give your local SEO campaign a thorough strategic review every year. Retain an SEO consultant such as Straight North to get a fresh perspective.
Important Local SEO Factors
As of this writing, several local SEO factors stand out as being the most important. They include:
- NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number). NAP information should be consistent across all website pages and off-site citations. A valid street address should be used rather than a post office box number.
- Customer reviews. Customer reviews on site and on popular, relevant review sites carry a great deal of weight with Google. While reviews are most often associated with B2C, B2B can and should include a customer review strategy in its local SEO campaign.
- Citations. Mentions of the company name on high-authority websites enhance organic visibility. Ideal mentions include local sources such as local online media, and relevant national/global sites such as Yelp or B2B industry news sites.
- Mobile website. With mobile Internet access now exceeding desktop, Google is placing more algorithmic emphasis on mobile-friendly website content. Having a mobile-friendly website is crucial for local SEO effectiveness for many organizations, especially those receiving substantial traffic from mobile sources.
Back to Basics
SEO fundamentals also must be attended to for any local SEO campaign to work. In addition to many other things, this means:
- Updating and refining keyword research to maintain focus on the best lead-generating keyword opportunities
- Updating and adding website content to maintain relevance, improve usefulness and target current strategic keywords
- Fixing technical issues such as broken links and error pages
- Improving page loading speed
- Streamlining navigation
- Improving the structure of internal links
By putting all of these actions together, a company can gain an important edge over competitors and capture a greater share of organic traffic and leads.