All right guys. Stephen Trevathan, Arclight Interactive here. Today, I’m going to show you a simple local SEO strategy. Ready? Let’s get started.

5 Common Issues Affecting Your Local SEO

First off, I’m going to list out five common issues that are probably affecting your local rankings.

1) Duplicate, Missing or Inconsistent Citations

Citations are important and I’m going to have additional details below about citations, but if you’ve changed your business name, slightly tweaked your phone number or you change your business address, you need to make sure that your citations are consistent. If you had one that was old that was built before and you didn’t update it after making the transition, the new number, the new business location, that inconsistency can be or is affecting your rankings.

2) Very Few Or No Customer Reviews

Moving on, let’s talk about customer reviews, or more precisely a lack of them.  well people are, they’re always asking for them, but not many businesses have a clear strategy in place for encouraging customers to leave reviews for their business. I’m going to go into more detail about that later in the video.

3) Very Few Or No Relevant Backlinks

Number three, no high quality or relevant backlinks. Link building is important for SEO. If you’ve done the research about it before, you’ve probably seen this. Many local businesses don’t have the budget to pay a really good SEO professional to actually build backlinks for the business. If they don’t have many citations, they probably don’t have many back links to their website, and that’s something that’s impacting your ability to rank.

4) Low Quality Or Thin Content

Number four, low quality or thin content. Again, similar to the backlinks, if you don’t have the budget to hire a really good professional to work on your website, and so you probably don’t have the best content that’s been created for your website. I often see with clients, when I first start working with them a lot of the pages have 200, maybe 300 words. That’s just not good enough, especially if you’re in a competitive market.

5) Website That Isn’t Optimized for Mobile

All right. Finally, and this really is, if this is still impacting your website, as we move into 2019, it’s really going to be an issue. If your website is not mobile optimized, if it’s not responsive, essentially, if it doesn’t look good and feel good to the user who’s on there, trying to check out your website on their phone, that’s a big problem and you need to address it as soon as possible.

1) Ensure Your GMB Is Up To Date

As I’ve mentioned before, inconsistent citations is a really big issue, and if you’re trying to rank locally for your top keywords on Google, start by making sure that your Google My Business listing is up to date, is accurate, is completely filled out. This is that primary citation, it’s an important one.

Make sure that you have complete data on there, go through and fill out as much information as you can, make sure that your working hours are accurate, verify the location if you haven’t done this already. That would usually involve, answering a call to the business number that you have listed or you can actually have them send you a card, snail mail. It’s going to take you a little bit longer, but make sure, however you can, make sure that your listing is verified.

Next Add Some Photos

You don’t have to go and spend a ton of money on the professional photographer. You have a really great camera in your pocket, just take some shots. Get some photos of your employees, get a nice photo of the front of your storage, your location. People love to put a face to a brand, to a business, this can really help you stand out from your competition.

Respond to Reviews

Next, I recommend that you respond to any reviews you’re getting. This shouldn’t be too difficult to do if you aren’t getting that many reviews. If you’re absolutely swamped, perhaps you can have one of your junior employees handle this task. If you have an intern, someone that’s doing your social media, I’d develop a template for responses that allows them some creativity in their responses, but also ensures they stay on brand. This is a really amazing thing to see if you’re a prospective client/consumer.

If you get a bad review, make sure that you respond to it promptly. This type of thing makes a big difference  for your business. People are going to see that review, you can’t get rid of it. The best thing you can do is respond to it, own up if you made a mistake (it happens we’re human beings) and mention how you’ll work to ensure something like that won’t happen again.

That person may not come back, but others will see this and that shows you care about providing the best possible product/service. Ignoring it is one of the worst things you can do, and you’re going to drive yourself crazy if you try to message Google about getting it taken down. Unless it’s legitimately a fraudulent review, it can take forever for their support team to respond to you about it.

The best thing you can do is respond, own up to it and commit to addressing the issue. People will really value that.

2) Ask for Reviews

All right guys, step two, in our simple local SEO strategy, asking for reviews. You may know this already, but reviews have significant weight when it comes to how Google will rank websites for a specific keyword in the local area.

Let’s take a look at the local pack for instance. Say you are researching an orthodontist in your area.  You search for “orthodontist near me” and you’re going to get that map result with the top three for your area. The amount of reviews that business has is really going to help them come above their shop above their shop, above their competition. This is really important factor when it comes to local SEO, and if you don’t have a strategy in place, it’s time to start.

I have three recommendations that are simple, and it’s something that if you’re not doing them, I highly encourage you to try it.

I think it can actually really help your business, on your website if you have a place where you’re including testimonials from your best customers on your homepage, for instance. I would add a link to a review website, say they call to action that if you’ve worked with us and you had a good experience, we would appreciate it if you left us a view on Google, on Facebook, Yelp.

Next, I would include similar links to review websites in your email signature. If you are the type of business where you’re in contact with customers via email or if you’re networking for your business. I would recommend including the links to these review websites in your email signature.

Finally, if you’ve had happy clients in the past that were really ecstatic about their experience with your business, but they never left your review. I would encourage you to reach out to them and say, “Hey, it would really mean a lot to us, if you took five minutes and left us a review.” Maybe there’s an extra incentive that you can provide that can help encourage them to make that step. That’s something that I would want to delve into in a little bit more in a different video. I would encourage you to reach out to customers or clients that you really have a great experience and say, “Hey, if you’re willing to share it, that would make a huge difference for us.”

3) Highlight Your Reviews and Testimonials

All right guys, we’re on to step three are simple local SEO strategy, and that is where to highlight your reviews and testimonials on your website. If you have some great testimonials and they aren’t highlighted somewhere on your website, then you’re really missing out. Why? Because, studies actually show that 80% of online users factor in testimonials/reviews when making a purchase decision. Social proof like that is really important. So, if you don’t have them on your website, I have a few places where I recommend placing them.

Do you have a product or services page? This is a great spot to highlight testimonials. People that are on this page are obviously interested in the services that you provide. If you can entice them further with a really great testimonial about said service, then that can really help encourage people to make to take that desired action.

Next, I would include a testimonial on the contact page of your website. People are already thinking about contacting you, and a well placed testimonial can really entice them to take that next step. Finally, I recommend creating a testimonials page. If you have a lot of different testimonials, this is a really feature to have on your website. If you have that testimonials link in your top Nav, people will go check it out, I guarantee it.

4) Build Local Citations

All right guys, now we’re on to step four in our simple local SEO strategy and that is building local citations. I mentioned it earlier in the video, how inconsistencies in citations are a major factor of that are impacting a lot of businesses ability to rank. If you have changed your business name in the past or you changed your phone number or location, these are things that create inconsistencies in your citations.

While it may not seem like a big deal, it’s an important factor when it comes to how Google ranks businesses locally.

What is a local citation?It is an online mention of your business, that includes the name, the address, the phone number, and the website. That link back to your website obviously is very important, but you want to make sure that all of these things are accurate.

Well, I’m going to provide 7 websites here in this video, I would recommend that if you actually fall through, go in and build further citations. Because if you’re in a competitive niche, the more that you can build, the better you’re going to do. For the sake of this video, these are the top local citation websites that I would recommend for you.

Starting our list is, the Google My Business listing. Obviously, if we’re talking about ranking on Google, you want to make sure that you have this citation completed. All right, next Apple Maps, after that we’ve got Facebook, and then Yahoo, and then Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and then finally Yellow Pages. I have all the links in the post content below, make sure that you go and get all your citations on these built, and make sure they’re accurate and have been verified. This is probably one of the best things that you can do of all the things I’m talking about in this video, if you’re going to do at least one of them, make sure it’s this.

5) Take Advantage of Social Media

All right guys, now we’re onto the final step five, our simple local SEO strategy and that is integrating social media. If you’re wondering why I’m talking about social media in the SEO video, it’s because good social media is going to help improve your local SEO.

For this video and post, I wanted to share a simple social media strategy, that you can implement without too much difficulty. If you’re already killing it on social media, you’re probably already doing this. However in my experience a lot of local businesses don’t have a real concrete strategy in place for their social media. Even something as simple as this can really help drive better results.

Establish The Right Goals For Social Media

Let’s start with establishing goals that align with your business objectives. What I mean here is, instead of just getting on social media because you think that you need to be on there and just posting content with no real goals in mind. I would stop and I would think about, what you’re trying to achieve by creating an audience on these platforms.

Research Your Target Audience

Based, on what your business is, you’re going to have a different type of approach. You might have different platforms actually work better depending on your audience. That actually brings me to step two, which is you need to research your target audience.If you want your brand to become influential on social media, you really need to understand your target audience through and through.

Arclight Interactive is an inbound marketing agency, so this is something we take very seriously. Not a lot of businesses actually have as good of an understanding as they think they do about their core target audience. So, before you spend too much time on social media, I would take the time to research your target audience. This will provide insights into what the best platform is for your business. Social media is difficult, you might find that focusing on one platform is the way to go and it might not be the one that you’re thinking about.

Competitive Analysis

Step three is to spend time researching your competition. If you’re in a competitive area and you have a competitor that is really doing well, this is an excellent opportunity. Don’t just look at their reach, their numbers, their likes, their followers. Study the type of content that they’re sharing. Spend time researching their latest posts, really dig deep, and see what you can extrapolate from their successes and failures.

Again, you might get some really interesting insights and hopefully you’re going to see what’s working for them, what isn’t and take that as an opportunity to essentially learn from the work they’ve already put into it. See if you can identify some ways that you can separate yourself from them by leveraging what has worked for them.

Create Profiles On All Major Social Platforms

Step four, I would make sure that you have accounts set up with all the primary platforms. Even though you might not have success on each major platform, for instance Facebook might not be the best platform for your particular business depending on what vertical you’re in, but even that aside, I do recommend that you go and establish a brand account on all major platforms. Because you’re going to get a link back to your website and that is good for your SEO. Even if you never do anything with that account, go ahead and create that branded account for your business, get the link back, that’s going to help.

Create a Content Calendar

Step five, create a simple content calendar. This is difficult and this is one of those things that a lot of people just … they put off, they don’t really want to do, but if you can even just set up a simple spreadsheet and have an idea of perhaps just depending on the day of the week, the type of content that you’re going to share on that day.

It’s going to help you stay consistent, it’s going to help you be more efficient and it’s actually going to help with your online branding because as you build an audience, people are going to know what to expect. That’s going to really help you know your efforts and your success. Social media is about building a community, it’s about establishing your brand and connecting with your target audience, and establishing a content calendar is really going to help in your ability to do that.

Test, Evaluate & Adjust As Needed

Finally, step six, test, evaluate and adjust as needed. There is no single strategy that works for everybody. This is a very simple one, this is just meant to help you get started and point you in direction, I think is going to allow you to see success but it’s a tough road. Social media is constantly changing, there are new platforms showing up all the time, and that means that you just have to get your feet wet, test, see what as you build an audience, see what they respond to, and see how you can engage them. As you learn more about your audience, your strategy is going to develop, is going to potentially change, it’s going to evolve, but that’s important and that’s how you’re going to find the success that you really are looking for.

That’s it guys, that is the simple local SEO strategy. Five steps that you can follow, and that you can employ in your free time without having to be a digital marketing expert. I wish you all the best of luck and I can’t wait for our next video. Stay tuned.

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