New to local search? Wondering where to start? Columnist Sherry Bonelli offers five tactics to help you kick off your local SEO campaignIf you’ve followed SEO strategies for any length of time, you know one thing: SEO changes all the time. When it comes to local seo company more important than ever that you optimize your on-site and off-site SEO strategies for clients and customers who may be searching for your local business. Local competition is heating up, and if you’re not on top of your rankings, you can bet your competitors will be.Here are five solid local seo company tactics you can use this year to help your business rank higher for local search terms.
1. Title and meta description tags still matter
Title and meta description tags are HTML elements that you can customize to reflect the content of your web page. The text of your title and description tags is displayed in search results. Think of this text as a “mini-ad” that you need to carefully craft.
Last year, Google increased the width of the main search results area to 600px. In light of this, the generally acceptable length for title tags is approximately 50 to 60 characters, and description tags can be approximately 160 to 200 characters. Take advantage of this space and use it wisely — and make sure you double-check that your titles and descriptions aren’t getting cut off in search results.
If you’re not sure how your title and meta description tags will look or how many characters you can get away with, try using an emulator like the one from SEOmofo or Yoast’s local seo company Plugin for WordPress:
Writing titles and descriptions is considered an art in the local seo company world. In a sea of competing search results, if this text isn’t unique, compelling and descriptive, then your click-through rate will suffer. Additionally, one extra word or character could cut off your text with the dreaded ellipses (…). This may not be a true tragedy, but it does look unprofessional, especially when it shows up in the middle of a sentence, making your title or description less impactful.
The lesson? This space is precious, and every character counts. Here are some tips:
Never waste space on page names that don’t provide helpful informationIf you want to reach local customers, include the name of the city your business is in and/or the area your business serves (e.g., “Serving the Corridor of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids”).
Focus on using one targeted keyword and carefully place that keyword as close to the beginning of the tag as you can.
Remember, if your business shows up in the search results, you have one shot to get that person to click on your link local seo company Don’t blow it by wasting characters that won’t help convince a searcher you’re worth looking at.
2. Online directories and citations
According to Google, roughly four out of five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches. Yet many small businesses have not claimed even a single a local business listing online, which is a huge missed opportunity.
It’s important that you get your business listed correctly and consistently on top online business directories, like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Citysearch and others. You will also want to seek out respectable local directories to get your business listed on. Check with your local newspaper’s website and your Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a local business directory you can get listed on. You can also do a search for keywords like “[your city] directory” to find other local citation sites or directories.
It’s also important to get your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP) on the major citation data aggregators like Infogroup, Neustar (aka Localeze), Acxiom and Factual. Always make sure that your company’s NAP is consistent on as many of these directories and citation sites as possible. Discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number and wrong phone number can create havoc when Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct. If Google’s not sure, they may display incorrect information — or not show your business at all in search results.
3. Google My Business: Claim and optimize
Google My Business (GMB) is considered a directory, but it’s a biggie, so it deserves its own section. It’s very important for local seo company businesses to claim their Google My Business (and Bing Places for Business) page. It’s free and can get you incredible exposure if you’re optimized enough to show up in Google’s local three-pack: