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The Off-Page SEO Checklist for Local Business
This post is the second of a two part series showing simple actionable steps that local businesses can take to dominate local search results. You can read the first post here.
1. Complete your Google My Business Listing
The single most important step you can make, is to claim your Google My Business listing. Click here to get started. You will need to confirm your address with Google, who will send you a secret pin number by post.
To get the most out of your Google My Business listing make sure your profile is complete - add your logo; a keyword rich bio; a list of products and services; links to your website; and of course - your company address.
Once registered, your business will also appear on Google Maps, which can be particularly useful for increasing mobile traffic.
2. Claim all of your other Local Listings
There are a large number of geo-local websites and local listing websites. These include Bing Places, Yelp, Foursquare and Trip Advisor. Claiming your listing on ALL of the major local listings websites within your sector will help to set-in-stone who your are, where you are and what you do. If you are in the hotel or catering sector, Trip Advisor is also must. You can find an comprehensive list of the big ones here.
As you did with your Google My Business listing, make sure your profiles are complete, engaging, and that your name address and phone numbers (NAPs) are correct.
3. Register your business on leading local directories, websites and forums
Are there any directories, websites, forums or Facebook Groups that are well-known locally? If so, consider registering and taking part in relevant discussions or initiatives. This can be particularly useful if the website in question is specific to your service or industry and a place where potential clients hangout. You may need to do a little research to find suitable local websites where you can register.
As well as directly increasing local awareness of your business, it will also send strong signals to search engines that you are well-established locally.
I'm being deliberately repetitive here - be consistent with your NAPs.
4. Social Network Business Pages
Add your exact business name and address to your social network pages. Facebook, Google Plus and Linkedin are essential social networks for business. Then depending on your products, sector and marketing strategy, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter are also widely used social networks.
It is also a good idea to link between your social network pages. This will not only help increase your follower count, but will allow search engines to decide with more confidence that each profile belongs exclusively to your business, potentially giving you a search ranking uplift.
5. Ensure your NAPs are consistent
Check that your business name, address and phone number (NAPs) are consistent across the web. Just one typo such as "29 High Street" Vs "9 High Street" can be enough to confuse a robot into not knowing with any confidence where you are actually located, dampening your Local Business SEO efforts.
6. Get mentions from Local Press
Organize local competitions, events or initiatives and then promote them on your website. Aim to get mentions from local press and bloggers.
Links from leading local websites are a great way to boost both direct inter-website traffic and your local search ranking position.
7. Encourage Google Reviews
Encourage clients to review your business on Google My Business and other geo-local websites.
Bare in mind that once you have at least 5 reviews, Google will begin to show your review rating and stars beside your SERP listing. This can greatly improve your click through rate. We suggest that you first aim to get 10 reviews on Google My Business, before moving on to the next most important review website on your list, and aiming for 10 positive reviews there too. Give it a few months and your efforts will be rewarded with - a Google search with your brand name should produce your website homepage along with lots of shining 5 star ratings for your business and your services - a major advantage in search listings!
Whenever your receive a review, take time to write back to your client thanking them, and addressing any problems.
8. Review other local businesses, places and events
Take time to review other local businesses, places and events via your business profile on Google Plus. For example, if there is a great restaurant near to your premises where your potential clients also go, consider writing a glowing review. There are 3 potential knock-on effects:
- This will reinforce your local presence with search engines
- You are putting your brand directly in front of the eyes of potential clients
- Review Karma generated - the restaurant owner is far more likely to return the favour and write a review of your business.
Your website should now be well positioned to attract new visitors from local search and social networks. It is a good idea to always keep your website listings and social network profiles fresh and up-to-date with lots of positive reviews.
Here is some very useful further reading:
- How good is your website? Take the Jeyjoo Website Healthcheck - a collection of free and easy-to-use tests that will tell you where your website can improve.
- The On-Page SEO Checklist for Local search - the first guide of two local business SEO guides in this series.
- The secrets of a well-structured website - useful tips and expert advice.
To grow your client base locally - get in touch: