Whether you have spent any quality time on your local SEO efforts or not, it is important to understand that local SEO, just like any other online marketing strategy, evolves on a regular basis. This means that no matter what you have done in terms of making your website and online business more visible, the work is really never done. Here are five advances tactics that you can employ to make your website really stand out in 2016.
Think Visibility, Not Rankings
When talking about local SEO, so many professionals focus on how your website is going to rank as a measure of the success or failure of the campaign. However, a better measure of how your local SEO campaign is going is to measure how visible your website it. Visibility is what drives traffic, which is what drives sales and ultimately what drives rankings. So, as you can see, being more visible ultimately leads to better rankings, but in a more organic and sustainable way.
So, what is the difference? If visibility leads to better rankings, why not just look at rankings as a measurement of success?
The difference is that boosting visibility is about controlling how your website is seen. Ranking can put your website at the top, but if it’s just below the fold, people may still not see it. This is especially true if you are depending on PPC advertising like AdWords. Using AdWords can help you secure your spot above the fold, thus getting your website seen by more people and leads to more traffic to your site, etc., etc. And nabbing this spot can mean that other websites still rank higher than yours, but yours is still more viable in the market because more customers will see it.
Google Places for Business and Google+ Local
With having said that, ranking your website is not a bad thing. It just is not necessarily the only thing or even the most important thing. You should not focus on ranking your website and forsaking other things like boosting visibility. You should add some ranking efforts into your overall local SEO strategy. But, here are a list of things you should make sure that you are doing in order to be sure that your website is being presented to customers.
The answer: citations and reviews, but not in the normal sense. Now, your citations and reviews need to be housed within a Google controlled property like Google Places for Business and Google+Local.
In the past, reviews were rated much more valuable than citations because they were notoriously hard to get. This is still true, to a certain extent, but Google is making it easier and easier to give those who are enjoying your website and services a nod of approval thanks to integration like Google Places for Business and Google+Local.
Get the Basics Right
The biggest thing to work on when it comes to boosting website visibility is to make sure that your meta descriptions exist and that they are unique.
Here is why your meta descriptions are important and how rank and visibility differ.
Say that you have created a meta description that shows up one time somewhere in the midst of your opening paragraph that is not compelling to customers. Even if your website is ranked number one for the particular search term used, if your competitors at spots two and three have really great meta descriptions that are convincing readers to click through, you are losing out on business. It is vitally important to create solid meta descriptions that really encourage your readers to click through to see what else you can be offering them.
The next thing you need is a schema markup. By getting your website marked by five little yellow stars, you increase the likelihood that someone will click through to your site ten times over. And you can do this without boosting ranking or visibility at all.
So, do I still need citations?
Short answer? Yes. Citations are easier to get and can easily be manipulated, but yes, they are still important to your overall local SEO strategy. Google will take a look at all of your different citations and if your name, address, contact information and website URL is all the same, they are going to trust that the information is all correct that give you a higher position in the search engine results pages than others.
In order to ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit from your citations, you need to use a tool to identify and maintain them. Moz Local is a great resource for this. Moz Local will help you find your citations and then let you manage them all from one place, which is the best way to ensure that they are all the same and is always optimized for Google.