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What You Need to Know About Local SEO

local businessThere has been a lot of buzz out there about the importance of local SEO. And while not all businesses will benefit from it, if your business has a physical address, you can definitely benefit from it. But, what does Local SEO entail and will it benefit you enough to go through the process?

What types of businesses need Local SEO?

Local SEO is designed to help businesses gain better visibility with customers who are looking for a local business to patronize. So, the short answer is that if you have a physical address, you can definitely find more business by engaging in local SEO practices.

How is Local SEO different from Global SEO?

While there are several parallels between local and global SEO, there are a number of differences. The principles of global SEO include ensuring your website is properly set up for search engines including having quality content on each page, including high value search terms in both the page headers, titles and content, including links, and other factors. Local SEO, however, takes this a step further by placing emphasis on your business’s relationship to a certain area.

One of the biggest things you can do for your business in terms of local SEO is to claim and complete local business directory profiles. You can do this with Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Foursquare and many others.

The next thing that local SEO experts will tell you is the most important is consistency. You will want your name, address, and telephone number to be consistent across all online profiles and platforms. This is how customers and search engines will identify you. If there are inconsistencies, there will be confusion and therefore less traffic to your business.

The third most important aspect to local SEO is having reviews completed by your customers on online outlets such as Yelp and other consumer review sites. Google Places is another really good outlet for this. As a matter of fact, having reviews put on Google Places does a lot for your local SEO campaign.

What are the most important signals that boost local SEO rankings?

Search engines use an algorithm to determine placement of businesses in search engine results pages for local searches. Websites that have the largest number of citations (local business profiles), combined with the largest number of reviews, and the overall positivity of the reviews will be ranked the highest. Experts will tell you that reviews are weighted with more importance that citations, so having customers leave positive reviews is the key to a successful local SEO campaign.

How Can I Get Reviews if I Don’t have Them?

The best way to get reviews is to ask your customers to leave them for you. Whatever you do, do not purchase positive reviews. Search engines and customers alike can sniff out fake reviews from a mile away, which will do far more damage to your business’s reputation than you will be able to recover from.

Using these techniques will go a long way to boosting your business’s local online presence and bring new customers to your door.