Miscellaneous

Published on March 24th, 2017 | by Guest

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The Importance Of Data In Improving Your Local SEO

Do you know that there are over 1 billion websites on the Internet today? According to Internet Live Stats, the World Wide Web hit the 1 billion mark in March 2016. It’s safe to assume that there is more than a trillion webpages since the first website was created in 1991. These figures, which are continuously climbing, make the work of SEO experts more challenging. How can they place their websites on top of results pages? How can they reach out to their target audience given the sheer number of other webpages? One solution is by focusing on local SEO.

Local SEO and your business

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Local SEO “allows local businesses to promote their services to local customers at exactly the time they’re looking for your type of business.” An NYC-based mother needing plumbing services wouldn’t want information about a company in Calcutta, India. Local SEO is like your telephone directory which provides your business name, services, and contact information to “real customers.”

Why does your business need to boost its local SEO? BrightLocal noted that 64 percent of local customers search for businesses online compared to 28 percent who use paper directories. The advent of smartphone only made online searches a more convenient way of looking for local products and services. It is also worth noting that directory marketing via local SEO has attained a higher conversion rate than traditional advertising options with as high as 50 percent conversion.

Data and local SEO

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Data is key in an effective local SEO strategy. Local directory marketing is highly targeted. It’s geographic. Google shares that the core of local SEO strategies is improving a business’s information. “Providing and updating business information in Google My Business can help your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your presence in Search and Maps,” according to the world’s most powerful search engine. In a nutshell, Google advises businesses to enter their complete data, verify their location(s), keep their operating hours accurate, include contact persons, respond to reviews, and add photos.

List data aggregators

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List as many online directories as you can find. Check out Hubspot’s 50 online local business listings for local marketing which include Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Yelp, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, MerchantCircle, LinkedIn, and YP.com.

Do you need to have citations in all 50 directories? Not really. You just need to have presence in the data aggregators that “drip down” information to other listings. If your NAP is incorrect in these big players, the mistake will reach the database of major search engines like Google and Bing. There are different data aggregators per country or territory. In the US, the Big Four are Infogroup, Acxiom, Neustar Localeze, and Factual. YPG is dominant in Canada as well as the government-sponsored Industry Canada. For UK businesses, it’s imperative to list in The Local Data Company and Market Location.

Improving SEO for your local business

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Inconsistency can adversely affect your page ranking. Try searching your business and check which pages need to be updated. Some pages might still have your old phone number. Your citations or NAP (name, address, phone number) must be uniform. Add or claim your business listing in Google. How? First, search for your business on Google and check the Are You The Business Owner link on entries that match your business information. If the link appears, it means that you can claim the business. If not, you can add your business to Google.

For both processes, go to google.com/business and click the Get On Google button. Google will ask you to search for your business in their database. If it’s not yet there, you’d need to add your business information. If your business is already there, you’d just need to confirm it or update your information. Management rights are required before any edit can be done in a verified listing. Make sure your business name, address, and category are correct before allowing Google to verify your business.

Update your business hours

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Local SEO is being there for your target audience when you’re needed. The people that local SEO target are not just prospects, they are potential buyers of your products and services within your own community. Aside from ensuring your NAP is up-to-date, make sure that you indicate your business hours. Google allows businesses set breaks in business hours (e.g. open from 9 AM–2 PM on Saturdays, closed from 2 PM–5 PM, then open again from 5 PM–10 PM) and special hours for holidays or special events.

Include current appealing photos

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Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. If you’re searching for a hotel accommodation, you’d want to know how the rooms and facilities look like. Here are the standards for photos:

  • Format: JPG or PNG
  • Size: Between 10KB and 5MB
  • Minimum resolution: 720px tall, 720px wide
  • Quality: The photo should be in focus and well lit. Avoid photoshop alterations or too much filter.

“Photos help people find your business across Google—including on Search and Maps—and come from both businesses themselves and their customers,” Google notes.

Manage your reviews

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Admit it. As a customer yourself, people’s reviews about a product or service can affect your buying decisions. Getting a bad review is not the end. Remember that it’s impossible to please everybody. Why should you be responding to reviews? It shows that you value your customers’ feedback and helps you diffuse issues early on. If you encounter a bad review or complaint, be quick in acknowledging it and continue to troubleshoot via personal messages.

Encourage your customers to post a review as this will help in your local SEO strategy, but take note that sites such as Google prohibit soliciting reviews by offering incentives. It’s also against the review policy to set up review stations at your shop or place of business.

Local SEO is not rocket science. However, it requires SEO experts to be always on the top of trends. It’s the job of a digital marketing agency to know changes in search engines’ algorithms, fads in online marketing, and whatever is buzzing in the Internet. You only deserve the best for your business. If you don’t have the expertise, seek the services of a top-notch SEO expert or a reliable SEO company.

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