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January 6, 2016

The New Rules of Local SEO

Local SEO Google Maps
Photo Credit: laihiu via flickr

As Smartphone technology continues to become omnipresent in modern society, local SEO is becoming more important than ever. According to Google, four out of every five searches that take place are aimed at finding local solutions. For this reason, distribution of yellow pages continue to diminish as mobile devices become the premier method of conducting searches.

Now the game becomes about optimizing your online presence and business listings to effectively capture the potential customers in your area. Without certain elements present, your competition will rule the roost for your niche and local market.

To help you get your digital existence up to snuff and highly prosperous for 2016, here are five tips and tricks to dominate the local SERPs:

1. Set Up Your Google My Business Page

Some state that Google+ is dead, but this simply isn’t true. When Google displays local search results with a map for locations, the information presented is not coming from the business’ website; it is harvested from Google+ Local business pages.

To optimize Google My Business to its fullest, a few steps must be taken. First, be sure to include as much relevant information possible on the products or services that your business provides. This will help Google determine relevance for any given query. Additionally, you need to verify all contact information — such as your website, e-mail, hours of operation, address and phone number — is up-to-date. This will help to establish authority as well as ensure your business is listed correctly in Google Maps. It is also helpful to claim a customer URL to make your page easier to find.

It is imperative to include relevant categories to your business so your listing will be displayed accordingly. The more you select the better. Just make sure that all of your choices are compatible with your business, otherwise, it will do more harm than good.  Lastly, be sure to include high-quality images for your business; visuals are becoming quite powerful in the world of SEO too.

2. Be Responsive

A mobile responsive design has become a pivotal factor to SEO overall — Google’s algorithm updates see to it that websites that are not mobile-friendly are penalized accordingly. It has been stated time and time again: if your site is not optimized for mobile interactions, you are missing out on massive amounts of opportunity; especially with mobile-only Internet users surpassing desktop-only users. Sites like MobileTest.me can help you see if your website renders properly or is still in need of some work. If you are a bit unclear on the core tenants of responsive designs, there is a plethora of information available online to help get your site in the mobile game.

3. Acquire Local Citations

Gaining citations is a critical factor to local SEO. To help build authority, get your website listed on as many reputable directory or local citation sites like Yelp and Zagat as possible; here is a list of 50 to help save some time hunting these down. This list is only a sliver of such sites on the Web, so be sure to put in the leg work to gain additional listings. The more trustworthy citations you have pointing toward your site, the more authority you will gain. Additionally, tools like Synup, which is local-SEO focused, can help you accomplish this task in no time.

4. Build Online Reviews

Online reviews have become so powerful, they can truly make or break a business. When it comes to your reviews, this will largely determine how much new business you will receive because 88 percent of consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a local business; and with these critiques appearing on Yelp, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, and tons of other sites, you had better be sure that yours look great.

The most beneficial thing you can do in this area is to be proactive about the reviews you have. Engage with those who have left comments about your business to show the community that you pay attention and care about their experience. If you come across a negative posting, it is especially important to respond to these folks. By offering superior customer service, you can turn that unfortunate evaluation into a positive encounter.

To help earn reviews from customers, you can always remind your patrons to provide feedback on Google, which is actually encouraged by the search engine. You can also promote in-store offers in exchange for an honest evaluation on one of your pages.

5. Create Stellar Content

No matter how you look at it, outstanding content is the cornerstone of SEO. This will help drive visitors to your page, support your keyword strategy, and ultimately boost rankings and visibility. If you fail to incorporate content into your SEO blueprint, you are simply giving you competitors an opening to take cash out of your pocket.

Create and share valuable content about your services, niche and local community through your blog, social profiles, and wherever else you can get it posted.

Local SEO can be a challenging undertaking, but all of the information and tools you need are at your disposal. Take the time to optimize your Google pages, social profiles, and mobile website, and your business will be poised for a bountiful 2016.

What steps have you taken towards local search dominance and how has it effected your business? How do you think local SEO will change in 2016?


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

44 Responses to “The New Rules of Local SEO

    Very good article with quality working results for SEO.

    Thank you

    You are listing a valid points for boost up local search in 2016. we have to look for it and improve it..

    avatar DevDigital says:

    Thanks for the post, Tina. But sadly I found nothing new in this article, means everyone knows about Google business page, responsive and create listings in local sites. Can you pls share something more in detail which will help local SEO in 2016.

    avatar Simicart says:

    Great article !
    Local SEO is another factor that my business is weak.
    Hopefully in 2016 I will improve local seo issues.
    Thank you very much, helpful information!

    Thanks for sharing this post Tina!

    You can also add a couple of steps in your list:

    1. Creating your company profiles on various business directories related to your local area.

    2. Listing your business on Apple and Bing maps

    What’s your opinion about the effect of social media shares relevant to SEO? especially Google+?

    Getting bunches of information from this article, One of the key points of this post is mobile responsive website, thanks for shared and I really enjoyed to reading this post. Thumb’s up.. :)

    These new rules are a trend to change the scenario in SEO.

    I have read your article. it’s really vary helpful. I am also SEO executive. Thanks for sharing this article.

    avatar Rankaroo says:

    Quality guidelines posted for local SEO of any website . These tips will surely help in site ranking in Google.

    avatar CC Number says:

    Local SEO is getting complex day by day. Thanks for putting guide on the same. Reviews seems to be taken as a primary signal for local ranking.

    On the Wen content is all things, if the content is more admirable by Google and its factor, you’re always in the top, thanks for shared and I really enjoyed to reading this post.

    avatar adi says:

    Download and share

    avatar Faiz Rasool says:

    excellent and nice post i really appreciate you. when i visit then i feel very happy to read it. I got enough information through it. I got relevant information.

    avatar baguz says:

    i have registered on google my bussines. But not complete verification. so i need to wait until verifications finish.

    avatar JohnBoy says:

    Interesting read. Google my business can get a little complicated for consumers though. They don’t exactly make it simple. People don’t want to set up accounts and etc.,

    Local SEO is getting difficult everyday. I am glad that you provided some of the nice methods to tackle local SEO issue. I will use the same for my client

    avatar Bjay Raheem says:

    Very informative write-up.

    Thank you!

    avatar Pan status says:

    Local SEO and business pages are two sides of the coin. I just listed my business and I can see huge improvement in traffic.

    avatar Amith Mishra says:

    Hi Tina Courtney,
    Thank you for your valuable post. My website is not a responsive right now. I will surely change my website to responsive.

    avatar a10 says:

    I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information.

    avatar Abdul says:

    Its true 88% of consumers read reviews on Google my business page then they will go with your services.

    When i saw the email in my inbox, i got quite excited as its just the start of new year and thought there would be something wonderful to read and implement..
    But Argghhh. there is nothing new you mentioned here.
    Well being a technical SEO Specialist, i would say that along with these and other SEO stuff, you should definitely take care of technical SEO things and i am pretty sure it will be going to reap lots of value out of that.
    Anyways i appreciate the time and effort, you put in composing this article.
    Cheers..

    avatar chami says:

    Really a Helpful article, Thank You very much for sharing the valuable facts

    awesome information… must check my website about Customer Care

    Google business page really helps in good ranking. I also get links from local directory. It also helps in ranking

    avatar delizard says:

    Hi!
    Nice article. I’ve written an article about LocalSEO some days ago (look here), so i would add: NAP consistency with GPS data, report your business in all maps website (google, bing, apple, tomtom), use local rich snippet.
    Bye!

    Video marketing is an important part of the SEO process. Youtube gets over 1 billion hits per months. Embedding a video in your webpage can lower your bounce rate since most visitors would rather watch a video than read.

    Nice article ! Keep sharing !

    avatar Antonio says:

    It’s ok the “official” information. It would be more useful some information about what we can do in some cases like google repeatedly change the address of the business or making a mess on My Business pages when updating for the new version, or not allowing us to make the necessary adjustments after the new version.
    It’s nice to write what google wants to hear but it is not very useful for the rest of us.

    yes this true tips i have got success for my local seo clients. thanks dear for sharing it.
    Thanks
    Sagar Ganatra

    avatar Pan status says:

    Local SEO rules. I got success after following this information.

    avatar Al Tennant says:

    Great article — this is exactly what pinhinny.com is all about, local seo posts. Thanks

    avatar SEO King says:

    Acquiring Local Citations is what many SEO’s miss in this game. Thanks for laying down some of the Local SEO fundamentals for the newbies here.

    avatar Aisha says:

    Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is
    really informative. I am going to watch out for brussels.

    avatar Rahul Yadav says:

    thanks for sharing nice post

    avatar Kunji Paul says:

    Today most of the website owners are worry about SEO. This article provides clear idea about seo. Nice article.Please post more articles.

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    avatar Dhaval Patel says:

    Amazing information about local SEO.

    Now I am following your five great tips. Need more articles about local seo.

    Yes, all the points have been covered from the above article. Google Business listing is very important.

    avatar viber review says:

    This is a wonderful site! Thanks for sharing!

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