Want to succeed in Local SEO in Frisco or Plano? Here’s the cool thing: the search engines will usually give searchers local results when it makes sense, even if they don’t type “near me” in their browser. But out-of-town companies will still outperform you if you’re not set up properly! Fortunately, local search success is easier than it used to be. Here’s our 6-point list for Local SEO Success in the order they should be done:
We talk more about this on our Content Development page, but knowing what key terms your audience is using to find businesses like yours is super important. Research the terms your audience and your competitors are using for your products and services. This is how you can find the best terms to use when optimizing all the things in the steps listed below!
The most important thing for Local SEO is your presence on localized directories. Google My Business is definitely #1. That covers Google Maps; you need to do Apple Maps, Waze, Yelp and Bing Business listings as well. Get a Facebook account and if you have a unique business name worth protecting, get the other social media staples including Twitter and LinkedIn, and if you’ll have video content, YouTube and Vimeo.
Write some great business descriptions using your keywords from Step #1, localize them by mentioning your areas served (Example: Tree Surgeon Frisco) and post pictures of your offices (not stock photography!) and people to improve your find-ability.
Citations are the mention of your business in other websites and blogs, and listings of your business in web directories. Directories is where most people start. For Local SEO, you don’t need to be in 75 general directories, just the important ones like Google, Apple, Yelp, Bing, Foursquare, Dex and Manta, your social media properties, plus the appropriate specialized resources for your industry. Read more about Citation Campaigns here, but dependent on your market there could easily be 15 or 20 places your business listing should appear.
Restaurants, for example, in addition to the general directories above, absolutely need to be in Yelp, Trip Advisor, Grubhub, OpenTable, Zomato (they bought Urban Spoon), Facebook and a few more. You can search for the best ones to be in for your business. Search for “best web directories for (your business type here)” and make sure it’s a recent article.
We hear hyper-local listings are becoming more important as Google algorithms mature. They didn’t used to matter because many of the sites were so weak that they didn’t have any authority with the search engines. The intent of this rumored piece to the local algorithm is to measure your popularity and references in your community. How much of a factor is it? Google never tells, but don’t ignore it.
Now that you can be found, you need to work on why they would want to find you - your website’s content. Use your keyword research and include those as you write. It’s best to use keywords early, like in page titles, headlines, and the first or second sentence of your content. How often should you use a key term? It depends on your content. Newer testing suggests that as long as you use keywords in a context that makes sense, the old adage of "no more than 2 or 3" may not be true. We have tools that will tell us what should be the target.
You also need to look at how your competitors are ranking and what they write about that you don’t. That’s called gap analysis. You may find content nuggets in line with your own strategy that drive good search performance. Think about adding similar content to your own mix, but don't copy it. Use their content as inspiration and write about it yourself.
Once the basic facts are on the table, put some spin on it. Make sure it’s your content (not copied) and try for a unique approach or “voice”. Try to remember how people search, as in asking a question, and try to write opening phrases to that. People usually search for specific solutions to a particular problem. Avoid “we do everything” statements.
Check your voice search tool of choice. Ask how you would expect others to ask the question verbally and see if your answers align with your research. This is where your GoogleMyBusiness, Bing Places, and Yelp listings come into play (Yelp feeds into Siri and Amazon Alexa).
Remember to localize your content. If you target Frisco, like we do, talk about how your services help people or businesses in Frisco, and include images from Frisco (that you have rights to use)!
Reviews are important, considering more than 80% of people trust online reviews and make their buying decisions using them. Despite the pitfalls of fake reviews, having 5 review stars on your GoogleMyBusiness listing means a lot to some folks.
So, get some! Our recommendation depends on your market, but we generally like Google, Facebook and Yelp because of their dominance, even though we think Yelp's review filtering algorithm is pretty flaky.
You should have a program for generating reviews, but be careful how you ask - the best thing is just to ask “Would you be willing to give us a review?” Don’t offer incentives and don’t ask for a “good” review because that can tilt the scales.
Some might put link building ahead of this, but we prefer to start building links when a business’ legitimacy is already well established, and that includes reviews. Otherwise, why would they link to you?
The number of links that point to your site is an indicator of your site’s popularity. Popular sites rank higher, period. So why is it last on the list?
Because it’s harder than all the other steps, takes longer and costs more. And in our view, having all those other steps in good shape first is critical to link-building success because those that might link
to you don’t want to waste their time or link equity on a low quality website that says nothing new. Link building can include efforts on many fronts but to keep it simple, they are links to your site from blog posts, articles and social media.
If you want to know more, check out our page on Link Building. You might need some help on this one.