Local search engine optimization (SEO) benefits from backlinks as I’ve discussed in other blog posts. See my posts on how to reach out for backlinks and how to get them organically. In addition to backlinks, there are several more things that you can do to rank high locally.
(1) Submit your site to a directory aggregator
A tool like Moz Local or Bright Local can really help you rank higher–especially on the maps results high on the page. What they do is automate the process of submitting your business to local internet directories. This allows you to have consistent name, address, phone number and landing page URL on as many sites as possible. Number and consistency of your directory listings is an important Google ranking factor.
(2) Create and optimize a page for each physical location
If you have one location or several, each location should have a webpage dedicated to it. This webpage should be your main landing page for local results so you will want to optimize it using a tool like Surfer SEO. You also need to make sure you have a local phone number, address and embedded interactive map for each location page. Additional things you can do is give directions to the location because directions will include additional local keywords.
(3) Route as many links as possible to location pages
Rather than linking to your homepage, you should set up all of your web directory listings so that they link directly to the location you are targeting.
Internally, you should ensure there are lots of links to your location pages. Link to them from the main menu and also create blog posts that link to the location pages.
(4) Get some reviews
This is slightly off topic because having a lot of positive reviews doesn’t help a ton with ranking but it definitely helps you get clicked on when you do show up. Unless your business is a restaurant or hotel you will need to actively solicit reviews. The reason is that in other categories people tend to only post a review if they are very upset. To counteract this problem you need to go out and get positive reviews to dilute any damage from bad reviews.
Here are a few approaches to get reviews:
- Put a QR code on the back of a business card and give an incentive to service providers for getting positive reviews. They just hand it to the customer and ask them to click on the code before they leave the story ideally.
- You can also email out review requests, or text them out. If your business is in an industry that tends to attract a lot of negativity (property management, some medical fields, etc.) you should do a 2-step process where you first ask people how their service was, then ask for a review only if they’re satisfied. There are businesses that can automate this processs (we do!). You can also just download your emails on a weekly basis to send out an email blast. For very small businesses just text all of your customers the day after they got their service.
Following this simple process of building out and optimizing location pages for each physical location will help you to rank higher on Google. This gets at the fact that Google wants to rank the most relevant content. So if you are a dentist who has two locations in the Phoenix valley, or even one, Google wants to link people to the location page that is most relevant to them, not to the homepage. Remember that Google is in the business of serving up webpages not websites. So using this system can help Google pick the most relevant page from your site and you both win.