There’s no question that local SEO is more important today than it ever has been. Over 55% of all searches done on mobile devices are local, meaning that they include city names as well as other local information in the keywords used.

What does that mean for the local business owner? It means they need to be highly focused on maximizing their local SEO. It’s the only way to make sure that local customers don’t miss you when they search for businesses such as yours. Here are the top ranking factors to connect locally and grow your business for 2017.

Research Local Keywords

One of the main mistakes that local business owners make when making their websites is not optimizing for local keywords related to their business. As mentioned above, the majority of searches on mobile do include local keywords. Customers who are out will search for local businesses.

If they can’t find yours, they will simply visit one of your competitors instead. To find the best local keywords for your business, you can use Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner. For the best results it is best to use a combination of short and long-tail keywords.

Optimizing your Meta Data

Has the meta data on your website been optimized for local search? Meta data includes all of the tags and alternative descriptions on your website. It also includes the meta description that Google displays on search results, though it is not always 100% possible to make sure that Google use the title and description tags that you place on your pages. Many local companies don’t really pay much attention to their meta data, and this leads to them missing out on opportunities to connect with their local target audience because they are not using local keywords.

Now would be a good time to go through all of the meta data on your website and update it to include your chosen local keywords. It won’t take you much time to actually make these changes, and the rewards from doing so can lead to a big difference in the ranking of your website in Google.

Optimizing your Content for Local Keywords

Something else that can help you in terms of local SEO is to optimize each page of content on your website for your local keywords. A drycleaner in London might use keywords such as:

  • London drycleaner
  • Drycleaners in London
  • London drycleaning services

When you optimize the content on your site for your selected keywords, it is very important that you keep the focus on quality and not quantity. Google does not look kindly on websites that fill their content with keywords over and over again. Keyword stuffing is a total no-no !! Make sure that you use your keywords in important locations on your pages such as your title, subheadings and in the first few paragraphs of your content.

There is no real fixed keyword density percentage to follow, but a good aim is for around 1% keyword usage. Put simply, this means that if you have a page with one thousand words of content, you would use your main keyword around 10 times. You can also use some secondary and long-tail keywords. The main thing is that your content is relevant and highly readable. If so then you’ll get the full benefits of your keywords. If you want to check the density of your keywords, the try out this keyword density checker that was recently released by the guys at PBN Butler.

Make sure your NAP Listings are consistent

A NAP listing is any listing on the internet where the name, address, and phone number of your company appear. Do you know when was the last time you actually went through and checked the consistency of your NAP listings ? All of your NAP listings need to be identical if you want to fully optimize your business for local search. It might seem like a small thing, but even something such as using Rd instead of Road, or St instead of Street in a listing can actually harm your SEO and make it more difficult for potential customers to find you.

Make sure you review all of your NAP listings and contact any website that is displaying your information incorrectly. You should also check all of your social media accounts and other pages that you have control over to make sure that the address listings are all consistent.

Optimize your Google My Business Page

If you haven’t already done so, claiming your company’s listing on Google My Business  should be a priority. Google My Business is a free site for business owners, and using it properly can give your SEO a boost. The first thing you need to do is to verify your business. On the listing in Google you will see an option that says “Claim your business by clicking here”. You can find more information about claiming your business on Google here.

Once you’ve done that, you then need to review the existing information that Google has for your business and update it to reflect your proper NAP listing. Make sure that you include your business hours and other relevant information. Adding photographs and using your local keywords in the image tags is highly recommended.

All content you prepare for your Google My Business should be optimized for local search. Your company description and everything else you post there needs to include local keywords you want to rank for. This additional information will improve your Google search rank and help local customers find you when they search your selected keywords.

Private Blog Network (PBN) Links

A PBN – Private Blog Network is a group of authority websites that you use to build links back to your main business website. If you know of PBNs, you may also be aware that link building with them is considered problematic by some SEO’s. The main reason for this is that some marketers have made an industry out of building low-quality PBN sites that are usually make with poorly written or spun content. Others are built based on old websites that are no longer live, and the foundations for these usually come from the Way Back machine at Archive.org where people download copies of old sites and set them up again.

The key to successfully using a PBN is to make sure that they only have original and high-quality content. To be more effective the PBNs should have some connection to the topic or theme of your target website. So for example, if you run a car wash, having links back to your main website from PBNs that are based on topics such as yoga, jewellery or flights to New York, then there is very little topical juice flowing to your website. However, having links from PBNs that are about cars, mechanics or something similar, then you will have a more positive effect from your backlinks.

If you don’t have your own PBN then you can find a number of people who sell high authority and very powerful links from their own networks of websites. Prices will vary and some offer links for a monthly subscription, while others have a one-off fee. For links such as these, it will probably be best to use one of your main target keywords for the anchor text as the juice from these should be very strong.

All of the content you post on your PBN should be optimized for your local keywords and long-tails. You should also remember to vary your backlinks. If every link is for a keyword, this is something Google will notice and may penalize you. You need to make the links look as natural as possible for the best results. Throw in a variety of anchors for your links including naked URLs, as well as things such as “click here”, “check it out”, “visit the website”.

Conclusion

The way to be successful with local SEO is to be persistent. Any time your company name appears online, you need be using local keywords. Make sure your NAP is consistent and always use the same format. The more consistent you are, the easier it will be for potential clients to find and then ultimately buy from you.