Are you a local business who wants to make
sure they rank on Google for their search term? You need to make sure your site
is set up right with the core fundamentals of local SEO. Here is our 10 point
checklist that you must have if you want to have the best chance of ranking.
1: The Right Keywords
Before you do any sort of SEO strategy, you
need to make sure you’re trying to optimize for the right keywords. Do proper
keyword research using keyword planning tools. Google has a free one through
the Google Ads platform.
To get keyword ideas, start with a basic idea of what your business provides. From there, use keyword planning tools to get keywords that are related to your business. Sort by search volume and create a set of optimal keywords based on that. That’s the simple gist of it, however, there are more in-depth strategies you can use for keyword research.
2: Meta Tags: Titles,
Title tags are a highly important part of SEO
as the title tag is what appears in the SERPs. It should be descriptive,
include your focus keyword, and describe what people are getting on the page.
They should be under 55 characters.
Meta descriptions should be a small paragraph,
no more than 156 characters, and describe more in detail what the page does specifically.
It should include your focus keyword as well and should not be flooded with
3: Business Info
Also sometimes called NAP, this is the basic
business info people are looking for. Name, Address, and Phone Number. This
info is found by Google to show where your business is and how to contact you.
As a local business, this is extremely important.
4: Image, Link & Anchor Text
These aspects of a page are often overlooked, but they need to be optimized for the search engines. The image needs to have keywords that will help people searching for images to find the image in question. Use keywords in the file name, title text, and alt text.
Your link’s anchor text should also be optimized for SEO, but not necessarily for the SEO of the page, it’s on. It should be optimized for the SEO of the page it’s linking to. Internal links are important for showing Google how the page’s structure works.
5: Social Media & Online
Creating social media profiles and citations
on an online directory is an easy way to make sure your business can be found
all over the Internet.
A good social media profile indicates that
your business is a legitimate one, and if the NAP business info is consistent,
Google uses that to judge the legitimacy and authority of your business along
List your site in Yellow Pages, a local board
of trade or chamber of commerce directory, and online directories that sort
sites like yours. This shouldn’t be the basis of your strategy, however, and
should only be available so that people (and Google) can find you there.
6: Proper Link Building
Link building is the cornerstone of any SEO strategy, even in 2020 and beyond. Sites linking to your site imply that your site has authority on the topic of the keyword. Each link acts as a ‘vote’ and depending on the perceived authority of the site linking you, your site could get a greater ranking benefit! Building links requires a post of its own, however.
7: Mobile First Design
Most web browsing nowadays is done on mobile.
It’s very important that your website looks good on as many types of mobile
devices as possible, and Google will take notice.
Google has some guidelines to keep your site mobile
friendly: follow them and you should be good to go!
8: Local Business Schema Markup
This is a simple trick that local SEO
professionals use that most business owners have no idea about. Knowing how to
use this can drastically improve the way your search result looks and could
even help your rank.
Local business schema is a special code that you or your webmaster can add to your website to help search engines understand how to read and display your site on the SERPs. Check out http://www.schema.org/ to learn more!
9: Google My Business Profile
This is one of the simplest ways to
dramatically improve your local SEO on Google. Signing up for a free My
Business profile will allow you to populate relevant info about your business
and have it show up on Google. List your business by creating a
Google My Business profile!
10: Customer Reviews
Online reviews are one of the most highly
trusted sources of information on the Web, and Google knows this. Your customer
reviews are taken into account when Google ranks your business, especially
Encourage your customers to leave good reviews, but do
not use incentives to do so. Provide an awesome experience and they will want
to tell everyone!