Local Search Engine Optimization is an incredibly powerful tool. A high percentage of search engine users look for businesses or services that are in their local area. In 2018 Local SEO is a term that you should not only become familiar with but be able to implement, if you want your business to be relevant. Having a strong Local SEO presence puts your business in front of highly targeted potential customers. When it comes to search engine optimization, Local SEO should be a primary contributor to your search engine rankings. Just below we are going to go over a fully comprehensive Local SEO Checklist for 2018 that you can start implementing now!

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is very similar to national SEO, in that its a process of manipulating the google search algorithm to display specific local search results pertaining to the search query. Search Engine Optimization has a multitude of ranking factors both on a national level as well as a local level. However, the two can be very different. The goal of Local SEO is attract organic traffic that is active in your businesses local area. Hence the name Local SEO. Let’s break down some of the most important ranking factors for Local SEO below.

local seo

Optimizing with Google My Business

Google My Businesses (GMB) is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across the search engine. This is a highly important ranking factor because Google must verify all information about your business. Ensuring that the content they are displaying is both up to date and correct. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.

To ensure your fully optimizing for GMB, you’ll want to create and verify your business information with Google. Utilize Google posts, customer reviews, and respond to customer questions in a timely manner. Since Google displays all of this information on your GMB profile in the search results. The more contact information you can display the better. You want local users to be able to reach your business with ease.

local seo

Improve Internal Linking

Creating a plethora of Internal Links is extremely effective for Search Engine Optimization. You may be asking yourself “Well how does this help gain organic traffic?”. Internal linking creates a virtual structure within your website. Which will allow active users as well as Google representatives to have fluid movements through your website. In addition, internal linking will assist with:

  • Internal Website Navigation
  • Information & Website Hierarchy
  • Distribution of Domain and Page Authority

These are just some of the benefits of internal linking. When you have a fluid website that is easy to navigate and have appropriate internal linking. You can capture the attention of a user for a vastly greater amount of time because they will be jumping from page to page reading your content. This will ultimately increase your average session time which is a highly important SEO ranking factor.

Meta, Title Tags, URL’s and More

Appearance are everything on the web. When your website has a clean body it will appear less intimidating and spammy. Thereby, increasing the amount of Organic Traffic that you can attain through Local Searches.

local seo

Meta Description

The Meta Description is the short summary of the page that is displayed in the Search Results Page. When trying to rank for Local SEO it is imperative that the content displayed has Local SEO Keywords. However, do not try to perform keyword stuffing this will actually hurt your Local SEO ranking. Performing keyword stuffing signals to google that the content could be spam or manipulation of the algorithm. Thus, causing them to rank your content lower for Local Search Results.

local seo

Title Tags

In the same fashion that subject lines are the captivating factor of email marketing. Title tags play the attention grabbing role for search engines. The Title Tag is essentially just the title you specify for a page. This is going to be what actually shows up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Having an attention grabbing title that does not look spammy will attract a significant amount of organic traffic. In addition, try to implement the local keywords you are trying to rank for in the Title Tags. Doing so will give your content a better chance at ranking higher.

local seo

Clean URLs

Ever see those URLs that have a ton of random letters, numbers and punctuation in them? To the average internet user these URLs look spammy or intimidating. Two things that you don’t want for your URL! When it comes to creating the URL, try to have it mimic the Title Tag or relevant to the content on the website page. This will inform the local users what they are about to see before they click on the link. For those that cannot get a clean looking URL, we suggest using Bitly as your URL shortener.

Multimedia

When it comes to content on the website having multimedia will greatly increase your Local SEO. Videos and Images give users a break from reading text. In addition, visual media is gaining a significant amount of traction recently in the digital world. Youtube has become the second largest search engine. Why is that? This is due to the fact that people are visual learners. Having the same content that you wrote, displayed as a video can benefit your SEO greatly! Optimizing your images and videos can help to influence users psychologically.

local seo

Directory Submissions

Now that you have understanding of how to implement Local SEO for Google. Let’s dive into the power of Directories and how they can greatly assist your Local SEO ranking.

Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP)

NAP is imperative for Local SEO. This ranking factor not only enables digital users to contact your business with a rudimentary understanding of who you are. But it also signals to directories some basic information when displaying your business on their sites. If you have not already implemented this, you should do so immediately. It takes little to no time to set up and can greatly benefit your local search rankings.

Connection with Directories

Google should not be the only place your business information is located. Google actually crawls many major directories for local listings, reviews and so much more! Bright Local has actually compiled a list of the Top 50 Directories.The one thing to pay attention to when signing up for all these directories is consistency. Having differing NAP across these directories will cause Google to classify the information as different entities. Thereby, hurting your overall Local SEO ranking.

Summary

This is going to wrap up the 2018 Local SEO Checklist. Utilize all these tools and put them into practice on your website. Relevance to local areas is highly effective when offering a service or simply trying to raise brand awareness. People are constantly looking for local businesses in there area to assists them. By implementing all these strategies you will be able to ensure that your digital presence will have the best chances of Ranking as high as possible across all Search Engines.