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April 13, 2016

How does local SEO impact my online reputation?

Optimising your company’s digital assets for local searches (local SEO) is becoming increasingly important to your business’ online management strategy. It is crucial to ensure your business appears in local listings on Google, and that the details are consistent and reflect your brand.

Local search trends

The vast majority of users (91.5%) will only look at page 1 when searching in Google and as a business owner, it is therefore vital that you harness the power of Google, the world’s most popular search engine, to develop a positive reputation online.

Map local SEOAccording to Forbes, 97% of people now search for local businesses online. Meanwhile, Search Engine Watch notes that four in five consumers conduct local searches via search engines – 88% do so through their smartphone and 84% through their computer or tablet. When they perform searches, the former look for your company’s business hours (54%), directions to your store (53%) and local address (50%). Also, 45% of consumers who perform local searches via tablets or computers say they are looking for the availability of specific products at local shops.

Importance of local SEO

Entrepreneur writes that “each year, the percentage of online searches performed on mobile devices has grown definitively.” This article goes on to suggest that “as a result, proximity-based searches will likely start to become popular, and local searches will be based on hyper-specific locations, rather than just on a regional or neighbourhood-specific basis.”

With mobile local searches growing every year, it is becoming increasingly important to utilise local SEO in your businesses online marketing strategy. The main purpose of local SEO is to target your marketing strategy at consumers in the area your business is established. Therefore, by adopting local SEO you can ensure that the key information users search for your company e.g. your opening hours, appear on the first page of a local search for your industry, increasing your firm’s consumer base.

Guide to local SEO

So how can you harness the power of local SEO to enhance your company’s reputation online? Start by setting up your Google My Business Page. Once this is finished, add the relevant details such as your opening times, local contact details and photos, required to utilise this service for local SEO purposes. Ensure you choose the correct categories for your company and add a long, unique description that is formatted correctly and includes links to your firm’s online assets.

Next, ensure your business’ name, address and phone number (NAP) are listed across your digital assets. Check that your NAP is featured on every page of every digital asset associated with your firm and that these listings are consistent. Inconsistencies can reduce the potency of an effective local SEO campaign. Use the exact same details and format when you mention your company’s address on other websites, to maintain the consistency required to cultivate an effective local SEO campaign.

It is advisable to use Schema.org mark-ups on your NAP. This will provide Google with the information required to display your business’ information correctly in local searches. Utilising Schema mark-ups will also allow you to maximise SERPs for local SEO purposes. With recent Google changes providing businesses with fewer SERP slots, it is vital you adopt measures such as using a detailed meta description and making your website’s title tag as readable and relevant as possible, to attract a high SERP click-through rate in local searches.

Extra local SEO measures

There are a number of additional measures you can utilise to strengthen a local SEO campaign. First, devote significant attention to attracting online reviews from existing customers, as these have been shown to have a direct impact on local search rankings. Also, 92% of consumers read online reviews, so this strategy can allow you to strengthen your brand identity online. Read Igniyte’s The Business of Reviews Report, to determine how to cultivate an effective review management strategy.

Next, develop your company’s on-page SEO profile. On-page content holds a large weighting in local searches, so adopting this strategy can prove beneficial. I would suggest that you try adding your city or region, plus a relevant keyword, to your website’s landing page title tag, HI tag, URL, content and image ALT attributes to develop your firm’s on-page SEO profile. You might also want to embed a Google Map with your business marker into your website’s landing page.

Finally, local SEO relies far more on links from other local websites than standard SEO campaigns. It is wise to cultivate a local link building strategy, such as having your business cited in local search directories and named in local press articles, for local SEO. Make sure you mention local mentions of your company by setting up Google Alerts for your search term, so you can track the effectiveness of your link building campaign.

Cultivate a positive reputation

Consumers use search engines to find local services. If you develop a robust local SEO campaign, you can ensure that potential consumers find your business on the first page of a Google search for your industry and area. Furthermore, this could allow you to control how your target audience perceives your company when performing Google searches, allowing you to generate the positive online reputation necessary to attract business and create revenue.

For more information on online reputation management you can contact me on +44 (0)203 542 8689 or email me at simon@igniyte.com in confidence.

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