Local SEO and how your local business can benefit!
The greater Portland Oregon area has grown tremendously in the past 10 years, and local business marketing has gotten more competitive than ever! For most brick-and-mortar businesses, local online search is one of the most viable means for advertising and reaching out to geo targeted customers in their local city or town.
With the rise of the Internet and specifically Mobile users, making sure your local business is visible online…is essential!
I can’t even recall the last time I sorted through the Yellow Pages to find and contact a local service. I haven’t had a phone book anywhere near my living presence, for what seems like decades!
Like myself, and millions of others, we cannot get away from our mobile devices when searching for – “the best Thai restaurant in Portland, Or”, “top defense lawyer in New York City”, “finest art galleries in Los Angeles”.
It’s really no mystery of how the modern day consumer finds what they are searching for. You can find some incredible statistics for Local SEO Search here.
Having had some great success with Local Search results, I wanted to share 5 of the most effective methods that have worked well for us at Designatude:
1.) Create an Awesome ‘My Google Business Page’
Google is the current search engine giant and taking advantage of having a descriptive and highly optimized ‘My Google Business Page’, will do wonders for your Local SEO Search results.
Many local business owners that have been around for a good time, don’t even realize that this page already exists for their local business.
Do a quick search for your business, an example – “designatude”, and see if your ‘Google My Business’ page pops up in the results.
Now, if you do you see your page come up in your Google search for your business, simply just click the ‘claim your business’ button. You will be taken through a process for signing up to ‘Google My Business’ via your Google account.
If you do not already have a Google account, I highly advise creating one!
For some quick information on adding or claiming your business visit: Google My Business.
Now that you have either claimed or created your Google My Business page, it is time to optimize it for your visitors. Here are the key steps for making your Google My Business page accurate, appealing, and ready for search:
- Make sure your business Name – Address – Phone Number (NAP) is absolutely correct! This is crucial for all Local Business directories that your business is listed in.
- Add the correct business hours for your business. Update them anytime you are closed for holidays, remodeling, or for whatever reason. (I have gone to a local business with the wrong hours listed, they were not open, and I never returned!)
- Pick the correct category keyword that describes your business (eg. ‘Lawyer in Portland, Oregon’ – ‘Website designer in Portland, Oregon‘)
- Link to your website, food menu, appointments page, or any other important landing page.
- Add engaging photos of your physical business, business logo, current employer/employee pictures, and product photos.
I would suggest taking your time and doing a thorough job when creating or updating your My Google Business Page. Always keep it updated with newer photos, business hour changes, and landing page links. This is your greatest representation for online local business search. If you are located in the Oregon area, you can always consult with a Portland SEO expert to learn more about this.
2.) Get listed in All the High Quality Local Business Directories & Review Sites
There are several high quality business directory and review websites available for listing your local business on. Here are a few of the top ones:
As I mentioned above – creating and optimizing your ‘My Google Business’ page is the recommended start for the whole local Portland SEO process. Then, getting listed in the top SEO friendly Local Business Directories, immediately follows. The most important part of this step is (NAP) Name – Address – Phone Number consistency!
When your business is listed in several of these directories, and the NAP is correct, this provides a great signal that Google picks up. Your Google local business listing will start to see higher search results.
Also, I recommend having your NAP on the home page of your website (usually in the footer toward the bottom), or have it on your Contact page.
There will be a verification process for most of these directories. Most are done through email, some by phone, and even some by mail. This can be a bit of a hassle and a bit tedious, but I strongly suggest having this done!
You can hire Yext or Moz Local for these services, or you can get in touch with us.
At Designatude.com, we will list your local business in the Top 100+ Local Business Directories for the same as what Yext.com charges for a third of these directories.
We include all your business photos, a short and long description (optimized with your local keywords), and all your social links! We will also repair any existing citations containing the incorrect NAP.
There are only so many Local Business Directories out there that have a positive effect for your Local SEO. We know who they all are and will list your business on all of these.
3.) Stay Connected to Your Listed Business Review Websites
I highly suggest that you be aware and tuned in to where your local business might be listed out there in the search engines. There might be a possibility that your business has received a negative review without you even knowing it. More times than not, you can respond to these negative reviews while maintaining your stellar business reputation.
An easy way to search and find out who is linking to or reviewing your website, is to just search “business name” on Google. By doing a search for “designatude” I have found out all the review directories we are on:
Scroll through all the search pages, see where your business is listed. Then check to see if you have any good or bad reviews. You can also claim your business this way.
You can always take matters into your own hands if you find a bad review out there. It is as simple as signing up for the website your business is listed on, then giving your “Owner’s Response” to the unhappy customer.
If you are too busy running your business and don’t have all the spare time to keep up with where you are listed and refuting bad reviews, you can always contact us for some excellent Business Reputation Management services.
4.) Connect With Your Customers Locally Via Social Media
Social Media has become a strong marketing tool for your businesses on a local and national level. Whether you are wanting to stay engaged with existing customers, or marketing your business for new customers, there are some social media platforms out there worth investing in.
Here is a quick roundup on some Social Media platforms that can help boost your Local Business:
- Linkedin – This is a fabulous B2B platform for connecting with other local businesses, creating relationships, while generating leads and referrals. In my opinion, one of the better local networking social media platforms available.
- Alignable – An up and coming small business networking platform that is set up well for connecting with other local Businesses (B2B). Like Linkedin, this is very useful platform for inbound marketing, relationship building, and generating leads .
- Facebook – A Facebook business page works well on a local level with building customer relationships. Posting your business events, gathering positive reviews, and increasing your brand awareness can easily be accomplished with Facebook.
- Instagram – An excellent platform for image content and brand awareness. Posting high quality photos of your local business atmosphere, employees/employers, down time activities, and all things related, will do wonders for your business brand. Instagram is very useful if your target audience falls in the younger – ‘Millennial’ generation .
- Pinterest – Works well and similar to Instagram for image marketing for your business brand. This platform is is a strong one for lead generation, as well as increasing incoming traffic to your website…just one click away on that stunning image you decided to post. Caters more to the 30’s – 50’s age range and the female gender.
While there are several other excellent Social Media platforms out there to take advantage of, based on my experience and success rate, I found the ones listed above to work well for my local business marketing efforts.
Twitter is also worth utilizing for your Local SEO efforts.
5.) Make Sure Your Business Website is Written Well and Optimized for Local Search
For business website owners, this would be the most important aspect for your local seo efforts. I would have listed this at the top, but low and behold, some businesses are able to obtain great Local Search results without even having a website.This is a very small percentage, and I highly recommend having a professional and appealing website to represent your online presence.
I would suggest learning more from our top Portland SEO Company for getting a strong keyword analysis and SEO strategy. Then pass this along to your local Portland Web Design Company to either update your existing website or building one from the beginning.
So, to begin with, Meta Titles and Descriptions still matter for your website and keyword optimization.
You should always have your Geo-targeted location keyword at the beginning of your Meta Title for your home page!
I would recommend mixing in your business Geo-targeted location keywords for you Meta Description as well. This is not super imperative, and writing a natural, relative and flowing description will work just fine. As long as you have the location listed in the Meta title.
Here are some on site writing suggestions for improving your Local Search results:
- Have your main Geo-targeted keyword in your H1 title. This is the most important title in the minds of Google, and you should have 1 of these (and 1 only!) for every page on your website.
- Put your Geo-targeted keyword in the first body of written text on your home page and other pages.
- If you have multiple location keywords, make sure they are all in your website.
- Write natural contextual keyword links with your ‘keyword location’ – in your blog articles. Link these to the home page or specific location page.
- Place your NAP on the home page of your website (usually in the footer toward the bottom), or have it on your Contact page.
Related article: 15 TACTICS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR HIGHER SEO RANKINGS FOR 2019
I have added some off site suggestions for improving your Local Search results:
- Make sure your website loads fast! This is probably one of the highest ranking factors for optimal SEO results.
- Check for broken links, 404 pages, and integrate 301 redirects.
- Have an SSL certificate…Google’s new pet peeve.
- Also, avoid ‘black hat’ back linking seo services that will do more harm to your site than good.
My favorite free tool for website auditing…Screaming Frog. If you don’t already use this tool, I highly recommend that you do. It rocks! For any questions you might have on optimizing your local Portland business for better SEO, contact Designatude today!
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