3 Takeaways From My Presentation on Local Search
Businesses are constantly looking for the key SEO elements and quick wins they can implement on their website, so they can rank now. First, we as digital marketers need to educate business owners and new age marketers when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) and local search. Yes, Google has vastly improved their ability to crawl more types of files and images, but more importantly, they’ve increased the time it takes to index content, media, pages/websites. Setting correct expectations will help you and the client stay on the same page.
As a business owner, you really don’t have time to keep up with Googles constant algorithm updates, nor do you really care. Your main focus is to drive more traffic to your website, give your users the best experience and sell them a great product or service. GREAT! I’m there with you. We understand your wants and needs. We have the same goal. Enough blabbing, here we go:
1. Google My Business
If you don’t have a Google My Business account, you need to create one now! After creating or updating your Google My Business account make sure you get your location verified. If you do have a Google My Business account, then the first must do is – make sure you’re using the correct business name, address, and local phone number (NAP). Consistency is key. You want to brand your name the same way every time on the Web. If you are a dentist, brand yourself with the way you want people to know you as. For example, if you look at Morelli Dentistry, they are branded Morelli Dentistry, not Morelli Dentistry DDS or Morelli Dentist Group (It’s important to understand that for different categories of businesses Google has different guidelines. For instance, Dentists with a single practitioner or multiple practitioners are supposed to list their name differently).
When entering your address, make sure you’re using Street or St. consistently the same way. If you are in a building with multiple floors and suites, you want to make sure you have a unique identifier like 213 Main St Ste 102A Huntington Beach, CA 92648.
Why should you use a suite number? This is to help Google understand you have your own physical location, you are still in business and a place people can visit. It’s critical that you’re doing as much as you can to not confuse Google. If you didn’t use a suite number, and you have other companies also listing themselves at the same address, how does Google know you still have a location there and didn’t move or go out of business?
If you have your own building, then you don’t need to worry about using a unique identifier. You can list your address like this 12755 SW 2nd St Ste 100 Beaverton, OR 97005. When listing your phone number, your primary call line needs to be set as your local phone number. If you are using a toll-free line, you can use that as a secondary number.
Additionally, don’t forget to select a Primary (service) Category like “Dental Practice”. As you start typing into the category box, it’ll auto populate options for you. You will need to select one of those options, which ever best matches your services. These categories are what trigger your local map rankings. Do not try to rank for other service categories you do not provide. It can drive the wrong traffic to your website and provide Google and other Search Engines a bad user experience (UX) and cause a high bounce rate. You want to prevent as many negative experiences as possible.
When you’re done, continue completing the remaining items in the account. You want to make sure you have your hours of operations, images of your staff, inside and outside pictures of your office, website address and payment types.
As an owner of a dental practice or another service, you don’t have time to commit hours upon hours to create hundreds of directory listings. You, however, do want more control and things done now. Perfect, I have some tools for you. There are pros and cons to all of these tools and I’ve ranked them in order of my personal preferences:
The above tools can help you save time! I highly recommend that you or someone else in your practice manually list yourself on these sources. Visit Whitespark and use their Location and Industry lists. By completing all these or a majority of these services, you’ll put yourself in a great place against your competitors.
3. Basic On-Page Optimization
There are many factors that go into optimizing your website pages and content, but the first step is to: Add your City/Region, plus a relevant keyword, within your landing page:
- Title tag
- H1 tag
- Image ALT attributes
Other on-page implementation:
- Schema JSON-LD
- Name, Address, Phone listed in the footer of every page
- Click-to-call on your phone number
I’ll save this for a future post, but don’t forget about getting links and implementing an outreach strategy to acquire them from other local businesses…and if that’s not enough for you, be thinking ahead on how you can build a stronger reputation starting with improving and increasing your Google reviews.
I spoke recently at a Digital Marketing Quarterly event in Vancouver, WA. Take a look at the presentation and download link below!
Click here to view and download the presentation deck.