Being ranked on the first page of a search engine is great and can do wonders for your business. For some businesses, they pay to increase their SEO standing and others simply have it because of the amount of traffic they get or the type of keywords they use. However, if you are a small company that doesn’t have a global -or even national- reach, then being on the front page may only be important for your local area. This principle is considered local SEO, which allows businesses who are within a specific distance to reach out to customers in their area. This type of search engine optimization is very important, considering how much you can directly market to people in hopes of turning them into clients.
As useful and helpful as local SEO is, it does also have its flaws. Considering the amount of stuff that is on the internet, some of the information online is outdated or not relevant. As a business, imagine how disappointing this can be if a potential customer searches for your phone number or address, only to find a company that used to operate in your current location. Unfortunately for you, this typically means that the customer will then head over to the next name on the local SEO page, in hopes of finding a reliable number that matches up correctly with the business.
One term to familiarize yourself with for local SEO is NAP consistency. NAP – or name, address and phone number- refers to the information that is listed about your business online. This is important, as mentioned in the preceding paragraph, because people want to find the most recent information that is relevant for your business. If they come across your company info but it is outdated, it’s more likely that they’ll just move on, rather than doing the proper research to find your correct information. It is important that, as a company, you assure that your NAP is consistent throughout the internet. Any place that your company name is located, be sure that the address and phone number is updated. And in any place where old listings are still up for previous businesses, in retail store locations for example, you can make it a point to change that information. NAP consistency can increase the amount of traffic that comes to your website and your business, which means the opportunity for increased potential to solidify deals and contracts.
Another term to know for local SEO is citations. Citations are the mentions that are made about your website, phone number or address on other websites. For example, listings on a site like Yelp or Superpages are considered the citations about your business. Citations go into key algorithms that help build website search engines. Therefore, you want all of the citations to line up correctly, so that they are seen more often as considered to be more relevant when customers are searching for your specific business. If you don’t have a website for your company, which can still be a possibility with smaller businesses, then citations are even more important. Without having something for people to link back to with your info, the only thing they can go off of is the citations that are created on sites like Yelp. And if this information is incorrect, it can be detrimental to your success as a business owner. Be sure that you also check the citations for your business, as they play a big role into maximizing your local SEO efforts.
If you see that your business is on a certain website or listing, again consider Yelp as an example, you have the option to claim it as your own. Once this is done, you can then edit the business details of the company to assure that everything is updated and relevant. Most of the time you will have the chance to edit the information and then it will be verified by the website or search engine to assure that the information is correct. Keep in mind that the more updated and relevant these search sites are, the more likely customers are to trust their input. That is why they are often speedy and diligent in the process of updating and changing valid business information. Claiming your business through one of these services will only further your online presence, making it even easier for customers to find you.
Local SEO is a viable option for small businesses that have a hard time competing with large corporations. However, to be in the same thought as many of these companies, it is important to assure that that all of your information online is up to date and relevant. If it’s not, you are going to miss out on potential sales and the opportunity to capitalize on customers. But if you understand the importance of building local SEO, then it’s likely you’ll be better at putting the services to use.