The Local SEO Checklist: What You Need to Do to Get High Rankings

local-seoFor some business owners, there is a barrier-to-entry when it comes to their online marketing methods. Traffic has been, and always will be, a big cause for consternation. The process of landing a coveted spot on the first page has often been confusing and unattainable, with a never-ending list of requirements and methods to get there. SEO “experts” have been quick to dish out faulty advice, and agencies have been quick to promise the world to unsuspecting business owners. For businesses with little-to-no online marketing savvy, the barrier-to-entry can be thicker than the Alamo.

But constant frustration doesn’t solve any issues. SEO has long been one of the premier ways to get traffic to your website. And for small businesses, local SEO is even more necessary.

The difference between regular and local SEO

The definitions are pretty simple. Where regular SEO can be more generic and national, local SEO is specified down to the geographic area.

As an example:

A regular SEO keyword will look like this: best plastic surgeon

A localized SEO keyword will look like this: best plastic surgeon Dallas

Your keywords are “niched” down to the local area.

Local SEO is a beast on its own because it has its own requirements and responsibilities. There are a host of different directories to land on, social media platforms to have accounted for, and Onpage tactics that you must adhere to. It’s too easy to get lost in the mix and overlook important factors. Because of this, a strategy must be devised if you want to conquer local rankings.

The Local SEO Checklist

1. Have as many citations as possible on the important directories. A citation is basically a listing or reference that has your business information on it.  The first thing you want to do is create a Google+ Local page. Google has really elevated the importance of its platform in the past few years, as it is now the most effective directory to put your website on.

But it certainly won’t hurt to put your business on other directories either. The Yellow Pages, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing—all of them are effective.

Fill out your business information on all of these platforms. If your business is already on one of these platforms and you didn’t put it there, all you need to do is claim the listing, and you will then own it.

2. Make sure you’re putting the correct information. This is beyond simple, but it is often overlooked. The information on your citations needs to be consistent and accurate. The NAP (name, address, phone number) needs to be identical across all platforms. Also, make sure you put your business in the correct category on these directories. Meaning, if you’re a chiropractor, you need to be in the “chiropractor” category. Apply multiple categories if your business encompasses more than one (apply no more than 4). A business that is not categorized correctly will not be ranked in the SERPS.

3. Optimize your website for local rankings. The information on your citation must match what’ on your website—the same name, address and phone number. The title tags and headlines need to have your address in them. It’s also important to put local keywords throughout your website and to have content on there that thematically correlates with your region and area. Become active with the local news sites and the local web forums (if your area has them) so that you can receive links from their sites. Don’t solely focus on the big directories—find smaller websites and associations that you can put your business on. You should be joining as many local sites as possible.

4. Encourage and maintain online reviews. If you list your business on a site that has a platform for user-generated reviews, you need to capitalize on it. When customers visit your business in person, and when they hit your website, there should be some sort of encouragement for them to leave a review of your business. For instance, there is a certain authority that comes with a good amount of Yelp reviews. This authority will have an influence on your rankings.

Dominate your local rankings

Most businesses trip up on the small things—like inconsistent NAP info, mismatched categories, or an unnecessary amount of duplicate Google+ pages. The checklist is designed to help you stay clear of those mistakes, as they will be costly if you ignore them.

The good thing is that most businesses are not tending to their local presence properly. If you really want to dominate your online rankings, you need to go through each step meticulously, look at what your competition is (or isn’t) doing, and create a plan of action. A simple strategy can be the key to conquering your local market.

If you want us to take control of your local strategy, contact us today.


Joseph Riviello

Looking for a seasoned WooCommerce expert and digital marketing strategist with an unwavering dedication to client success? Meet Joe Riviello, the CEO of Zen Agency, with over 22 years of experience helping e-commerce businesses scale through holistic marketing strategies. Joe Riviello is a seasoned WooCommerce expert, digital marketing strategist, and CEO of Zen Agency with over 22 years of experience in the e-commerce industry. He is a passionate business development professional committed to helping businesses reach their full potential through various holistic digital marketing strategies. Joe's expertise lies in creating a seamless user experience for customers while delivering strong business results. He has worked with several high-profile clients across various industries, including retail, healthcare, and finance, helping them achieve their business goals through digital marketing solutions. Joe's journey to becoming a CEO started with his passion for technology and user experience design. He has always been interested in how technology can solve business challenges and improve customer experiences. Throughout his career, he has focused on creating e-commerce websites and digital marketing campaigns that provide an exceptional user experience while delivering strong business results. As the CEO of Zen Agency, Joe is responsible for leading the agency's strategic direction and ensuring that clients receive the highest quality of service. He is a natural leader who inspires and motivates his team to achieve their goals and deliver exceptional results for clients. Joe is a recognized industry leader and has spoken at several conferences on topics related to digital marketing, user experience design, and business strategy. He passionately advocates for data-driven marketing and believes that every business, regardless of size or industry, can benefit from a holistic digital marketing strategy.

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