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SEO landscape

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of the business to ensure greater visibility and searchability across the globe. However, businesses targeting the local market aim to dig deeper using Local SEO.

Local search engine optimization (SEO) is about optimizing a website so that it can be found in local search engine results. With local SEO, you need to have a deliberate and targeted approach that differs from general SEO. Users often use search terms like “malls in [city name]” or “malls near me,” so you need to make sure your business is visible to users looking for a business like yours in your area. 

In August 2015, Google made big changes in local search history which greatly changed the experience of users and SEO experts. The first thing that users and SEO experts noticed was when they searched for a local business or establishment, they would see 3 main search results instead of 7 – which was shown previously. The Google map that was paired with the search results remained the same. 

Business owners that ranked 4 to 7 were disappointed that they lost visibility. Due to the changes, businesses learned that they must quickly adapt so that they can make Google search work for them. Here are some tips you can use so that your business becomes featured on Google’s main search results.   

  1. Use Google My Business (GMB) properly

Google has raised the importance of GMB for local SEO. Any business information that you include on it shows on Google Maps, Google Search and Google+. This makes it convenient for customers to find you regardless of the device they choose to use. 

You need to be sure that your GMB is completely filled in with accurate, relevant and trustworthy information. You also have to make sure that your GMB location is owner-verified and the specific town or city you are targeting is mentioned in the GMB landing page title. Lastly, you have to make sure that the main GMB categories are consistent with your product and they can apply to a broader search group.  

  1. Include a map to your location on your website

 You must have a map on your website to show your exact location. There is a code you can use to add a map to your premises which you can put on your website’s contact page. It is also important for you to include the following information on your contacts web page: opening and closing store hours, driving and public transit directions from landmarks, phone call links for direct mobile phone calls, and social media links and sharing options.   

  1. Be sure your NAP matches the NAP on GMB

 The NAP (name, address and phone number) should be the same wherever they appear online. The template should not change across GMB, Google+, or any other websites or directory listings. 

  1. Provide distinct web pages for different locations, products and services

Should your business have multiple branches or locations, you should make distinct web pages that you can optimize for each location. Similarly, if you have a variety of products or services, make sure that each one has its own web page with relevant information. You can also link the pages to a single page that provides a summary of all the products and services in your portfolio.  

  1. Use citations properly

You need to use citations in prominent regional, global and local directories for local SEO. Citations allow you to build credibility and authority for your website and drive user traffic to your website. If you do not have a website, local listings can improve visibility. 

You need to make sure your citations are consistent and that they are from high-quality websites. It would also be favorable for you if you can get your business mentioned positively in local newspaper articles, online articles and blog posts.     

  1. Take advantage of your business and website reviews

Google takes business reviews into much consideration for search results because individuals who search for personalized information look at reviews to figure out what the business offers and if it is useful. Encourage your customers to write reviews for your business but avoid writing fake reviews for yourself because it could negatively impact your reputation if you are caught.  

  1. Optimize and use your inbound links

To increase your business’ influence and build your business’ reputation, your business should be acknowledged by other businesses in your local area. Having inbound links from local websites to your website can be exceedingly useful. 

There are several ways that local businesses can get links. You can make donations, host a community event, sponsor a meetup or webinar, promote something that you care about locally and network with prestigious individuals. 

Additionally, you should make sure you have: many different inbound links to your domain (including authority links and links from locally relevant domains), high-quality inbound links to your GMB landing page URL and location-based keywords in the anchor text of inbound links to your domain.