Local business owners often ask, “How can I get my business listed higher on the search results page in Google when people search for products and services like mine?”
It sounds like a simple question and you would hope to get a simple answer, but the answer is very complex whether it’s Google or a different search engine.
In the interview with local SEO expert, Phil Rozek, we will demystify local SEO so that a local business owner can get a good idea about what they need to do to move their business up in local search results, and help them get more customers
For those unfamiliar with the term, how do you define “local SEO?”
The process of reaching local customers by getting and staying visible on the “local map,” in the local organic search results in Google and on local review sites. Mary Bowling did a great job of defining the term in this post.
What are the top factors that drive good local SEO?
- Geographic relevance. (Are you located in or near to where your customers want to see local-business results?)
- Relevance to the service(s) searchers are looking for.
- Earning industry-relevant and locally relevant links that take effort to earn.
- Having a site without major technical problems.
- Offering on your site in-depth info on all the services you care about.
- Piling up positive reviews long-term on a variety of sites.
- Having correct, consistent info on your local listings (AKA “citations”) – including Google My Business.
What is the biggest mistake you see small businesses making where local SEO is concerned, and what would you suggest they do about it?
Thinking they can get business just by being in business.
Local SEO takes hard long-term work. On-page optimization and citations are just the beginning.
If you don’t have a plan to earn links and reviews that are better than your competitors’, you’ll probably will never rank well or (consistently well) in a tough market.
If a small business is not doing anything regarding local SEO, what would you advise them to do in order of priority?
- See answers to the second questions in this interview.
- Read and stay updated on my posts for help on how to do those things.
What are a couple of insider tips that you see working well, but most businesses fail to do?
- Earning what I call “dummy links.”
- Having an in-depth page on each specific service you offer.
- Becoming fearless on customer reviews. Don’t avoid asking customers for a review just because they might not be happy. You can’t stop those people from reviewing you anyway, but you can encourage the happy majority to speak up. As you go you can work on any weaknesses your business may have that are referenced in a review.
What would be some good medium and long term goals for a small local business?
On the way to the obvious goal – more customers as a result of better traffic and a better online reputation – here are a few good milestones:
- Get your citations clean (i.e. make sure your online listings have correct info on your business). A great starting point is to do a free scan at Moz.com/local.
- Get a couple reviews a week.
- Get a couple hard-to-earn links a month.
- Ask any customers who found you online for word-of-mouth referrals.
What’s the best piece of advice that was ever given to you about local SEO?
Do what the other guy isn’t willing to do, and you’ll be able to get what he can’t get.
What metrics, or indicators, show that you’re having success regarding local SEO?
- How is business?
- What is your total traffic in Google Analytics?
- Are you getting online reviews that result in customers who tell you they picked you because of your reviews?
Do you have any resources you could share that would help local businesses learn the basics of local SEO?
- Local Visibility System (my site)
- Local SEO Guide
- Mike Blumenthal
- Joy Hawkins
- Linda Buquet’s Local Search Forum
- The Local Search community on Google+
What else would you tell small business owners that we haven’t mentioned in this interview?
Spend a few minutes a day, or carve out at least one solid hour a week, to work on your local SEO. It won’t “do itself,” nor can you do it in a couple weekends. It is a marathon.
Phil Rozek is an internationally recognized expert and speaker on local SEO and online reviews, and can help get your business more visible to more customers in the local search results.
Visit localvisibilitysystem.com for more help on improving your local visibility.