Many businesses operate on a local level, as well as a regional, national, or international level. Just as a commercial for a local restaurant would likely be very different from one for a national chain, there are key differences between search engine optimization for a local business and a broader SEO campaign. If your business requires SEO on a local scale as well as a larger one, continue reading to learn how to satisfy both needs.
Separate Landing Pages
Creating distinct pages for individual business locations on a main website is a crucial step that can help simplify many components of your digital marketing strategy. In regards to SEO, distinct pages allow for enhanced on-page optimization. Webpages dedicated to a local area on a main website increase opportunities to optimize on-page content for highly-specific, geo-targeted long-tail keywords. Specific optimization on these pages can improve visibility to local search engine users, while more general optimization performed on other areas of the website will retain visibility among audiences who have a less defined interest in your business.
If your business has both national and local reach, it is likely that you already optimize for generic keywords related to the business or brand as a whole. Because it is easier to rank for long-tail keywords on search engine results pages, employing both strategies will not only help consumers find the information most relevant to them, but also boost your site’s overall SEO value.
Distinct landing pages can also help maximize link-building efforts. With separate pages, you will have the ability to include links to highly specific yet relevant webpages in website copy, blog content, social media content, and more. The increased relevancy and specificity of the links will improve overall SEO efforts, as search engine algorithms tend to place high value on such links when determining search engine rankings. A localized landing page can be used to attract local links that would not be relevant or meaningful on nationally targeted pages.
Social media platforms are a great way to increase links to your website and segment an SEO strategy. Content shared on social should include keywords that pertain to both local and broader audiences. It might help to establish a content strategy in which a set percentage of posts focus on information about individual locations and link to their pages.
One of the best ways to improve local search engine visibility is to generate citations. A citation is any instance of a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) appearing on a single webpage. Distinct landing pages for individual locations can also help with this process.
It’s important to ensure that the business address is spelled exactly the same everywhere it appears. This includes website copy, posts on social media channels, and third party sites. Minor differences, such as spelling out “Road” versus using the abbreviation “Rd” can negatively impact SEO. Without a clear focus on local SEO, it can be easy to overlook such details. When performing both kinds of SEO, be sure to pay attention to your citations and actively pursue opportunities to generate more of them.
Use Google Properties to Your Advantage
Google loves Google. Savvy search engine marketers already know the value of Google+, but when it comes to local search, Google social properties can make an even bigger impact on your bottom line. As a first step, make sure your business or brand has an official presence on Google+. For some businesses, it may make sense to establish Google+ profiles for individual locations as well.
Although Google+ does not have as many users as other social media platforms, it is important to post content regularly for SEO purposes. When dealing with a business or brand with multiple levels of reach, ensure that a sizable number of posts link to local pages.
Even if you determine that separate Google+ profiles are not necessary, be sure to claim Google My Business pages (formerly Google Places) for all individual business locations. Google My Business can be thought of as the hub of your local business’s presence on Google. It features the listing and reviews and can be connected to a Google+ profile. Claiming Google My Business pages is beneficial to both SEO and branding efforts.
Once the page is claimed, follow the steps to have the page verified and confirm that all geographic information is correct. Be sure to categorize your business properly as well. The copy on the page should include short and long-tail keywords that effectively and accurately describe the business. Correct information, proper categorization, well-written page copy, and verification can all help boost search engine rankings.
Do you have any other tips for managing local SEO against broader efforts? Let us know in the comments!