Tricks to Improve Your Local SEO

In the age of Google-everything, some of Fort Worth’s top marketing agencies have a few tricks for getting your business more visibility on search engines — for a local audience.

James Canington, Director of Marketing, Ardent Creative

Set up Google My Business. Create a free listing for your company on Google My Business and be sure to complete the verification process. Don’t forget to ensure your business’s name, address and phone number are correct; this will help customers more easily locate and review your business when searching for you online. It’s important to use authentic photos of your business’s exterior, interior and products or services instead of stock imagery. Google will find and delete stock photos.

Encourage customers to review your business. Online reviews can help your business rank higher in local search engines and, of course, can influence prospective customers to buy products and services. Solicit Google and Yelp reviews (primarily Google) from your satisfied customers but do so with “keyword intention.” In other words, ask customers to mention the specific product or service in their review (i.e., “He provided the best plumbing service.”) This may help you rank higher in local search engines when people search for that particular keyword. You can offer customers discounts or gifts in exchange for their review.

Have a “local-friendly” website. Local-friendly websites will always include the company’s name, address and phone number. Be sure to describe the specific geographic locations you serve. Place an interactive Google map on the site and ensure that it’s pre-set to locate your address.

John Greer, SEO Supervisor, PMG

View your website copy through the lens of your audience. Brands should speak in a straightforward manner that matches how your customers talk — avoid jargon or being so vague that it doesn’t explain your business.

Provide customers value on your website, not just content. For example, if you host events, list those on your site and share them on social media. Answer common questions about your services or products. Create articles and videos that explain your services and teach customers relevant tips. Do a bit of research with Google Trends (it’s free!) and talk to your customers to spark ideas.

Get your website and business a little exposure. Find business affiliations you can join. Talk to local media and influential people in your industry. Sponsor a cause you care about. Search engines care about who mentions and links to your business.
If you have brick-and-mortar locations, claim your online business listings and fill out any details you can. Start with Google, of course, but don’t overlook Facebook, Yelp, Apple Maps or Bing. This will help your map listings immensely

Certain aspects of SEO can also get a bit technical, but don’t be intimated. If you can, spend an hour and learn HTML; you’ll be able to understand your web developer better. Don’t work with anyone who tells you it’s too complicated or who makes shady promises to “rank you No. 1” at anything.

Claire Brunner, Partner and Executive Vice President of Growth, Enilon

Think mobile first. While mobile first isn’t a new philosophy, the importance of it keeps getting stronger. Google is rewarding those with mobile-optimized sites and content. This is important for all businesses but especially location-driven businesses. Think on-site and off-site for local, mobile search. This would include your mobile-optimized website, the map pack and other high-authority websites where your content is posted. 

Google My Business is critical. Also known as the “map pack,” how you appear in the Google My Business results is very important for local search — both on the desktop and phone. Make sure your profile is properly set up, that you have a strategy for garnering reviews and enhance your profile by posting relevant content and information to help improve your search results.

Have an inbound linking strategy. Even if you have the proper pages and SEO tags in place, if Google doesn’t think your site is credible, then your rankings will not be as strong as you want. You need to develop a plan for garnering credible links to key pages within your website to help increase its authority.

Set metrics for success. Whether your business is service-based or brick-and-mortar, it is important to measure the overall success of your program. Are your efforts providing the expected lift? Or should some things shift? If you don’t have a way to track success, then you could be wasting your valuable resources — time and money.

Keep testing. There is no silver bullet when it comes to SEO, or digital marketing for that matter. It is important to constantly be tweaking and testing your program so you can continue to capture your highest quality customers most efficiently and filling your pipeline of prospects for future growth.