It’s true, being visible online is the bread n’ butter for any small business owner in the digital age. Although most of us know this, we often find it difficult to allocate time to it.
At No Yelling, we have made point of incorporating SEO strategies into our daily operations, making it easier for us to tackle new locations and grow the business. We rely heavily on SEO to generate leads and have developed some neat little tricks over the years.
For any small business serving customers at a physical address or at the customer’s location, Local search optimisation is essential. Local SEO can seem like a daunting task, but if you break it down into bite sized pieces and follow some the tactics explored in this article you’ll eventually be rewarded. Let’s get started.
Claim your Google Business Listing
Sign in and claim your Google listing. The next steps may include validating your address and updating your profile to meet Google’s standards and work on your look. Address validation can take some time but there are lot’s of things you can do in the meantime.
Include your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) in the footer of your website
The friendly guys over at schema.org show us exactly how to represent our business to ensure it’s recognised by Google’s crawlers. It’s important to keep things consistent, so if you are a single location business, make sure you include your NAP information in the footer of your website. Follow the example below for the correct html code.
Build citations for your business
Now that you have your NAP correctly referenced in the footer of your homepage, it’s time to start building references back to your site. The key is to make sure that your information is consistent across your website, Google business page and local business citations. Most sites that you submit to won’t accept html input, so just separate your business info into a neat string.
Below is an example:
No Yelling Driving School, Level 50, 120 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia, Ph: (03) 8609 8330, firstname.lastname@example.org
When building citations you will notice that some directories will allow you to leave a link to your website. The link is not too important, so don’t be discouraged. What you are aiming for is an accurate reference of your local business information that’s crawlable by Google.
Collate your information
I always start with a Google Spreadsheet with my target NAP information at the top. This allows me to share the document with people assisting in the citation building, ensuring the information is consistent and we don’t resubmit to the same website.
Here is what the top of my spreadsheet looks like.
Find Local Directories
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, start by doing backlink research on your local competitors, competitors in bigger cities and even a different niche that’s more competitive than yours. With this strategy you should have a long list of directory websites to submit to. Ensure that every submission get’s recorded in your spreadsheet and highlighted in green. This should avoid duplicate submissions by your collaborators.
Use a backlink checker
MOZ offers free use of their Open Site Explorer https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/ for competitor backlink research, but unless you buy a pro account you can’t see full results. Another option is to you whitespark SEO tools to help find competitor citations.
Search your competitors NAP on Google
Conduct a local search for the terms you would like to show up for. Click through to their website, scroll the footer and copy their nap information. To find their local citations, query google with their NAP information, separated by comma’s. I have entered the NAP for a new location we are building at the moment, and here are the results.
Although tactic number one may allow you to collect more potential citations, tactic two is free and can get you off the ground fast. A combination of the two is recommended. I am often asked, “How many citations do you need to rank number 1?”. A: “How long is a piece of string?” The simplest way to rank quickly is to start by building more citations than all your competitors combined.
After reading this article, you should have the skills required to build local citations for your business. Unfortunately local citations are just one of the many Local SEO ranking factors in 2017. Your onsite optimisation and external linking profile are still as relevant as ever. While working on getting my own business ranking locally for Melbourne driving lesson related keywords, I found that guest posting is very powerful for organic and local rankings. If you have any questions or feedback about this post, please comment below.