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Local SEO: 5 steps to getting more local business online

Are your customers based locally? Do you struggle to attract them to your business online? Then it is time to update your local SEO. Local search engine optimization (SEO) focuses on boosting your business for local searches. Here are five steps to getting more local business online.

STEP 1: Do a keyword search

Many people when they search for a local business will search for a service in a location. For example: if you are looking for a printer, you may search for “printer in Pretoria”. This is called service in location. You should brainstorm a list of services you offer in this format “your service” in “location”. The next way to find keywords to rank for is to enter your primary keywords “printer in Pretoria” into Google and see how Google autocompletes the phrases. This may identify other locations or phrases you could use for long-tail keywords. You can also do a competitive analysis of leaders in your industry to see what keywords they rank for. You can use Wordstream’s Keyword Tool and enter the URL for your competitor’s website to see what keywords they rank for. You can learn more about keyword research here.

STEP 2: Create a Google My Business Listing

The first listing you should create is a Google My Business(GMB) listing. By claiming your business on Google you will have a better chance of ranking on the first page of Google. You can go here to register your business on GMB. You should make sure you enter your current business name only when asked for your business name. You can put the keywords you want to rank for in your business description. Remember to choose the categories you want your business to rank for.

STEP 3: Create an Apple Maps listing

It may come as a shock to some but not everyone uses Google to search therefore you should also create a listing on Apple Maps. You will need to create an Apple ID so that you can create your listing.

STEP 4: Check your citations on the web

Citations are any places on the web where your business is mentioned and you have your business name, address and phone number (NAP). These citations can be structured or unstructured.

Structured citations are visually structured and appear on business directories, social media sites, etc.

Unstructured citations appear on blog sites, newspaper websites and business blogs to name a few.

Your NAP information must be correct throughout all these citations as Google uses them to assess your credibility. If your citations are different then Google might start to mistrust your business. According to Moz, your citations are one of the top local ranking factors for your business.

You can search for your citations using the following search terms to check your information is correct on various sites:

“Business name” + “partial address” -”correct phone number”
“Business name” + “correct phone number” -”partial address”
“Correct phone number” + “partial address” -”business name”
IE: “the baker shop” + “market street” – “011 463 7210”

You should also go on to local business directories and check if your information exists on those sites. Here are some local sites to review for your data:

You can also look at these top 15 citation sites for South African businesses here.

If you don’t find your information on these sites, you can also submit your information to them to increase your reputation online. Some of these sites do require a membership fee.

STEP 5: Optimise your website

For your website, you should ensure the following information is on it.

  • Add a contact us page: this page should have your name, address, and phone number. Your number must be clickable so that your customers can call you directly.
  • Add testimonials: You should have a page with your testimonials on as this helps to build your reputation online and many customers consider these before making a purchase.
  • Add maps: You should include a map of your location on your website. If you have a variety of locations you should have a map for each location.
  • Add a schema: Schema is structured data that you add to your website so that search engines can understand what you are all about. You can learn more about schema here.

By following these five steps, you will be well on your way to improving your local SEO for your business and gaining more business.

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