Are you a brand or company, based in Los Angeles, trying to organically grow your visibility and increase revenue? There is a lot that you can do to hunt down your customer base, but what if they were directly looking for YOU? That sounds like a pretty nice situation in my opinion. That’s the benefit of appearing high in your local Google search results.
How to Rank in “Near Me” Google Searches with Local SEO
Odds are at some point in time you’ve pulled out your phone and typed in “Restaurant near me” hoping to find the closest place to eat. This will obviously produce results more relevant to you than an alternative such as “Restaurant in Los Angeles” which provides wider results. So, how do you rank for “near me” searches in Google? It can be time consuming, which is why business owners often choose to work with a local SEO agency to avoid the hassle. If you feel up to going it alone, check out our six tips to help your company rank locally.
Optimize For Mobile
Most local searches come from a mobile device, because people are usually on the go when seeking a nearby business after all. That means customers are actively trying to find you and more likely to do business with your company. Which is why it is more crucial than ever that you optimize for mobile usage through responsive designs that actually scale to the size of the device display. Have a website already and not sure if it optimized for mobile? No problem – since Celador Media will not only test responsiveness first, but handle the optimization if necessary.
Claim/Setup Google My Business
This is one of the single most advantageous things you can do to help local SEO for your company online, claim your “Google My Business” (GMB) account and accurately build it out. When selecting a category, think about what your business “IS” and not everything that it “HAS”. This approach should make choosing your main category less of a headache. If you feel that your company could be more than one category, pick the most relevant because you’re able to select additional tags that will help with search engine rankings.
Let’s imagine that you’re a photographer in Hollywood, then your main category will most likely be “Photographer” (if it’s not, then something is wrong). Additional categories could be “Camera/Photo” or “Photography Videography” if you offer videos as well.
Just aim for the most specific and then those easily related to the first choice as your supplemental selections. When in doubt, do some quick competitor research to jump-start the process. Always think about existing resources before overworking yourself with trying to optimize Google My Business.
Local SEO Keyword Research
Think about your “business in area” to help define keywords tailored to you. What does mean? For example, we’re a “Media Company in Los Angeles” and a “Digital Marketing Agency in Playa del Rey” as well. With this in mind, when planning your own keyword research, refer back to the various categories you selected for your Google My Business (GMB) and regions around your location.
Utilize Keyword Discovery Tools
What is the most readily available tool that you can use for keyword discovery that is absolutely free? Google. Yeah, that’s right. By utilizing the autocomplete function in Google you’re able to quickly grab some keyword ideas specific to your business. Not familiar with autocomplete? Go to Google, start typing something like, “Plumber in Los Angeles” but don’t press enter and you’ll notice other suggested results such as, “Plumber in Los Angeles CA” or “Best Plumber Los Angeles”. Begin with this technique and you’ll discover more keywords that you probably never new existed!
Homepage Optimization for Local SEO
Google appreciates it when you include your name, address and phone number (commonly referred to as NAP) directly on your homepage. This helps pinpoint the business location which increases your likelihood of appearing in more relevant search results. Make sure that you’re consistent with the NAP on your site and how it appears in other locations (GMB, Facebook, directories) to avoid inaccuracies. And if you only have one location, it’s a good practice to include the address in the footer on your website, that way it appears on every page.
If you don’t have homepage room or it simply doesn’t fit the look of your site, then you can utilize your Contact Us page. Let’s use Celador Media as a real life example, even though we do display our NAP on the homepage. We also use the second route mentioned to provide not only our NAP, but also an embedded map with a marker of our location. Along with both of those aspects, we find that including directions from various local landmarks helps. Such as LAX to 6060 W Manchester Ave – Suite 216, to help Google associate nearby locations to your website.
Build Local Citations and Backlinks
There are two common types of citations to help grow your rankings, structured and unstructured. Hold up, let’s take a step back. What is a citation to begin with? A citation is a mention online that includes your name, address and phone number… or, NAP if you remember from a moment ago. How do they help and where do you get them? Both styles are important to help customers local your business, but you acquire each a little differently.
Don’t let the word “structured” intimidate you, these citations are not that difficult to get though definitely time consuming. Structured citations consist of business directories and social media accounts where you list your NAP. Since we’ve already discussed setting up a Google My Business account, you’re already on your way! That’s a great starting point so let’s build on it with a few more.
Yellowpages is a good one. Wait, what? Yes that clunky old school phone book and no, we’re not talking about print. Their website is a solid resource for people seeking out local businesses, so capitalize on that by adding your NAP exactly the way it appears on your Google My Business. Consider other sites such as Yelp and Bing Places to include in your list. Along with directory style sites, think about local listing publications that you can work with. Some may cost money and others may, just do some research to find lists of directories significant to your business.
The other form of citations to help local SEO are the unstructured ones, which means they’re sources that are not specifically for publication of local business listings. This could be a newspaper that features your business in an article which lives on their site indefinitely. Do a search for “local news websites” and check out some results to take note of which will post for free. With Los Angeles in mind, though it may take some time and persistence you could get a business write-up in the LA Times. Get creative, but have quality in the front of your mind.
Ongoing Reputation Maintenance
As your brand grows, so will your audience which means more engagement from your customers. With this comes discussion centered around business, either positive or negative and almost always both. How you respond is very important to your brand’s image and reputation. Nobody wants to see a company in an all-out argument with a customer on a social platform, it just shows a lack of respect. Let’s go over the 1) how to obtain reviews, 2) what to do with them, and 3) how to respond.
Active Review Acquisition
Hearing positive feedback from your clients is great. Heck, at the bottom of our About Us page we like to feature the good reviews of Celador Media as a reference. Though it’s important to know that people are 10-to-1 more likely to post a negative comment over positive one. If someone is happy, that’s it, they often don’t feel compelled to tell the world. So what do you do to combat this lack of action by your customers? You put the chance to leave a review directly in front of them.
This technique is called, active review acquisition; simply put is the process of gathering reviews from your customers and not relying on them to do so. In a digital era there are a lot of chances to provide a request for a review, but not all are as effective. A common method is by emailing the customer right after the purchase or service is complete, often with little or no wait to catch favorable conditions. You can also do survey to gauge response before requesting a review, this ensures you’re seeking out happy customers to leave their opinion.
So what do we do about the negative reviews mentioned before? The responses here will be some of the most important and can shape your business for years to come, as well as your local SEO. People reading reviews can often understand a negative situation, but if use your response as an opportunity to argue, that won’t sit well with others. Keep your followup brief, respectful and empathetic to set the standard for how you handle unfavorable situations. Always keep in mind how you represent your business and that should help create a road map to success!
Local seo essentials by Kyle Muladore