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I write about all topics, but primarily focus on health & fitness and financial news.
Karima | KarimaD

Today’s Tips for Local SEO

Sep 21st 2015 at 11:14 AM

If you own a local business and think that search engine optimization (SEO) is only for large corporations, think again. According to a 2014 study conducted by Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased 1, four out of five research participants preferred local customized ads that included their city and ZIP code. In addition, half of the smartphone respondents said that they visited the store within 24 hours of conducting a search. Numbers like that can't be ignored. If you 're not concentrating on SEO, you're missing out on a vital marketing tool. Follow these tips to get started.

Choose Your Keywords Carefully

Whether you're building a website or posting to social media, local businesses benefit from choosing a few keywords and phrases that highlight their services and location. If you own a home remodeling business and choose  "home remodeling" as a keyword phrase, the results are much too broad. Instead, try adding your locale to the keyword phrase. For example, "Pittsburgh home remodeling services" not only explains what you do but also where you do it.

Accurate and Transparent

Customers using online searches look for specific information to determine a business's legitimacy. They expect to see the business name, address and phone number. They also expect the same business to be listed in different search engines or directories in a consistent manner. Business listing inaccuracies raise a red flag in the minds of consumers. That's why it's imperative that your business name, address and phone remain accurate and consistent on any and all online space, whether it's yours or in an online directory. Correct any discrepancies before moving on to the next step.

Take Advantage of Business Directories

It's likely that your business is already listed in local directories. If so, manually claim your listings and make corrections if necessary. Pay careful attention to location and contact information. For example, if you are a health care professional in New York City with a listing in the Vitals directory, getting hundreds of hits from consumers in Las Vegas is an exercise in futility. Be precise about your location and the areas you serve. Listings in multiple business directories play a key role in SEO because of increased exposure.

Social Media Counts

Consumers still expect legitimate businesses to have websites. However, websites are static and increasingly, consumers find local businesses through social media. An active Facebook and Twitter account not only opens the door to new customers and keeps current customers engaged, it is ideal for local SEO purposes. Including your location-based keywords and phrases in posts and updates adds strength to your business listings in search engines.

Ask for Reviews

Consumers give business reviews on sites like Yelp and Google+ a lot of weight. You can't force customers to give reviews, but you can push them in the right direction. Offer freebies or discounts to anyone who submits a review. Encourage reviews with Facebook and Twitter posts. Ask for reviews when customers enter your storefront. Reviews for local businesses are particularly important because Google favors establishments that consistently receive great reviews.

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