Basics of SEO for Local Businesses
The first thing I do with any local client is to look at their current citations. I will look to see if they’re matching what is listed in the Google My Business listing and seek to fix any inconsistencies in those listings. One of the most important things for ranking locally is consistency, so this is where I start. What is referred to as the NAP is what is most important to be matching across the different listings. NAP is short for Name, Address, Phone, although it is an added bonus to have a website link wherever possible when building citations.
After the initial audit of the citations, I will move to the cleanup phase. During this process, I will claim any listings which are incorrect and make corrections. Of course, it is much easier to just create new listings with the correct information, but that would be a mistake. Duplicate listings are just as much a problem as having incorrect information.
Once I’ve got consistent citations built for all of the major citations, yelp, yellow pages, Brownbook, Foursquare, Manta, Bing, Google My Business, Apple maps, etc. I then will go into building a custom Google map. It isn’t very difficult to build a Google my map, and it can be a powerful tool to embed or place links to citations on.
With the cleanup and a Google map built, it’s time to get some extra juice to the map and get some schema on the website. The first thing I do would be to create the schema with an online tool. Schema is some extra code that helps Google to identify what location, and type of business is listed. I prefer to create a code called JSON LD. This type of code is a script which I can place in the head of the website, as well as placing it inside the iframe of the map. When you create your Google map I always make sure to set it to public and create the iframe, once I have this code I will send it to a vendor who I use to embed these for more link juice, but first I slip the schema code in before the closing iframe tag.
Those few things are the mainstay of how I rank businesses locally on Google and other search engines. There is always more that you can do to build relevance to the location though. Getting local bloggers to mention you, or being listed in local directories is also something that I pursue in the upcoming months as the campaign continues.