The first major Google update that put the spotlight on local SEO came in 2016 with Possum. Multiple iterations since have continued to refine algorithms that affect local SEO with increased focus. The rules of the game are in a state of perpetual flux, which is why you need to stay informed on what lands hits in your area. Some of your work starts right on your homepage with on-site SEO, part of it involves reaching out, and the rest is about using the tools that Google provided to make your local search just a bit friendlier.
Content is king, so tend to your realm. Publishing content with a more local focus drives organic hits from people in your area and, consequently, ups your ranking for local results. General topics draw a larger audience, but with the increased importance of local SEO, you want to make sure that you have something to say about the industry in your area.
URL, Meta Descriptions, and More
Every piece of content that you publish is an opportunity to send up a flag for local SEO. Aside from the actual content, the meta description, tags, and URL are all opportunities to incorporate geographic phrases optimized for local search.
Verify “My Business” Listing
If you’re looking to show up on Google Maps, you’re going to have to verify your Google My Business listing first. You want to be exhaustive and precise in what you include. Your search relevancy depends on accurate and complete information. The verification process can be performed via a postcard or video verification.
Establish a Local Link Profile
Nurture relationships with local authorities and reviewers. Link profile has always been a vital component of a good SEO strategy. Local search is no exception. Just keep in mind that Google hunts down shady link farms with passion, so you need to put in the work to obtain these links legitimately.
Your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are a big deal for local search. When you add a location page to your website, you open readers up to resources like store hours, promotions, reviews, and NAPs. You’d be surprised with how often people find themselves at a business from a quick maps search when they’re on the road. Do not skip your location pages, especially if you have multiple offices.
The pace of local search updates to Google’s algorithms has provided no indication of slowing down, which means that business owner has no choice but to keep up. The bright side is that you can expect increased local business as long as you put in the work to optimize your pages, establish a strong local presence, and use the tools at your disposal to make your mark on the map.