Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO.
By: Nathan Olnick
Connect With me on linkedin Linkedin.com/in/nathanolnick
Listen Up! What is contained in this guide is very important to your local search engine optimization, Or traf c from Google! With that said this is a guide will help you dominate your competition.
It could be that your new to local search engine optimization, or advanced professional looking to gain the edge for your clientâ€™s businesses. The information in this guide has been trailed and tested to be TRUE. With over 5k Marketing Professionals. Including Myself and Team! Just like anything in life results vary based on implement and execution of said methods. Enjoy the value.
This Masters guide to local SEO link building will help you discover the following:
How to nd the keywords used by your local customers and how to make the most out of each search they conduct locally
How to create a stable foundation for your companyâ€™s online presence
The latest trends in local SEO link building
The recent changes in local SEO
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. How to take your business to the next level and capitalize on the power of authoritative links
How to stay away from the most common local SEO mistakes
Link Building in Local SEO
Local Search engine optimization, is a marketing activity that helps your site rank high in both the organic and map search engine results.
Local Search enables you to target local customers and win them over. Local SEO is all about providing search results that are relevant to a prospect that is searching for a product or service in your location. With local SEO, you can target people who are searching for your products or services in your city, or you can target locals who conduct regular searches.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Backlinks. It shouldn’t be a surprise that backlinks can affect your local rankings, but we were surprised at how links appeared to have the strongest correlation with positive rankings. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that Google’s infamous Toolbar PageRank correlated with positive rankings, implying that sites with older links are generally doing better. (Toolbar PageRank hasn’t been updated in years!. Andrew Shotland
Understanding Local SEO
To better understand this concept, let’s say that you have a Massage Therapy company in San Diego, California. For instance, if a consumer from Orange county, CA, searches for Massage Therapy in San Diego, he will search on Google for: “San Diego Massage” If you have a strong local SEO presence, that potential business client will nd you on the rst page of Google and will pay you a visit when he lands in town.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Another business prospect comes from Japan to spend an amazing weekend at the San Diego beaches. It’s Saturday night and he is hungry. If he searches for “pizza places” or “pizza restaurants,” he will get a list of local pizza restaurants that rank well for these words. Again, if your local SEO presence is wellestablished, you will be noticed by this client. One thing I want to mention here is that clients who are in the Austin area do not need to add the name of the city at the end of the search, because it is automatically added by Google.
The Importance of Local SEO
Local SEO targets both desktop and mobile customers. Because of the results it provides, local SEO has become an essential component of any local business and brand that wants to thrive on the market.
According to a report published by techcrunch.com in Jan 12, 2015 more than 75 percent of people use their smartphones to check for local information. It’s not tough to imagine that number has increased since then. Another study from Google indicates that 95 percent of mobile users will either call or visit a local business after conducting a local search. In other words, local SEO is paramount for your success in your niche. When done properly, local SEO can double or even triple your revenue. In this guide I will show you how to capitalize on the power of local SEO for your business and skyrocket your profits in the process.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Let’s dive deeper down the Rabbit hole local search rabbit whole and study some recent local SEO changes that have taken place in 2016.
2016 updates in Local Search Engine Optimization. According to a comprehensive and complete study conducted by the marketers from Search Engine Land together with a group of scientists from the University of California, the local SEO atmosphere has dramatically changed in 2016.
Here are the top 5 most important changes in local search from google that you need to be aware this year:
1. Links and citations are more important than ever: this study concludes that “links and citations are the key differentiated factors for local rankings.” Metrics like trust ow or citation ow are constantly in the top 10 metrics of local business success.
A study from Moz shows that Google over 90 percent of their crawlers’ capacity to measure inbound and outbound links, together with other related elements such as link building velocity, anchor text, quality of links, thematic relevance, referring sub-nets and referring domains. This can only mean one thing: links are more important than ever, especially for local businesses.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 2. GMB signals have grown exponentially: GMB (Google My Business) signals are now some of the top ranking factors in local searches. These include signals like photos, reviews, phone numbers, email addresses and owner verified profiles.
3. Website signals: even though some believe that traditional website signals are not as important as they used to be, Google contradicts them by stressing the importance of using the keyword in the title, H1 tag, and in the rst and last phrase. Keyword density should be between 2-3 percent. Moreover, you should use as many latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords as possible in order to avoid keyword stuf ng and ensure Google nds your content relevant.
4. Dedicated location pages: A common but costly mistake is creating a GMB listing for each location of your business but linking them back to your homepage. Instead, each location should have a unique page and that page should be linked to from the corresponding GMB listing.
5. Rank Brain is active: one of the most proli c changes in local SEO this year, except maybe the growing importance of citations and authoritative links, is the launch of Googleâ€™s new algorithm, Rank Brain. This powerful machine uses the latest Google technology to process the search results and differentiate between genuine and low-quality websites.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Rank Brain is the rst AI (Arti cial Intelligence) system, having the capacity to teach itself new methods of crawling and organizing webpages. Also known as the “Judgment Day”, Rank Brain is the terminator of low-quality webpages that do not have original content and do not have in place a proper link-building strategy.
The good news is that Rank Brain will help you in your local SEO link building endeavor, offering you a higher rating for dominating the local link sources and for building & boosting citations.
The Most Important Local Ranking Factors in 2016
20 of the can’t miss and most important Basic ranking factors you need to be aware of when optimizing your website:
1. Title Tag: title tags that start with the keyword have been found to perform better than those that contain the keyword toward the end. Change your title tag and make it more relevant for local searches by placing your main keyword at the beginning of the tag.
2. H1 Tag: your main keyword should appear in the H1 tag. If you have several categories of products or services, create a distinct page for each category and use the main keyword of that category in the respective H1 tag
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 3. H2, H3..H6 Tags: Take advantage of these to properly structure your page and tell Google what your main and supporting topics are. In the local space many of your competitors will not do this so it is a quick win.
4. Keyword Density: No, I am not telling you to overuse keywords, the takeaway from this is do not repeat the same word over and over again. If you need a number, shoot for 1 percent or less exact keyword density.
5. LSI Keywords in Title, Tags and Content: the presence of LSI keywords in title, tags and content act as a content quality signal and make Google rank your site higher in local search results.
6. No Duplicate Content: if you have duplicate content on your site, Google will eventually penalize you. While you can technically rank pages with duplicate content in local SERPs, that is bound to change any day so get ahead now and make your content unique.
7. Page Loading Speed: a very important local ranking factor in 2016 is page loading speed. Google uses Chromeâ€™s user data to track your server speed, non-HTML speed signals and content delivery network (CDN) usage in order to determine if your page loading speed is low enough.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 8. Image Optimization: optimize your images if you want to rank high in search results. Some of the aspects to consider here are image title, alt tag, caption and description. Since you are trying to rank locally, be sure to include geographically relevant text into those areas.
Also, you going to want to geo-tag your images with the exact gps-coordinates which is the latitude and longitude of your business address. To make it simple there a great tool that comes along with free training on how to use it! Visit geotag. Online and then upload the photos to your google account, And social media Sites your business owns.
9. Outbound Links Quality: the quality of your outbound links is extremely important. As a matter of fact, many digital marketers believe that linking out to authoritative sites in the industry improves search rankings.
10. Outbound Links Theme: several studies conducted by the people at Moz show that Google and other search engines are actually studying the content on the pages you link to in order to determine if it is relevant for your clients. For instance, if you have a plumbing repair company and you link to several sites about car parts, Google might think that your website is about car parts and not plumbing. This is another issue that may become more in uential after Rank Brain.
11. Spelling & Grammar: grammar or spelling mistakes do not just drive your traffic away, but are also considered a local SEO quality signal.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 12. Multimedia: videos, images and any other multimedia element could act as local SEO signals. Even if they do not directly impact your rankings, they should increase engagement metrics and make your content more likely to be shared.
13. Number and Quality of Inbound Links: inbound links have maintained their importance over the years. Today, they are more important than ever, especially as they need to be relevant. As a matter of fact, many are saying that topically relevant links are more bene cial than authority links on unrelated sites.
14. HTML Errors: too many HTML errors is a sure sign of a poor quality site, and Google will not rank your site high in search results. This is where W3C validation comes into play.
15. Citing Sources & References: If you are citing another site in your content, linking to those sources has been correlated to with pages performing better in the SERPs.
16. SSL Certi cate: Google use HTTPS as a ranking signal. While the impact for some is not going to be signi cant, if you are one of the few local companies using it in your area, you have another leg up on the competition.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 17. Mobile Optimization: Google is all about mobile optimization. A responsive website with mobile friendly tags is ranked higher in local searches. Test your site using: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobilefriendly/
18. Co-Citations: your brand can be mentioned without getting a link. Cocitations are important from Google’s point of view as they show that you are a real brand that people are talking about.
19. Business Citation Listings: these represent a strong geo-graphical ranking factor. Name, address and phone Or (N.A.P) citations are imperative for your local google maps ranking.
20. Press/News releases for your company: This should go with-out thinking if you’re in the news, and you are talking about your company and what you’re doing/big events with the location of your business in it. Not only are you going to build “Real Authority” but you will also site your business location more and draw a better buyer in the door.
Creating a Mindset for Success
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. In order to be achieve success in local SEO and break new ground in your niche, you need to have con dence in your capacity to outsmart your competition. You also need to better understand your brand, your competition and your market. After that, it is time to get your hands dirty, starting with citations.
Building and Boosting Citations
Local search engine optimization allows you to address the needs of local customers or remote customers who are searching for products and services locally.
Out of the wide range of local ranking factors and signals you can focus on in order to boost your companyâ€™s presence in your local market, citations are probably the easiest to tackle. When done right, building and boosting citations can give you a huge advantage over your competitors and can help you become an authority in your niche.
What Are Local Citations?
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Think of these citations as references to your company. Citations usually appear locally on the Web as NAP: name, address and phone number. Citations to your business can either be structured, such as those available on Yelp, Yellow pages or Foursquare, or unstructured, such as those found on blogs, newspaper websites, social media platforms or government websites.
Why should you use Citations?
At this point you are probably wondering why you should choose citations and co-citations over all other local SEO ranking factors available in 2016. Here are a few of the big reasons why building and boosting citations is a win-win situation: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Customers can easily find you through citations The local search rankings are highly impacted by citations Citations can bring you clients even when you donâ€™t have a website Properly built and boosted citations can bring you tons of traf c in the long run 5. Citations are fairly easy to create and to manage How to Build your Business Citations
To help you improve your local SEO presence and leverage the true power of citations, I have put together a few citation building strategies for you. This guide is meant to be simple and can be followed by anyone, regardless of previous SEO experience.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Letâ€™s begin!
1. Create the Ideal Business Listing
First of all, you need to start on the right foot. Simply open up an excel spreadsheet and compile all of your business information in one document. The list should include:
Official business name
Phone number (with local area code)
Toll free number (if any)
A relevant description that contains the main keywords and the LSI keywords Website address
Company contact name
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Hours of operation
Official email address
Social media links: at least Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube. Add if possible Google+, Tumblr, Reddit, Vine and Ask.fm
A few high-quality images of your company (may want to consider a Google “business view”) Remember that this listing is essential for your local SEO growth and for attracting new customers. Make sure you spend enough time creating the best listing possible that reflects professionalism and trustworthiness.
2. Get a Google My Business Listing
If you do not have your company listed on Google+ Business Pages, do not wait any more and go get one now. Here’s how to do it: Google My Business Support for Claiming Your Company!
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. A Google My Business listing is required if you want to show up in the local (map) results. If you already have a business listing, review it and ensure that all the information is accurate. If your business has multiple locations or there are inconsistent citations across the Web, it is time to start finding duplicates. Remember, with multiple incorrect listings your site is not going to rank as well as it could and you might also lose precious clients who are tired of calling the wrong number. Listings and citations directly affect your companyâ€™s performance and the way people perceive your brand.
3. Remove Duplicate Business Listings
Here are some steps to follow in order to remove duplicate citations and ensure your business appears online using only proper contact information.
1. Remove duplicates: if you have more than one listing for a single location, that is considered a duplicate listing. Duplicates will more than often include misleading, incorrect information that is de nitely not bene cial for your company.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. The easiest method to nd duplicate listings is to conduct a Google search for your site, and then add your business name. Do the same but add instead your companyâ€™s phone number, the old phone number, the old address or the old business name. Once you find incorrect information about your company, log into your account and delete it. If you donâ€™t have access to the account anymore (maybe it was created in the past by someone else who worked for you), try to get your account back or send a message to the owner of the platform where your duplicate is and kindly tell them to erase the listing or replace it with your current one.
1. Save time by using Multi Links (Firefox) and Linkclump (Chrome): check out these tools and use them to conduct a complete audit of your local citations. If you struggle finding time for these mundane tasks, you can either hire a professional. invest in a citation builder, cleaner and audit tool. Two good sources for this are Brightlocal and Whitespark.
This is a Free Resource to nd citations sources: https://www.brightlocal.com/2015/03/31/local-citation-sites-for-top-100usa-cities/
4. Build Citations
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Use the list above to nd places where you can build citations. Build speci c industry-related citations by:
1. Joining local associations, organizations, chambers of commerce, etc.
2. Joining industry-related directories, websites and associations
3. Looking for specific neighborhood-related listings for your business
4. Creating partnerships with other website owners in your industry: contact indirect competitors and ask them to help you by placing a citation on their site. Offer them the same. Some of them will accept your offer.
5. Using local citation nder tools to discover the best places online where you can list your business and grow your local search rankings
6. Offering discounts and coupons: you will be automatically listed in hundreds of coupon websites
7. Hosting an event: this is another great way to establish long-term partnerships with other business owners in your industry and build citations through them
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 1. Posting job opportunities online: you can get hundreds of citations out of this Like, https://www.ziprecruiter.com/post-a-job they will post your job offer to hundreds of job boards!
9. Getting local reviews: local reviews have a direct impact on your brand’s image and on your local search rankings. This doesn’t mean just Google reviews. You should not limit yourself. You should also try to get reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Foursquare and other local directories. A good starting point to get those valuable reviews you want is to contact your current customer database and kindly ask them to leave you a review. You could offer them an incentive instead. Another thing you can do is to create a separate page on your website where you give complete instructions on how your customers can leave you reviews.
10. Getting interviewed by local newspapers and media
11. Sponsoring a local charity event
12. Lasting in local networking groups
Do’s of Citation Building
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Here are some do’s you have to “do” in order to ensure that the building and boosting citation process is as smooth as possible:
Fill in all the elds and add as much extra information as possible, including images, service details and special deals
Prioritize those sites that are industry-related
Keep all the details consistent
Abide to the rules of each listing site
Claim the ownership of all citations to your business
Don’ts of Citation Building
Be afraid that you need to build hundreds of citations all at once in order to rank high in search engines
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Use different call tracking numbers on your citations
Create duplicate listings
Moving Forward as a Business!
Local citations represent a key factor for your local SEO rankings. Growing your company locally involves making sure you have as few duplicate listings as possible, you are improving your local citations constantly and you are improving your customerâ€™s perception of your business. You need to be perceived as an authority in your industry in order to succeed locally.
Now that you know how to build and boost citations, it is time to go to the next step and discover how to find and dominate all local link sources.
Finding and Dominating Local Link Sources
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Debunking the main SEO myths has been one of my passions, and for good reason – there are plenty of SEO myths out there that have nothing to do with reality. One of these myths tries to “persuade” local business owners that inbound links are all the same. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you want to dominate the local market, you need to know how to choose the right inbound links for your business. Even though on-site SEO and outbound links play a key role here, they are not more important than local link sources. Authoritative local links could prove to be invaluable from a SEO perspective.
In order to understand what a good link is, let’s look at what a good link should do for your business.
The Four Functions of Local Link Sources
Each source of local links has four main functions or dimensions: relevant traf c, authority building, relationships building, and hyperlocal relevance.
1. Driving targeted, relevant traffic
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. If you are a local business and you have the opportunity to get a link from another local business that shares the same audience as you, take it. This can send interested people directly to your website. Letâ€™s say you are a water remediation company, a great local link partner for you may be a plumber. If you are not sure where to start, just make a list of what types of people refer customers to you and reach out to them.
2. Building powerful links
Newspapers, small local publications, and your evening news are often very authoritative sites. Make a list of the local publications in your area and look to see what other businesses they are linking out to. This can be a great source of authority and can send qualified traffic to your site.
3. Building long-lasting relationships
In business it is very common to have other closely related businesses who will refer customers to you and vice versa. While a link may be where you start the conversation, why not go a step further and ask who their ideal client is and how you can help them, in turn they will be more likely to refer to you. Essentially take the BNI principles and apply them to outreach.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 4. Hyperlocal relevance
For those of you reading this and doing business within a large city, this is a golden opportunity. Let’s say that your customer base comes from just a few blocks around your business. Getting links from other people in your neighborhood can be extremely helpful. You see these types of links all the time often as “nearby attractions.” Reach out to your neighbors and link to each other.
Tips on Finding Local Link Sources
In order to dominate the local search environment, you need to nd the right link source for you. Here are some guiding principles you need to follow when prospecting for local links:
Determine if whether the link is relevant in your industry and niche
Determine if the links makes sense on your website and complements other pieces of information you have on your platform
Discover how the link can provide value to your audience
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Find out how many business partnerships you have
Determine how involved you are in the community
Now that you have a set of guidelines to follow, letâ€™s move a little bit further and discover how you can actually dominate your local market. Here are 10 powerful link building tactics to give you an unfair advantage over your competition:
1. Leverage existing partnerships: rst of all, you need to utilize the community of professionals that you are already a part of. Links from your partners are very hard to replicate, are quite authoritative and most importantly are natural.
Make a list with all of your business partners and do not hesitate to contact them ASAP, asking them to place a link to your domain on their site. Some of the existing partnerships you already have but youâ€™ve probably forgotten about might include: Manufacturers or wholesalers Local companies that benefit out of your services or products
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Clients who have already worked with you and were happy with your services
Businesses associations you are part of
Other businesses in the neighborhood
2. Capitalize on the power of photography: you can actually build links with awesome photography. Just go online and do a quick search for “Minneapolis pictures.” You will notice several strong domains with beautiful pictures. Of course, each of these domains has their own share of links, being able to dominate the local link sources.
To follow in their footsteps, start by taking high quality pictures of your neighborhood and city using a drone. Submit these photos to photo websites and travel platforms such as Trip Advisor. Add an alt tag to each image plus a link to your site and boom, you’ve got yourself a free link to your site.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. You can go a little bit further. Find a few powerful local events, contact the organizers and ask for the permission to take a bunch of pictures. Then ask them if itâ€™s possible to list your photos on their site, with a link to your website. If the photos are high-quality, they will likely go for it.
Also, submit images on social platforms and on sites like Pinterest to grow your reach and boost the value of your links.
3. Feature others in your community: another great method to dominate the local search results is to remember that people love to be flattered. The same goes true for organizations and local businesses. Use this to your advantage and create content that shows people and organizations in your community doing something awesome. They wonâ€™t hesitate to pay you back. Here is an example of what you can do: https://www.whitespark.ca/images/uploads/blogposts/locallinkbuilding/Top_10 5.jpg.
You can throw a report about how local companies are changing the society. You can also write an article from a controversial point of view to spike interest and make people want to express their opinions. The key here is not just to create a link, but to boost your reach and establish yourself as an authority in your niche. I once wrote a similar post and managed to attract some authoritative. Edu links, as some of the top commenters were working at regional universities.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 4. Start making something awesome for the community: because weâ€™re talking local, building links involves being community-driven and having a local mindset. Create an infographic, develop a unique piece of content, create a video or even design a mobile app that caters strictly to your community.
Create a strong local campaign around your app, video, infographic or any other piece digital content and become legendary for people around you. Try to nd out what makes you unique in the local community and what stirs peopleâ€™s emotions, and then use that aspect to your advantage.
5. Start networking: in order to dominate local search and establish yourself as an authority in your niche, you need to start capitalizing on the power of networking. Attend a local networking event and connect with other business owners and individuals with the same mindset like yours.
Here is what you should be looking for:
1. Conferences related to your industry: exchange contact information with other participants and talk with them about potential collaborations. This obviously includes getting some links from their sites. However, make sure the sites you are getting links from are authoritative and industry-related.
1. Join a local group
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 1. Become a member of a local business association
1. Get involved in a local cause you are passionate about: you can get precious links out of local press releases and newspaper articles
6. Use neighborhood sites: Another great method to dominate the local searches is to build links with local neighborhood There is no shortage of local business associations.
Become part of the local community and get access to write articles and post images on these local sites. The sheer number of inbound links you can get is invaluable.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 7. Build links with daily deals sites: another powerful method to build a strong local presence through the power of links and boost your siteâ€™s ranking is to leverage the bene ts offered by daily deals sites. Since Groupon has revamped the way customers shop online, there have been tons of daily deals sites popping up all around the Web.
Try to nd those daily deal sites run by local institutions or persons in order to maximize the value of each inbound link. Itâ€™s best if you nd a daily deal site that belongs to a local newspaper or university. Offer some great deals for local clients and get listed on these daily deal sites for maximum impact. After the campaign is over, do not forget to write a press release and brag about how good this daily deal campaign was for your company.
8. Use press releases to build inbound links: while press releases are not as bene cial for organic SEO, they are still powerful in local search engine result pages (SERPs). Creating a press release that mentions your name, address, and phone number can land you a ton of citations while diversifying your link pro le. Well-written press releases may even get picked up by your local news sources, landing you some incredible hyperlocal links.
9. Sponsorship: if you do sponsorship right, you could get tons of valuable local links and you will be able to dominate the best sources of links. Sponsoring something related to your business can land you a ton of niche relevant, authoritative links all while giving back to your community.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. There are many potential sponsorship opportunities in each location. To give you some ideas, here are three types of sponsorship events you could become a part of:
Helping needy people: many people who live on the street are in need of blankets, food and a good handshake. Organize a large fundraising campaign and talk to a few newspapers and televisions about what you are about to do. The large number of authoritative links you might get after this campaign might exceed your wildest expectations and more importantly, you will be setting a great example for your kids, neighbors, and co-workers.
Student groups: we all know that. Edu links are extremely valuable from a SEO standpoint. A lot of local schools, universities and colleges offer sponsorship opportunities. For just $100, you could get listed on their website as the main sponsor and get another few links from some newspapers. This is a huge local link-building opportunity you donâ€™t want to miss.
Animal rescue: another example of a sponsorship opportunity comes from animal rescue groups, who are desperately looking for sponsors. They are almost always willing to offer you more than one link in exchange for a few dollars for their campaign. If you are an animal niche business owner, this is golden. If you own another type of business, look for organizations to help in that niche.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 10. Launch your own event: ultimately, to dominate the local SEO link building scene, you could go big by launching your own event or by creating your own fundraiser. Even though creating a local event might seem like a daunting task, don’t worry. You don’t necessarily need to go big on your first attempt.
As an example, a local dentist in Houston created an event about offering free llings and extractions for one week. Multiple newspapers picked up his campaign, while two major news stations promoted his event for free. Authoritative links were given in the process, and the doctor enjoyed up to 40 percent more clients in the years to come.
Before this campaign he ranked on the fourth page of Google for “dentist Houston,” “dental care Houston” and other local terms. Now he ranks on the rst two pages for several keywords, without doing any SEO campaign. All he did was launching his own event.
As you can see, there are so many methods and strategies you can use in order to nd and dominate local link sources that success is practically guaranteed. Just be creative, think outside the box and create something locals won’t forget.
However, be aware of the local SEO mistakes you can make along the way. Read on to discover how to avoid making these unforgivable mistakes.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO.
Are you sabotaging your SEO rankings without knowing it?
While in the sections I have showed you how to grow your company in local SEO results and dominate the link-building industry, in this chapter I will reveal some of the most common local SEO mistakes you desperately need to avoid in order to be successful locally.
With that said, you should not be discouraged. No mistake is too severe to be xed. My goal with this chapter is to help you audit your local SEO strategy and replace the common mistakes with actionable steps that improve your position in local searches and position yourself as an authority in your niche.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. So let’s begin…
1. The Absence of a Google My Business Profile
Probably the biggest mistake you can make with local SEO is to focus on anything else except Google+. While you don’t necessarily need a strong Google+ pro le and Google My Business pro le to rank higher in search results when it comes to standard search engine optimization, local SEO is a little bit different.
When talking local, a Google+ and Google My Business pro le is a must if you want to be successful. Just type in “nearby dentists” and the rst thing you will notice is a map of your area and a few listings of the most prominent dental of ces around you. The trick here is that this information listed below the map comes directly from the Google My Business pages of local dentists.
In other words, if you do not have a Google My Business page associated to your Google+ profile, you simply won’t appear on that map.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. One last thing: do not forget to verify your business listing in order to ensure you are the owner of that page.
2. Lack of a Sitemap
Search Engine Marketing experts agree that every local business needs to have an XML sitemap. This sitemap gives vital information to Google and Bing crawlers and make it easier for search engines to list your pages. The lack of a sitemap can definitely reduce how effectively Google can crawl your site.
3. Your Pages Load way too Slow
According to a study conducted a few years ago, over 55 percent of your siteâ€™s visitors spend less than 15 seconds on an average on your site. If your site loads in 10 seconds, that leaves them only ve more seconds to browse your content. In fact, if your site loads in more than 10 seconds, the bounce rate will exceed 80 percent on mobile and 70 percent on desktop.
Web users, and especially mobile users who are the busiest category of people, hate it when your pages take too long to load. The good news is that there are several free tools to analyze your page speed. I strongly recommend using pingdom.com and Page Speed Insights from Google.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 4. Multiple URLs Lead to the Same Page
It is quite common today to have two URLs that lead to the same page. For instance, www.cars.com/home.html and www.cars.com both lead to the same page. If you have multiple URLS you should look to 301 redirect them or to integrate canonical tags when appropriate.
5. Lack of Alt Tags and Header Tags
Alt tags and header tags (H1, H2â€ŚH6) are extremely important from a SEO perspective. While header tags are used by Google to categorize your content, alt tags are used by search engines to decipher images. Use your main keywords in both header and alt tags (image tags) in order to boost your local SEO presence.
6. You have Duplicate Listings
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. We have talked about this mistake in the second chapter of this guide. In a nutshell, you need to remember that Google hates local duplicate listings and citations. Try to remove duplicate listings as soon as possible in order to prevent them from hurting your ranking and to offer a positive experience to your prospects. 7. You Miss Relevant Categories on your Business Page
Another costly mistake you can make that could hurt your local SEO rankings is missing relevant categories on the My Business page. Think of these categories like main sections in Yellow Pages. The more relevant these categories are, the better is for your local SEO presence.
Because Google does not make it easy for you to select the right categories for your business, here is a complete list of categories to choose from: http://blumenthals.com/google-lbc-categories/search.php?q=&val=hlgl%3Den-US%28PfB%29%26ottype%3D1. Select wisely and you will be rewarded.
8. Inconsistent NAP Information
Duplicate listings go hand in hand with inconsistent NAP (name, address, phone) information. In addition to having the same contact information listed on both your website and Google My Business page, you need to erase all duplicate listings and to ensure all of your citations contain the same information.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Google is pretty smart, no doubt about that. Googleâ€™s bots are actually capable of comparing the contact information on your site with the NAP found everywhere else online.
9. No Customer Reviews
Another costly local SEO mistake is having no customer reviews. While reviews are very important for users, they are crucial from Googleâ€™s perspective when ranking sites locally. If you have no reviews on your Google My Business page, you need to start asking for reviews now!
Getting positive reviews might be quite a slow process, especially as people are not inclined to offer a review when they were satis ed with a service. However, ask for reviews from business partners and clients via email, phone or in-person, and in time you will have built a real competitive advantage in your local market.
10. Choosing the Wrong Keywords
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Keywords are essential for both SEO and PPC campaigns. Locally, the importance of keywords grows even more. When you choose the wrong keywords, you are missing out on traf c and conversions, not to mention you may never rank in some cases.
11. No Competitive Analysis
Another common mistake local business owners do is forgetting about or neglecting performing a complete and unbiased competitive analysis. Study what the top 5 competitors in your niche are doing and discover what actually works in local SEO. This includes keywords and types of backlinks used. There are plenty of powerful tools online that enable you to perform a complete local competitive analysis. Spy Fu and SEMrush are two of them.
12. Thin Website Content
Since Google changed their algorithm in order to incorporate more local SEO signals, the content on the website has become more important than ever. Since Google is driven by a â€œrelevancyâ€? mindset, you need to be relevant in everything you do locally, including content.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Is your content relevant to your site visitors? Do you provide real information or just uff? Remember that Google’s Rank Brain algorithm (terminator) is active and browsing the internet for pages to “terminate”. If you want to escape its piercing gaze, you need to optimize your website content and make it relevant for your readers.
13. Ignoring Social Media
Social media activity is strongly connected to local SEO. Even though Google does not admit it yet, local businesses that go viral on social media rank better in search results than businesses with no social media presence.
You’ve probably noticed by now that Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter and all other social media platforms appear on the rst pages of Google when conducting local searches. As a matter of fact, sometimes a single thread on Facebook could become more valuable and show higher in search results than a page on your website.
Do not ignore your social media presence if you want to be successful with local SEO. Share your blog posts on all social platforms, post constant updates and engage with your fans, subscribers, friends and followers on a daily basis in order to capitalize on the growing power of social media.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. 14. Ignoring Mobile
One of biggest local SEO mistakes that you need to avoid at all costs is not optimizing your website for mobile users. Local SEO goes hand in hand with mobile, as most people are conducting local searches on their mobile devices while on the go. I personally prefer using my mobile to conduct local searches, even when Iâ€™m at home and Iâ€™m not in front of my computer. Here are 10 stats to prove my point: https://www.brightlocal.com/2015/12/08/10-stats-thatprove-the-power-of-mobile-marketing/.
As more and more people are choosing mobile over desktop when browsing for local products or services, it is imperative to optimize your website for mobile users or create a mobile version of your site and redirect all of your mobile traf c to that site.
15. Not Having Relevant Links
As I stated above, relevancy is the 2016 mindset used by Google. This impacts both your content and the links you have on your site. Your inbound and outbound links should be relevant for users and search engines if you want to dominate the local SEO market.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO. Conduct a link audit and determine if you are connected to websites that have nothing to do with your category. For instance, if you offer medical services, you should not link out to sites that offer smartphone accessories or list repair & maintenance tips. Keep the links as relevant as possible and you will de nitely reap the benefits of dominating the local link scene.
Keep Learning, Sharing
Now that youâ€™ve read this ultimate guide to local SEO link building you are wellequipped to go and dominate local search listings. Start by taking into account the recent changes in local SEO and read all the common local SEO mistakes in order to know what to do and what to avoid.
Build and boost your citations locally and gain precious traf c to your site, along with recognition from Google. Then nd out and start dominating the local links sources by following all the 10 tips listed above. Lastly: If you have found this guide useful, please take a moment to share it with someone who is struggling to gain a local foothold.
Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO.
About the author
Nathan Olnick- has been involved in several businesses, helping some of the biggest companies build their brands and keep their reputation while he sky rockets sales in the process. His goal is to bring two major elements to every business, Visibility and Branding. Heâ€™s also a part of masterminds in his eld that covers virtually everything in the online business world.
Published on Aug 18, 2016
This Masters guide to local SEO link building will help you discover the following: How to find the keywords used by your local customers a...