Getting Started With Local SEO

As we’re getting our feet wet with the launch of our new site, we had to start the push towards ensuring we were ranking in our local area.  I’ve done this many times for past clients and companies, but forgot how time-consuming the upfront process was.  By time-consuming, I don’t necessarily mean hard, just that you’ll be spending tons of time entering the same information, over and over and over.

The process to get started with ranking locally is made easy though with a few online tools that can help you see where you currently rank, or don’t, and some tools that help spread the word about you with just a few clicks of a button.  Here’s a quick list of tools we think make local SEO a heck of a lot easier.

1.    Moz Local

We always like to start with Moz Local for finding out where a client is with local search.  For most, it shows you where you are currently listed and where you aren’t.  It also shows you where you can strengthen your posting so that it has a better chance to rank.  However, if you’re a brand new site, you won’t get any results (of course), but you can click on the “I don’t see my business” link and you’ll see this list of links to get you started:

That’s definitely a great start for you.

2.    DMOZ

This site is like Yellow Pages were before the Internet – this is the place to be.  In fact, it’s so trusted, that when your site had next to nothing for content and Google has no idea what your site is about, they pull the info from here to fill in your meta title and meta description.  Make sure you’re registered here, and if you have the meta title and meta description showing in the search engine ranking pages (SERPs), let us know, we’ll help you fix that.

3.    Local Business Listings

Take a look at what local websites will let you list for free or at a low fee.  Usually, the city will have a website where you can add your listing, the chamber of commerce, the local business journal, etc.  These are great opportunities to help increase your local presence and get those inbound links to your site.

4.    Merchant Circle & Home Advisor

Like a lot of websites that are directories like Merchant Circle and Home Advisor, these are great places to make sure you’re listed as well.  I only listed the two mentioned above though, because they are very trusted.  You don’t want to get inbound links, for link sake, you want to get links that count, and these will.

5.    Moz Local Categories Tool

It’s important to make sure the information you provide with all of your local listings are as accurate as possible.  Don’t say you do marketing, when in actuality you do Internet marketing.  Stay as detailed as possible to ensure that page ranks well.  The Moz Local Categories Tool will help you with your Google Plus categorization – use it.

6.    White Spark – Handout Generator

Speaking of building local SEO, if you’re going to do all of this work, you need to keep encouraging online reviews the best you can.  White Spark created this handy tool to help you do that shameless self-promoting.

7.    White Spark – Tracking Leads

To keep in line with what White Spark has to offer, they also have an awesome tool to help you keep track of your phone leads.  You could simply create an excel spreadsheet of the information they suggest tracking, but they also do the analytics to help you see how the leads map out.  You could do that in excel too, but why spend the time doing that when White Spark helps you do it for free?

Local SEO Conclusion

Finally, I think there are a couple of things to say to local SEO, beyond just throwing up a listing.

First off, it hasn’t been proven that sharing the same descriptive content on each of the directories you list your site at is seen as bad or harmful for your site; in fact, that’s what Yext does.  However, since SEO is part art and part science, I’d caution you that because it hasn’t been proven, it may be best to ensure you have at least 15 different descriptions to help vary things up.  The search engines are anti-duplicative content for many reasons, and there’s a part of me that thinks that this practice could be seen as bad… it’s definitely grey hat.

Lastly, when I mention the word “directories” I’m not referring to what is commonly called link farms or shiesty websites that put the fear of God in you when you visit their site.  If it looks like a bad deal, it likely is.  Don’t get links for the sake of links.  Please, please, please don’t do this.  It’ll get you penalized.  The links I posted above are trusted sites in the industry, and you can do your own research on them to see what other people have written about them.  In fact, with any blog post you find, you should always do your own research before trusting the word of one person.  Yes, I’m saying that you should do research on local SEO.  I may provide you with quick tips, but, unfortunately, there’s bad SEO people L (that’s a big sad face).  I hope to bring you the most trusted resources, and hope that you find trust in me, but you should still do you research.

Okay, enough sad talk.  Let me know what local SEO tools you use to get your local search rankings better.

About Kasy Allen

Kasy brings years of experience in search engine optimization (SEO), content strategy, Internet marketing, and overall web-geekery to the table. She enjoys writing on the web and improving user experience across the Annapurna site, as well as with our clients. When Kasy is out of the office, she can often be found volunteering her time to help non-profit organizations build a better online presence and exploring the great outdoors with her family.

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