Start the New Year with a new search engine marketing strategy that looks beyond your business website. If you think local SEO, Google Maps and directory sites like Yelp can push you to the top of search engine listings then go for it.
The July 2014 Google Penguin algorithm update, provides greater relevance to local maps and directory services like Yelp. This way you get useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. That means in many cases Local Maps and Yelp listings now rank above the regular business website listing.
Check out this Google screenshot, the top results for the search query 'bakery phoenix'.
As you can see the top three results are Google map listings. And there are three more organic listings before you see the actual local business website. Thus, it is imperative that you pay attention to these listings on a regular basis and optimize your presence on Google Maps and directory sites.
These are the steps you need to follow to optimize your business website:
Set up a Google My Business account
By creating and verifying your local business with Google My Business, you get your business listed on Google for free. All your business information will be shown on Google Maps, on the search engine results page, and in Google+. Your customers will be able to post reviews. And, as a Google My Business account holder, you will be able to reply to reviews posted on Google+ directly from your dashboard.
You’ll find that under Yelp for Business Owners. And if there are no matches, simply add your business to Yelp. You can get your Yelp business pages to rank on search engines just like your website. Google’s Pigeon algorithm is now paying close attention to local SEO. So users searching for facts on local businesses can now easily find Yelp reviews.
Optimize Your Listings
Once your business is listed and your contact information verified, optimize your business information. Adding photos, contact business information, website URL, and such other information goes a long way to optimize. Your business can also offer good deals and you can respond to reviews more often.
Online Customer engagement
When reviews appear, responding to them shows all your customers that you care. It’s how you build trust. Yelp allows businesses to respond to user reviews either publically or privately. But Yelp frowns on soliciting reviews. Also, not all reviews will be good. But if you respond and work toward a solution in an amicable way, 40% of negative reviews turn positive. Whether good or bad, be upbeat when you engage and reply.
Making Google My Business part of your SEO strategy for 2015 and getting your business listed on Google Maps and Yelp and the like will align you with prospective customers and keep you ahead of competition on the digital playing field. But keep in mind that this is not a onetime effort. It’s more of a continuing process that you need to build in to your search engine marketing strategy for 2015 and beyond.
Contact us to deploy Local SEO for your business website now!