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Local SEO in 2019: Dos and Don’ts

30/05/2019

A few months back, I noticed a sharp decline in my website’s rank for the keywords ‘how to write assignments?’ or ‘tips for completing homework on time?’ On the contrary, my website ranked well for other search queries such as ‘assignment help near me’ or ‘best assignment provider in Australia.’

I was not the only one. Several other website owners noticed that the ranks of their pages were fluctuating at the beginning of 2019. After thorough research, I realized the fluctuations in rank were due to the local SEO algorithm update 2019. Many considered local SEO to be dead, until now. However, it just got back stronger than ever. By the first few months of 2019, it grew to be something that can make or break your online presence.

According to sources, almost 46% of total searches have local intent. If you want your target audience to notice your local business on the search engines, then local SEO is your go-to solution. I have crafted a list of do’s and don’ts for local SEO in 2019 that will help your business attract more attention. Once you get your local SEO on point, leads and sales will pour in your website in no time.

3 Things you should do in Local SEO

Are you planning to lift the name of your business in the local Google rankings? Then make sure you execute the following tips to make your dream come true.

1) Use Geo-modified Keywords

Have you ever searched for restaurants on Google and found a list of very specific results on the Google Map Listing? I tried out the same and here are the results I saw.

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Why did Google show me these restaurants out of 6 million results?

Some of them didn’t even have a website.  Well, proximity is the newly added local SEO ranking factor post Possum update. When I rechecked on Google Maps, I found that these restaurants are very close to where I live, probably 8 or 15 minutes from my home.

I believe proximity is more weighted than the other traditional local search engine factors. When a user searches for a specific service in his /her area, Google detects the users’ geographical location either through GPS or the IP address of desktops. It then shows the user only those results which are close to his/her location.

To appear at the top of your local search engine results, use geo-targeted keywords such as ‘restaurants near Edmonton’ or ‘restaurants near Calgary’. Optimise your on-page SEO to nail the proximity factor better than your competitors.

2) Encourage your clients to write positive reviews about your brand

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Reviews are another crucial local SEO ranking factor that is often overlooked. I believe that positive reviews can make all the difference between record profits for your company and terrifying losses. According to sources, reviews and stars on Google SERPs can improve your CTR up to 35%.

Reviews represent an ongoing conversation that your customers are having about your services on the Internet. The catch is that your potential customers will decide whether they will opt for your services depending on these reviews.

What can I do? I don’t have control over the discussion of my brand? Of course, you have a very important role. You can keep a regular check on the reviews about your business and respond to the feedback, good or bad. As per a recent survey, 57% of complaints revolve around poor customer service and rough employee behavior. Make sure your staffs receive the necessary support to serve your customers the way they want.

68% of customers say that reviews influence their decision when it comes to choosing a business. Make your brand complain-friendly. Work on the reviews before they turn into negative feedback. Make your customers feel important.

3) Focus on local citations

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A local citation is the online mention of the name, address and phone number or NAP for a local business. Citations let Google and other major search engines know about the physical existence of your business. Make sure you provide the right name, address and phone number of your business in the Google My Business profile. Click here to build citations for your local SEO campaign.

Google functions with the aim to bring out the best to its users. If someone is looking for plumbers, it would want to display the most reliable plumbing services in that area. Having an accurate phone number, address and business name will make Google believe that your business is reliable and worth the attention of potential users.

Accurate citations can help your target audience discover your business and results in web, phone and foot traffic. Every local business is concerned with three things: reputation, rankings and revenue. Local citations provide all these benefits if done correctly.

Two things you should never do in local SEO

Wouldn’t it be great if you had the edge over your local competitors? Then make sure you don’t repeat the following mistakes that most of your competitors do.

1) Do not add a wrong category in GMB

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As per a survey conducted by Moz on local SEO ranking factors, GMB category is at the third position. Many people tend to overlook the importance of GMB categories and how they work. But, that may be the only thing holding you back from gaining potential customers.

Google removes and adds categories on a daily basis. During the first half of 2018, the search engine removed 36 categories and added 34 instead. Thus, make sure you keep a check on these changes to add the most relevant category to your business for local SEO. Google also changes the category name quite frequently. Next time you see a new name in the category section, it might not be a new category at all.

Your primary category gives you more ranking power. Hence, choose the primary category with the utmost care and attention. Follow these guidelines before choosing your business category in Google My Business listing.

2) Don’t stuff the footer with cities and zip codes

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Gone are those days when adding a city or zip code keywords into the footer would help your site to rank well in the Google SERPs. Google understood the drill that many website owners stuffed location-based keywords in the footer to rank in the local search engine results. It rolled out an update to penalize the sites that tried to manipulate the results.

According to the new algorithm, a webpage with irrelevant keywords results will receive negative user experience. Your target audience may not get what they are looking for and end up showering you with negative reviews. I would recommend every local business owner to stop stuffing the footer of the webpage with irrelevant keywords.

Conclusion

I believe that local SEO is one of the most powerful ways of generating sales and leads. Follow the above-mentioned tips to achieve the next level of success in your local business. Local SEO is the backbone of online marketing. You may take time to get all the aspects of local SEO right. However, once the ball starts rolling, the hustle is quite worth the efforts.

Also, remember that Google rolls out new algorithms every day. Keep yourself open to making a few changes down the line in your local SEO campaign to attain the maximum level of success. Comment down below if you have other concerns or questions.

Author Bio:

William Shell is a Writer and Enthusiastic blogger and a Professional CDR Writer. He is also associated with a reputed company for the past couple of years. Here, he delivers assignment help to students on their requests.

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