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Local Businesses have additional considerations to take into account when it comes to attracting their target market(s) to their website via Google‘s and other search engines’ organic search results.

I shot a video detailing my up to date thoughts on Local SEO:


Older video that is still largely valid:

Local SEO and Google Maps Tips

Woman Shopping at a Local BusinessMany offline businesses are realizing that the internet can be a great source of business for them.  As a result they’ve gone looking for how to maximize the amount of business that comes through their doors from the web.   But, the process can leave people feeling like they’ve been run over on the information super highway.

There are Dallas Local SEO service providers that take your money and don’t provide results.  If this has happened to you, don’t feel too bad because you are not alone.  Most of the businesses I talk to have a story of paying someone money and getting zero return on their investment.

The good news is that if you have the right mindset and take the right steps that I show you in this local SEO guide, then eventually you will get there.  Most businesses have no clue what to do and are failing or succeeding by luck.  With just a few of the tips below you can take some luck out of the picture. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to rely on sheer luck.  If you want to take a lot of the luck out, then submit a discovery form for a free SEO Analysis today.

What are people saying about your business online?

Local SEO starts with your Online ReputationMarissa Mayer, Google’s Ex-VP of location and local services and Yahoo’s President and CEO, said, “one of the things that became very clear is that online reviews are a cornerstone to any local strategy”  If she thinks its important, you better think its important.

Actually, what I’m seeing over time is that businesses with lots of positive reviews slowly rank better — all things being equal.  This makes sense because Google wants to provide its searchers with the most relevant search results possible.  What can be more relevant than a high quality business in the niche they are searching for?  Nothing.  Reviews aren’t everything, but they are big and becoming more important every day.

For example, Google is experimenting with integrating reviews with your normal organic search results, Pay Per Click Ads, and more.  They aren’t just integrating their own reviews, but the ratings of other review sites will show up within the search results.  I do not recommend leaving your reputation up to chance — especially if you truly deserve a quality reputation.

I’ve also seen some businesses who have competitors giving them bad reviews online and bringing down their rankings.  There are even cases of scammers threatening businesses with bad reviews. If this happens to you, there are a few things you want to do and not do.  If you deal with it properly, those bad reviews will just be a minor speed bump on your way to a 5 star reputation.

5-Star Online Reputation For A Local BusinessOnce you have a 5 star reputation, you can then market that awesome reputation.  Here are just some of the benefits you get from having a great reputation online:

  1. More visitors will come to your site(s)
  2. More of your prospects will turn into paying clients.
  3. Your marketing will become less expensive because your cost per customer acquisition will go down.
  4. More people will contact you without you even lifting a finger.
  5. If you’re sending out other types of marketing like, for example, direct mail, you can reference your 5 star reputation and encourage them to view it for themselves online.
  6. It creates an expectation for your customers and, therefore, they start off viewing your product or service through an incredibly positive light that is difficult to break.

…And more.  This is powerful stuff!

I do have a legitimate review generating service for local businesses as a part of my local SEO services.  The pricing depends heavily on all the options you want or don’t want, how many reviews you want to generate, and other factors.  So, please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free consultation.

Local SEO Listings

Having a 5 star reputation online isn’t all there is to ranking well — you still need to claim and nurture your online business listings.  That’s right — claim.  You probably already have listings out there with, hopefully, your business information and positive reviews.  Yes, a lot of times the automatically generated listings have incorrect information that needs to be corrected.  I have a client who had an unclaimed listing of his that had a competitor’s phone number on it!

Major examples of local business listings are: Google Places For Business/Google+ For Business, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and Yelp.

There are TONS of less important listings, some local to the Dallas area, some specialized in your niche, and some are just minor listings that help add up your relevancy to Google. Each listing counts as a citation, has important business information you want to verify, and may host reviews that you want to keep an eye on.

Citations — what are they, why are they important, and how do I get them?

4 Women Discussing a Local BusinessA local business citation is essentially any reference to your business information online — your business name, phone number, and address.  Google scours the web for this information in a package together and the more often it sees it, the more relevant it thinks you are.  It is not exactly that simple, but that gives you a good idea of what goes on.

Here’s the thing (I mentioned it before) — some of your citations are automatically generated.  You definitely want to go out, find those listings, claim them, and monitor them for activity.

You also want to create listings in the most important locations for your business.  Depending on your business, many of the major listing directories will not automatically generate your business citation for you.

Once you’ve created or claimed your listings, you want to optimize that listing for your niche.  If you don’t label your business appropriately, then Google will not think you are relevant to what you want to be relevant for.  There are also mistakes you can make that will make Google think you are trying to spam them.

No Duplicates! Don’t create duplicate listings for the same location.  Google is really cracking down on these and giving lots of legitimate businesses a hard time.  If you have duplicate listings, there are steps you can take to remove or merge the ones you don’t want.

Then you want to create a system that gets as many 5 star reviews onto those listings as possible.  If you want to know more about how to do that, submit a discovery form today.

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