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Local SEO Best Practices - 2019 Edition

Feb 18, 2019
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For businesses that focus on local consumers, local SEO is essential to attracting new customers. Like many other aspects of Google, the way they weight the local search results has changed quite a bit over the last few years. In this video, I'll share what's new with local SEO in 2019!

 

 

Video Transcript:

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Today we're talking about local SEO, and if you've been watching our channel, you might have seen some of the other videos we've done around this. Well, as with everything with Google, things continue to change. And there are some new updates with local search that you should be aware of, whether you're a local business or agency working with local businesses. As Google continues to change and augment the search results by adding in different things in maps, as well as other different location features. Whether it be videos, or photos, or posts. We need to make sure that we're adapting to that, as local businesses, as well as SEOs.

So, what are some of the big changes for 2019? This information we got from our friends over at Moz, they have Whiteboard Friday, which is honestly one of the shows that has inspired me to do what I do. And as I was watching some of the content over there, this really drew my attention because we do a lot of local SEO work. Now some of the ranking signals over the last couple years have gone up and down. Links are still important, but as you will see, Google my Business has become more and more powerful as Google has invested more time into Google my Business. As Google Maps has expanded, they've put a lot more emphasis in it and the influence has gone up about 32%.

Now, reviews, they continue to be a major factor when it comes to local search. Google is looking at reviews as a way to see if a business is credible or not. If you don't have reviews, you need to ask for reviews. If you've got bad reviews, you need to take care of those bad reviews. If you've got good reviews, you need to engage with the people who are giving you those reviews. Review signals are going up, pay more attention to that.

Now back in the day, citations were the main player for local search. Google would look at your website, look at your name, your address, your phone number, your map. Compare it to what was in Google my Business. Look at all the local citation sites, Yellow Pages, CitySearch, all that kind of stuff. And make sure that everything was aligned.

Well as Google has built their database, they don't need to help in citations as much anymore. This isn't to say that you shouldn't be on citation sites, they can be very valuable. But their influence has dropped nearly 20% over the last year. So, while you should be putting some emphasis on citations, it should not be your main emphasis because Google my Business has gone way up.

So, what should we focus on as local businesses, and local SEOs? Well, the first place is Google my Business, make sure that your profile is complete. Make sure you've added all the content, all the context you need about your company, about your business, about your website, about the services you provide, and how you engage with people. And then you need to engage, like you can actually do Google my Business posts, you can put posts right on your business listing. You can engage with people. I can ask you questions, you can answer those questions. Those businesses that are actively engaging are going to be seen by Google as being just, you know, one of those businesses that care about the users. This could help influence where you sit in those map results, and where you sit when it comes to search.

The other thing you need to focus on are your reviews. Again, like I said, if you have good reviews, engage with those people. Thank them for reviews, build some community there. If you have bad reviews, you know, again, apologize, deal with that the way it needs to be done.

Now one of the hard things and the thing that business owners really hate is when they get a negative review from somebody who might not have actually gone to your business. Well there's not a lot you can do, you can report it to Google, sometimes it's just the name of the game when it comes online. There are bad actors out there who will leave bad reviews. You can either ignore them or you draw attention to Google. But the reality is that it might happen. The goal should be then is to get more good reviews, find people who have actually engaged with your business that are good for your business, that they love your company. And make sure that they are taking that action to support you online.

And the last thing is don't neglect on page and technical SEO. Make sure that your name, your address, and your phone number, your map is on your website. Make sure that you have your title tag, your meta descriptions localized for the businesses and the communities that you're serving in that local area. And make sure that you add local scheme of markup. Make sure that you have those local markups added, that structured data is added. Again, this can really help Google when it comes to knowing where your site is, and adding in other features to the search results.

If you have any questions on local SEO, you want to know more, or even if you need some help. Please comment below, we'd to continue the conversation. Until next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works has also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing solutions.

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