Local SEO is different from typical SEO. To be successful in local SEO, you have to emphasize several geographical factors, but also work on ‘traditional’ SEO factors with your location(s) in mind. Here are 5 critical SEO strategies that will boost your local SEO rank if they are implemented properly:

1. Register your location on Google My Business

If you have a brick and mortar store, local registration on Google My Business is very important. This local SEO service is free and research shows that half the people that find your page will visit the location the same day.

In order to access it you need to register here, create a full profile (address, phone number, URL, description, hours of operation and images). You will also need to pick one or more service categories which best represent your business. Your entry will show up on the map after it has been verified by postcard or phone call.

If you don’t already have one, set up a landing page to guide your potential customers to. It should include local info about the serviced location as well as your name, address, phone number. These details need to coincide with the ones in the Google My Business listing.

Make sure that your listing leads to a responsive webpage, as many local queries are performed on mobile devices.

Last but not least, reviews are vital to your position in the local list of results. You can ask for them after checkout or set up an email capture on your site and contact customers to get online feedback. You need those reviews.

2. Structured citations

Include your site on business directories such as Yelp, Thumbtack, Yellow Pages, etc. If you are taking over the business, you can check where it’s listed using the Moz Local tool.

Moz also offers a service that will post your business in 5 main aggregators that Google uses when displaying local search results. They have a small monthly fee but it’s a recurring one.

Yext is another big player on this market. With Yext, however, keep in mind that they will delete your entries if you don’t pay up. If you are not budgeting for an automated service you can input all the data yourself, check out this link of all the sites Yext uses. Just remember that you will have to make manual changes whenever you change your address, phone number, etc.

3. Local link building

Link building at a local level is tricky, but not impossible. You need to focus mostly on local influencers and how to reach them. That means trying to reach local newspapers, perhaps getting featured on “Business” lists, and have links from other local businesses. They may not have the authority that larger sites have but those links will carry more weight in local search results.

The pages you are trying to rank should contain mentions of your location. You need to also interlink related pages on your own website, and have all those pages link to your main page.

In this case, the local landing page for your business would receive links from other pages on your site that also mention your location. Blogging about valuable local information will help here. Try some of these ideas:

  • Checklists
  • Buyers Guides for your type of products
  • Local News in your field
  • Articles about seasonal or important upcoming events
  • Posts about mentions of your company such as accolades, awards, sponsorships, etc.

4. Taking advantage of offline and off-Google local opportunities

Give local publications something to talk about if you want them to cover your business. Get involved in local events, organize food drives, sponsor Meetups, interact with other business owners in specialty workshops, hold a workshop yourself, etc.

Off-Google opportunities refer to social networking. Your social network reviews and involvement in local groups is crucial here. Facebook groups are great for spotting opportunities, but Google Plus also features communities where you can advertise your business.

Interact with potential clients in groups and make a point out of having a social persona. Responding to messages and offering valuable information can establish yourself as an expert in your field.

If you can’t find relevant local groups, start one yourself, but remember that you have to budget time for every social network you’re in. It’s better to be present on one network that absent on five.

5. When you have multiple locations

When you’re dealing with a number of locations, create separate web pages for each city you represent. Keep in mind that, your site will be penalized for not having unique contact on each page. Your domain will be bumped out of search results and all your other page rankings will suffer if you do not have that information.

Having two pages will also allow you to have Google My Business listing in both towns. Make sure your NAP data is accurately represented on each of those pages. Be sure to register structured citations for every location as well, whenever possible.

You can perform link building for each of the locations, keeping in mind the above-mentioned steps. Since the audience is different, your citations should be different and appropriately represent your local target audience.