With rapid increase in mobile searches, more and more searchers are showing interest in local business. As Google is very sensitive to user behavior and choices, it has lost no time in making changes in local SEO to make it more powerful and useful. Many changes have happened and many are under way that has to be envisaged in the right perspective by SEO practitioners. This is necessary to make better use of local SEO that has emerged as one of the main business drivers. The powers of SEO can make your business stand out in local listings and SERP.
How it can be achieved will be better understood by considering the local ranking factors like customer reviews and NAP (name, address and phone number) that drives you up in the rankings. The changes made by Google point to the fact that Google is paying serious attention to local SEO, they are encouraging to gather more reviews and they want to compile more data about local business. Living up to their expectations would lead to better rankings. It is now time for businesses to get the fundamentals right by ensuring implementation of error free basics. How it can be done has been discussed in this post.
Business names should not include location
The first requirement of implementing SEO is your willingness to abide by the rules set by search engines like Google. You have to be very clear in your intention of playing by the rules of the game, never trying to outsmart it. Being liked by search engines is what matters to earn good rankings. To be liked by search engines you have to be obedient to them. Trying to act smart can actually cause more harm than good.
Adding unnecessary information to your business name is strictly forbidden by Google, unless it is a part of your legal entity. Yet there are companies that have multi-location business that add names of county, city or even the neighborhood to the business name. Adding such geomodifiers, as it is called technically goes against the guidelines of Google. It is thought that providing additional information about location would be advantageous for local ranking but it is not at all correct. There is no need to specify names with geomodifiers to distinguish between branches because Google takes care of it by providing information about the nearest branch. However, social media site Facebook walks in the opposite direction and encourages the use of geomodifiers with business names.
Call tracking numbers have to be implemented correctly
Let it be admitted that call tracking numbers do create inconsistent data that affects local rankings negatively. However, if it is used in the right way, it can provide much needed data that is invaluable for business. It will be wrong to stay away from it and be denied of access to large valuable data that can prove detrimental for business. There are three ways of doing it rightly.
Citation audits are essential to review business listings data that have to be clean and free from bad data. This would remove the inconsistencies that can weaken your SEO initiatives by negatively impacting the search rankings. Any NY SEO Company USA will tell you that the time of citation audit is when you can get rid of your old call tracking number and obtain a new one. As soon as you get the new number, you can launch the citation cleanup campaign. The new number should be used for all listings across all platforms including your website.
If you do not want to correct business listings by taking a new number then linking your actual business number to the call tracking number would enable you to track calls with ease.
Maintain a separate call tracking number for the paid ads in order to track data sources correctly. This would enable you to identify which data is generated from paid sources and which are generated organically. As call numbers are outside the purview of indexing by search engines, it does not affect the data consistency.
Ensure that data is always consistent
As a business owner you should have a hawk eye on data consistency across local SEO and all other platforms. The easiest and innocuous looking data of names, addresses and phone numbers (NAP) can really put your business into a lot of problems. There are high possibilities of mismatch of these data that are often changed but not updated in the system.
What is required is that the latest data is always reflected in the system. A bad data at any one place of the local SEO can proliferate to other platforms that operate within the same system. There can be several reasons for change in these data but as soon as it happens, updating it at all places across the system and various platforms is mandatory. It is not only due to physical changes of business location that these data might change. There are many other reasons to change of data ranging from negligence to data merging and rebranding. Since bad NAP can affect search rankings severely, it is worth spending time and resource in keeping it correct.
Always have location based landing pages on your website
If you have multi branch business and want to provide the best customized experience to the website viewers, you cannot rely on a single home page, which is the landing page that represents all locations. Doing this would actually mean tying yourself in knots that limits your ability to present the best customer experience. You should have a location landing page that would be specific to customers of that location and contain information that is most relevant for them. It contains information related to that branch only. This location landing page should be accessible from the website and also linked to local listings.
Having the basics right would give you the ability to adapt the changes of local SEO that is happening. You would then be tuned with times and better placed to derive the best benefits of local SEO.