Local Search is featured prominently on the first page

Where Local Search Results are located on the first page

What is Local Search and SEO?

You may be familiar with the traditional definition of SEO, or “search engine optimization”, certainly if you are a reader of my blog. This includes the things I’ve talked about for years, such as on-site variables (right title tags and meta descriptions on pages, and great content for examples), and off-site variables (such a linkbuilding to your site). These items are and will remain critical pieces towards maximizing your site’s visibility. These variables are still important no matter who you are, where you are located, the size of your business, etc.

However Local SEO is specifically geared towards businesses that: 1) have a physical location they expect local people to visit, or 2) have offices, warehouses, etc. that are contacted by people in nearby neighborhoods and the surrounding community.

So any business that gets the majority or all of its customers/clients locally should strongly consider Local SEO services. This could be a local restaurant, retail shop, doctor, gym, dentist, lawyer, landscaping company, auto repair shops, consumer services companies and hundreds more of course.

Because Local SEO is just starting to grow and many businesses aren’t on-board yet, you have a big advantage – at least for now. But that will change, especially when others realize the things I’m talking about here. Your opportunity, to strike while the iron is hot and take advantage of what Local SEO does for your business, is now.

Almost 50% of searches done in 2014 triggered “local listings” according to how Google categorizes their product or service, and this year that number will grow. The next stat to consider is that 94% of consumers select a link from the first page. 94 percent! And since the Top 7 Local results are featured prominently on the first page, often times higher than all organic results, being here if possible should be a primary goal for most local companies.

How can I be in the Top 7? I do both Local SEO and Organic (traditional) SEO work, described as follows.

Local SEO

Is all about ranking for searches such as my personally local “St. Louis”-based ones. This is done through CITATIONS – or having accurate and consistent information in as many directories and aggregators as possible. These are any place online where we can use your company NAP (name, address, phone number) all on the same page, in the precise format as your local listings. There are many thousands of potential directories to be listed in, some of the most critical and most popular include a robust Google+ page, Yelp page, Acxiom, Infogroup, Localeze, Foursquare,  Facebook, Twitter, Bing Local, Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Factual, Apple Maps, Mapquest, TomTom, Whitepages. Yellowbook, Manta, Merchant Circle, Brownbook, Mojo Pages, Hotfrog, CitySquares and many, many (up to 30,000!) more. Each of these increases Google’s confidence in you and your business, which helps you move up “St. Louis”-based searches.

The other critical part of Local SEO are REVIEWS of your business, done most critically on your Google+ page. This is something we can work together on to solicit these great (five-star) reviews from your current and happy customers when you partner with us.

Organic SEO

Focuses on both on-site and off-site optimizations, and is still vital for top rankings too. On-site is primarily built through the addition of unique, high-quality content added to the site frequently, in addition to some of the structural aspects of the site.

How your site is STRUCTURED is key for you. When we build new sites, or work with existing ones, all these key issues will be addressed, so there is no need for additional comment here, other than to say we will also teach YOU to add content and images in a way that follows the best practices of SEO. This ensures that you are getting the maximum value for your site’s online presence.

The other vital piece of Organic SEO is CONTENT. This can be in the form of blog posts or static webpages. But you need to add unique, frequent content on a regular basis for Google to know you are “with it” and that folks are busy minding the store for lack of better terms. This can be in form of blogging as mentioned or continually adding new photos – with very detailed descriptions (Google likes 500 words or more per page) – *regularly. I am an MBA-level writer with a strong marketing agency background, so our clients receive top quality work that is designed to convert as well.

Then for off-the-site, we need to focus on back-links. Backlinks are links to your site from others, which essentially count as one “vote” for the value of your content to others, since they are willing to share your site with others. There are numerous strategies that we use to create high quality backlinks to your website.

These are the main services that we offer at Hat Trick Associates, with a strong focus on Local SEO in 2015. If you are interested in becoming part of the Top 7 and being included on the First Page of results, please give me a call at: (314 494-3494 or shoot me an email at: jhaynes@hattrickassociates.com. I’d be happy to set up a quick phone consultation to find out more about your business, your online goals, and how we can work together to help your rankings and ultimately grow your company through increased web traffic.