From RepPilot.com/info: Local SEO in 2017 – How to Rank Higher in Local Search

Learn how to utilize proven local SEO strategies to give your business a head start on dominating local search in 2017.

Search engine optimization is ever evolving.  New algorithms are released, software constantly updates, and best practices change as businesses compete for the top stops in search engine results.

Small businesses and local shops rely on local SEO to build an attractive online presence and expose their business to more and more potential customers.  Learn how to grow your business with SEO tactics proven to help your local business rank higher in search engine results.

Local SEO Tactics for 2017

In the past two years, there have been big changes in what local SEO looks like, especially with Google.  The “Snack Pack” went from seven results to the more compact three-pack. We saw changes to the look and placement of search engine result page ads.  Mobile readiness and optimization became the standard and not just a suggestion.

With all these updates, the fundamental ranking factors have gone through less change. Use these proven tactics to create a local SEO strategy for the new year.

Use Local Schema Markup

Schema markups are structured data markups that tell search engines what your business does. It can be added to the existing HTML microdata, similar to other tags used on your web pages. Google has a free Structured Data Testing Tool that will alert you of errors in your structured data.

local-seo-2017-structured-data-test

Correctly using schema markups can raise your ranking in local search by several positions, yet most websites don’t do it.  That’s good news for your business. When you use local schema markups, you’ll be ahead of your competitors.

If you want to learn more about schema, BrightLocal.com has an informative article called “Schema Demystified” you should check out.

Optimize Your Google My Business

Your Google My Business listing is vitally important to ranking in Google search results. Complete Google My Business listings also influence search engine user with one Gybo study showing users who view more complete listings are about 30% more likely to report an intention to visit a store or purchase from it.

local-seo-ranking-factors-google-my-business

Google likes to keep things in-house as much as possible, so it favors its own accurate and current business listings when giving local search results to its users. Additionally, if you want any chance of showing up in the life-altering Local 3-Pack which prominently displays the top three most relevant results for local search, you have to verify and optimize your Google My Business listing (preferably with dozens of five-star reviews).

ALSO READ: How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Get More Customer Reviews Posted Where They Matter Most

Google has put a much larger ranking power on customer reviews, putting them front and center in the three-pack and showing snippets of reviews on search engine results pages. Getting those golden stars to show up in search engine results with schema reviews markups helps your business stand out and increases your click-through rates.

Customer reviews have a direct impact on local search results. Knowing what you can do to get more and better customer reviews on the right sites means you have an advantage over your competitors. You can’t write your customers’ reviews, but you should be putting emphasis on doing what you can to influence how often you get reviewed and how highly you are rated.

moz review signals

ALSO READ:  3 Ways Customer Reviews Improve SEO

If you’re more of a DIY business owner and webmaster, you can visit the Google Developers Structured Data page on Enabling Rich Snippets for Reviews and Ratings to get examples, definitions, tips and code to get your gold stars seen in search results.

By adding the promotion of positive customer reviews to your SEO strategy you are putting the information that customers are looking for in the first place, they are looking.  For effective reputation management, the optimal solution is to automate your customer review gathering and promotion to ensure your business is continuously gaining and posting the best reviews and highest ratings where you customers will see them.

Consistently Publish Locally Optimized Content

People use search engines to find information.  Your content provides this information. When you can, use more visuals and graphics for today’s attention-deficient readers and use clear calls to action. Read “Website Pages that Increase Local Search Ranking” to learn how to optimize your static pages for local search.

Remember that search engines prefer fresh content so use your blog to publish content that answers the questions people are asking search engines about your industry.  Include your local keywords in the title, headings, and tags organically and consistently.  This reminds the search engine web crawlers that your website is a top destination for people looking for your type of business in your city.

Optimize Your Mobile-Ready Website to Load Faster

Search engines rank fast loading mobile-ready websites higher because that is what their customers (search engine users) want.  You’ve heard this before so here is the quick list to a faster website: Optimize and minimize images in the right format and enable Gzip compression and browser cache. Minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and remove unused plugins and apps.

Complete and Manage Your Business Listings

Your business listings make your business visible online and the more listings you create, the better chance you have of customers finding you. Your business listings and local citations are important to search engines like Google.  They are factors in the ranking algorithms used to create search engine results and a business with more citations will (if all other factors are equal) rank higher than a business with less.

ALSO READ: The What Why and How of Business Listings and Citations

Submitting to business directories and listing sights can be tedious and time-consuming.  Cost-effective services such as Reputation Loop’s Business Listing Management ensures your business is easily found everywhere customers are searching and locks in the correct information quickly all from one simple dashboard.

Free Demo RepLoop

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

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