Global search engine optimization (SEO) is important, but let’s face it – most attorneys and other professionals in the U.S. are not looking for clients in Sweden or Thailand. The importance of local SEO cannot be underestimated. How can professionals and small businesses improve their local SEO? Keep reading, and you’ll find some tips you can use to reach more potential clients near you.
TIP #1: BE LISTED EVERYWHERE AND HAVE GOOD REVIEWS
Making yourself visible with an abundance of local listings is the key to effective local SEO. Your practice should be listed everywhere that’s appropriate, and your basic business details (name, address, phone number, website URL) should be as consistent as possible on each listing. Review any existing listings, fix incorrect information, and provide any new or missing details.
Are you satisfied with your online reviews? They’re important. Stay abreast of what people are saying about you on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. When it ranks local businesses, Google considers the number of reviews linked to a particular business name, address, phone number, and website.
Businesses and professionals with more reviews on more review sites will naturally tend to rank higher on Google. If you need help with reviews or listings – and especially if you are dealing with any mediocre or negative reviews – an internet marketing company can work to ensure that your client reviews are positive and widely-distributed online.
TIP #2: FIND WAYS TO OBTAIN LOCAL AND REGIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE
Major publications are ranked high on Google. A very few criminal defense attorneys get a great deal of coverage – primarily because of high-profile criminal trials – but how can you get your own name and your practice noticed in a positive way by local newspapers, regional magazines, and professional journals?
Participate in – or organize – local charity events. Submit op-ed columns to the newspaper. Become a “sought-after” public speaker. If you’re honored with a professional award, send out a press release. Develop relationships with several journalists or with a local television or radio station. Be the “legal expert” that local reporters and news anchors can rely on for a good quote.
It won’t happen overnight, but if you are persistent with your local media outlets over a few months, you will find your efforts paying off. Journalists will tell you – they count on experts who are accessible, knowledgeable, and easy to work with. Consumers seeking legal help tend to presume that if the local media considers you trustworthy, you probably are.
TIP #3: FIND WAYS TO CREATE GOOD BACKLINKS
Your backlinks are the hyperlinks on other websites that “link back” to your own site. Quality backlinks are important because Google – for the most part – ranks you according to the number and quality of the backlinks leading to your site. If you don’t have abundant backlinks, your Google ranking plummets.
Whenever you speak, publish, or participate with a charity or any other local organization, try to obtain a backlink. Include your URL on everything you print or post. A professional internet marketing company can help you obtain the local and regional backlinks that you must have, but no company knows your own community the way you do. Always be seeking opportunities.
TIP #4: HAVE A GOOGLE “MY BUSINESS” PROFILE
Having a Google My Business profile is of the easiest ways to improve your local SEO, and it’s free. A Google My Business profile is a business listing that shows up for local searches. You must have a street address – not a post office box. Optimizing your Google My Business profile should give you a big boost among consumers who are searching for your services locally.
TIP #5: IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE’S INTERNAL LINKING
Many older websites could improve their “website architecture” or linking structure. Sometimes the only way to get to an important page is from the home page. You can do this on your own, or an internet marketing professional can help you add the internal links and menus that will make navigating your website smoother and easier.
Along the same line, your website should make it as easy as possible for consumers to reach you. Offer visitors a chat box and a chance to chat with a live operator. You should also try to have a contact form or intake form available on every page of your website. An internet marketing company can quickly and easily make these adjustments for you.
TIP #6: TIE YOUR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE TO YOUR CITY OR REGION
Make sure that your location is included in everything you do online. This tells the search engines where you are, and it helps to ensure that you’ll be ranked by Google and seen by consumers seeking your services in your area. Beyond that basic technical tip, you simply need to be creative.
You might consider, for example, creating several of your own brief videos highlighting a community landmark, a local or regional festival, or an important local historical event. Don’t hesitate to do a review – in print or video – of a local restaurant or attraction that you find particularly excellent. Be a cheerleader for your community. It raises your visibility and the sense that consumers can trust you.
TIP #7: ENSURE THE BIG DATA FIRMS HAVE ACCURATE INFORMATION
Google, Apple, Yelp, Facebook, and many more important internet companies and websites obtain local business information from four key data providers, so it’s imperative that the information those four data providers have is accurate. It’s up to you – or an internet marketing company working on your behalf – to ensure that they have accurate information about you.
The four local business data providers are Infogroup, Neustar Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual. They supply data to scores of search engines, websites, and apps. If they do not have accurate details about you, scores of other sites and listings may also be inaccurate. You can correct the information yourself at three of the data provider sites; at Factual, you must report a mistake and submit a correction.
TIP #8: ALWAYS BE CANDID AND FORTHRIGHT
You must be honest, candid, and authentic whenever you list your professional practice or small business on sites like Google, Bing, Facebook, or Yelp. Keep your profiles up-to-date. Use current, high-quality photographs and graphics. An internet marketing company can help you create the tools and local content you need, including blog posts, videos, backlinks, and more.
Take the time to learn more about boosting your local visibility and improving your local SEO. Right now, for example, is an excellent time to consult some internet marketing professionals about improving your local ranking, your local visibility, and your bottom line.