Local SEO is an essential part of any SEO strategy. When we understand exactly what SEO is, it is easy to think that all SEO strategies are exactly the same. However, the goal of local SEO is not only to improve the visibility of your online business, but also to let customers in the vicinity find you even more easily.
Understanding local SEO is essential to optimize your SEO strategy. As an expert SEO in Montreal, allow me offer some advice.
In 2014 Google launched an algorithm that changed local SEO; an American specialist named this algorithm Pigeon. Pigeon has had a significant impact for queries associated with a physical location. Even if these queries are implicitly associated with a location, search results appear to be based on the location of the user.
With local SEO, we can Google search bakeries by simply searching for “bakery” (“boulangerie” in French) and nearby bakery addresses will appear.
As you can see in the screenshot above, I did not need to specify the name of the neighbourhood where I’m located. Google automatically suggests bakeries in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area in Montreal.
Google Pigeon is not an algorithm to take lightly as according to a survey in the United States: 6 of 10 sites had to change their SEO strategy. Pigeon has had a particularly negative impact for many businesses. Therefore, it is essential to optimize your local SEO.
Optimize your local SEO
Google my business
Local SEO is paramount for Google My Business. Google My Business is the small window that shows up on Google search results. This window contains contact information, as you can see from the My Little Big Web example:
Creating a Google My Business account is the basis of local SEO. Such an SEO strategy allows companies to get traffic for free with local customer rates as high as 97%.
On Google My Business you can indicate: your address, phone number, opening hours, links to your website as well as the customer reviews you’ve received. It is not necessary to explain the importance of such contact information. One strategy is to strictly copy this information exactly as it appears on all the webpages where your company’s contact card appears.
When your business is mentioned on another website (even if it’s just your mailing address or telephone number that’s mentioned) we’re talking about a citation. Copying your company details verbatim may seem like common sense, but do not forget that Google’s algorithms are run by robots. These robots will link to your Google My Business account only if your business is listed in exactly the same way as on Google My Business.
These citations represent about 25% of local SEO strategies. So getting citations is a practice to follow. Registration on directories such as the Yellow Pages or Yelp is one of the easiest ways to get citations.
Reviews and comments
Reviews and comments are important not only for users, but also for Google. Users increasingly tend to read reviews before making a final choice. A company with higher review scores will be viewed more favorably in the eyes of potential customers.
Reviews also have an impact on your local SEO, and hence your ranking on Google. As you can see below, the first two bakeries in the Verdun neighborhood (Montreal) have excellent scores.
I can confirm that Google is not wrong in this regard, as Sweet Lee’s in Verdun is a place with delicious pastries and so much more. If you have a business, do not hesitate to seek comments (preferably positive) from your customers.
Optimization of website pages
For Google bots to fully understand your location, its not enough to simply indicate the name of your company and contact information on a single page of your website. It is advisable to insert this information at the bottom of each page. Including a “Geo sitemap” and KML listing is a beneficial practice for local SEO.
It is also recommended that your site content contains references to your location. This can be done through description tags, title tags and H1, or including the city in your URL when creating new items for example.
Optimizing your website for mobile devices and being present on social media to send “social signals” are also other elements that influence your local SEO. Google’s algorithms are constantly changing, but if you apply these basic rules to your local SEO, your business site will not be penalized.
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