Rightly so, businesses place a lot of focus on their website; ensuring that it is both user-friendly and search engine friendly. However, getting a leg up in local search results will require more than a nice website. One must focus on what SEO professionals refer to as “off-site” signals. These are all the online “pointers” that refer back to your website. They are also stops that potential clients make during their online journey to your business. Each stop is an opportunity to make an impression and create a bigger impact for your business. Done correctly, local search optimization is a huge lead generator, especially for local businesses.
If done correctly, linking to high-value directories, listings, social sites, and niche-industry websites will support your professional expertise and affiliation. They point back to your business website, can help build authority, and accentuate local search engine results. (Especially, for local and branded searches.) If you’re hiring recently, there are many “job posting” sites that show up as well. There are a lot of spaces on page one of search results, and your goal should be to fill up that first page with your business information. Do a test of your own to see if you dominate page one, or if your competitors are. Here’s the good news, high-value internet pointers have little to no required investment -other than time. To get you started, address the essentials noted below.
Not all off-site pointers are created equal. Here are the most essential high impact listings in 2022.
- Google My Business (Google Business Profile) For LOCAL Business only
The most valued place for a local business with at least one physical location is, by far, Google My Business. Add your business listing for free to gain customer reviews and show up in more local search results including Google & Google Maps.
- Bing Places For Business For LOCAL business only
Bing weighs more heavily on social signals & pulls reviews from third party sources such as Yelp & Facebook. Free listing & very worthwhile to add this smaller search engine to your local search strategy.
- Better Business Bureau
The BBB receives a massive amount of traffic, builds trust immediately & appears on page 1 of many organic brand searches. (Google approved) Even the free, non-accredited version, is a win-win for local business.
- Social Sites
Social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter get the most coverage on page one search results. Some consider Linkedin a social “professional netorking” site as well, so LinkenIn gets a special nod.
- Industry Niches
Typically industry niche websites are going to cost something out of pocket. If you’re in business, you’ll know off the top of your head which niche websites are important. If not, do a competitor search.
As a local business, you want to be found when people search for you. You can use a variety of citations, niche directories and local listings. On a side note- I recommend that every business have ownership of citations online. This way, you’ll have the ability to make changes if you move, update services, modify branding, etc. Ensure that each referral site truly adds value to your overall online strategy. When building off-site signals to your website, try not to duplicate your efforts. (It can become very messy.) In the past, companies like Yellow Pages and Yellow Book have been known to do this.
If you do not have the ability to hire professional help for this task, just use good common sense. Just stick to the places that are most relevant to your industry, city/state, etc. Spend the most time on those that will have the most impact on local search results. You can quage this just by searching for your competitor. What shows up on page one? That’s where you want to be.
If you need assistance setting up or managing your business listings for local SEO, contact us for affordable pricing options.
“For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought.”