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Getting Noticed in Local Search

     -     Feb 27th, 2017   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

By now most firm marketing professionals understand the fluid nature of SEO. There is a seemingly endless task of action items that must be completed on the action list. Reviewing keywords, checking website traffic and identify new business from the site are just a few. Now to add to your list I am going to introduce local SEO. This is a topic I have not spent much time discussing but due to its increasing importance I thought it should get some “air time”. Google has changed its search focus to emphasize not only mobile but also local search results. For this reason, it’s important for marketers to incorporate changes into their strategy to accommodate for this shift. To help clients, prospects and others better understand how to achieve a solid local SEO strategy in 2017, Flashpoint Marketing has the most effective steps below.

Local Search Strategies

  1. Title and Meta Description Tags Matter – While you may not have control over everything, something you can control are your HTML title and meta description tags to reflect the content of your web page. The text you dictate for your title and description tags is displayed in search results. It’s important to craft these titles and descriptions very carefully. They are basically mini all copy ads for viewers to read. Below is an example of a search for “Provo Utah Florist” and the top non-paid result that demonstrates what the title and descriptions are. A generally accepted title length is 50-60 characters with an acceptable description having 160-200 characters. When it comes to SEO crafting good titles and descriptions is an art form. With the amount of search results competition, if your text isn’t compelling, descriptive and unique, you can guarantee your click-through rate will suffer. When writing, be mindful one extra word or character can potentially cut off your text with an ellipsis (…) and while it may not be the end of the world, it does not look professional, especially if it cuts off your title or description making it less impactful.
  2. Online Directories and Citations – It has been stated by Google that roughly four out of five searchers use search engines to conduct local searches. When Google makes a statement, we should understand that it is accurate. Unfortunately, many accounting firms have not claimed their local business listings online, which is a huge missed opportunity. What does this mean? It means that it’s important to get your firm listed correctly and consistently with top online business directories such as Yelp, Merchant Circle, City search as well as others. It’s also not a bad idea to check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a local business directory you can get listed in.
  3. Claim and Optimize your Business on Google My Business – While Google My Business (GMB) is considered a directory, it’s a huge opportunity that deserves its own callout. If your firm has not claimed it’s Google My Business page (Bing Places for Business on Bing), it’s important to do so. Not only is it free it can gain your firm incredible exposure. And, if your site is optimized enough, you may show up in Google’s local three-pack as seen in the below Provo, UT florist example. It’s quite easy to claim your firm’s Google My Business page by simply visiting google.com/business.  – A verification process is required by Google so they can confirm your accounting firm is legitimate and that you are the business owner. Additionally, only the firm owner can claim a business on GMB. During the verification process, Google will send a postcard with a PIN to your firm’s physical location. Once you receive this information, you’ll simply log in and enter the PIN to verify the business.
  4. Reviews Matter – It’s important for firms to realize that online reviews of their organization do matter and help shape the decisions of others. According to a recent survey, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and seven out of 10 customers will leave a review for a business if asked by the business. A few software options to help you track, manage and proactively try to get reviews include Reputation Loop, Get Five Stars, Trust Pilor and Vendasta.
  5. Structured Data Markup for Local – You may be asking exactly what is structured data and schema? Google defines it as “a specific vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way your page is represented in SERPs.” By implementing schema markup more and more on your firm’s website where applicable, you are telling bots and spiders exactly what your data is all about. The result is more effective data being provided to users, not to mention the boost in both your firm’s website traffic and ranking.

IN CLOSING

While there are many strategies and tactics for local SEO and increasing your firm’s visibility online locally, using the above tips will give you a healthy head start. If you have questions or would like to learn more about local SEO and how to increase your firm’s visibility, contact us today. We can help.


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