Local search engine optimization is an ever-changing beast. Combining this fact with a pandemic that shook 2020 throughout the entire year means you need to head in to 2021 prepared for anything.
Spotlight Digital wanted to give you a breakdown of what to expect heading into the next year and how you can prep your business to have a killer Local SEO campaign in 2021.
Wanna just have a professional look over your site and audit it’s Local SEO performance? Message Spotlight Digital below and we will run an absolutely free Local SEO Video Audit for you:
If not, that’s cool, read on to see how you can prep yourself for Local SEO in 2021!
The Anatomy of a Great Local SEO Strategy in 2021
A great local SEO strategy involves a few different moving parts. These parts are:
- On-Site Optimization
- Content Creation
- Google My Busines Optimization
- Citation Management
- Reputation Management
- Social Media
On-site optimization involves making sure you hit all the local SEO checkboxes for each page of your site. Making sure you have unique, original content. Including your local keywords in the copy of the page. Having enough content.
Ask yourself these questions to see if your on-site optimization is ready for local SEO in 2021:
- Do I have my keyword in an H1 tag? If no, add it.
- Have I included my keyword in the Title and Meta tags? If no, add it.
- Is the content on this page 500 words or more/does it provide enough info for my costumer? If no, fix it.
- Is my keyword in the body text a couple of times with variations? If no, add it where it makes sense.
- Do I have links to other internal pages? If no, add some.
- Have I linked to an external website? If no, add some.
- Have I placed a Google Map embed on my page? If no, do this.
- Do my images have alt attributes? If no, create them.
- Do my alt attributes describe my images properly? If not, correct them.
There’s a lot more you can do in regard to on-page optimization and at Spotlight Digital we go even deeper than this for our clients.
To make things easy, you can use a plugin such a Yoast SEO or Rank Math if you’re using WordPress and you’ll get on-page optimization guidance as you build your website.
Seem like a lot? Don’t forget you can message us. Just hit the button below:
Every year, content becomes more important to local SEO. Search engines want to see fresh content consistently show up on your website.
The easiest way to do this is by writing blogs on your company site! Now, you don’t want to write about your family vacation to the Bahamas. You want to write about the industry you’re in as well as the area your business services.
For example, if you offer appliance repair services, you could post blogs that go over different ways you can DIY repair different appliances. Even better, if you can record a video to upload to YouTube and embed in the blog post, you’re gonna kill it in the local search results.
You also want to write about the community you serve. Going off of the appliance repair example, you could write blogs about the 5 best places to buy a new washer and dryer in your city.
If you can’t think of anything to write about locally that has to do with your industry, you can get away with writing blogs about different local stuff such as which coffee shops in your city have the best espresso.
At the end of the day, you want to give the search engines two things: industry relevance and location relevance. Do this and you’re shooting ahead of your competitors.
Try blogging once per week and shoot for 500-1000 words per post. Don’t write that many words if it would weaken the content, though.
We make sure our clients get 4 or more blog posts a month onto their sites to keep the content flowing for both users and search engines.
Google My Business Optimization
Google My Business is the heart of your local SEO efforts. This is home base. Have this and do not forget about it.
To optimize Google My Business, you want to make sure you have the following:
- Company Name
- Your main industry classification (i.e. Coffee Shop, Gym, Comic Book Store, etc.)
- An actual address (no P.O. boxes or virtual mailboxes, you WILL get penalized by Google eventually)
- Company Phone
- Company Website (don’t have one? Give us a call.)
- Accurate Hours of Operation
- Payment Methods Accepted
- Business Description
- Services Offered (some companies have this feature available while others don’t. Only use it if you actually offer different services.)
- Company Logo Uploaded
- Pictures of Your Shop/Storefront
- If you service customers at their location, images of jobs you’ve done would be great too
- Any other info GMB asks for
A good rule to follow with Google My Business is that if there’s something that can be added, add it. Google rewards you for using their product to its fullest capacity – if you have a more complete GMB profile than your competitors, you’ll be catching up to them soon.
Also, make sure you’re consistently posting on Google My Business. These can be specials you’re running, jobs you’ve completed, or information to teach people about your business. Try to post 2-4x per month.
Citations are anywhere your business’s Name, Address, Phone Number, and Website are listed.
Think Yelp, YellowPages, Facebook, etc. Directories or places that let you add your business information to their site.
Some citations are much more important than others. Once you’ve got your Google My Business profile fully optimized, run the exact name and address you used there through Moz Local.
Moz Local will scan some of the top citation websites for your business and spit out a breakdown of which ones you’re missing and which are incorrect or missing data.
Create the ones you don’t have, correct the listings with incorrect info, and complete the listings that are missing data. Use the exact same info you used on Google My Business to do this. If you listed your shop as “My Local Shop” on Google and “My Local Shop LLC” on Yelp, you done goofed. Make it match the info Google has for you. Same with address, phone, and website.
Google basically cross matches this information with the data they have on you so they are more confident in your business’s existence and authority. They wanna know you’re legit.
Citations are a lot of work. And so is linkbuilding, the next aspect of Local SEO we will cover. If you want to save time, let the professionals at Spotlight Digital help! First, though, we want to give you a free Local SEO audit. Again, you can message us below:
One of the most important and most difficult parts of local search engine optimization.
Basically, linkbuilding is the act of trying to get other websites to link to yours. Whenever another site does this, you receive what’s called a “backlink.”
Backlinks are like votes. Simply put, the more “votes” or backlinks you have, the more search engines like your website and show it for specific queries.
Don’t get link-crazy though! Some of these links are worth more than others and some can even DAMAGE your website and knock it down in search results.
NEVER get links if they’re:
- Created with software
- On spammy websites
- On sketchy sites that involve things like gambling, adult content, or illegal activity
- Created unnaturally (tiered linkbuilding, Web 2.0 spam, etc.)
ALWAYS get links that:
- Are from high authority sites in your industry (think industry news sites or magazines)
- Are from your local area (sports team sponsorships, mom blogs, chamber of commerce, etc.)
Some ways you can earn links are by leveraging current relationships.
If you have an industry partnership with another company, ask them to link back to your site as one of their clients.
Any local charities or volunteering you do with your company could link back to you as a business that supports them. You can even ask to write an article on their site that explains why your company loves to help that organization and link back to your site in that article.
Local directories (citations) are great too.
Basically, get involved in the community you serve and those links will come and bring you a ton of authority your competitors may be lacking. You’ll be rewarded for it tremendously.
Online reputation management is MASSIVE these days especially going into 2021.
91% of customers between the ages of 18 and 34 trust businesses that have positive reviews.
Reputation management is the act of making sure you have great reviews and handle negative ones as effectively as possible. It also means getting consistent reviews over long periods of time.
Respond to all positive reviews you receive, especially on Google My Business and Facebook. Also respond to reviews on any major industry-specific sites you’re listed on. Search engines want to see that your business interacts with the people who critique it.
As with positive reviews, you must respond to all negative reviews. If you ignore them, this looks bad on your company. If you respond aggressively and blame the negative reviewer, your company will be perceived as not having great customer service. Hence, reputation.
Respond to negative reviews by encouraging the reviewer to reach out to you to mitigate the issue to make sure it never occurs again.
There have been many times Spotlight Digital has had reviews changed for our clients because we handled the issue quickly and eloquently.
Get more reviews by asking customers who are happy with your business to share their thoughts on Google or Facebook, both if possible.
Do NOT offer discounts or anything in exchange for positive reviews, though. That can get you banned on some platforms or get those reviews removed and hidden.
Don’t be scared to reach out to former or current customers through email, phone, or text to get those reviews!
Social Media for Local SEO
Social media, as we all know, is increasingly vital to any business’s marketing. For the time being, we are only going to talk about how to use social media for Local SEO campaigns.
Social media sends “social signals” to search engines showing that your company is posting online in different places, interacting with its customers and followers, and providing value.
At Spotlight Digital, we make sure our clients get social media posts at least 3 times per week. Keeping those profiles active will help you out quite a bit. This also ties back to the content creation aspect of Local SEO.
The Big 2 for social signals in Local SEO are Facebook and Twitter. Get on them. Get active.
Start Prepping Local SEO for 2021 Today
With all this info, you should be in a good place to start trying to prep for your company’s 2021 Local SEO strategy!
If you’d like more in-depth information, please click here so we can get you set up on a free Local SEO video audit! We will go over your website as it stands currently, offer tips and advice, and the video will be created just for you.
You can also hit the button below to catch us on Facebook Messenger or shoot us a call at (940) 800-1969!