Your Local SEO Checklist




  • by Kate Nolen April 28, 2016
    April 28, 2016

    Stream-Blog_Graphics_Checklist_4-1Creating an SEO strategy for your business can be a daunting task. There are so many components and moving parts, so how do you know where to begin?


    Before you try to start tackling SEO, it’s important to keep this in mind: You don’t have to compete against the whole world. Instead, you should focus on being a consistent, reliable resource for people in your community.


    Enter local SEO. While it also has a lot of elements, local SEO can be broken into bite-size chunks. Follow our local SEO checklist below, and your local business will have every chance of succeeding online.


    Step 1: Identify Your Business Model

    Most local businesses fall into one of six categories:



    • Single Location Brick & Mortar Business (one physical place that customers visit)
    • Multi-Location Brick & Mortar Business (multiple physical places that customers visit)
    • Single Location Service Area Business (one staffed location from which staff go to serve customers)
    • Multi-Location Service Area Business (multiple staffed locations from which staff go to serve customers)
    • Multi-Office Campus or Multi-Practitioner Business (e.g., hospitals, schools, legal firms)
    • Home-Based Business (owner works from home or a private address)

    Once you’ve identified your business model, move on to Step 2.


    Step 2: Set Up Your Google My Business Account

    To ensure that your business name, hours, phone number, and directions appear on Google Search and Google Maps, you need to set up a Google My Business account. The type of account you create depends on your business model.



    • For Single Location Brick & Mortar Businesses:
    • Create one Google My Business listing with a visible address.


    • For Multi-Location Brick & Mortar Businesses:
    • Create one Google My Business listing per location with a visible address for each.
    • Make sure that each listing has a unique, local phone number.


    • For Single Location Service Area Businesses:
    • Create one Google My Business listing
    • Hide your address, or if you serve customers at your location and theirs, check the appropriate box to indicate this under the address section of your Google My Business dashboard.


    • For Multi-Location Service Area Businesses:
    • Create one Google My Business listing per location. Each location must have a unique, local phone number.
    • Hide your address, or if you serve customers at your location and theirs, check the appropriate box to indicate this under the address section of your Google My Business dashboard.


    • For Multi-Office Campus or Multi-Practitioner Businesses:
    • Create one Google My Business listing per office or practitioner.
    • Make sure that each listing has a unique, local phone number.


    • For Home-Based Businesses:
    • Create one Google My Business Listing. Hide the address in the Google My Business dashboard if you don’t want it to be public.

    Step 3: Create Your Website Content Strategy

    As with Google My Business, your business model will help inform your website’s content strategy.



    • For Single Location Brick & Mortar Businesses:
    • Create a webpage for each product or service you offer.


    • For Multi-Location Brick & Mortar Businesses:
    • Create a webpage for each product or service you offer.
    • Create a webpage for each of your physical locations. Include the name, address, and phone number at the top of the page for each location.


    • For Single Location Service Area Businesses:
    • Create a webpage for each product or service you offer.
    • Create a webpage for each important city you serve.


    • For Multi-Location Service Area Businesses:
    • Create a webpage for each product or service you offer.
    • Create a webpage for each of your physical locations. Include the name, address, and phone number at the top of the page for each location.
    • Create a webpage for each important city you serve beyond your physical locations.


    • For Multi-Office Campus or Multi-Practitioner Businesses:
    • Create a webpage for each product or service you offer.
    • Create a webpage for each office on your campus or each partner in your practice. Include the name, address, and phone number at the top of each page.


    • For Home-Based Businesses:
    • Create a webpage for each product or service you offer.
    • Create a webpage for each city in which you offer your services.

    Regardless of your business model, every website should have basic pages like Home, About, Contact, and Testimonials.


    *Steps 4 Through 7 Apply to All Business Models*


    Step 4: Button Up Your Technical Website Criteria


    • Make sure that your website is indexable, multi-device compliant, and properly optimized.
    • Have a Contact Us page featuring the name, address, and phone number for each of your business locations.
    • Ensure that your phone number is highly visible on your website and clickable on mobile devices.
    • Confirm that your business name, address, and phone number are consistent across your website.

    Step 5: Build Out Your Local Content

    Once your core content strategy is complete, create local content for your website.



    • Utilize testimonials from customers in your service cities to make your city landing pages unique.
    • Post testimonials from customers who have used specific products or services on those product and service pages.
    • Create an on-site blog where you can post new content. Fresh content will help your business continue to rank in Google and allow you to target new keywords.
    • Optimize videos and images on your pages.
    • Include city-, service-, or product-specific specials, schedules, and calendars on your website.
    • If you sponsor a local event, team, or organization, write about it for your blog.
    • Host or participate in local events and write about them to create unique content.
    • Offer tips that apply to specific geographic or demographic audiences.

    Step 6: Optimize Your Citations


    • Build citations for each of your business locations and make sure that the name, address, phone number, and website URL are consistent across all third-party websites (e.g., Bing, Foursquare, Superpages).
    • Once you’ve built citations on major local business data platforms, move on to additional platforms that are specific to your industry or geography. (e.g., a car dealership in Philadelphia should build citations on the Greater Mid-Atlantic Region’s Better Business Bureau website, Cars.com, Edmunds, and DealerRater).
    • Make sure that you don’t have any duplicate citations. If you do, delete them or request to have them removed.

    Step 7: Earn Reviews


    • Make sure that your business is listed on all main review platforms (e.g., Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook).
    • Ensure that your business is listed on all industry- or geography-specific review sites.
    • Include links to review sites on your website.
    • Always ask your customers for reviews—it’s the best way to consistently receive reviews.
    • Monitor all review sites. Respond to both negative and positive reviews.

    And there you have it! Your local SEO checklist! Follow the above steps and you can feel confident that your business’ local SEO is under control.


    Stream’s Kick-Start Step

    If you only do one thing on this checklist, make sure that you create a Google My Business account. Google relies heavily on Google My Business listings, especially for local search queries, so you want to make sure that your business name, address, phone number, and website are listed on Google My Business.


     


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