We’re smack in the middle of 2016 and there are still lots to be done to rank your local business.  Do you know which what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t to dominate?  Local SEO is a completely different beast than SEO for eCommerce or any other type of site.  Here’s a list of some of the top do’s and don’ts to establish a foothold in your city.

Do's and Don'ts of Local SEO

The Do’s for Local SEO

  1. Fix Your On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization for local SEO means your website needs to include things like your contact information and phone numbers and geographic keywords as well.  To put simply you’re not just a “plumber” but you “provide plumbing services throughout the city of Tampa”.  The region is just as important as what you do, so make sure it is included.

  1. Create Local Places Pages

You need to create and optimize your Google My Business pages and Bing Places pages.  These will both help you rank better in organic searches and in the case of Google they will help you appear in the map listings as well.  Work with an SEO company to make sure all of the listing are properly created.  If you want to try doing it on your own here’s a video to help you get it right.

  1. Claim and Fix NAP Listings and Citations

NAP just means name, address and phone number and this needs to be both correct and consistent on any online directories or listing that you are on.  Your rankings depend on your information being the same as the way Google has you listed, again a good SEO company knows how to fix any mistakes that are out there.

  1. Encourage Reviews from Customers

Online reviews, especially those in Google, are relevant to local SEO but that isn’t the only reason to encourage them.  First good reviews help boost rankings and second it increases customer trust when you have been reviewed.  Include a method to encourage reviews, be it an email signature or some other method it will help your SEO rankings.

Now here are the list of things not to do.

The Don’ts of Local SEO

  1. Fake Reviews

You may be tempted to buy or get friends to post reviews of your business.  Don’t do it!  They will come back to haunt you later, reviews are monitored for suspicious behavior and fake reviews can and will do long term damage to your reputation.

  1. Keyword Stuffing

Even in local SEO  copywriters continue to try and stuff keywords and phrases into the content to try and boost rankings.  Yes, you do need keywords but going overboard just looks like spam and Google will waste no time slapping you down to page 72.  Instead create good, relevant content that flows smoothly.

  1. Incorrect NAP Information

Not having the right contact info on your website will not only cost you a potential customer but Google checks the information on your website against what is showing in online directories as well as Google My Business pages.  It can cost you rankings if the information isn’t correct across the web. Correct NAP information is probably the single most important part of local SEO so make sure it is correct.

Ranking well for your local business can be the difference between running a successful thriving business and closing the doors.  Work with a reputable Local SEO specialist to make sure you’re ranking where you should be.