Many friends and prospective clients often ask, “what’s the best tool for doing local SEO?”.
As with any field, numerous tools can help you complete specific tasks. Over time, we’ve found that one or more of these tools offer us everything we need to do the job well.
Here’s an overview of what you could use:
Google My Business
Recently, google my business has become all the rage. By simply searching on Google for “What is Google My Business”, you get pages of sites, posts and articles talking about this topic. So what exactly is it all about? What will it do to your business? Let’s look at its importance when doing local SEO.
What Is Google My Business (GMB)?
Google My Business allows local companies to set up an account that lets them manage their presence within Google Search, Maps and other Google products from one central hub. Think of it as managing your shopfront from one location instead of keeping track of everything from different places or hoping that nothing gets missed with multiple people handling the tasks at hand without any coordination between them.
The benefits of Using Google My Business:
So why should you set up a GMB account? There are many benefits to having your own business listed on Google Maps.
Here’s just a few:
- It allows potential customers to find and connect with your business, providing that all-important website traffic
- You can manage reviews by replying, editing or removing reviews as well as adding new ones
- It allows you to create custom links so people can find your business easier
- You can upload photos and videos of your products and services
- You’ll be able to share content through Google + and other social media platforms
- You’ll be able to track analytics such as customer views and check-ins.
Setting Up A GMB Account
Setting up a GMB account is relatively straightforward. You will need to have a Google account to do this. Once signed in, visit https://www.google.com/business, sign in with your desired Google Account and click on “Start Now” or follow the tutorial right through from beginning to end once you have logged into your account.
Once you have visited this page, all you need to do is enter some details about your business, such as Business Name, Address & Phone Number (N.B. You can add more than one location per listing).
Then click on “Get Verified” This process may take a little while, but they will come back to you ASAP when they can.
Google Maps Engine (GME)
I doubt this comes as a surprise to anyone, given Google’s dominance in search engines. GME lets you enter addresses – whether they’re your company headquarters or your dentist across town – then create informative listings for people to find online. You can also see how often someone’s searched for your business, which provides valuable insight into how people hope to find you.
Many local searches depend on citation building, which is how your business gets listed in directories like Yelp and Google + Local. Kudzu provides you with the opportunity to submit your information for thousands of locations across the U.S. (plus some international destinations) free of charge. It also provides metrics about how well your listings are ranking online, giving you an idea of where you should be focusing your efforts to improve your rankings.
Moz offers a suite of services that aim to make SEO easier; I use their “Pro” plan so I can access all three options they currently offer: Moz Local, Moz Fresh Web Explorer and Open SiteExplorer. It is a free tool that helps you manage the content of your GME listing and check for duplicate listings and incorrect information across directories. It also lets you verify your website with Google to show up higher in their search results. There’s a reason why over 150,000 businesses have used this tool to help improve their rankings!
Business Name / Address Lookup
These sites let you quickly and easily verify that your business’s name and address are the correct ones associated with your website. If an SEO company is trying to sell you on their “local seo” services, I will wager they require this as part of the process. It should go without saying that any reputable firm should be using these tools before they even approach you about working together.
Yahoo! Local Search Directory
It may come as a surprise, but Yahoo! still has a directory, and it’s pretty comprehensive. Depending on which listings you have set up online, adding them to Yahoo! can help boost your search engine rankings.
By using a combination of the tools I’ve mentioned, you should be able to get started on improving your local SEO right away. Using these alongside other great LinkedIn resources like Kim Garst’s free e-book will also save you a lot of money while maximizing your chances for success.
Let’s wrap it up
I hope this article has helped clarify what tools are available for people looking to improve their “local SEO” and how best to use them. Remember that whatever company you’re working with should have access to all of the tools listed here to ensure they’re doing everything properly from square one. You should always contact expert SEO agencies, like Media Group, to give you more in-depth advice.