When somebody tells you that your business should be more active on Yelp, do you just roll your eyes and say, “Getting into it with those crazy Yelpers is a waste of time.” Or do you think that your website is more than enough of an online presence and that having a listing on the online Yellow Pages is duplicating efforts?
You might want to re-consider if you value your local consumer market. If Google thinks local search was important enough to make a part of its “Pigeon” algorithm update, shouldn’t local search engine optimization (SEO) get your attention as well? Or what about a Harvard Business School study finding that an increase of one star on Yelp can mean between a 5 to 9% increase in revenue for the business. Another study found that 88% of consumers read online reviews before making a local purchasing decision. And 72% said that a positive review raises their opinion of a business.
Now that we’ve got your attention when it comes to the importance of Local SEO for your business, what can you do to improve it? Consider these 4 basics for jumpstarting your Local SEO efforts:

Get a Handle on Profiles in Local Search Engines & Directories:

Start by “claiming” your business profile in the local sections of the major search engines (Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local and Yelp) and local directories (YP.com, SuperPages et al.). It signals to those search engines and directories that the profile is the official one for your business and they index it to appear in local searches for your type of business.

Keyword Optimize Your Local Profiles & Listings:

Include your products or services with an eye toward what a local consumer would search for. Keep in mind that it might be different than keywords on your website for the “world” wide web. For example, if you deal in craft “sodas” but consumers local to you also refer to it as “pop”, you had better include that keyword on your local profiles and directory listings.

Correct & Consistent Information:

What you include on each of your local profiles should be accurate and consistent with your entire Internet presence (especially your website). Not only does it lead to credibility with local consumers, but will also make it easier for local search engines to index your profiles to show up in local searches. Key information that must be correct and consistent are business name, telephone number, physical and email addresses, and your website URL.

Watch and Maintain Local Profiles and Listings:

Search Engines take into account the comments and reviews that local consumers make about a business. Additionally, don’t forget the above statistics regarding how consumers use such feedback when it comes to assessing the credibility of a local business and making their purchasing decisions. You should consistently monitor any reviews and comments that consumers make about your business and engage them where appropriate. Thank them for reviews that highlight your keyword products or services. Address negative comments and reviews with the same customer service skills that you would use in any other context (e.g., in person, telephone, email, etc.). And don’t forget to update all of the local profiles and directory listings when information about your business changes (new product line, new hours, etc.).
Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Tip O’Neill was famous for saying, “All politics is local”. Although search engine results are most closely associated with opening up the world consumer market to any business wherever it is located, you shouldn’t forget that local SEO is the best method for tapping in to your local consumer market.
LAD Solutions has a team of professionals that can assist you with Local SEO as well as Online Reputation Management when it comes to online reviews. To learn more about these services, please call (888) 523-2926 or submit your request and one of our representatives will be in touch with you shortly!

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