Local SEO Checklist for Small Businesses

Local SEO Checklist

Local SEO is not as complicated as some marketing companies make it seem

How can Dallas / Fort Worth businesses increase online visibility? The answer lies in the concept of local search engine optimization (SEO). Too many marketing companies overcomplicate the process of local search optimization. By following our SEO Checklist for Small Businesses, you can earn your company a highly coveted spot on local search engine results pages (SERPs). Call 800.231.4871 for SEO services in D/FW.

Step 1: Website Design

Local optimization requires a strong foundation. The first place local businesses should start, is website design. To truly optimize your company for Google search, an original design with professional coding is recommended. Consequently, free website factories like Wix, Weebly, and SquareSpace should be avoided. These websites provide templates that look presentable to the untrained eye, but offer no sustainable SEO benefit. You should instead look for the following qualities of website design:

  • Content Management System: A CMS like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla to add page content
  • Graphic/Layout Design: A mapped out layout, including logo placement, menu placement, and graphical elements
  • Page/URL Structure: A hierarchical page and URL structure, pre-developed and agreed upon
  • Navigation: Easy navigation on mobile devices, as well as desktop
  • Speed Efficiency: Clean code and compressed graphics, that ensure efficient speed on both mobile and desktop

The web designer of your choice should check each of these boxes before being hired to design your site. Remember, design will set the foundation for local SEO, and everything that follows it. Each of these elements allows Google to more easily crawl and index on page content, and effectively market your local business to relevant users. Call 800.231.4871 for SEO web design in DFW.

Step 2: On Page SEO

After hiring a designer for your custom website, the next step is to fill your pages with valuable content. Google’s content guidelines give businesses a general idea about what type of content they should be adding. In addition to quality content, your web pages should have the following SEO qualities:

  • Call to Action: Click call functionality allows for phone number links within text, directed straight to your company line
  • Internal Blogging: WordPress offers internal blogging, which keeps fresh content circulating on your website
  • Keyword Placement: Optimize titles, headers, content, and meta descriptions with strategic placement of primary and secondary keywords
  • Link Building: Link internally to enhance user experience, and link externally to authority websites that can build your reputation
  • Meta Description: Optimize meta descriptions with calls to action and keyword placement

On page SEO will attract organic traffic from locals in your community. If you have a wide ranging service area, and wish to optimize individual pages for each region, call DFW SEO at 800.231.4871. Organic search will be the lifeblood of your internet marketing campaign, and generate most of your online leads. Without it, traffic will be scarce, and your local company won’t expand its online presence.

Step 3: NAP Citation Sources

Your website is done, and your content is written. The next step for local businesses is to extend visibility through NAP citation sources. Name, address, and phone number, or NAP, references business contact information that is available throughout the internet. Online directories like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, and Better Business Bureau (BBB), serve as a modern day versions of Yellow Pages. Your online citations should represent the following:

  • Accurate: Name, address, phone number, and website links, should all be error-free
  • Authoritative: Build citation sources with authoritative sites like BBB, to enhance reputation
  • Consistent: Make sure NAP information is exactly the same on each listing directory
  • Informative: Fill out “description” and “about us” sections on online directories

Manual citation building takes time and resources. In contrast, automated citation building services like those from Yext and Moz, are quicker, but less effective ways to build your local brand. When you outsource your online listings, you lose control of the citations; which are important company assets. Instead, you should target listing aggregators like Infogroup, Localeze, and Acxiom, which feed business information to online directories. Ensuring accurate information at the source, ensures that distributed contact info is valid.

Step 4: Social Media

Next, businesses should focus on social media platforms. Every company should have a Facebook and Twitter profile. Facebook offers “business pages” for local companies to expand their brand recognition. Twitter however, does not have specific pages for businesses, but does offer profile verification. Other social media networks to consider are LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Instagram. Depending on your area of expertise, these may or may not be necessary. In each case, social media profiles serve the following purposes:

  • Branding: Spread your logo, mission statement, and content style throughout social media networks
  • Customer Interaction: Tend to customer questions, concerns, and complaints via social media platforms
  • Promotion: Run contests, giveaways, and discount promotions through social media websites
  • Social Sharing: Share blog content, or informal industry musings , via social media networks

Regular social media activity will pay off for local business owners. Not only do you build a following within social networks, but Google can begin to index your social media content on SERPs. Diversifying your content distribution sources, allows you to own more “real estate” on search results. In addition, social media is constantly evolving, so your company must evolve with it.

Step 5: Reviews and Reputation Management

Reviews and reputation management is the fifth and final step in DFW SEO’s Local SEO Checklist for Small Businesses. While the first four steps will establish your company as a local factor, bad reviews and a poor reputation can eliminate the good work you’ve done to get to this point. Reviews on online citations like Yelp and Google My Business can significantly impact your local reputation. For this reason, local businesses should take the following approach to reviews:

  • Accumulation: Generate reviews by asking in person, or placing direct review links in your email signature, and website footer area
  • Diversification: Accumulate reviews on multiple websites, and pay extra attention to niche sites for your specific industry
  • Optimization: Reference “Step 3” to ensure accuracy on your directory listings, so that interested companies can easily review your services
  • Response: Respond to negative reviews in a calm and professional manner, and attempt to resolve the dispute, amicably
  • Sustainability: Maintain a consistent flow of reviews in order to sustain your reputation

Negative reviews are unavoidable, in any business industry. It is important to establish a number of good reviews, so that a few negative ones will not make a serious impact. Responding to bad reviews actually presents a marketing opportunity to local companies. By responding in a calm and professional manner, you are projecting a “customer first” attitude, which is likely to end up helping your company more than hurting it.

Dallas / Fort Worth SEO Services

Local business owners who wish to follow this checklist, but don’t possess the time or resources to fully invest in it, should consider calling on DFW SEO for assistance. We help local businesses, just like yours, create and sustain an online presence, that will serve as a valuable company asset, both now, and into the future. Call 800.231.4871 for local SEO services in D/FW.