How do I get to the first page of Google?
This is the question I get asked the most whenever I am on a consultancy with a local business owner.
It is no wonder.
Google dominates the search market, delivering
2 out of 3 local business owners that I consult with start the conversation with this sentence.
It’s a natural question to ask in today’s competitive local businessmarket.
Compiled below is a list of resources that will walk you through every step you need to start showing up higher and more often for your keywords and terms that potential prospects are searching for.
If you’re a complete newb to “SEO” techniques then that is great! Welcome!
Before you get started you’ll need to have some basic terminology down (this will make it a lot easier) to move through this guide and give you a general understanding of how the local search ecosystem works.
Bookmark this page then visit the two links below to get started. We’ll be here when you get back…
- The Local Search Ecosystem | Get Listed
- SEO: The Free Beginner’s Guide | SEOmoz
AND NOW…THE ULTIMATE LOCAL SEO GUIDE
You’ll find that throughout this process you’ll need certain information time and time again.
Keep track by printing out this form if you like a pen and paper method
- Google+ Local Questionnaire | Local Visibility System
Or download this excel form (under Step 4) for a more in-depth aggregation of your data.
- Citation Building Submission Service | Whitespark (create a free account to get the input form)
Click on a chapter below to get started.
These will always be hosted on this page…
As you work your way through your local SEO campaign you can just come back here and click the chapter you left off at.
Chapter 2 – Google+ Local For Newbies
Chapter 4 – How To Optimize Your Website For Local SEO
Chapter 5 – The Ultimate Guide For Building Citations
Chapter 7 – Local Link Building
Chapter 8 – Local SEO Case Studies
Chapter 9 – The Best Local SEO Resources, Bar None
CHAPTER 1 – GETTING STARTED WITH LOCAL SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
To get started you’ll need to understand some detail about how Google and Local SEO work. Then you’ll need to research your business’ proper category, make sure you are using the proper location data and how to drive leads in your door using keywords and terms.
- Zip Code Finder | USPS
- Google Places Category Tool | Mike Blumenthal
- OSHA Category Tool | osha.gov
- Business Category List For Major Local Search Sites | Phil Rozek
**Bonus** (listen to a podcast about categories with Phil here)
- Foursquare Category Finder | Foursquare For Developers
CHAPTER 2 – GOOGLE+ LOCAL FOR NEWBIES
You’ll need to get a handle on the basics of Google Local so you don’t negatively effect your rankings. These 7 resources will walk you through initial setup and best practices. Make sure that you read every article before you claim or make any changes.
- 13 Best-Practices for Picking Google Places Business Categories | Local Visibility System
- 5 Things You Should Not Do on Google Places | Search Engine People
- How to Pimp Your Google Places Listing | The Super Rad Whitespark Blog
- Google+ Brand Page Audit | Steady Demand
- How To Sky Rocket Your Local SEO with Google+ | Powered By Search
- Rules for Google+Local for Business Listings | Local University
The Ultimate Local SEO Guide (Tweet It!)
CHAPTER 3 – HOW TO KEEP YOUR BUSINESS DATA CLEAN (3 SIMPLE STEPS)
Keeping your business Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) correct on listings across the internet seems like a daunting task (sometimes it can be). But, if you claim your local business information today with major data aggregators this “down flow” will positively affect you rankings as you work through the additional chapters.
- Claim your Business with Infogroup | Milkmen Blog
- Claim your Business with Acxiom | Milkmen Blog
- Claim Your Business with Factual | Local Visibility System
CHAPTER 4 – HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR LOCAL SEO
Do you have a website? No? Go have one built! Have a website but haven’t touched it in years? Now’s the time! Have an expensive webmaster that charges you an arm and a leg to update it? WORDPRESS, WORDPRESS, WORDPRESS! A vital element of local SEO is your website so make sure that you can update it.
- How To Do Local SEO For Your Website in Five Minutes (or So) | Local SEO Guide
- 12 Steps To Create The Perfectly Optimized Webpage | Red Website Design
- The Nitty Gritty Of City Landing Pages For Local Businesses | SEO Igloo Blog
- 10 Image Optimization Tips For Local SEO | Bruce Clay
- Schema And MicroData for Newbs | RavenTools
- Schema Creator | Raven Tools
- Anatomy of an Optimal Local Landing Page Infographic | Nifty Marketing
CHAPTER 5 – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR BUILDING CITATIONS
Find all the citations your competition has AND then get more with Whitespark’s Citation Finder! (affiliate)
Now that search engines are starting to index your information correctly and your website is all tuned up you’ll need to start building mentions and links to your business information to help reinforce all the work that you’ve done up to this point. The guide below will get you up to speed in no time.
- The Best Local Citations By Category | Moz Local
- Citation Consistency: The Key to Local Search Rankings | Thunder SEO
- Best Sources for Local Citations by City (U.S.) | Get Listed
- Top 50 Local Citation Sites For US, UK, Canada, Australia | Bright Local
- The Definitive List of Local Search Citations | Local Visibility System
- 5 Ridiculously Sneaky Citations Most Small Business Never Think to Get! | Small Business Online
- Stash of Photo Citation Opportunities | Nitelite Media
- Local Citations / Business Directories for Specific Ethnicities and Identities (US) | Local Visibility System
- Step By Step Guide for ‘Place Pins’ for Pinterest Local SEO | Powered By Search
- Local Citation Finder for Local SEO | Whitespark
- Local Citation Building Tools | NGS / Whitespark
CHAPTER 6 – WHY CUSTOMER REVIEWS HELP LOCAL SEO (AND HOW TO GET THEM)
Most local businesses that use the above chapters will see significant results if they stopped after building citations. But, if you’re in a competitive market OR you’d like to secure your rankings from future competitors then you’d better complete the local SEO puzzle with customer reviews. Some of these articles are redundant but there is a nugget of gold in each one.
- Why Customer Reviews are Important for Local SEO | Higher Visibility
- How to Get Reviews for Your Business | Super Media
- 6 Ways To Get Rave Online Reviews For Your Business | Tucker Patch
- Handouts For Easy Reviews | Local Visibility System
- 10 Ways to Get Online Reviews for Your Business | City Web Consulting
- How To Get Yelp Reviews | WordStream
The Ultimate Local SEO Guide (Tweet It!)
CHAPTER 7 – LOCAL LINK BUILDING
So you’ve got all the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. But you are still missing some really strong signals for your local SEO campaign…Local Links! Yes, you need links from other local businesses to reinforce all the work so far. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff, so to speak.
- Local Link Building, No Tricks Just Treats | Catalyst eMarketing
- Local Link Building 101 | Search Engine Watch
CHAPTER 8 – LOCAL SEO CASE STUDIES: HOW HAS LOCAL SEO PAID OFF FOR OTHER BUSINESSES?
You’ve employed a SEO strategy for your local business and you may be wondering what to expect as a result of your labor. Let’s look at other businesses who have done the same and see what kind of results they are getting! Envision this chapter as the pay off of your hard work.
- Local SEO Case Study: Eye Care Institute | MarketingSherpa
- Local SEO Case Study: Fitness Gym | Top Dog Local
- Local SEO Case Study: Epoxy Flooring | NicheQuest
- Local SEO Case Study: Electrician | Terrakon Marketing
CHAPTER 9 – THE BEST LOCAL RESOURCES, BAR NONE!
Don’t let your hard work be for not. Make sure that you keep up with the latest trends and technology as it evolves.
- Big List of Local SEO’s To Follow On Google+ Some Thoughts | Nifty Marketing
- Local Search Forum | Catalyst Marketing
- Google Plus Local Search Forum | Connect With The Pros!
- Who is who in Local Search | NGS / Whitespark
- Local SEO Tools Spreadsheet | Google Docs
- The Local SEO Checklist | Synup
HIDDEN BONUS – VIDEO FOR LOCAL SEO
Have you been thinking about using video for your local business? Well you should be! Maybe you already do some updates with video but chances are you have missed out on optimizing those. Check out these great resources for helping you get more local search exposure with these tips and tricks.
- Hard Core Video Resources For Local SEO | Catalyst eMarketing
- Optimize Video For Local SEO | Placester
Can you get your business to show up in the Google local results?
Try completing one chapter a week so your plan would look like this:
Week 1: Research categories and keywords. Create a document with your Name, Address and Phone number along with business details and save it to your desktop.
Days to work on it: M,W,F
Week 2: Claim and optimize your Google+ page. Add NAP, photos, hours, description, etc. Link and verify your page with your website and your YouTube account.
Days to work on it: M (claim/optimize), T (link youtube, verify site)
Week 3: Submit your business data (NAP and category) to the data aggregators.
M,W,F – One site a day
Week 4: Optimize your website by adding title tags, desription tags, schema, image markup, and contact page.
Days to work on it: M – title and description tags, T – shcema markup inheader or footer,TH – image optimization with alt tags ,F – optimize contact page with map, hours, video or images, trust symbols, etc.
Week 5: Build out citations (this will take the most time)
Days to work on it: M,T,W,TH,F – build 10 citations a day
Week 6, 7, 8, 9…: Work on earning local links by building relationships online with other local business, ask customers for reviews via email, in-house, on site,etc.
Shoot some videos teaching people how to do something or make them launch.
Keep up on local SEO trends and news so you stay ahead of the curve…
and when you hit #1 on the big G come back here and let me know in the comments below!