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Local SEO in 2017: 3 Investments That Offer The Biggest Wins

General Nov 07, 2016 No Comments

local SEO in 2017Actualizing a successful local SEO strategy requires a multi-fold approach that addresses a number of ranking factors and optimization strategies. From citations and backlinks to social media profiles and Google My Business listings, the elements that go into a comprehensive local SEO strategy can be overwhelming.

In this post, I cut out the minutiae and shed light on the SEO strategies and ranking factors that offer the greatest ROI. So as you embrace local SEO in 2017, here are three powerful investments that will offer the biggest wins over the year to come.

1.  Make Link Building a Priority Focus

Because Backlinks Fuel Domain Authority & Enduring Search Rankings

As the fuel behind domain authority (and a site’s overall ranking potential,) link building has proven to be one of the most vital aspects of bolstering your site ranking in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

But don’t go running out of the gate looking to acquire just any links. Research has shown that Google’s search engine algorithm crawls and assesses each link’s citation flow and trust flow, which is to say that link relativity = weight in ranking. These two metrics are thought to work in tandem to parse whether the backlinks on a given site are from quality, trusted websites.

Some criteria to consider while gauging whether a site will have a high-rating citation and trust flow:

  • How does the site rank on Google?
  • How relevant is the source?
  • How many sites link to said site?
  • Is the site updated regularly?
  • Is there good user interaction (i.e. are visitors commenting or reviewing?)

That’s great, but how do I generate backlinks?

Outreach Relentlessly

One of the most obvious and organic ways to generate backlinks to your site is by simply reaching out. Consider whether other site-owners might be interested or benefit from linking to the work or service your site provides.

Questions to ask yourself before hitting send:

  • Does your site operate in the same niche?
  • Does the site link to other sites?
  • Will the inclusion of your site add value to those you’re reaching out to?

While outreach is one of the most overlooked efforts in acquiring quality backlinks to your site, there are countless other strategies (i.e. guest blogging, event sponsorship, memberships, etc.)

Without going into detail about the latter mentioned link building strategies, the following SEO components we discuss below can lend to sure-fire methods to increase link popularity.

2. Create Great Content That Sparks Engagement

Taking a More Creative, Audience-Driven Approach to Your Content

In addition to keeping your site fresh and frequently crawled by search engines, another bonafide and necessary strategy for backlink acquisition is simply creating great, digestible content. (This is why we’re here in the first place, right?)

But beyond just great content, you’ll want to focus on audience-driven content that gains the likes, shares, tweets, etc. (social signals) of your audience.

Social Media is the new “News”, and video isn’t the future, it’s the NOW

As we trek forward as a society, traditional news and journalism mediums continue to be outpaced by the explosive growth of social media. Compelling data from Cisco estimates that a whopping 75 percent of online traffic will be exclusively for video streaming by 2020; however, we’ve already started hitting that number!

comScore’s February 2016 video streaming data states that YouTube and Facebook alone had a combined number of over 263 million unique viewers per month. And that’s only from desktop devices. As the world continues to go mobile, these numbers are slated to become even more astronomical across all platforms.

Leverage Rich Media Strategies

You want your content to be highly optimized for social sharing. Be it photo or video, it’s a smart bet to start employing the use of image-based content now. Not only can you dramatically increase your click-through rates, but you’ll add engagement to your site all whilst boosting your site’s ranking potential in Google.

Pick 2 or 3 social sites you’ve found to best connect your business with your audience (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) and keep output across them cohesive with links to your site within descriptions and captions. (It’s good to use specific page URLs as diversifying links to all of your site’s pages is beneficial). Also, can try using highly visible icon links and calls-to-action in your content to further spur social engagement.

By creating great valuable and shareable content, you’ll encourage organic backlinks from visitors and followers that enjoy your work and want to share it.

3. Increase Local Rankings with Google Maps SEO (and Google My Business)

Optimizing for Keyword + City Search Queries

It’s no secret that an incredible amount of traffic that goes through Google is based on people searching for convenient, close-by goods and services on their smartphones. The more you can optimize your business for local search results (keyword + city search queries) the better you can drive highly-qualified traffic to your site. A powerful way to go about this is via local Google Maps SEO.

google maps SEO

A big step in enhancing your company’s visibility in these local results is by claiming and optimizing a Google My Business (GMB) profile. This is a simple Google-hosted profile where you can list important information like hours of operation, website, phone number, and perhaps most importantly – an address. It’s also the primary asset that contributes to a business’ ranking in the Google local 3 pack as well as ranked Google Maps results.

The GMB profile is also great for displaying photos of your business and client reviews, which both have been known to improve your Google ranking and offer quick insights into your company identity. This easy-access information allows users to make quick decisions about their search query.

Unfortunately, without a physical location, it may be a little more difficult to rank for your preferred local Google SERP; however, there are ways to work around the lack of a business address. Search Engine Land suggests that you create a GMB page on your site that’s dedicated to the city or area you service in combination with the keywords you’re targeting. Linking to this added page from within your site and propagating solid backlinks will help you build authority and improve your ranking.

Although there are many ways to improve your Google ranking, these local SEO strategies will surely give you a great start. They’re also ongoing pursuits to help ensure that your site continues to build authority and social momentum for lasting search engine value.

This article was contributed by Bret Bowerman.