Effective Local SEO In A Nutshell

Effective Local SEO In A Nutshell

You should always think local when starting a Search Engine Optimization strategy. It’s much easier to rank for longtail keywords that have less competition. The name of your city or neighbourhood added to those keywords can be an easy win so you can rank quickly. That’s the best strategy to get started so let’s dig into Local SEO.

Key factors

First things first. Be sure to sign up on Google My Business (GMB). This will be the centre of your local strategy for getting rankings on Google. There may be a listing for your business there already so you’ll need to claim it. Do a Google search for your company name and you may see a listing for your business on the right side hand side in the search results. If you have not claimed it already you will see a “Claim this listing” button that will allow you to do so. Once you have access to your listing you will be able to add all kinds of information about your business and this will get him placed on Google maps as well. Be sure to upload lots of pleasing, relevant images for your business. You can great insights about your business listing in there like how many people viewed you listing and took action etc.

Writing Posts on Google My Business

We highly recommend that you create a post on your GMB listing everyday for at least 2 months. I know this sounds like a lot of work but it’s worth it and they only allow 300 words and you can back it off after your see your listing get into the top 3 local results for your keywords. Don’t stop completely though or competitors will eventually catch up. Try to keep posting at least once a week. This of course depends on how competitive your category is so you may need to adjust accordingly.

Add local content to your website

Blogging is the most effective way to help your rankings in search engine results. Write some blog posts that are unique to your local area and align with your local business. Doing some good keyword research prior to writing is articles will go along way. By doing so you can find out what people actually search for when they’re looking for your type of business in your area. For instance if you are a roofing company people might search for “toronto roofing company” (720 searches per month) but there are more searches for “toronto roofers” (1900 searches per month) so you should definitely have the data beforehand so that you can get the most out of your efforts. You can use Google Keyword Planner to get this data. Another new favourite free tool for keyword research is Ubersuggest from SEO expert Neil Patel.

Get listed on directories

Leveraging online directories is an excellent way to improve your online visibility. Claim any listings you can on sites like Yelp and Yellow Pages and other similar ones. Make sure all your profiles have the exact same contact information about your business. This is very important. You’ll also have to monitor these listings as many of them except reviews about your business. You need to stay on top of this and respond to reviews good or bad. Your online reputation is really important so I need to take this seriously.

We have a great tool to help you monitor this – checkout the OCEANONE Reputation Manager. And, if you don’t have the time we also provide a fully managed Reputation Management Service.

Here’s an excellent video on how to respond to reviews

SEO Best Practices

Finally, be sure that you are using SEO best practices throughout your website. Things like properly formatted URLs and keyword rich descriptive title tags as well as descriptive metadata are important to make sure that Google’s algorithms pick up the best possible information about your page. Of course, make sure that your contact information on the website matches exactly what you added to all those directories you just listed on.

These are just a few things you can do to improve your visibility for local searches but they are the most important. Make sure these on-page improvements are done before taking any other steps. Depending on how competitive your category is, this might be all that you need to do to get the results you want. Start there and see how goes. If it’s not enough to get you in the top three local results there are other strategies. It’s not that complicated but it can be very time consuming.

If you don’t have the time, we can help. We have a Free listing builder app to get you started with getting your listing synced up on Google My Business, Facebook and Twitter. Once you have that set up you can easily add one of our paid packages that make it very easy to get listed on the sites we have discussed here. Learn more about it it out here.

Download our list of “Top 100 Sites To Be Listed On“. Our Listing Distribution add-on lets you build accurate business listings on the four major data aggregators—Factual, Acxiom, Infogroup, and Neustar Localeze. These aggregators are referenced by over 300 websites.

When multiple sources have consistent business data, two outcomes occur:

  1. Google’s WebCrawler finds the same information in multiple places and adds more confidence to their business data
  2. Good backlinks are created with more referring sources to the business’ website creating better SEO.

Here’s an excellent video on the importance of have accurate listings online…

Also check out our recent post “Online Reputation Management Tips for Boosting your Local SEO” .

If you already have listing and you have experienced Fake Reviews you’ll want to check out “How to remove “Google reviews when you know they are fake“.

It’s also important to get as many backlinks as you can in order to generate organic traffic. If you need help with that or any other SEO tasks, checkout our SEO services page.

How to remove Google reviews when you know they are fake

How to remove Google reviews when you know they are fake

Fake reviews are an unfortunate reality that many businesses have to deal with.

It’s so easy for people to create a new anonymous account and leave a review that is positive or negative. The worst part is that it doesn’t matter if they are a customer or not, they are free to leave a review and say whatever they like. So what do you do when you want to remove Google reviews?

Before we go further I’ll just say that when dealing with negative reviews that are real it is important write a response as soon as possible, be polite, courteous and professional. DO NOT ever be defensive.  Try to understand their problem and offer to resolve the problem.

The rest of this post is about dealing with reviews that you know are fake. I get asked about this often so let’s get to it…

Google Policies

Google has a huge list of policies around this topic but they do not do a very good job of catching policy violations. There is hope however! If you can track these fake reviews and make a case as to why the review is violating Google’s policy guidelines you can get them removed. To do so you can contact them through Facebook, Twitter  or on the Google My Business forum.

When you are logged in to GMB find the review that you believe is a fake. You will see three dots stacked on top of one another, click those. Then you will see the option to “flag as inappropriate.” Fill out the form and that’s it. You can also expedite the process by calling GMB support. You will find their support number within your GMB account.

Why won’t Google remove that fake review?

If you can’t show that the reviewer has made a policy violation, they won’t remove the review. The most difficult reviews to get rid of are the ones with 1 star and no comments. Google’s response will likely be that it didn’t violate the guidelines — since there’s no text in the review. Personally I think that reviews without comments should not be accepted by Google – call me crazy – I guess it’s it too much to ask!

If the review is completely off-topic and complaining about a service you don’t even offer then you will most certainly be able to get it removed by Google.

What do you when Google won’t remove that fake review.

The huge problem with fake negative reviews is that Google doesn’t know your customers. Therefore, telling them that the person leaving a review is not an actual customer is not a strong enough case to get that review removed. If the reviewer is anonymous it’s very difficult to prove their identity.

Another problem is that they might not have been a customer. They are eligible to leave a review even if they just called you and you didn’t return their voicemail. Maybe you have a store and they couldn’t find parking… Oh yeah, it’s hard to make everyone happy.

Most small businesses bend over back wars to keep customers satisfied and you just know when you have an unhappy customer so when there’s a fake review, you can just smell it. It seems out of place and it seems to come out of nowhere.

Like I said, sometimes Google just won’t remove it, then what, should you just leave it sitting there?
Absolutely not, there are some strategies to deal with it. Encouraging your satisfied customers is of course one of the ways to help bring up your rating average. However that fake review is still festering and annoying you to no end.

What’s the best way to deal with a fake negative review that Google won’t remove?

Challenge that Faker! Be polite by writing a response something like: “We are quite certain that [username] is not a customer of ours. In fact we are so certain that we would like to offer a 100% refund if you send us the receipt from the gmail account you used to write this review.”

Give them a few days to respond. If they don’t respond to that, then you know it’s a fake review and you should update your review response.

Update your response with something like: “After waiting 1 week for a reply to our 100% refund offer we never got a response. Sadly, it is likely from one of our competitors engaging in the writing of fake reviews for their own gain.”

If by some miracle you are wrong and the review was real, they may send you a receipt. If their reasoning for the complaint is legitimate, then you might want to refund them and in return ask them to delete the review. It’s probably worth it for your business and you have learned something. You might also be able to settle it by fixing the problem that they have complained about.

USEFUL TIP – Make it easier for people to leave a Google review.

To make it easier for people to leave a positive Google review about your business, follow there steps:

  1. Search for your company by name in Google.
  2. Click on the button “Write a review”.
  3. A Google review box has pops up, click away for the popup window and copy the URL from the address bar (see image below).
  4. The URL will be very long. Use a URL shortener like bit.ly to get a nice short URL that you can share with people.

Here an example of ours – Click to review: https://bit.ly/2PhcT7b

We hope these tips will be helpful. We have a Reputation Management App to help you get control of your reviews. If you don’t have the time to deal with all this, we do have Reputation Management Services to take care of it for you.

Beyond Google

We have focused entirely on getting reviews on your Google My Business page in this post but you should of course not ignore other review sites, Google should be your prime focus though. There are many other review sites that you can benefit from like Yelp, Yahoo Local, Trip Advisor, Trust Link, Trust Pilot etc.

The more you list on, the more you will help build trust for your business, and boosting your local search rankings at the same time.

Have you experienced fake reviews? If have, we would love to hear about it, please leave a comment.