Get Google Maps Listed
Businesses all over Birmingham and the rest of the world want to be on the map for local search. People use their phones to find local businesses and then call or get directions. These searches almost always go to one of the top three organic search results in Google or a nearby point on the map. Usually, the map’s going to win out if someone’s on a phone and in the car. After all, why would you drive further than you have to? So, if people near you are looking for your business and they can’t find you, they’re going to assume the closest business near them is one of your competitors. You’re going to lose revenue. That’s one of the biggest reasons why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for local businesses. SEO is the process of ranking a website higher in the Google search results. Businesses in the top three results get listed on the map more often. But how do you get your business there? Keep reading.
Local SEO Optimization for Birmingham, ALStep one is always going to be technical or on-page SEO. If you’re thinking about working with an online marketing agency for your SEO, ask them what they recommend first: technical SEO, Link-Building, or citation building. If they recommend anything but option A: Technical SEO, you need to fire them. Agencies that suggest getting things out of order like that probably don’t have the in-house knowledge necessary to do technical SEO. And a site built on anything but a foundation of technical SEO will never reach its full potential. You remember the parable about the guy who built his house on the sand? Well in 2017 that same guy would try to rank a site with nothing but a bunch of back-links and fake content. Your foundation is technical SEO. Don’t skip this step and you’ll come out ahead of most of your local competition.
Technical SEO is the foundation of any successful online marketing campaign that’s centered around your website. It’s all the little technical changes we make behind the scenes on your website so that Google understands the site better. It’s image optimization, CSS minification, robots.txt creation and all the other little details we have to get right in the eye’s of Google. All the link-building and directory listing you do won’t be effective without good technical SEO. Content may be king, but technical SEO is the army that keeps him in power. So, that’s the very first thing you need to do to get on the map. Write killer content, and let your SEO expert optimize it. You’ll be well on your way to ranking on Google’s local map results.
Google Business Address Verification
Step 2 – Get Your Business Address Verified in Google and Bing. People often think this is the be-all and end-all of getting on the map. While I probably should have listed this first, I wanted to make a point. Yes, this is something you could and should realistically do before you even have a website. But for the goal of getting on the map, this step only opens the door by giving Google details about your business. You have to do technical SEO to walk through the door and get on the map. Your competitors probably did this step months or years ago. So, your brand new site will never outrank theirs on the map unless you do well in other ranking factors they aren’t exploiting. Those ranking factors are primarily going to be technical SEO. Not because it carries more weight than content and backlinks. It doesn’t. But it’s something that most website admins are too lazy to do right and too cheap to outsource. So, you’ll outrank most of your local competitors simply because they missed some basic steps. Once you get all that technical SEO out of the way, you can make sure your local listing is correct in Google.
Citations in Local Directories for Birmingham, Alabama
Citation Building for Local Map ListingDo you remember the 90’s? We still had quite a few phone books floating around back then. Now you don’t see very many phone books or AOL CD’s filling up landfills. All those pages have been replaced by local online directories. Yelp, YP.com, and a whole host of sites aggregated by Yext and other local SEO tools provide us with directory information today.
Step 3 is Local Citation Building and Correcting: There’s two things we have to look at here. First, do you have any information already out there that is incorrect or missing details? Google looks for consistency across all your local directory listings. So, if you have bad information on any of these sites, it needs to be cleaned up. Second, you have to create listings at as many of these sites as you can. Keep in mind that rule #1 is consistency on each site. Your address, phone, e-mail, and hours of operation should all match on each site. Honestly, this can be so labor intensive, that it’s best outsourced to an SEO agency. We have tools to automatically submit to most of these sites, and we know the ones that don’t aggregate properly. We create manual submissions to get on those sites too. So, unless you want to buy a subscription to Yext or fill out a form on 300 different websites, it’s best to let a professional online marketing consultant or agency handle it.