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5 Guidelines for Local Search Engine Optimization

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The increase in the number of people who are using smartphones to access the Internet on the go is propelling local search engine optimization to the forefront of online marketing. Data shows that eighty percent of Google searches have a goal to find a local solution to a query. Your business needs to take local SEO seriously and get into the local SEO race.

1. Responsive Design

The first thing any business that wants to access and be accessed by the mobile audience do is make sure that the users have a decent experience once they find the website. If it takes too much time to load a page, or if users aren't able to navigate the website easily, all the SEO in the world won't help. People will be leaving the website in search of other, user-friendlier websites.

Responsive design is web design that takes into account all the various devices that can be used to access a website. This means that using responsive design, websites can scale according to the devices they're being viewed on, providing a good user experience for mobile and desktop users alike. If you don't know whether your website was created using responsive design, there are other websites that allow you to see your website as mobile users do.

2. Google My Business Page

Google is the most widely used search engine in the world. It's also very good at integrating its services together. So, for example, if you want people to see your business on a map of local search results, you need to create a My Business page. Even if you already have a website with all the information you'd put on the page, you should still make it because Google doesn't draw information from your website as it does from your My Business page.

As always when dealing with Google products and service, some optimization is required. So, when setting up a My Business page, you need to include every piece of information about your business, its products, and its services, you think might be relevant. You also need to make sure all the contact information you post is up-to-date. Including relevant categories is also important, as is adding high-quality images.

3. Build Authority with Local Citations

If there's one thing that helps with building authority it's using local citations and directories. Simply put, you need to have your website listed on as many of those as possible. The more citations and directories you're referenced in, the more authority you'll have. There are probably hundreds of such places on the Web, and you need to pick out the most reputable ones, like Yelp or Zagat. You can find lists of directories online, and you can even find tools that will allow you to sign up for these directories in a short amount of time.

4. Get Online Reviews

In the current online marketing landscape, reviews are the thing that can make or break a business. Having a lot of good reviews will show people that your business is good and trustworthy. Having more than a few bad ones will do the opposite. And prospective customers will notice it either way because they are increasingly turning to online reviews to help them in the process of decision making. Having no reviews is not a good option.

With online reviews, getting engaged with customers is key. When people leave reviews of your business, use the option to reply to the review to engage with them. Thank the people who are giving you good reviews, but especially be sure to answer to the bad reviews. You need to learn how to do it so that you come out on top and appear to be willing to learn from your mistakes and do steps to improve customer satisfaction.

5. Don't Forget About Content

Modern SEO, be it local or not, relies on your ability to create quality content. It relies on it a lot. And while you don't have to be able to create good content on your own since you always have the option to hire someone to do it for you, the point is that content needs to be created, it needs to be posted, and it needs to be of a good quality. Sharing quality content through social networks, for example, will drive visitors to your website. It will support your keyword strategy. It will increase your visibility. So get behind the keyboard and start typing, or start creating images or videos. If you create good content and you pull off the other steps as well, you will get results.

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Patricia Nemeth is the CEO and founder of KexWorks, a Clearwater Web Design Company. You can find her on and on Twitter. Over the past 7 years, Patricia has provided web design services and internet marketing services to more then 600 businesses.

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