The modern consumer is addicted to instant gratification. The internet gives them access to information on virtually any product, business, or service whenever they want it. The rise in mobile device usage has aided this trend. As a result, location-based, near-me searches are becoming more and more prevalent. In fact, since 2011 the phrase ‘near me’ has become 34 times more popular. Now more than ever, businesses need to emphasize local search. Following the steps outlined in our local SEO checklist below will help you get started.

Get Your Business Directories in Order

Google and Facebook: You probably already have your business listed on these two sites. If not, get on them as soon as possible. Doing so will increase the visibility of your business and make it easier for your customers to find you. Google and Facebook are only the tips of the iceberg of online business directories, but they are also the most influential.

Other Online Business Directories: There are quite a few other online business directories out there. It can be hard to know which sites to prioritize. Because of this, you should find out which sites your customers use most often and get listed there.

Claim Your Business: Many business listing sites will require you to claim your business. The verification process is fairly simple. Just follow the steps to claim your listing outlined in this guide.

Keep all listings up to date: Make sure all your listings have your most current business name, hours of operation, address, and phone number. Additionally, be sure to upload high-res photos. Your contact information should be consistent across all of your business listings and website. Maintaining consistency will give your local SEO the boost you’ve been looking for.

Develop a comprehensive search strategy

Website Optimization: As stated earlier, the rise in mobile device usage has made local SEO a top priority for many businesses. Because consumers are frequently using mobile devices to conduct searches, your site should be responsive. This will ensure your content displays correctly regardless of device.

Other things you can do to optimize your website for local search is to make sure all pages have a unique URL and title, tag all of your photos with keywords, and include your company name and contact information in the footer of your site.

Local Content: Creating local content is one of the best ways to set yourself apart from businesses similar to yours. When creating local content, be sure to use relevant keywords, highlight community events, and include the things that distinguish you from your competition. Many businesses host this content on a company blog.

Link Building: The goal of Google’s local search algorithm is to connect consumers with the businesses that best meet their search criteria. One factor that the algorithm takes into account is the number and quality of links back to a business’ site. These links are like votes to search engines. Building up the number of external and internal links to your website is a great way to improve local SEO.

Collect Online Reviews

Consistent & Current:  Businesses that consistently receive online reviews tend to have better local SEO. This can be a pain-point for many companies because collecting online reviews organically can be difficult. Many of your customers are willing to leave a review as long as you ask them.

Make sure your employees know the best practices for inviting customers to leave a review. We suggest setting the proper expectations so the customer knows how they will receive the invitation and why reviews are important to your business. You can streamline this process with the help of an online review management platform.

Quality & Quantity: Google also takes into account the quality and quantity of the online reviews you have coming in. Having a large number of high-quality reviews will improve your local search ranking and increase trust in your business.

Mark Podium Off of Your Local SEO Checklist

Request a demo to see how Podium’s cloud-based solution can help you use text messages to invite all of your customers to review your business. Podium’s efficient, mobile process can help your business build a strong online presence on the sites that matter most. This will, in turn, improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.