With 2017 just a few months of way, now is good time for Atlanta small businesses to check-in with their local SEO strategy. There have been a lot of changes to both local and organic search over the last several months, indicating a need for some businesses to adapt. To help you reassess, below we share a few local SEO best practices for Atlanta small businesses.
Optimized Google My Business (GMB) Listings
Crafting a well-optimized Google My Business (GMB) listing for you small business is vital for local SEO. It’s essentially the most important web property next your website, and should optimized and fully populated.
Some local SEO best practices to optimize your GMB page include:
- Populating your page to 100% completion. This includes all the fine details like your business’s hours of operation, location, contact information, etc.
- Choosing the most relevant categories that describe your business, making the primary category the most relevant.
- Properly linking from your business’ website to your Google My Business page (you’ll see instructions for this on the page with specific code to drop on your site.)
- Verifying your listing via phone or postcard submission (in which Google will send a postcard to your business’ address with a 4 digit PIN to verify your GMB listing.)
Properly establishing your GMB page is not only important to rank in the Google local 3-pack, but its one of the most significant ranking factors of Google Maps optimization.
Citations & NAP Alignment
Citations (or mentions of your business’ name, address, and phone number) are and will continue to be a strong signal that directly influences local SEO. Some of the top thought leaders in the search marketing profession have stated that citations make up a substantial portion of Google’s local search algorithm.
Most common on local directories and social media sites, citations can be created fairly quickly and easily on sites like Yelp.com, Manta.com, Superpages.com and Yellowpages.com, to name just a few. Additionally, the citations that give local small businesses a competitive edge are often found on locally-specific sites (i.e. MetroAtlantaChamber.com) or industry-specific sites (i.e. FindLaw.com for attorneys.)
However, perhaps more challenging than creating new citations for you Atlanta business is cleaning-up inaccurate citations on existing listings. One of the most common plagues for local SEO is misaligned NAP info. Ensuring 100% consistency across all citations surrounding your business is a best practice that should not be overlooked.
Generating positive customers reviews on your Google My Business page (in addition its Yelp page and other popular listings) can enhance many areas of your web marketing efforts. As for local SEO and ranking in the 3-pack, customer reviews are an important ranking factor that can help boost your business’s ranking. Generating positive customer reviews is also beneficial to improve click-through rates as well as improve online reputation.
To encourage positive reviews, create incentives for customers to visit your GMB page (among other listings) and leave favorable reviews. Many small businesses go to lengths to offer a coupon or discount in exchange for a positive review. Whatever your review generation strategy is, ensure that its ethical and that your customer reviews are genuine. The outcome can have profound effects on you local SEO efforts, especially in a competitive Atlanta search market.