local seo tips 2016

I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule!  This is especially true when it comes to local SEO for dominating Google local search.  The 80/20 rule implies a small segment of activities can deliver the overwhelming majority of results.  This is also sometimes referred to as the law of exponential growth, and is extremely relevant when it comes to local SEO and dominating the local search results in Googles.

One thing I’ve learned over the years in doing local SEO, is there are a few definitive techniques (the 20th percentile), that deliver the overwhelming majority of the results (the 80th percentile).

In other words, there’s a long list of things to consider when implementing local SEO.  However, only a few of these things, if implemented effectively, will deliver the majority of your power in ranking in Google local search.

Think of these as local SEO power tips that you absolutely MUST implement if you expect to compete in the local search results.

So without further delay, here are some quick local SEO power tips to dominate Google local search in 2016.

#1:  Keyword targeting in your website and Google business page

In order to dominate the local search results in Google, you have to implement your targeted keyword phrases into both your website and your Google business page.  Making this happen on your website entails some standard SEO techniques such as meta data optimization.  This is the process of including your targeted keyword phrase in the title and description tags of your website’s homepage, the first sentence in your on page content, and in the alt tags of the images on your web page.

But then you need to continue this keyword targeting over to your Google business page.  There must be harmony between your Google business page and your business website.  Remember that each Google listing has a URL field.  And this URL field is where you insert your business website address.  So Google will consider the keyword targeting in both your website and Google business page in determining your rankings in the local search results.

You need to be careful that you don’t over-saturate your Google business page title with your targeted keyword phrase.  This would cause your business listing to be in jeopardy of being penalized and removed from the search results.  From my experience and discussions with Google local support, you can include at least one keyword phrase (called a modifier) in your title.  Which leaves the description section of your Google business to include the remaining instances of your targeted keyword phrase.

Creating a consistent keyword phrase relationship between your website and your Google business page is a critical local SEO power tip to dominating the Google local search results in 2016.

#2:  Direct Data:  Leveraging Schema Language for your NAP

Schema language is a structural protocol adopted by Google, Yahoo, & Bing with the purpose of making it easier to determine certain datasets within web pages.  I like to refer to Schema language as direct data that enhances key data sets within web pages.  Direct data is particularly relevant when it comes to local SEO.

Direct data, in the example of local SEO initiatives, would refer to data such as your NAP – your business name, address, and phone number.  There are many other Schema or direct data sets that can also be leveraged in your web pages depending on your type of business.  For example, if your are a lawyer, your law firm’s website and local SEO strategy can leverage direct data sets specifically for attorneys, which you can view on the Schema website at https://schema.org/Attorney.

You can view the full hierarchy of Schemas, or direct data sets, here.  There’s even a new paradigm of Schemas called autos that are designed specifically for modes of transportation.

The point in leveraging Schema language, or direct data sets, is they dramatically enhance the authority of your webpages within your local market.  Sticking with the 80/20 rule described above, the majority of local businesses (the 80th percentile or more) have no idea what Schema language means.  And to be honest, based on my own conversations, most have never even heard of the term.  This means, if your business website leverages Schema language for key direct data sets, you would be in the minority (the 20th percentile) and your website would be exponentially more authoritative in your local market.  And since Google considers both your business website and your Google business page in determining local search results, this is a key strategy to understand.

#3:  Citation Portfolio

Finally, to maximize your chances of dominating Google local search results in 2016, you have to build and authoritative portfolio of citations for your business.  According to Moz, citations are defined as mentions of your business name and address on other web pages – even if there are no links from those pages back to your website.

Citations for local SEO are similar to the idea of backlinks to your website for organic SEO.  The purpose of building citations is to create a large, authoritative footprint of your local business address across relevant directories and websites.  The most authoritative citations to build are those that have meet the following criteria:

  1. Citations that are published in directories or web pages relevant to your location.
  2. Citations published in directories or web pages relevant to your business category.

For example, let’s say you own an auto dealership in Alpharetta, Georgia.  The most authoritative citations to build for your business would be in a directory that exists specifically for auto dealerships in Alpharetta, Georgia.  It’s possible these hyper local directories don’t exist, so you’d then have to expand your citation targeting to the most relevant directories that do exist.

The easy ones to target are the directories accessible through automated services such as Yext and Moz Local.  The problem with these automated citation services is that:

  1. They are easily accessible to all of your competitors, which means you aren’t really differentiating your business by leveraging them.
  2. The directories where your citations are being published are more global directories such as Yelp, InfoGroup, Axiom, Foursquare, and SuperPages.

But if competitors in your local market are also leveraging these services, your business has done nothing but elevate to the current standard set by your market.

To give your local rankings in Google a substantial amount of authority and power, you need to find ways to differentiate your business from everyone else.  And when it comes to citations, you need to get creative in finding the directories that no one else is using (for the most part), and they are highly relevant to your specific location and business category.

Conclusion

In order to dominate the local search results in Google in 2016, you can try to focus on the hundreds of variables that Google considers in their local search algorithm.  And certainly over time, you need to be continually striving to improve your overall authority on every aspect you can control.

But, there are definitely a few things you can control, and implement right now, that will give your local rankings in Google a substantial boost above all of your competitors.  Keyword consistency between your Google business page and your website, leveraging Schema language effectively within your website and key web pages, and researching to identify hyper local and relevant directories for citations, are sure ways to quickly give your local business an advantage in Google’s local search results.

Grow your location & domain authority, get found fast in search, and get more clicks, calls, & customers for your business.

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