Three factors to consider when building a local presence

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Over the past few years, local SEO has become one of the biggest buzzwords in the marketing world.

Studies have found that nearly half of all Google searches are local. As more and more businesses recognize that optimizing for these searches is a requirement, the prospect of ranking is becoming very competitive.

As you know, SEO is a field that changes by the hour and there are very few guarantees. However, it’s almost a certainty that the importance of local search will continue to grow.

There are a number of key factors to consider with local search, so as you continue to build your presence, be sure to keep them in mind.

Widespread adoption of voice search

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know how popular voice search is becoming. Combining the advancements in mobile technology, virtual assistants, and voice activated home devices, it’s estimated that 50% of all searches will be done with voice by 2020.

There are a number of takeaways from this rising trend. Most importantly, there will be a much bigger emphasis on long-tail keywords and hyperlocal searches. You can learn a lot more about user intent based on voice queries.

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For example, let’s say you run a computer repair store in Denver, Colorado. If someone needs your service, a text query would probably look something like “Computer repair Denver”. On the other hand, a voice query might look like “Where can I get the hard drive for my Lenovo computer fixed in the LoDo neighborhood?” With this type of information, you can build out customer profiles based on the questions being asked to deliver more accurate messaging.

Furthermore, as you can imagine the widespread adoption of voice search will require you to modify the SEO on your website content in a much more conversational tone. Most voice searches start with who, what, where, when, why, and how. Keep in mind, when it comes to creating web content around voice search, it’s about building context that answers the pressing questions. For this purpose, tools like Long Tail Pro is designed to help you discover highly profitable long-tail keywords.

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You can even add in your domain and discover the keyword difficulty you should be targeting to make your content more focused around certain questions.

Businesses should also ensure they have structured data integrated with the listings on their website. Structured data, or schema markup, is one of the signals used to power search results. Building this microdata around voice keywords can do a lot to help the search engine crawlers better understand your website and rank it for local queries.

Voice search is more than just a futuristic fad; it’s here now and consumers are head-over-heels in love with it. If you want to “future proof” your local SEO strategy, voice needs to play a big role.

Customer sentiment around local keywords

As marketers, we are incredibly lucky to live in a time with such great resources at our disposal. The internet gives people a voice that can be heard around the world. Furthermore, brands can harness this phenomenon to gauge the sentiment they are getting across the web.

Monitoring relevant online conversations and interactions around local keywords is a crucial strategy to understand the way people interact with your brand and content online. With this valuable insight you can spot trends, identify issues, and learn the patterns with regard to users’ relationships with local keywords.

Tools such as Synup allow you to easily manage your business location data and online reputation. It provides analytics from listings on sites like Facebook, Google, and Bing, and keeps tabs on all relevant interactions on social media and the major review platforms like Yelp and Google Reviews. From the dashboard, you can get a quick analysis of your online reviews and respond as needed.

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Synup allows you to automate your collection process, gather feedback, increase CTR, and ultimately, improve your organic results.

If you have multiple locations, you will need to track your online visibility in all relevant local markets. Similar to gauging voice search, monitoring social interactions and reviews gives you the ability to pinpoint the local keywords and topics creating buzz in your business or industry. With this knowledge, you can craft content in accordance with the local keywords being used.

Building a local presence is all about playing to the trends of the area. If you aren’t using a program to monitor online mentions and customer sentiment for this, you might be falling behind your competitors.

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Consistent reviews

Local reviews are some of the most powerful variables in your SEO strategy. Everyone knows how influential online reviews are to customers. In fact, many people base the majority of their purchasing decisions around these tidbits of opinionated information.

Unsurprisingly, the search engines have wised up to this trend and factor local reviews into your rankings. Always remember, the number one goal of the search engines is to place the best possible content in front of users. This type of user-generated content holds a lot of weight in local markets. Obviously, a higher number of positive reviews will make you look more credible in the eyes of the users and the search engines, while negative reviews will do the opposite.

Plain and simple, if you want to build up your local presence, you need to have a strong system in place to collect and display online reviews on a consistent basis.

According to the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors Report by Moz, the reviews signals (which are the quantity, frequency, and diversity of your reviews) are among the top factors that determine your local rankings.

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As time goes on, the role of online reviews in local search is likely to keep growing and shaping the new algorithms. Investing your time and focus into this area is no longer an option: it’s a must.

Conclusions

Developing a local presence takes a great deal of time, effort, and consistency. You cannot expect giant results overnight. In reality, this is a never-ending process. Keeping tabs on the types of queries bringing your most valuable traffic, monitoring local sentiment, and managing customer reviews all need to be habitual tasks.

While these three factors are certainly not the only variables to consider when developing a local presence, they definitely need to be on your radar for years to come.

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of The20Media.com content marketing agency specializing in content & data-driven SEO, and co-founder of MoveoApps, a mobile apps development company. He is active on Twitter and can be reached @DholakiyaPratik.

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