How To Improve Your Local SEO Score
With the launch of our Local Brand Visibility (LBV) score last month, we’ve had many customers ask, “how can I improve my score?” Instead of keeping the ingredients to our secret sauce, for customers-only, we thought we’d put together a guide to help everyone looking to find local SEO success improve their LBV score.
What is an LBV score?
Before we go over how to improve your LBV score, let’s first discuss what goes into an LBV score. Our LBV score, often referred to as an local SEO score, is a combination of five key factors.
Reviews – What’s your rating? How many reviews do you have? How often do you respond?
Social – What’s your social story? How active are you on social media?
Listings – How accurate is your listing information on top search sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, Apple, Bing and more?
Search – Where are you currently ranking locally?
Competitors – How do you compare to your local competitors?
An LBV score is based on a combination of all five factors and depending on your industry, their weight in the score can vary. You can learn more about what goes into a local seo success score by clicking here.
How to Improve Your Local SEO Score
1. Respond To All Reviews
67% of consumers read reviews before making a purchasing decision. In today’s competitive market, not only does customer service play a powerful role in helping your brand stand out, but it can also impact your local SEO score. Google and other search engines have admitted 13% of search ranking factors are derived from reviews.
Responding to reviews is just good business practice. Taking the time to respond to reviews shows future customers you care. Not to mention, 14% of customers are more likely to return to a business that responded to their feedback.
Here are some of our best tips for responding to reviews:
- Thank the customer. They just gave you a compliment, say thank you!
- Get specific. Use the customer’s name or reference something in their review to avoid looking like you copy and pasted a response (even if you did).
- Entice them to come back. Encourage the reviewer to become a repeat customer. One way you can do this by tempting them with a new or different product.
- Apologize and thank them for their feedback. Sometimes we can learn more about a business from a bad review than we can a good one. Apologize for their poor experience and thank them for taking the time to leave feedback.
- Respond appropriately. This is a public conversation, mind your Ps and Qs.
- Invite the conversation offline. Avoid going back and forth with an unhappy customer, instead invite them to finish the conversation offline. Finish your response with contact information for your support team, we recommend an email and a phone number.
- Keep it short and sweet. Don’t put emphasis on a bad review by dragging it on. Use the steps above and keep it short, don’t say more than you absolutely need to.
2. Clean and Optimize Your Business Listings
Another way you can improve your local seo score is by keeping your listings clean. Find and remove any duplicate listings as this can confuse both the search engine and your customers. Remember, the only way to completely remove a duplicate listing is by reduction, not suppression.
You also want to make sure the information on your listings is accurate. How embarrassing would it be to lose a customer because your phone number was out-of-date? Or worse, you don’t even have a phone number listed. Google relies on the information in your business listing to pull the most accurate responses for each search query. Optimize your listings by adding as much relevant information as you can.
3. Be Active on Social Media
According to a 2017 study, 92% of marketers indicated social media has generated more exposure for their businesses. With the rise of local search on social media from features like geo-tags and filters, social media makes up a significant portion of your local SEO score. 74% of consumers use social media to guide their purchasing decisions. When the average American spends close to 2 hours a day on social media, there is no reason why social media shouldn’t be part of your local SEO strategy.
Here are some of our best tips for increasing your social media presence:
- Post on a consistent basis. This is a lot easier said than done. But by developing a content calendar and scheduling your posts ahead of time you should have no problem posting consistently.
- Don’t forget to hashtag! Hashtags are a great organic way for people to find your business on social media. You can even take advantage of some trending hashtags by adding them to relevant posts.
- Start conversations and respond to comments, questions and brand mentions. Engage with your customers and make them feel heard, it goes a long way.
4. Focus on Local SEO Strategies to own your Local Search Rankings
Improving your search rankings doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it can take anywhere from a few months to year before you see serious improvements. After you’ve gone through and cleaned your listings, it might be a good idea to make improvements to your local SEO strategy. Google algorithms and search tools are constantly evolving, shouldn’t your strategy evolve with it?
Here are some ways to update your local SEO strategy:
- Optimize your site for mobile. 50% of all local business searches result in an in-person visit. However, 40% of consumers will turn to a competitors site after a poor mobile experience.
- Develop a Voice Engine Optimization™ strategy. By 2020, 50% of all searches will be conducted via voice. We have a whole blog dedicated to developing a voice engine strategy you can read here.
- Strengthen your keywords. Spend some time researching long tail keywords to add to your site. The days of keyword stuffing are over, searches are becoming more conversational. Get inside the mind of your consumer, what are some typical questions a potential customer might ask? Boost your search ranking by answering those common questions in an FAQ section on your website, Google will pull that information and answer common questions in the form of a featured snippet.
5. Check out the Competition
There’s a reason football teams spend hours watching film of the competition. Knowing your competition’s strengths and weaknesses can put you at a major advantage. Test your keywords to see where your competitors are outranking you. Read their reviews, do they respond? Take a look at their social media accounts to see how often they post. Read their blog, what type of content do they post and how often? Find out what your competition is doing differently to improve their local SEO score and apply what works to your own business.
Improving your local SEO score takes work. It means finding the holes in your local SEO strategy and making adjustments where needed. Even if your score is lower than expected, don’t give up. Make improvements in the five areas we mentioned above and you’ll be sure to see a change in your score for the better.
Defining, measuring, and improving upon your score is an vital part of maintaining an efficient local SEO strategy. Want to know your score? Sign up for a free audit to see your score and learn how the Chatmeter platform can help you improve it.