With Google in a constant state of flux, particularly with Google Place merging into Google+ here is an update to 2014 local SEO guide for your business.
Local SEO Guide for Businesses : Dominate your Brand
Google+ listing: Create a Google+ Local Business page. You need to fill out your profile as much as possible; by providing all your business information. Fill it out properly, include the name of the organisation, the address and phone number, a brief description and a few photos. On top of this, you should list your services, working hours and payment details. After putting this information in, you need to select the best categories for your business. Finally, to take this further, you should use and engage socially as a way to connect with potential followers.
The introduction section of the Google+ Business Profile is where you can add as much information as you require. You can add the main sections of your website, products and add links to these sections. The more information that you provide, enables Google to understand your Google+ Business Page when someone searches for relevant information.
Google will display your tag line and some of your introduction text within the search results, upto around 160 characters.
Fill in your : Tag Line, Introduction, Contact Information, Website and Links. Verify your email address, Verify your Website
Note : You can add links within the introduction.
Geo-targeted landing pages and blog posts: To help begin the ranking process for various locations and keywords, you will want to communicate this information to search engines. An easy and effective way to do this is to build a page covering your locations. When doing this, you must make the content as unique as possible. DO NOT DUPLICATE CONTENT and simple change location in the content.
Reviews: With the advent of smartphones and tablets, people now check reviews all the time. When thinking about a restaurant, bar or other places to visit, a lot of consumers power up their devices and head to review sites. 61% of people reading reviews before making a purchasing decision. This is true for most ages as people now check out review sites for just about any business. To have a review strategy in place, you must monitor your feedback on Facebook, Yelp, Google Reviews and any other review site. Google Places now provides a Review Overview.
Remember, Google and the other search providers look at this important metric. Develop a long-term strategy to combat bad reviews and work on improving your game. This is especially true when you want to land on the top page for local search results. Sign up for accounts at all the major review sites such as Yelp, Truspilot, Tripadvisor – depending on your market.
Make use of Reviews on your Google places, local by making this part of your follow up emails.
Social media: In the past, the leading search engines did not look at social media as a way to determine search engine rankings. Times have changed, and you should know that it is essential to have a social media account or two. For starters, you must go above and beyond a Google+ account. Ideally, when you establish your company, you should, at minimum, head to Facebook and Twitter and claim an official business account (If applicable to your Business).
Always add all the information into your profile that you can. For example, you need to provide the website URL, your phone number and address and product, business pictures.
City and County in Meta tags: This is appropriate for local business if the title allows and works naturally. Google will change your title displayed in SERP’s if they feel it is not appropriate. While this is not a game-changer, you will certainly do wonders for your site with this simple and quick step.
Go through all your content: Now, when you wrote your content originally, it is okay to put basic information out there at first, you should revisit it at a later time. This is your chance to sell your product and service… so sell it.
At the same time, when checking out your content, you should ensure that you use synonyms where appropriate as Hummingbird now understands this. Sell your product, sell your business. If you think a one liner is enough to make a purchasing decision then think again.
Every now and again your content hits that perfect sweet spot. Then learn, improve and repeat. The traffic below came from trial and error with content. The site made as many sales in 4 days as it had in the past 12 months.
Links from local and relevant sources: If you have had a website for a long time, you probably know how important links are in the grand scheme of things. Niche local directories, trade directories are OK , but please no mass directory submissions. Do you have suppliers, business partnerships speak to these sites and look at getting a reference for your site. Also if you produce content that people find useful, you will find your content being shared and thus create natural links.
Local press releases: Please do not use press release sites, the last time i used one of these was in 2005. They have never sent traffic to any site that i know of. Personally the way i approach a new launch, product launch is the old fashioned way mixed in with the new world.
Identify the key journalist within the industry, create a press pack, sample product all wrapped in a beautiful box or suitable packaging for your industry. We have sent press images inside a box designed in the new shoe release (actual shoes would have been too expensive), we have sent food samples inside mini fridge boxes. The beauty of this is we always get a write up which is totally unique, we have yet to come across a journo that simple copied the press pack.
This results in unique content on an authority site and crucially, sends traffic to the new product.
Articles posted on the Web: With how to articles and other guides, you can increase your exposure across the Internet. However, you should do his wisely by concentrating on local guides. If this is not possible, you should, at minimum, use local terms. This is especially true if you write a great article that truly compels people to click the link and learn more about your company.
For starters, above all else, you must create powerful content that readers enjoy. Of course, to succeed, you must take this further by writing content to a local audience and getting your name out there. Finally, with a social media strategy and a couple of catchy articles and offline press releases, you will see your site slowly gain in the organic search rankings.