Local SEO Strategy for 2024

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Let’s dive right in to this. Afterall, after Google’s Helpful Content Update we know that Google wants to see quick, clear, and concise answers to questions. Is longform content dead? That’s a question for another day. Today we’re answering the question of:

What Is The Best Local SEO Strategy of 2024?

Our strategy revolves around tackling your website and various profiles in this specific order:

How Do You Optimize A Google Business Profile?

Isn’t it refreshing that I didn’t start this off by giving you the entire history of the concept of a Google Business Profile? Well, I would like to touch on one important thing that many people outside of the industry seem to have noticed. Google Business Profile is the new name for Google My Business (GMB). The two terms are interchangeable but for the sake of keeping Google happy let’s stick with their new name–afterall, SEO is all about making Google happy, right? We’ll touch on that later. For now we’ll focus on what’s most important and that is making sure your Google Business Profile is rock solid. There is plenty of evidence to support the claims of some SEOs that your GBP may actually be more important than your website in 2024.

Verify Your Business

Optimizing your Google Business Profile in 2024 consists of several steps but the most important is of course to ensure your GBP is verified. In the past couple of years Google has rolled out and leaned more heavily on video verification. Frankly, it’s a huge pain in the ass. Mostly gone are the days of simply receiving a postcard in the mail from Google and then entering your confirmation number. There are many great articles out there for how to get your Google Business Profile verified via video. Whitespark’s Darren Shaw made an especially good video on the process after dealing with his own woes.

NAP Consistency

Next up is another obvious one, but so many people get it wrong and that is ensuring your Name, Address, and Phone number are consistent across all platforms but especially your website and Google Business Profile. Remember that a big part of local SEO is cementing your brand’s place on the internet. Consistency is key when letting the world (or your town) know your name. This includes abbreviations, symbols, and verbatim terminology. If your website has your business name listed as “Bills Cart Co.” but on your Google Business Profile you’re listed as “Bill’s Golf Cart Company” then search engines are going to be reluctant to rank you higher than competitors who have a more consistent brand. 

Use A Local Number 

Using a local area code that matches the area you’ve selected as your service area on your GBP is just another step in building online brand consistency and letting algorithms know that you are here and ready to service the area that you’ve claimed. 

Choose The Correct Service Area

Google will definitely allow your to select every major city in your state, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do this. A good rule of thumb is to only choose the city or town where your business is located, and then locations within a ~40 mile radius. 

Choose The Correct Business Categories

A good thing to do here is look up your competitors. In most cases you can simply copy the categories they have chosen. It’s probably obvious to you what category you should choose for your primary category, however, many people don’t realize you can choose a couple of secondary categories as well. 
Upload Photos

Uploading some quality photos to your GBP not only gives your customers something to look at, but also signals to Google that you’re a serious business that wants to engage with its customers. Google tends to favor profiles which get used and interacted with which brings me to the next point.

Use Your Profile

Did you realize you can use your GBP almost like a social media account? You can not only share photos, but you can also make posts. Utilize this functionality to tell your customers about upcoming promotions, sales, updates, emergencies, or just to say hello! Your customers will appreciate it and so will Google. 

Reviews Reviews Reviews!

Get yourself some good reviews! But remember, Google not only frowns on incentivizing reviews, it can even be borderline fraudulent. However, there’s nothing wrong with sending your review link out to your past customers and asking them to leave you their honest feedback. Here’s how you can get your review link:

  1. Login to your Google Business Profile.
  2. Search for your business name on Google Search and click the number that displays how many reviews you have.
  3. Now click the “Get more reviews” button.
  4. This will display your review link which you can then copy and paste just about anywhere you’d like! 

Building Local Citations for Local SEO

Okay, now your GBP is ready to roll. But this isn’t the only profile that matters, and even the big G wants to see that your business is listed with legitimate directories around the web. This not only establishes your brand, but it builds authority for your website, and you even get some backlinks out of it–typically for free! There are literally thousands of directories online, and when one of them dies several more spring up in its stead. The only real downsides to adding yourself to all of them are dealing with spam, keeping your NAP consistent, and the time it takes. For instance, if you change your phone number, now you need to go through and update it on every single profile. Seriously, keep your NAP data up to date–it matters! 

Some business directories are more important than others, and some even serve as aggregators which submit your NAP data to other directories on your behalf. Some of the most essential directories would be Yellow Pages, Foursquare, Yelp, and Data Axel. 

Lastly, don’t forget to focus on your local business citations. These can be some of the most impactful as they provide some great local authority for your website. The best place to start is always your local Chamber of Commerce website. These often charge an annual fee but it’s almost always worth it.

Technical SEO

I’m not going to spend a bunch of time beating the dead horse that is technical SEO. This has not only been a part of SEO since day 1, but also should be standard practice in building a modern website. In 2024 your new website should already be scoring solidly on Pagespeed Insights on launch day. Sadly, that isn’t often the case and sites are slapped together with bloated themes or outdated page building software. 

Bare Minimum ADA Compliance

It’s important that a website with the bare minimum accessibility is not an ADA compliant website. A full ADA audit would be required to discover all of the areas of your website which could cause trouble for certain viewers. However, Google does favor websites which take accessibility into account. You can make yourself vastly easier to use for all viewers by simply making text easier to read and in some cases installing an accessibility toolbar such as the one provided by One Click Accessibility.

Fix Your Thin Content

What is thin content? Thin content can be defined as content that offer visitors little or no added value. When you’re writing copy for your website or blog, are you speaking on something that hasn’t been said a million times before? Are you talking about your business in such a way that your words could be used for another other business in the same industry? Are you generating content on ChatGPT without editing it? Please say no. For the record, search engines have no problem with AI generated content. What they do have a problem with is generic content that doesn’t answer questions and doesn’t help viewers find what they’re looking for. Be unique, use your own voice, and be helpful!
 Just like with technical SEO, I’m not going to spend time explaining what backlinks are. What I will talk about however is how important they are in 2024. I’m so sick of SEOs saying backlinks are dead. You. are. so. wrong! What is dead though are spam links. Search engines no longer care that your website has 200,000 links from the comments section of ie282n2fffff.com. Search engines want to see real, relevant links from authoritative websites that have knowledge of your industry. 

Stop Ignoring Bing

Seriously guys, stop pretending Bing isn’t a thing. Not only is Bing here to stay, but their search engine is growing every day. Did you realize Bing has their own business profile system? It’s called Bing Places and you should absolutely utilize it right away. They will even let you piggy-back off of your GBP so not only does it sync up your NAP data, but also if you’re already verified on Google, Bing will instantly verify your account as well. Did you also know that Bing has their own version of Google Search Console? Go check it out, like right now!


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