How to align local SEO tactics and online reputation management strategiesBy Emily Dyrland
Online reputation management strategies and local SEO tactics are two sides of the same coin. They share the goal to create trust in a business and build its credibility through that business’s online presence.
Local SEO brings traffic to a website by increasing its visibility online, while online reputation management ensures that what people find makes a business look good. This means businesses will be quick to react to consumer praise or concerns and will appear in local searches related to their industry when following best practices.
Online reputation management activities
Listing building: Create listings for all relevant citations including niche listing sites and popular directories. A higher number of citations increases visibility in search and the chances of seeing and answering reviews.
Listing management: This includes updating business information and responding to all reviews, whether positive or negative. This is an important practice because Google recognizes these activities as citations and review signals.
Photos are another part of listing management. Ensure business photos are up-to-date and relevant because Google favors listings that have all sections filled out, over listings that only have essential contact information.
Social media management: As social media becomes more of a business hub, the rate of communication has increased between consumers and businesses on these platforms. Google recognizes social signals, so continuous activity on these platforms as well as having a profile with multiple social platforms helps with ranking and online reputation management (ORM).
Reputation management activities on social media include answering questions, reacting to posts, scheduling regular posts, and responding to reviews.
Aligning local SEO signals with ORM
Tudor Stanescu, SEO Manager at Vendasta says, “Essentially all reputation management practices are signals that Google uses in local SEO to rank businesses.” These local SEO signals include:
Link signals: The number and quality of those links are the two biggest signals that Google considers. It’s also a better signal if the site with the backlink is industry-specific and, of course, belongs to a local business.
On-page signals: Keywords are hugely important for on-page signals. Google looks for these in landing page titles, metadata, and tags, and considers the relevance of these keywords across a site.
Behavioral signals: Referring to user behavior, signals such as click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, and check-ins are important numbers to consider. These signals are not easily manipulated as they rely on consumer behavior.
Google Business Profile signals: GBP sets up a local business through Google Maps using signals like proximity, NAP data, categories, plus updated content like photos and reviews.
Citation signals: These signals include the consistency of business information across citations as well as the number of citations. Google considers popular directories and listing sites such as Yahoo, Bing Places, and Yellow Pages to be trustworthy and high-quality sources.
Review signals: Signals include the number of reviews, keywords used, and the number of reviews that have text rather than just a star rating.
Social signals: These signals include the volume of shares, likes, comments on social platforms as well as mentions from community sites such as Reddit. With more people sharing and liking business pages, search engines have begun to include social signals as a factor in ranking. Google even has a partnership with Twitter that includes Tweets on the first page of search results.
Website management: A poorly designed web page that is difficult to interact with can tarnish an online reputation quickly. Clean on-site copy with keywords, intuitive design, and ease of use all contribute to keeping a business’s online reputation positive.
Listing management: Proper listing management includes keeping information filled out and up to date on all applicable listing sites. This promotes ease of use and findability while maintaining a positive reputation.
Review management: Timely review responses to both positive and negative reviews are important to a good online reputation. This signals to potential customers that a business owner is engaged. Review requests are another practice that helps to build a business’s reputation because more reviews indicate that customers are engaged with the business.
Social media management: This includes frequent, on-brand posting. Depending on the business it is important to have accounts on specific social media platforms.
Why is it important?
The combination of local SEO tactics and reputation management practices gives agencies a powerful toolkit for client success. When pieces of the puzzle are missing, such as a lack of review responses or keyword research, businesses run the risk of missing opportunities to outperform competitors. The right solutions and practices at the right time can help small and medium businesses improve their ranking in local search.
Local SEO tactics
Local citation building
Begin with a focus on the “big four, Google Business Profile, Yellow Page, Yelp, Bing Places for Business. From here it’s important to be familiar with review sites and other citations that might be applicable to a business. Ensure all business information is filled out and correct because if it’s not, this will derail both local SEO and ORM efforts.
Local link building
Local link building is one of the most effective tactics for improving local SEO rankings. A backlink is a link from one website to another site. There are a number of tactics that can be used to build a network of links that drive traffic back to a site. As a bonus, it is actually easier for smaller local businesses to create backlinks than it is for larger stores and franchises. This is because local businesses generally have the support of their community and can ask local papers, other businesses, or community groups for a backlink.
As a rule, before linking with a site it should be confirmed to have a domain authority score of 40 or higher. This way Google will see that linked site as a trusted source. Moz has a domain analysis tool that can determine domain authority. Another metric to look at is “domain rating” which can be measured using Ahrefs.
An excellent online presence happens with time, effort, and alignment of both local SEO tactics and ORM practices. As a website ranks higher in search it will become even more important for it to look good and function intuitively. For the best results, local SEO and online reputation management should always happen simultaneously.