This article is a guest contribution from our friend Jesse Wisinski. Jesse is the owner of The Wiz Design and is one of the best graphic and web design experts in Beaver County. 

Having a strong online presence is more important than ever, and local search engine optimization (Local SEO) is a huge missed opportunity for businesses in Beaver County. As a business owner there are things you can put into practice without having a technical background and without having to pay an agency or Web design firm.

What is Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

So first thing’s first – what is local SEO? Local SEO is the optimization process for local results that return in search engines like Google and Bing. Local SEO has grown significantly due to the rise of smartphone usage but is still very important on desktop computers. Its purpose is to provide results that are relevant to a searcher in their current location or the location they are searching.

The local SEO results are generally displayed near the top of the page in Google, have the address immediately associated with the location as well as a link to directions, and can potentially have a star rating review associated with the result and a link to the business’s website. Additionally on smartphones, a link to immediately call the business is also shown in the results.

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According to a survey in 2013, four out of five smartphones are used to look up local information. With the increasing rise of smartphone usage, that statistic can have only increased. Having your Beaver County business appear at the top of a searcher’s results with driving directions, a 5-star rating and a link to your website can definitely set you apart from your competitor that a searcher may not realize is equally as close to their proximity.

Six Steps to Improve Your Local SEO

Here are seven things you can do to boost your Beaver County business’s local search engine optimization and stand out from your local competition:

1. Claim Your Online Business Profiles

The first thing you need to do is claim your Google My Business profile at If your business has been around for years, chances are pretty good that a Google My Business location already exists but you may not own it yet. If this is the case, you will need to claim it. If not, you will have to create a new one. Regardless you will need to verify that you have ownership of the business.

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2. Target Third Party Visibility

In addition to Google, also claim preexisting business profiles or create new ones for Yelp for Business Owners, Facebook Places, LinkedIn, Yahoo! Local, Yellow Pages, Bing Places and more. Make sure that your business contact information, hours of operation, address, contact details, website URL and the rest of the profile is entirely complete. These popular websites can drive traffic to your business.

3. Build Out Full-Fledged Social Media Accounts

Instead of visiting your website, many customers choose instead to check you out on Facebook or other social media sites. A local business can thrive on local SEO without even having a website. In addition, having links to your website from social media sites plays a large factor in the search engine optimization of your website.bu

4. Make Sure Your Business Information is Consistent

The online accuracy and consistency of the way your business name, address, phone number and website are crucial in local SEO. Inaccuracies across websites, local directories, mentions, citations, listings and social media channels can kill your local SEO. Remember: Use a precise, accurate address to describe your business location. PO Boxes and mailboxes located at remote locations are not acceptable.

5. Encourage Customers to Leave (Positive) Reviews

Having positive reviews can generate more clicks from potential customers. Google Reviews, which customers write through their Google Plus page are the most important, even more important than sites like Yelp. The reviews your customers write are automatically shared among their friends on in their Google Plus Circles, thus creating extra visibility for you in social media. Most importantly, these reviews will show up in the Google Local search results and Google Maps.

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6. Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Ready

Lastly but certainly not least, ensure your website is mobile friendly. In the Spring of 2015 Google mandated that sites must pass their mobile test or would result in negative rankings on mobile devices. If you website is not optimized for mobile search engines and displays, you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers. In addition, if your website is not optimized for mobile, your leads are going to get frustrated with your website experience while their on a mobile device.

There you have it! Six simple steps you can take to ensure a better digital experience for you and your customers! If you have further questions regarding Local SEO or potentially have an interest in a mobile-ready responsive website or my other bluetooth beacon marketing services, please feel free to visit my website to learn more about my capabilities.