So you want to get into adding local SEO to your list of tools to generate more business, leads, and sales, but don’t know where to start? That’s why we’ve created this guide on dominating local SEO in Atlanta.

This guide is comprehensive, showing you the eleven most essential steps you need to take to prepare your business website for ranking well in Atlanta’s local SEO results on Google. In addition to the measures provided, we also cover some of the best tools you can use to take care of local business citations, Google My Business, Yelp, and other sites and platforms you’d like your business to be.

We understand how frustrating it can be to find good information on search engine optimization when there’s so much conflicting advice. This guide is created to make local SEO much clearer for business owners to understand and give you the confidence you need to move forward with implementing a regional SEO strategy for your business.

1. Always Start with Keyword Research

Before you can get serious with achieving the results you want from local SEO, you need to conduct keyword research, so you know what it is you want to rank for. Focus on ranking for medium and long-tail keywords for your local area. For example, a bankruptcy attorney in Peachtree Corners might want to rank well for the keyword “Peachtree Corners bankruptcy law firm” as a start and develop an SEO strategy based around that keyword and many closely related ones.

For the bankruptcy attorney, there are also relevant keywords they could use about the different types of bankruptcies available and meeting with creditors too. Here’s an example of a list of local SEO keywords for that local bankruptcy attorney:

• Atlanta bankruptcy attorney
• Atlanta bankruptcy attorney firm
• Peachtree Corners bankruptcy attorneys
• Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys in Peachtree Corners
• Low fee bankruptcy attorneys in Metro Atlanta

You could take this same strategy and apply it to your business. Think about what products and services you sell and where you are in the Metro Atlanta area.

Jot down some possible keyword ideas and use tools like SEMRush to see if there’s enough search volume to justify targeting those keywords in your local Atlanta SEO strategy. For more information on keyword research for your local business, please read this article we have on our website which details other relevant information you should know.

2. Analyze Your Competition

Take a brief look at your competitors and see where they fall short in their local SEO. Are they already showing up on Google My Business? How fast are their websites? Do their sites look like they haven’t been updated in over 10 years?

What are their current search engine rankings on Google? These are questions you need to ask yourself when you examine your competition. You don’t have to spend hours looking at competitors. This step is to give you a basic overview of how your website compares to your competition and how you might proceed with your winning local SEO strategy.

3. Set Up a Google My Business Account

You’re missing a key ingredient to local SEO by not having a listing on Google My Business. Google My Business allows your local business to show up in search results in the area you’re targeting. Your listing won’t appear outside of specified area unless you’ve created multiple Google My Business listings for different business addresses you have. If you need help setting up a Google My Business account, read this guide we published a while back. The process is straightforward and doesn’t take very long, but we show you how to do this yourself step by step, so there’s no confusion.

After you’ve set up your Google My Business account, make sure all the information you have on there is accurate. Fill in each section as much as you can, and add pictures of your business and employees too. You can also promote any blog articles and content already on your site on GMB. The features and capabilities of GMB are endless and will make your listing stand apart.

4. Create Your Social Media and Review Website Accounts

You have to make an effort to be in as many places as you can. Ignoring social media and review websites like Yelp is going to stop your local SEO in its tracks. Just like you did with Google My Business, see if you need to make business accounts on the following websites:

• Facebook
• LinkedIn
• Twitter
• Yelp
• Pinterest
• Instagram
• Snapchat
• TripAdvisor

There’s a lot more we can mention, but you need to have at least the first 4-5 of these pages for your business. Google also indexes these accounts and help your local SEO because these websites have a sky-high domain and page authority.

5. Build Up Positive Testimonials & Reviews

Encourage your customers to write glowing testimonials about your business on GMB, Yelp, Facebook, and other review websites. Google’s search algorithm monitors these websites and the keywords people use in the reviews. You give your business a better chance to perform well in local SEO search engine results in Atlanta. Search Engine Journal has this to say about how much reviews will factor into your search engine rankings:

However, it’s not just the number of reviews that matter. Even more important than quantity of reviews is what’s being said in those reviews.

Google My Business pages with reviews that mention a keyword, and/or the name of a city, were found to have higher rankings in Google’s local pack.

As you can see, you’ll need reviews, but perhaps not as many as you might have thought. In SEO, it’s more about quality than quantity, which also goes for blog posts, landing pages, keywords, etc.

Disclaimer: If you haven’t already completed Step 4, please go back and finish it. It is imperative you follow each of these steps before moving on.

6. Run a Backlink Analysis and Audit

Quickly see where you stand on backlinks. While they’re not the most crucial factor in local SEO, you still need to make sure that you don’t have any spam websites linking to your website. You want Google to take your website seriously enough to rank it accordingly. In short, if you already have other relevant sites linking back to yours, you should be okay.

7. Verify Your Business Address and Information for Accuracy

Go back to see if your business address and contact information are displaying correctly on your website and the listings you’ve submitted. There’s no room for errors on this part. Google will become confused and missing out on potential SEO opportunities will set you back for a while. A great tool which might be useful in this situation would be Moz Local. Type in the name of your business and ZIP code, and you will see how your website currently stands. Here’s an example of what you’ll see:

moz local example

8. Submit Local Business Citations

Here are some more websites to use to develop your local search engine presence. Citations are the main driving force behind local SEO, and the coolest part about many of these sites is that they are entirely free. You may not have to pay much at all to have accurate listings.

• Yellow Pages
• Bing
• Yahoo Local
• Superpages
• Yellow Book
• Angie’s List

These are some examples of structured business citations to have for your website. There are much more where this came from, but with domain authorities as high as 100, you can’t go wrong.

9. Run a Website Site Audit

After establishing your website listings, you can run an SEO audit and see what needs to be improved and changed. An SEO audit with SEMRush will show you all the technical SEO problems you’d need to fix to refine your search engine rankings. You’ll get all kinds of information about meta descriptions, title tags, minified JavaScript and CSS files, missing image alt-text, 404 errors, and duplicate content warnings all in one site audit as demonstrated here:

If the thought of paying $99 a month for SEMRush sounds like too much, then good news! You don’t have to pay a dime for it because our local Atlanta SEO experts at Viridian Geeks offer free SEO site audits. Give us a call at 470-440-3434 or email [email protected] if you’d like us to help you with this step.

10. Make the Changes and Check Your Website Speed

Fix as many of the technical issues on your site as you can. Once that’s done, you can focus on developing great local content and concentrate on other website optimizations as you see fit. You can also use Google PageSpeed Insights to check how fast your site currently loads and technical optimization opportunities to discuss with your developers.

11. Promote Your Website on Social Media

Social media signals play heavily in local SEO. After you’ve developed new content for your website and gotten all the technical bugs worked out, take the time to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media to attract people to your website and persuade them to share valuable content with their friends and family. In no time, you should start seeing better local SEO results for your business.

Additional Local SEO Tools for Atlanta Business Owners

To get more bite out of your local SEO strategy, consider adding these local SEO tools to your arsenal. You don’t have to use them, but they might reveal insights you hadn’t thought about the areas you need to concentrate on the most. Some of these tools also come with a free trial as well.

• BrightLocal
With this tool, you’ll get real-time alerts when someone writes a review on your local business citation listings. You will also receive search engine ranking reports and be able to build more local citations.
• Google Trends
Google Trends is free and lets you see what’s currently trending in your industry. For those times where you have no idea what to make blogs about, Google Trends is a lifesaver.
• BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo allows you to see who the top influencers are in your industry and see what topics are performing well for your competitors. You can add a lot to your content marketing and SEO campaigns in Atlanta with this tool.
• Google Keyword Planner
Not surprisingly, this tool is also free. You can create forecasts on how your keywords would perform and get a snapshot of the cost-per-click and impressions of each.

Conclusion

Local SEO is serious business and your ticket to making more money and attracting new customers. There are many local SEO experts out there, but not many that give you all the steps in a way you can understand easily. SEO isn’t magic or voodoo, but there are no shortcuts to it either.

That’s why you should have our SEO experts in Atlanta work with you to develop the local SEO strategy you need to promote your website. Call us at 470-440-3434 or email [email protected] to learn more about our company and get a free website consultation.