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Do local businesses really need to even link build any more for local rankings?

So with all the changes Google has been up lately and the slow demise of link building now is the time to nail down your website and Google Local because it many instances that will be enough to do the trick. The trick is to rank in the 7 Pack and make your business’ phone ring more than it was before.

First things first. Your website is where it all begins. If that isn’t working right then stop reading this article and hire someone who can help you immediately. The first place to see what’s going on with your website besides your actual website is Google’s Webmaster Tools. Hopefully you can get into Webmaster Tools to see if you have Crawl Errors and your Index status is on point you car breathe your first sigh of relief. While you are in WMT you can also check your XML sitemap and any messages from Google (most of them are bad, like WebSpam very bad) but at least you know where you stand. Back to your site.

Meta data saying everything you want to tell Google? If it isn’t do some keyword research and change your meta data. What keywords are your competitors using? No need to reinvent the wheel. Another tip that I would like to share from a recent encounter while doing a site audit is to take a good look at your url structure. Were they recently changed from a website redesign? What most web designers don’t do is care about your rankings like in this instance where they all tanked because your website has a new url structure. If you don’t properly redirect the urls with proper 301 redirect codes you can kiss those rankings goodbye.

The on page doesn’t stop there. You have intralinking, alt tags, schema code and the list goes on. For a complete on-site audit there are many tools out there I suggest you using. Just Google it.

So do you know your business probably has a Google Places listing even if you didn’t create one? Many small businesses don’t realize this but Google creates them all the time. Some folks in the SEO industry say if that maps listing is ranking don’t touch it. Perhaps. But if you’re at the bottom of the maps or not ranking at all, Claim That Page! You can do it automatically with a phone call or in a week or two when you get a postcard from Google. Once you claim that Places page you will now have your very own Google Plus for Business page. Once you have that almighty check mark next to your business name then let the citation building begin. But what citations to build? The ones your competitors have. Like I have said before, do not reinvent wheel. Make it more efficient. Ranking on the 7 pack is more than just a check mark and citations. Another major component to your Google Plus page ranking for what you it to rank for are the categories. Once you edit your business information you will you can choose Google’s pre-selected categories, choose your primary category wisely. If you are an attorney, don’t choose Lawyer, choose the practice area that make the phone ring.

Then the shoot for stars. Five stars to be exact. Reviews may be the catapult you need to reach letter A. If the competitors above you on the maps listing have reviews you can bet on it you will need them too. All the reviewer needs is a Google account and you need to ask them. Warning: DO NOT HAVE CLIENTS LEAVE REVIEWS FROM YOUR OFFICE. Google will erase them.

So your website is running fast, your citations are in place, your checked off and have the right amount the stars. Let the phone ringing commence. I bet it will.

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