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We’ve come to the end of yet another grand year for marketing. That means it’s time for another round of New Year’s resolutions! Businesses set out to achieve many goals during the year but don’t get to achieve them. Whether the result is a lack of money, resources, or time, at the end of the day, businesses will always have goals to keep working on. This isn’t something that should be perceived negatively but positively instead! In fact, if your business didn’t improve, it would stagnate and fall behind in providing the services your customers need.

That being said, local SEO is understandably not the easiest part of any company to fix. We are sure that many businesses put local in their backlog of “things to do” for the entire year. Now that 2014 is nearly here, we’ve compiled a list of smart SEO resolutions to complete.

If you’ve completed some of these tactics already, congratulations on getting ahead on your local marketing! If not, take note, set a deadline, and get started on these tasks right away!

Do you want to see last year’s resolutions? Check out our list of social media resolutions for 2013.

1. Create a Google Plus Local page.

Your business’s online visibility will be at its best once you create a Google Plus Local page for it. Google Plus Local helps manage your location and business listings that exist on Google Maps and Google Places. Include a photo, connect to your social media profiles, and create content to make the most of your business’s brand.

2. Check your business’s local listings for duplicates.

As important as it is to have your local listings online, there are a few instances when duplicate listings are accidentally created or the business name changes its title. Multiple listings hurt your business’s standing in search engines, and it is in your best interest to delete any extras that you come across. Use GetListed.org to find duplicates on the web, and read this post for more information on removing duplicates.

3. Sign up for Foursquare.

Foursquare is a local listing platform that encourages customers to make repeated visits to your enterprise. The app profile and business listing are free, which provides a quality authority link to connect to your brand with little hassle. Foursquare also offers a useful network to stay connected to your customers.

4. Ask your customers for reviews.

Go straight to the source by asking your customers to post reviews of your product or service. In addition to demonstrating that your business provides value, Google ranks your website higher in search engines. Of course, be sure to ask your customers for real-life reviews in a neutral fashion, as Google penalizes businesses with biased reviews.

5. Make your website content location-specific.

A common practice in local SEO is ensuring sure you have location-specific pages (not blog posts, to clarify) and content to rank more effectively in the search engines. When search engines crawl your site, they will see it as more targeted and valuable to local searchers.

6. Submit your site into local directories.

To get more exposure, you will need to get into databases. This is where the massive directories come in. These qualities directories are connected to a lot of the local listings sites that display businesses in their search results. All in all, the more you submit the site, the greater the reach your brand will received. Below, we’ve listed some directories to keep top of mind when submitting your website:

7. Add the city and state to your website’s title tags.

Optimizing your title tags is often an overlooked practice, and it is necessary to optimize your local business for its physical location. Your business will certainly rank higher than other, more broadly targeted websites. Adding the location makes your site much more relevant to mobile searchers as well, which is made up of a very large amount of consumers.

8. Be more active on social media.

If you want to be relevant in our connected world, your business needs to be on social media. In addition, try not to exclusively blast updates to your audience; remember that they are people who want to be engaged more than anything, not just sold to.

9. Make your website mobile-optimized.

2014 is the year of the mobile platform! Make sure your website is ready for the tablets and smartphone users itching to access your services. We know you’ve long neglected getting the site to a more responsive design, but let this be the year you can finally check this off the list.

10. A/B test your landing pages.

Remember that you can always stand to convert more visitors. Let this be the year when you finally increase conversions for your landing page! Just in case you don’t know where to start, take a look at some of these examples of tests you can run to boost your conversion rate.

11. Tag your website with Rich Snippets Schema Markup.

Tagging your website with schema markup allows Google to extract only the most important data about your business for searchers to see in SERPs. Content like videos, reviews, and contact information will be exemplified once you implement these tags correctly within your site. Test your site with Google’s Markup Testing Tool to help analyze your content.

 12. Research and target some new local key phrases.

If you want success in organic local search traffic, it is always best to review and update your targeted keyword list. The market is always changing and if you can’t stay ahead of the ever-evolving search terms, your competitors will take advantage of much more fruitful queries. Keep HitTail top of mind when you want to get down to the research.

13. Build citations and links on high quality websites.

Citations are mentions of your business name and address regardless of whether or not there is a link back to your site. In 2014, your local presence will need digital citations more than ever. Additionally, local and web search will weigh more heavily on addresses mentioned on high authority sites.

14. Sign up for loyalty reward apps to incentivize customers to return.

Reward your consumers for coming back to your local business by signing up for services that allow you to offer great deals and promotions. Delight your customers in the right way, and you’ve got evangelists for your brand for quite some time. Here are some examples of loyalty reward apps you can use for your local business.

15. Give your site an SEO audit.

You want your site ready for local optimization, don’t you? There’s nothing to fear, as UpCity’s free Local Report Card will give you everything you need to assess the health of your local prevalence and Google search engine rank! Give it a whirl to see which improvements to make.

16. Sign up for Google Authorship.

If you haven’t done so already, we recommend getting yourself Google Authorship and setting up your page as a publisher. More than just tracking your identity, it gives you credibility that only Google verification can give you.

17. Use Pinterest Place Pins.

Another useful social media network, Pinterest Place Pins help users find local small businesses. Sign up for Pinterest and take advantage of this superb marketing tool to get to more consumers using visually engaging content your business can produce.

18. Make it easy for your customers to contact you.

Keep your contact information (Email, Physical Address, Phone Number, etc.) all in the same place. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find the information you’re looking for on many business websites. Place the information in the footer or header of the homepage. Of course, adding a contact page is another method to keeping things simple for your customers.

19. Partner up with other local businesses.

Don’t forget that even though your presence online is a strong factor in local SEO, your offline reputation can be just as beneficial. For example, provide value by connecting from within your local community, or partner up to give promotional deals to locals. Accelerate your business to widen your business’s reach. Conduct webinars or offer promo codes that lead to discounts on your products. The first step to success is helping those around you to achieve their goals.

20. Use a local phone number.

No more “800” numbers this year! To improve your local SEO, you must localize every aspect. However, the main reason your business should use local numbers is to use call tracking. Numbers that don’t use local area codes bar you from learning which demographics are calling your company. The more you know about your customers, the better you can make your business. It’s that simple.

What are your local SEO New Year’s resolutions? Let us know in the comments below! Here’s to a successful and prosperous 2014!