Local SEO, Tampa Edition: The Ultimate Guide to 🔥 Local Rankings in Tampa, FL
If your business is located in or around Tampa, Florida – virtual high five, it’s nice to have readers who are also located in our territory. We’re going to try to grow your business today with one of our favorite strategies to implement for Tampa clients – Local SEO.
While we don’t work exclusively with Tampa Bay businesses (our clients thus far have ranged from Tampa, to California, to the UK), our Tampa area clients benefit from our local positioning. Why would our Tampa Local SEO services different from our Orlando Local SEO services?
We have more control and sway in our local market, and keep close quarters with powerful local media outlets that we otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Investing in the market we not only Work, but also Play in, has its advantages.
Without further ado, allow us to explain to you why Local SEO matters for your Tampa business. First Topic: Inbound Marketing.
If you’re in business, you’ve got customers, that’s no mystery.
And to have customers – You must have leads.
Where do your leads come from?
How much does they cost to generate?
What is your cost per conversion / per sale?
And perhaps the most important question of all: Are your leads Inbound or Outbound leads?
Anyone who’s worked in lead-based business knows that inbound leads are much preferred to outbound ones.
Don’t know Why?
Why are Inbound Leads Better Than Outbound Leads?
Simple. Who would you rather talk to:
the guy who called you twice in an hour and asked for a consultation?
Or the guy you called twice in one week who yelled at you and asked you to never call back?
There’s a better way to get leads.
Inbound leads come to you, and outbound leads you buy, collect, or are given. The difference is who’s in control. You don’t even know inbound leads are coming exactly, but outbound leads don’t know you’re coming. And they usually aren’t happy you “showed up” unannounced.
Question: When do you plan to take control of your business?
When you do, one of the best options in today’s crowded marketplace is Local SEO.
Local SEO: What is it, and why should I care?
To understand Local SEO, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what SEO is (Search Engine Optimization) to start with, as well as the most basic principles and general purpose of SEO.
Search Engine Optimization: What should I know?
In one sentence, Search Engine Optimization is a constantly evolving set of strategies used to increase website traffic by improving rankings in popular search engines.
What are the basic principles of SEO?
Local SEO refers to the application Search Engine Optimization principles with an additional (geographic) context. Local SEO comes into play when you search for something there is a type of local business for, but becomes especially useful when users add a geographic component to a standard search, and your business falls within their geographic area.
Not a Local Search: “real estate agent”
Local Search: “real estate agent tampa FL”
Not a Local Search “land rover”
Local Search: “land rover tampa bay”
Not a Local Search “bait and tackle”
Local Search: “tampa bait and tackle”
Not a Local Search “lawn care”
Local Search: “lawn care in tampa”
In case you haven’t noticed, Google doesn’t just pull up Local Search Results when you search a specific location, like “lawyers tampa” or “Tampa dentists.”
See the difference between these two searches. Very similar searches, one with a Geographic Qualifer.
Both have a 3 Pack, but one has a Sponsored ad above it, and the other doesn’t. Most people don’t yet realize that they don’t necessarily have to add their city to their search query to get local results, so they do anyway.
I’ve already kind of accepted that Google probably knows mostly where I am, most of the time. (Thanks a lot, Google Maps)
The point is, Google provides additional opportunity for businesses that are well documented, and rank well locally.
Why? Because it benefits Google.
Google can only know so much about hyperlocal vendors, such as a mom & pop bagel shop, or a vintage bookstore. They have to rely on businesses inputting their business information online properly, and asking their customers for honest Google reviews.
Businesses that DO what Google wants them to do, get rewarded.
How Local SEO Works
Local SEO operates like non-Local SEO does – Google makes guidelines for how sites rank well (then their crawling spiders and algorithm take over), and watches how closely you follow those guidelines.
How does Google rank local business listings?
Google ranks local business listings like they rank regular websites, while also taking into account their local reputation.
This involves such basics as if other local sites are linking to you, and what percentage of your reviews were placed locally. Ever notice the location indication on some Google Reviews?
Also, what kinds of sites are linking to you in the first place? Maybe you’re in all the Local Business Listings and your NAPs are consistent all across the web, and you have local reviews – what separates you from the next business in line could be backlinks from other local businesses, as well as local blogs and even local news outlets.
In other words, Google knows the local business listing sites you are or aren’t in, and the local blogs and magazines that you and your competitors either are, or aren’t, mentioned in.
Finally, they observe simple matters that greatly impact user experience, such as your NAP, ([Business] Name, Address, Phone Number) ensuring it’s consistent across the web.
Local SEO SERP Features
The 3 Pack
What is the 3 Pack?
The 3 Pack is the box of 3 Local Search Results that Google provides when you search a type of business that has an address within your city (whether it’s technically brick-and-mortar or not, as long as it technically has an address).
How Long Local SEO Takes
SEO services typically take between 3-6 months for tangible results, however it depends on your starting point. If you’re at 0, you can leap to 10 or 20 pretty quickly, but growth will slow at a certain point and proceed more slowly. Because the effects of high quality SEO services are cumulative, you will see results at 12 months that were not present at 6 months, and consistency should continue to yield compounding results.
How to Improve Local SEO
If you’re reading this Guide to Local SEO, we’re going to assume you already have a website for your business. If you don’t, we’ve heard of someone who loves doing website builds for Tampa businesses 😏
There’s no better foundation for good Local SEO than firm SEO to start with. Optimize your site for SEO. Get an SEO Audit, including at least on-Page and Technical factors. Once you’ve cleared up as much as you can, you’ve got some search engine optimized ground to stand on and can afford to shift more of the focus to Local SEO.
If you don’t have one already, create a dedicated Contact page on your Business website. It doesn’t have to be complicated – mySite.com/contact should work as a URL slug, and a simple list of your NAP should be sufficient:
- Business Name
- Phone Number
We’re also recommending adding email too, as it can only help you by giving customers another way to reach you.
Make sure you have your Google My Business Listing claimed, active, and updated properly. Be wary of ever submitting anything false to Google about your business. Google can and does find out about most GMB fraud, and as we’ll cover later, their penalties can be devastating.
Make phone numbers clickable on mobile devices.
Have you ever tapped a phone number on your smartphone. If this isn’t new to you or you’ve never even thought about it, you’re probably gotten used to this feature by now.
If so, now when you can’t just tap the phone number to call or tap the address to navigate to the destination, what happens? You’re disappointed. Humans… We never appreciate anything, do we?
If you know some basic coding, it’s simple to edit the HTML behind your phone numbers text to make it click and tap-able.
Take your phone number, like ours if it were wrapped in
And turn it into a link, like this:
2 Common Mistakes are:
- Forgetting to type the actual number how you want it to be displayed into the space between the opening and closing ( & ) tags
- Copying and pasting the phone number into the “tel:… space and forgetting to remove any periods or hyphens (. or -).
Don’t forget, now and anytime, you can always Contact us for help.
Include all of your business addresses
If you have 10 or fewer locations, include the complete name, address, and phone number of each in the sitewide footer element on your website.
This one is pretty self explanatory. Google wants to display businesses that will make their users / your customers the happiest – and testimonials make that job a whole lot easier.
Just make sure:
- They’re legit – no mom, you can’t write me a review.
- They’re Prominently displayed – if you’re not proud enough to put them at the top of the screen, you should probably spend your time working on getting more positive reviews.
Don’t have enough reviews or testimonials yet? We know, they can be pretty
uncomfortable nauseating to ask for. 🤢
Don’t worry, our experience has yielded us Fearlessness. We can help -> Let us Get more reviews & testimonials from your clients
Off-Page Local SEO: Local Link Building & Local Reviews
Link Building is an ongoing process, and Linkbuilding for Local SEO might be even more hands-on than traditional Link Building. Believe it or not, a link from a well-ranked national coverage site might not be as valuable as a link from Visit Tampa Bay, if you have a Tampa-based business.
List of Popular Tampa Blogs/Bloggers, by Industry:
South Tampa Magazine
Food & Drink
This Babe Eats
The Girl with the Whisk Tattoo
Hobby / Miscellaneous
Local SEO Basics Checklist
- Mind your NAPs
- Business Name
- Phone Number
- Enter the business information in Local Listings, starting with the most popular.
- Industry-specific Business Listings
- For Tampa Realtors, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, HomeSnap, etc.
- Yellow Pages
- Ensure consistency across the web. Not only the things that matter to Google, but also the things that will matter to Google once they figure out how to track them, like your brand’s voice, tone, branding. Who knows, in the future, you won’t necessarily want a totally different guy writing your GMB Listing as the guy writing your Yelp Listing.
- Consistency is key. Lack of consistency turns off consumers and kills conversions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Local SEO
Is Local SEO a good investment?
Local SEO is a good investment for you if you have:
a Business that serves at least one specific city, with or without a physical / brick-and-mortar location, and a dedicated phone number?
Do I have to have a local address?
Yes. While you may be able to get away with fake Suite Numbers or PO Boxes for a time, but Google does crack down on what it considers Fake GMB Listings, which are often legitimate businesses that alter an address with fake Suite or Unit Numbers. This can be innocent enough to do, as you’d think it will make your business stand out from the other business you share a building with, but Google has a pretty good idea of what addresses are legit or not. Not to mention, it doesn’t help your rankings at all. And if (let’s assume “when”) they notice, Google will penalize you. Seriously, when Google drops the hammer, it’s no joke – their penalties can cost your business.
Is Local SEO important in Tampa?
Tampa Local SEO is very important. As a major metropolitan area, Tampa receives search traffic even from people living in the rural outskirts of the city, and often as a Geographic Qualifier.
We already provide high quality Local SEO services for other Tampa businesses like yours – would you like to apply for Local SEO Services in Tampa?
Will Shared Offices, Buildings, Phone Lines, or Suite Numbers cause problems for Local SEO?
We won’t sugarcoat it, they’re not ideal – but read on, there is hope!
Sharing addresses, buildings, phone lines, and suite numbers will mean that you may have to somehow prove to Google that you really do exist at the designated address. In other words, make sure you really are sharing the space you’re claiming, because it would be a little less than ideal if the real tenant of Unit 205 found out you thought you two were. Awkward.
And they will find out, because Google sends a postcard to your address so you can verify you live there. It’d be even more awkward if they report you for what Google will consider a Fake GMB Listing. Get ready for a Soft Suspension at best, and a Hard Suspension at worst. How does having your business listing completely removed from Google search results sound?
Completely business-ravaging? We thought so too.
If you don’t have a valid physical address of any kind, See Help with Local SEO
What to do when your Google My Business Listing gets Suspended
Does my business have a website to rank well in Local SEO?
Short answer No, Long answer, Of course.
Technically, in the short term, it may be possible to rank on page one of a Google search without a website. However, larger factors overwhelmingly indicate that you don’t want to be without a website for long.
- The social effect of not having a website on your business’ reputation
- Not having a website is almost guaranteed to put you behind all of your competitors, for numerous reasons
- Rules may change at some point, demanding you have at least a basic or placeholder website. Google even created their own easy website builder just to force some aged or technologically inept business owners to that effect. It’s a sign.
- No website means no traditional SEO – meaning you’re choosing to inherently limit yourself and your abilities to rank well for something other than local searches.
Don’t have a website for your business yet? Been there. We get it, first time for everything. We can help, if you’d like – give us a call, we’ll chat like friends.
Should I use the same phone number [everywhere]?
You should use the same phone number, unless you intend to use a special call tracking number to track where calls are coming from (from your other marketing materials, or from your My Google Business Listing.
Can I use a call tracking phone number on my My Google Business listing?
Contrary to popular belief, using a call tracking number will not hurt your rankings as long as you add it as a second phone line, in addition to the phone number you post everywhere else for your NAP. It looks like this:
Just make sure like in the picture, you add your main telephone line as an Additional Line, because customers are always going to call the first number listed.