I read a lot of threads here talking about SEO and Local SEO. The threads cause me to ask an important question. How seriously do you really take your local SEO? We talk a lot about local citations and business listings, but sometimes it appears we lose sight of some core concepts that are crucial to helping you succeed. Let me run through a few items that cause some concern. Not all citations and directory listings are created equal. I see people talk about volume of citations instead of focusing on quality of citations. You want to have a good quantity, but first start with taking care of quality. I am going to break quality into two areas, too. The first quality concern is the quality of the citation site. Focus on getting citations from the most important locations first. Are you listed on Yelp, FourSquare, Yahoo, Bing, the YellowPages, and Google? Make sure all of your local profiles on high quality sites are completed and indexed before you move onto lower value citations. The second quality concern is the content you post within your citations. Most of these sites allow you to create extensive profiles. Do you fill them out completely? Do you use unique content on every site? Do you include pictures of your business and/or personnel? Take the time to create a listing you are proud of, and it will bolster your search engine rankings, too. Missed Opportunities – How often do you turn away opportunities to explode your local rankings? I bet you never thought about that. Did the local high school call your business this year and ask you to participate in any activities that would have lead to your business being mentioned on their website along with a full listing of your address, phone number, and name? You should have done it. Did the local Chamber of Commerce ask to do anything and you said no? You should have done it, if it would have lead to getting on their website. What about other local organizations including churches, newspapers, clubs, or business groups? If they have a website where they publish stories about those events and mention the businesses, you should take the time to do it. Hidden Opportunities – Does your business use an insurance agency, accounting firm, lawyer, and a bank? Almost all of those businesses have websites are do client satisfaction profiles. You should volunteer to be highlighted by their business. It is going to take a little time, but those links are powerful. Yes, this is important: http://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors ! Engaging Your Community – Let me guess. You do not have time to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ for your business. If you do not have the time, you need to assign someone else to do it, or hire a local SEO firm that can. As one example, directorybug.com offers a service to keep their clients listed in social media along with normal local SEO. It has two major benefits for your business. Engaging with your customers reminds them to come back and do business with you, but it also leads to them creating more links back to your website and your online profiles. Yes, even Wikipedia points to social media and social search as being an element of local search, as you can see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_search_(Internet) Do you remember all of those sites you created citations on, both the high quality and low quality ones? Most of them have areas for customer reviews. You can ask your clients both in your office and through your social media sites to leave reviews for you. Those reviews bolster your quality points for local SEO. Do you share pictures and videos on Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, and YouTube? You should. Make sure those profiles are complete and point to your business. Add pictures and videos highlighting customers, their children, your employees, their children, products, and services. You will be surprised at how many people are interested and share your content. Yes, all of these items take time, but what is the value of being ranked high in your local listings? If you do not have the time to focus on some or all of these elements, find someone who can help. As the world continues to become more mobile with computing, using mobile phones and tablets, your local SEO efforts will become even more important. Your potential clients search for services and products on the fly and call one of the first businesses listed. Will it be you? It can, if you take your local SEO seriously, instead of just trusting on a few citations to get the job done.