Local SEO is important for smaller businesses operating at regional level, as opposed to global. While the national SEO concentrates more on search rankings across the country, local SEO preferences appear at SERPs in a particular area. This approach relies on the promotion for local leaders and consumers of your brand, goods and services.
Optimizing your local SEO means more views, leads and sales on your website as the approach is more applicable to your local customer base. Think of this oriented approach as a way to help you compete against larger national brands that have more resources to invest more effectively. By concentrating on unique local-SEO to-dos, you will neutralize the gain of larger brands that systematically optimize for wider keywords and rely on brand awareness to pull in traffic rather than value propositions.
- Create a Google My Business Account
Perhaps the most successful way to rank higher on Google Maps is to refine your Google listing (aka your Company Profile), as well as gain exposure in local Google Search results. However, you need a Google My Business Account associated with that profile to get access to your Company Profile to make these modifications. After you have submitted all the required information in your Google My Business Account dashboard, all of that information will be added to your Business Profile, which will appear in local Google Search results, the Google Search Knowledge Panel and Google Maps.
To optimize your Google Business Profile, make sure you:
- Build a Google My Business Account, and verify business ownership
- Include correct and relevant information;
- Include your name, the hours of operation, appropriate methods of payment, the product or service you provide and loads of photos
- Allow consumers to verify their company online
- Honest response to customer feedback
- Add posts to your company profile (announcing goods, activities, and promotional offers) using the Google My Company dashboard.
- Get Regular Reviews from Happy Customers
Getting your clients write positive reviews for your business doesn’t only boost your Google My Business presence; it also invites more local clients to buy from you.
Here are some tips to encourage customers to leave reviews:
- Demand a check in person after sale is closed
- Send a post-purchase email or text demanding that customers write a review (but only after reviewing them through an internal survey to ensure that you do not target unhappy customers);
- Respond to existing feedback in a professional manner, thanking reviewers and answering concerns in revisions that are not so favorable
- Optimize for Voice Search
In the coming years voice search will rise rapidly. Therefore, improving how people ask questions while talking into smartphones, as opposed to how they type out their searches, is crucial in local SEO.
Essentially, when you do voice searches your customers use more long-tail keywords compared to normal searches. Because of that, you’ll also need to change your content’s SEO to suit someone’s more conversational sound. For example, you’ll want to start taking into account the standard question (who, what, where, where, why and how).
- Create Content Based on Local News Stories or Events
There’s nothing quite like authoring content that speaks or relates directly to a local issue to grab your local customers’ attention.
Some strategies include:
- Writing blog posts around local news stories, activities, or events
- Creating videos about local charities or causes that your business supports
- Setting up location-specific webpages on your website with high-quality local content if you serve different parts of a region
- Let’s say you’re a localreal estate business. You can create different pages, one for each of your locations, where you can feature hyperlocal content around news events or changes in the local real-estate market. This strategy could also help you get ranked for each specific location.
- Optimize Your Website for Mobile
A 2018 Stone Temple study that looked at 2017’s mobile vs. desktop trends found that the shift to mobile is occurring faster than expected. Mobile visits to websites grew from 57% in 2016 to 63% in 2017, and the overall visits to websites from desktop shrunk from 43% in 2016 to just 37% in 2017.
Another 2017 study from Acquisio determined that traffic from local searches can be especially lucrative, with a remarkable 75% of all mobile searches that exhibit local intent actually producing in-store, offline visits within 24 hours.
Here are some tips to achieve this:
- Ensure your website loads quickly (no more than three seconds)
- Use bigger fonts that are easy to read
- Use images and copy sparingly, conveying only the information you need (no room for filler on a mobile screen!)
- Ensure intuitive UI for great UX
- Hone in on Local Keywords
Your keywords should be relevant to local customers. It only makes sense, doesn’t it?
Google’s own Keyword Planner lets you filter keyword searches based on location so you get an idea of the popular search terms for a given region. This lets you create a list of locally relevant keywords to target. Once you have them, they should make appearances in your site’s meta content, copy, and URLs.
Also, include mentions of region-specific landmarks and hotspots in your content. For instance, if your local restaurant serves dinner in downtown Seattle, include references to “dining by the Space Needle” or “just steps from the Space Needle” on your site.
- Use Location Pages or a Location-Specific “About Us” Page
Location pages are a must if your business has more than one location in an area. These pages need to provide the following, at a minimum:
- Store hours
- Name, address, and phone number
- Individualized descriptions
- Parking availability
- Google Maps attached to each location page
Take care when you have multiple locations, because you need to create unique content for each page.
If you only have one location, creating an “About Us” page that focuses on local, relevant information is essential. For example, if you have a florist shop, your “About Us” page is the perfect spot to mention your shop’s involvement in supplying the flowers for any parades in your town or city.
- Take Advantage of Online Business Directories
Online business directories are websites like Yelp, Foursquare, MapQuest, and YellowPages, just to name a few. There are many more.
Not only will getting your business name, address, and phone number into these directories help visibility, but it’ll also boost your local SEO.
Your company listing should include the following basics:
- Accurate business name, address, and phone number consistent across all directories
- A backlink to your website
- A thorough description of your business
- Focus on Link Signals (Get High-Quality Backlinks)
According to the analysis of Local Search Ranking Factors by Moz in 2017, link signals are the first and second most important factors, respectively, for local pack (or snack pack) results and localized organic production. Link signals are backlinks which point to your website.
To improve your local SEO, it ‘s vital to get links but their consistency is crucial.
Here are some hints to get high quality backlinks:
- Produce high quality content on your website so that others would like to connect to your page
- Guest blog on reputable sites with a highly registered domain
- Engage local social media influencers or get them to connect back to you via email
- Create a Dedicated Webpage for Each Product/Service You Offer
Although it can be tempting to merely bundle all of your goods or services together on one wide list, resist. Instead devote one page to every single product or service you sell.
Your local SEO juice isn’t as effective because search engines don’t want to see your brand as an expert in a particular region. This reduces the chances of ranking.
If you’re a company with no different goods or services but have different locations, just use location-based copies for each tab. “Dental marketing,” for example, would become “New York Dental Marketing,” or “Buffalo Dental Marketing.”