Local search can have an extraordinary impact on small businesses. With 4 out of 5 of individuals using search to discover local information, you could be losing out on 80% of your potential customer base.
If your organization isn’t optimized for local search. In other words, local SEO is paramount if you want your business to remain competitive.
To assist you in optimizing your business for local SEO, we’ve developed an extensive guide, that will address local search best practices, and, step-by-step instructions on how to optimize for Google My Business, and more.
As an experienced website design company and internet marketing agency, we are confident that on completion of the guide, you’ll know exactly how to optimize your business to reach future customers who utilize local search to select which products or services they’re going to purchase.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO revolves around enhancing search visibility for businesses that assist their communities in person.
These may be physical stores with actual locations, like a clothing boutique or doctor’s office, or service-area businesses that aid customers across a specific geographic region, like a pet sitting or carpet cleaning company.
This consists of everything from acquiring a business listing to ensuring a franchise location is visible in a local search on Google. It additionally extends to managing reviews and online ratings, locally-based social media engagement, and more.
Best Practice Local SEO Strategies
To succeed in local search, you must successfully execute the following items: bolster your on-page SEO by upgrading your website, optimize your Google My Business account, and perform well online.
Although it might sound daunting, it’s completely possible to succeed in all three phases with some diligence and persistence. Let’s investigate each one more thoroughly.
Optimize for Google My Business
Google My Business is now considered the Rolls Royce of local search— considering Google clearly feels most at ease distributing content it can support and authenticate, Google My Business is their tool to assist your organization in satisfying Google’s requirements.
If Google can confirm your business as genuine, it can conceivably honor your company with a prized sidebar space in Google local search.
To make sure you’re optimized for Google My Business, you’ll want to develop and verify a Google My Business page, prompt your customers to share reviews on the web.
Use Google Posts inside your account and respond genuinely to reviews, indicating location.
For instance, “We value your opinion on [service/product] in [city, state]. We appreciate your feedback and hope to work with you again soon. Cordially, the [full company name] team.”
Given that we’ve talked about optimizing your business for Google My Business, let’s examine five straightforward website updates to enhance your local SEO.
1. Update Internal Linking Structure
Even though external links pointing to your website are optimal, fine-tuning your internal linking structure will further elevate your SEO rankings.
Why is internal linking important? It accomplishes the following:
- Assists website navigation
- Assigns page authority and ranking power between pages
- Aids with information architecture and site ranking
2. Refine URL, Title Tags, Headers, Meta Description, and Content
In regards to content, each new blog post you create is a freshly indexed page for your website, a new page in which to hone in on a geographic search phrase, and a new chance to get discovered in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Each time you create a piece of content, you must optimize the content for search engines by implementing large amounts of keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body.
If you’re having difficulty developing geo-targeted content, contemplate focusing on case studies and customer testimonials.
3. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Local search and mobile search are inextricably linked (90% of smartphone users perform local searches on their gadgets). In most cases, individuals will use your site in a mobile setting to search reviews, discover contact information, and locate directions to your location.
Make it simple for your potential customers by building a mobile-friendly website. In today’s competitive digital climate, a mobile-friendly website isn’t only good practice, it’s a necessity.
4. Include Location Pages on your Website
If you own multiple brick and mortar stores, develop location pages. Location pages furnish visitors with the business data (hours of operation, address, email address, phone number, etc.), location-specific information (directions, places of interest, where to park, etc.), and more.
Moreover, it’s critical you don’t reproduce identical content over numerous location pages.
For single-location businesses, we recommend writing a locally descriptive About Us page. You’ll score serious brownie points with Google if you include a Google Map to your website on your corresponding location page or pages.
5. Generate Local Content
Google keeps getting wiser, which means content creators are now able to write for users, as opposed to Google, Bing, and other search engines.
However, while writing about general topics will draw a wide audience, in some instances, it’s better to sharpen your focus and write about local or industry news to pull in a local crowd.
Become the locally recognized expert for your industry by promoting local industry meetings, news, and similar educational content on your blog. Think of top-of-the-funnel content that extends outside what your company offers.
For instance, if you’re a local commercial cleaning company and you’re attempting to capture the interest of businesses that are new to your area, develop a useful resource to aid these businesses with getting familiar with your city.
A map of local service providers or a calendar of city-wide events could both boost your persona and include highly applicable on-page local signals.
Engage with Directories and the World Wide Web
You’ve discovered how to enhance your business for Google My Business and how to elevate your internal SEO by fine-tuning your website.
Now, let’s explore how you can implement, directories, and inbound links, and AP consistency to help your business move closer to the top spot on local search.
Name, Address, Phone Consistency
It’s essential to make it simple for users and search engines to discover you. To accomplish this, establish your NAP – an acronym for name, address, and phone number (Including area code).
This should be incorporated as crawlable HTML text on your website. Steer clear of only integrating the NAP within an image – images are unable to be crawled from Google and other search engines like HTML text. Usually, NAP resides in the footer or header of the website.
Optimize Online Directories and Citations
For companies based in the USA, these four map data aggregators offer an enormous volume of the map data for Yelp, Apple, Google+ Local, Bing, and more.
- Neustar Localeze
- Express Update
- My Business Listing Manager
Uniformity is Essential
Confirm that your citations are seamless and thorough over these four data aggregators. Deviations such as abbreviations, misspellings, and a missing suite number or incorrect phone number can cause a host of problems.
If Google can’t conclude which information about your company is accurate, it may not display your business whatsoever in search results. Also, be certain to eliminate any duplicate listings you locate.
Acquire Inbound Links with Relevance and Authority
Inbound links are fruitful opportunities to enhance your local SEO – each inbound link signals to Google you’re a genuine business, and inbound links can increase your domain authority as well. Here are several ways to obtain inbound links:
- Guest Blog Posting
- Sponsorships or Partnerships
Begin with your own private network, which can comprise the Chamber of Commerce, licensing bureaus, business improvement districts, resellers, trade associations, vendors, manufacturers and more.
Contemplate sponsoring a webinar or meet-up, promoting something local you are passionate about, hosting a community event and building relationships with high-profile individuals and decision-makers.
Become a guest blogger, speak to and concerning (enthusiastically, naturally!) other individuals in your industry, and serve as a resource provider on behalf of the community.
When you’re an active player in community discussions, the chatter surrounding you increases by way of inbound links, social media development, and media coverage.
Since .edu links are the creme de la creme for domain authority, we recommend acquiring some links by sponsoring a scholarship in your geographic area. It needs to be applicable to your industry and deliver the correct signals to your domain.
Use Google Posts to Get More Traffic and Enhance Social Engagement
In the past few years, Google has transformed its ‘My Business’ service from a basic NAP listing into a more integrated solution for businesses.
With the most recent developments, Google My Business now provides various features for displaying your company and your products, in addition to communicating with individuals who discover you in Google Search and on Google Maps.
Don’t lose out on this fantastic (and free!) opportunity to boost your social engagement.
One of the pivotal, latest additions to contemplate is Google Posts, which are brief articles that can promote any kind of information about your business.
Using Google Posts, you can present your latest announcements, and current news, and they’ll be presented clearly on your Google My Business listing, in addition to both Google Search and Google Maps results.
What Should Be Your Next Move?
This extensive guidebook to Local SEO is meant to spur your local success. While some of the strategies are one-shot endeavors, other activities like creating reviews and publishing locally applicable content is an undertaking your company must do continually for long-standing local SEO success.
Keep both in consideration as you aim to expand your digital footprint.