is a mighty tool for smaller sized businesses that want to attract high-intent qualified leads, especially if they need to target people in their city, state, or region. The goal of local SEO is to increase a local business’s ranking positions in search results for a particular location. To simplify it, think of it like a laser beam focusing on a specific area rather than a flashlight spreading over a wide area. Like anything else related to SEO, it’s not an exact science since technology evolves but there are tactics that we’ve consistently seen that improve local SEO. With our local SEO guide, you’ll be able to enhance your positions in local search
results by following these seven simple actions.
1. Set up and optimize your “Google My Business” listing
One of the most important things you can do to enhance local SEO is to claim your business on Google My Business. Not only does this allow you to establish your business’s presence on Google, but it’ll also allow your business to show up on Google Maps and appear in search results on all devices. Your business may even appear in the sidebar space (known as a ‘local pack’) of a Google search which is prime real estate.
Here are some tips to optimize your Google My Business listing:
- Verify your listing
- Include detailed, accurate, and up-to-date information
- Add your logo, hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, the product or service you sell, and quality images
- Ask customers to leave a Google review
- Respond quickly and sincerely to customer reviews
- Create and add content to the listing’s Google Posts
- Perform a routine check to your Google My Business listing
Speaking of customer reviews…
2. Encourage customers to leave online reviews
If your business doesn’t have any reviews, whether on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, then potential customers are going to be much more hesitant to buy from or hire you. According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey
, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses - and that jumps up to 95% of people aged 18-34. Furthermore, 85% of customers believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The takeaway: online reviews are really important!
Don’t be aggressive or overly repetitive (i.e. annoying) when asking customers to leave online reviews but in a non-pressure way you can:
- Politely ask for a review in person after a purchase or service is completed
- Send a post-sale email or text asking customers to write a review (but you might want to screen them via an internal survey so you don’t approach dissatisfied customers)
- Courteously respond to existing reviews by thanking the reviewer and addressing complaints in negative reviews
If you’re getting more neutral and negative reviews than positive, it’s a major red flag you should pay attention to and see if there’s something you need to fix with your business. Receiving criticism is uncomfortable but take it as an opportunity to evaluate your business and make any necessary changes.
3. Optimize other local business listings
Google isn’t the only place where you can have a business listing - Yelp, Facebook, YellowPages, Apple Maps, and other local business directories
should also be considered since they can drive more potential customers to your website. Having multiple local business listings will increase your organic search traffic and qualified leads.
Wherever you have a local business listing, it should include:
- Accurate business name, address, and phone number consistent across all directories
- A backlink to your website
- A description of your business
- No misspellings
- Avoid using abbreviations or anything confusing
Having consistent business information across all of your listings will ensure people don’t get confused because they’re unsure which one to trust.
4. Have a mobile-friendly website
According to Statista
, 52% of all website traffic worldwide in 2018 was generated through mobile phones, up from 50% percent in 2017, and mobile accounts for half of all global web pages served. The growing shift towards mobile search demonstrates that you need a mobile-friendly website for local SEO as well as overall SEO.
Here are some ways to optimize your website for mobile:
- Reduce page load speeds (e.g. optimize images)
- Make sure the copy is easy to read
- Use images and copy wisely (there’s less space on mobile screens vs desktops)
- Add social media share buttons to make it easier for users to share pages or blog posts
- Create an intuitive design for a better user experience
Given the wide variety of mobile devices these days, it’s essential to have a ‘responsive’ web design
so your website renders well across devices and screen sizes. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a tool available in Search Console which you can use to examine whether or not your website is mobile responsive.
5. Optimize your website content for local keywords
Update your website content to include keywords that are relevant to your local customers. Google’s Keyword Planner is a tool you can use to search for local keywords and see how a list of keywords might perform. Google Trends is another one you can use to analyze search queries in Google Search across different regions. Keep in mind that some local keywords are going to be more popular than others and also pay attention to what your competitors are targeting since what’s working for them might work for you.
Once you’ve compiled a list of local keywords, weave them into your website content, meta descriptions, titles, and URLs. However, avoid keyword stuff. Instead, evenly distribute your keywords throughout the content to make it seem natural rather than spammy.
6. Get high-quality backlinks
Link signals are backlinks that point to your site from another site, and according to Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors study
, they’re pretty important. The study reveals that link signals are the most important factor for local pack (aka ‘snack pack’) results and the second most important factor for local organic results. While backlinks enhance your local SEO, their quality does matter.
How to get high-quality backlinks:
- Create great website content so others will want to share and link to it
- Guest blog on reputable sites - the higher the domain authority, the better
- Engage with local influencers on social media or contact them through their website/blog or by email asking them to link back to you
7. Strengthen your social media
Social media has an impact on local SEO which is you should strengthen your social media presence to appear more credible and trustworthy while also generating backlinks and high-quality traffic. Social media, however, isn’t something you can set and forget. You need to be active in order to increase brand awareness and amplify your reach.
Don’t just post anything though, make sure your content is relevant, interesting, and useful to your audience. When you post great content, people will be more likely to follow you, visit your website, and share your content which exposes your brand, products, or services to more people. Social media is an effective digital marketing strategy that can help increase your brand’s visibility and website traffic while strengthening your local SEO.
The Final Takeaway: Don’t Ignore Local SEO
Google is always introducing new features on its SERPs for local searches which is why you can’t afford to ignore your local SEO. Your competitors probably aren’t! Remember to keep your eye on local SEO trends and stay on top of your strategy. By implementing these seven tactics, your business will have better position rankings in local searches which also enhances your overall SEO. As always, if you need help with any of these steps or would like to know more how local SEO can help your business, please call our office 407-682-2222 or fill out the contact form