Did you know that nearly half of all Google searches are local?
If you run a small business that thrives on appealing to the local community, you need to take local SEO seriously. Search engine optimization is a crucial digital marketing tool, but when you’re doing it locally, there’s a different set of rules you have to live by.
In this post, we’re going to give you some local SEO tips to get you started. Beating the competition for the attention of your niche audience won’t be easy, but keep reading, follow our advice, and you’ll be well on your way to establishing your business as a local mainstay.
Seven Local SEO
1. Google My Business Profile
To get started with local SEO, the first thing you need to do is fill out your Google My Business listings profile. This is akin to putting your phone number in the phone book. Having all of the details correctly displayed on Google is essential to your online visibility.
Create an account for your business, then fill out all of the fields as fully and accurately as you can (name, address, service area, category, contact details, etc.). Once you’ve verified ownership of the business and given all of the essential details, your business will show up on map searches and the normal SERP.
Make sure to keep your GMB profile updated as your business develops. If you accept new payment methods, your hours change, or you offer new products/services, it should immediately go up on your Google page.
2. Getting More Ratings and Reviews
With your GMB profile properly set up, your business is officially on the map, but still fairly anonymous. There are numerous tools and tricks you can use to optimize your local SEO. One of these is building your online reputation with positive ratings and reviews.
Think about when you perform a localized Google search. No matter what service you’re looking for, you’re going to look for the businesses that have the highest average Google rating and the most comments.
Ratings and reviews don’t just appear on your GMB profile, you need to prompt customers to review your service every chance you get. They’ll be difficult to get when you’re starting out, but encourage each new customer to leave you a review on Google and you’ll gradually see the boost it gives to local SEO.
3. Optimize Your URLs and Tags
When it comes to your actual website, one of the best ways to optimize it for local SEO is to optimize your URL, meta descriptions, and title tags. This all has to do with the way that Google indexes information. The more location-based info you have in these fields, the more clear it is to Google where you need to be.
Try to integrate local keywords into each of your landing pages, whether it’s for a product or a blog post. If you have lots of landing pages with optimized tags and URLs, Google will start to associate them with your website and they’ll all move further up the SERP.
4. Create Local Content
Content is an important part of search engine optimization in general. This includes content on your website, as well as content on social media. There was a time when stuffing your content full of the right keywords might get the job done, but that’s not how Google really works anymore.
To boost local SEO, you need to create informative, engaging content that keeps people on your website. It should be relevant to the products and services that you offer, but also relevant to your location.
If you run a local auto shop in Minnesota, for example, your content might include a blog post about the importance of servicing your car before winter. A local restaurant in Boston might talk about the state of the local fishing industry as it relates to restaurants.
Your stream of content should be steady and always well thought out. You should be trying to establish your voice, and your brand, and boost your local SEO while you do it.
5. Getting More Citations and Backlinks
Another aspect of increasing your visibility in the local community has to do with link building and citations. Backlinks are links from other local businesses or publications that go back to one of your landing pages. Citations are mentions of your business on other websites.
You can get more backlinks and local business citations through online networking, real networking, and guest blogging. It also helps when you’re creating high-quality content that provides useful information to the reader.
6. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
A billion people use Google Maps every month. Many of these people are on their phones looking for local businesses when they do so. If you want people to look your business up as they’re passing through, then you’d better have a mobile-friendly website.
Mobile search is always increasing and we’re now at the point where mobile-friendly websites are just as (or more) important than desktop ones. Google uses your mobile site as an important ranking factor, so if you haven’t given this its due, you’d best get on it.
7. Optimize Your Site
There are ways to optimize your website for local SEO that might not be as obvious. One smart tactic is to create landing pages for every product/service that your business offers.
While it’s easier to lump everything together on one landing page, multiple pages will help Google see you as an expert in multiple areas. If you offer one service but have multiple locations, make landing pages for each of the locations instead. Google Analytics is the process of setting up goals to track the visitor engagement data that’s most important to you. Goals measure specific actions, like when a visitor clicks on a particular button, views an order confirmation URL, or even scrolls all the way down a page. These completed actions (called goal conversions) provide valuable information that allows you to assess your digital marketing campaigns and tailor your SEO strategy to drive even better results.
Taking Local SEO Tips to Heart
Local SEO can be overwhelming because it encompasses so much of what you do online. These local SEO tips should be enough to get you started, but it’s crucial to stay on top of ever-changing SEO trends. The more you work on local SEO, the more established your business will be in the local community.
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