Local SEO is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that helps your business be more visible in local search results on Google. Any business that has a physical location or serves a geographic area can benefit from local SEO.
Optimizing your local SEO means more website traffic, leads, and conversions since the strategy are more relevant to your base of local customers. Without local SEO, your business could be losing out on a significant amount of opportunities.
How do you optimize local SEO?
Create a Google My Business Account
Optimizing your Google listing (profile) is perhaps the most effective way to rank higher on Google Maps as well as gain visibility in Google Search local results. In order to get access to your Business Profile to make these optimizations, however, you need a Google My Business account associated with that profile. Once you provide all of the requested information in your Google My Business account dashboard, all of that information will be added to your Business Profile, which appears in Google Search local results, the Google Search Knowledge Panel, and Google Maps.
- Create a Google My Business account and verify ownership of the business
- Provide accurate and up-to-date information
- Include your logo, hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, the product or service you sell, and plenty of images
- Encourage your customers to review your business online
- Respond sincerely to customer reviews
- Publish posts (announcing products, events, and special offers) to your Business Profile using Google My Business’ dashboard.
Get Regular Reviews from Customers
Getting your customers to write positive reviews for your business doesn’t just optimize your Google My Business presence; it also encourages more local customers to buy from you. BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey reveals that 85% of customers believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Ask for a review in person
- Send a post-purchase email or text asking customers to write a review (screen them via survey to ensure you’re not approaching dissatisfied customers)
- Respond to existing reviews in a professional way, thanking reviewers and addressing complaints in not-so-favorable reviews
Optimize for Voice Search
Voice search is growing rapidly. Therefore, in local SEO, it’s important to optimize how people ask questions when they speak into devices, as opposed to how they type out their searches.
Customers use more long-tail keywords when doing voice searches. Because of this, you’ll also have to adjust the SEO of your content to fit the more conversational tone of someone speaking. For example, you’ll want to account for the traditional question starters (who, what, when, 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
- Create location-specific pages on your website with quality local content if you serve different parts of a region.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile
It’s important for your website to work well on mobile devices, so if you haven’t yet invested in making your website mobile-friendly, it’s time to do so. Here are just a few reasons why your mobile presence is critical to your business:
- Mobile-friendly sites show up higher in search results
- Mobile searches make up more than half of searches on Google.com
- For many advertisers, the majority of traffic comes from people on their mobile phones
- If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, visitors are 5 times more likely to leave
Is your website mobile-friendly?
Picture yourself as a potential customer and open your website on your phone. How fast does your website load? How easy is it to find what you’re looking for?
When someone visits your website on mobile, they’ll expect answers right away. They’ll want to quickly learn about your business and decide whether they’re interested. Their experience on your website will heavily influence their impression of your business and the likelihood that they’ll become a customer.
Designing your website for mobile means focusing on simple, clear navigation that connects people to what they’re looking for.
Let’s look at a few of the elements that make an effective mobile website:
Does your site load quickly? Nearly half of all visitors will leave a mobile website if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds. Minimize loading time (the time it takes for a webpage to show up on your screen) so that visitors can quickly and easily navigate your website.
Is it easy to navigate? On a smaller screen, it can be hard for people to find what they want. The more visitors have to hunt around or zoom in for information, the more likely they’ll get frustrated and leave. You can help visitors find what they’re looking for by simplifying your site menu and trying to keep everything visible without having to zoom in to read.
Is it easy to take action? Your mobile website should make it quick and easy for visitors to perform common tasks such as contacting you, searching for a product, or making a purchase. Try to minimize the number of steps it takes to complete a form or transaction.
Hone in on Local Keywords
Your keywords should be relevant to local customers.
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.
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.
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.
- Accurate business name, address, and phone number consistent across all directories
- A backlink to your website
- A thorough description of your business
Get High-Quality Backlinks
It’s vital to get links to boost your local SEO, but their quality is important.
- Create high-quality content on your site so others want to link to your content
- Guest blog on reputable sites with a high domain authority
- Engage with local influencers on social media or by email to get them to link back to you
Create a Dedicated Webpage for Each Product/Service You Offer
While it can be tempting to just lump all of your products or services together on one big page, resist doing so. Instead, dedicate one page to each unique product or service you offer.
Your local SEO isn’t as powerful if you lump everything into one page because search engines tend not to see your brand as an authority in one specific area. This lowers your ranking possibilities.
Summary: Local SEO is More Important Than Ever
SEO changes often and rapidly. You never know when Google will introduce new features on its SERPs for local searches, but you can count on these changes coming. That’s why it’s essential to always stay on top of local SEO. By implementing these actionable items, you will ensure that your business doesn’t just take advantage of lucrative local searches but also has a solid foundation when new SEO features are introduced. And if you don’t have the bandwidth to make these adjustments, you may want to look into our proven Local Search Management Service.