For local-focused businesses, you must seize the opportunity to rank high in local searches.
In other words, developing your local search engine optimization.
Local SEO is when search engines rely on signals (such as local content, social profile pages, links and citations) to provide the most relevant local results to the user. It’s all about delivering the best and more relevant local search engine results.
After searching for a nearby product or service online, about 76 percent of consumers will visit that business the same day (and about 28 percent of all local searches result in a purchase). Another report suggests that four out of five consumers use search to find local information.
Don’t be one of the 70 percent of small businesses without an SEO strategy.
The following are 11 tips to help you boost your local SEO and beat out your competition.
Create a Google My Business listing
If you haven’t already set up your Google My Business listing, this is a great place to start boosting your local SEO.
Google My Business is a top influencing factor
Google My Business listings are considered a top influencing factor for local SEO.
When creating your listing, make sure that you completely fill out your profile. You’ll want to list your products, services and a secondary business category (which gives more context about your services).
Create Google Posts for more user generated content
Google My Business also features Google Posts, where you can create mini posts for your potential customers and (more importantly probably) show Google that you are actively managing your listing.
Create listings in other directories
Google My Business isn’t all that’s out there, and other directories can be very powerful as well.
Other directories to list your business in
Some directories to consider include (but are not limited to):
- Angie’s List
- Bing Places
In addition, research if there are any local online directories that you should be part of.
Consistency is key
While being listed on various directories is important for local SEO, keep in mind that your information (specifically your name and location) are correct and up to date.
Keep information up-to-date
If there are discrepancies and/or outdated information, Google and other search engines won’t know which are correct and also won’t trust your overall online presence.
Even something as small as the difference between “Avenue” and “Ave.” or an outdated phone number on one listing can lower your local search ranking, so double-check all your listings for clean consistency.
Google also allows consumers to suggest changes to a business’s Google My Business profile, so be sure to monitor any automatic updates you didn’t make yourself.
Use local keywords
Keywords in general are a huge part of great SEO practices. Applied to local SEO, it’s about thinking local and even hyper local.
For instance, your town and even your neighborhood would be great options for anyone searching for a business in your industry near them.
Where to include keywords
You’ll want to include these in your listings, on your website and even in your URL if possible. For your website, think:
- Title tags
- Meta description
Just be sure to not keyword stuff. The most effective use of keywords for SEO (even local SEO) is consistent, appropriate usage.
Get local with your content
Content is king when it comes to SEO. Think of your website like a planet, and the content is the gravity that pulls internet users in (through SEO).
Focus on local, well-written content
Broader content may appeal to a bigger, more national audience. But if you’re trying to boost your local SEO, consider peppering in some localized content.
Specific topics vary depending on your industry, but consider the pain points of your local customers as well as moments of community pride. How can either or both of those relate to your business and expertise?
Publish content on multiple channels
Publishing also can range from a blog on your website to social media posts, whatever makes the most sense for your company.
Load speed matters
A website that does not load quickly or display well on mobile devices will potentially turn off potential customers.
When it comes to SEO (and specifically local SEO), about 30 percent of all mobile searches are location-related, and search engines (like Google) favor mobile-optimized websites in their results.
Consider voice searches
Alongside mobile optimization is the need for voice-search optimization to boost your local SEO.
Mobile voice searches are 300 percent more likely to have local intent than text searches.
Voice search is somewhat of a newer feature to consider but is definitely being used more and more. But because it’s a newer consideration, you can definitely get ahead of your competition by optimizing for voice sooner than later.
Build up your inbound links
Otherwise known as “backlinks,” building up your inbound links is a generally great practice for traditional SEO that also benefits your local SEO.
Inbound links are links from other websites that direct users to your website.
Improve your internal linking
Improved internal linking also supports website navigation in a way that helps search engines best understand who you are, what you offer and why you might be relevant to any given local or broader search.
Make sure that you’re auditing your website regularly so that the structure is clean and updated.
Find out more about the difference between on-page and off-page SEO.
Create location pages
If your business has multiple locations, consider creating separate location-based pages to reflect each location.
This applies to your website, your business listings and even your Facebook pages (where location pages are an available feature).
This will help each location optimize for its own locality and boost its own local SEO.
Monitor and engage with your online reviews
Whether it’s Google, Yelp, Facebook, you name it, it’s imperative to monitor (and engage with) your online reviews.
Follow up on positive and negative reviews
Obviously, positive reviews are great for your business reputation and local SEO ranking, while negative reviews and downgrade your ranking and impact your reputation.
First of all, there is nothing you can do to prevent negative reviews from happening other than optimizing your customer service efforts as much as possible.
Negative reviews are an opportunity
What we recommend is responding to all negative reviews with the goal of resolving the issue raised by the reviewer. This helps mitigate the hit to your reputation because you are trying to make the customer happy and is a positive signal to search engines.
On the flip side, you still want to respond to all positive reviews as well. Engagement in general is a great boost to your overall SEO (including local SEO).
And don’t forget to encourage your happy, satisfied customers to review you on key platforms as well.
Local SEO best practices often go hand in hand with traditional SEO best practices. Treat all of it as a marathon, where your efforts will pay off in the long run.
Also, find out if you’re making these 13 common SEO mistakes.