Studies show that 97 percent of people learn about local companies online over any other medium.
That means your website is more important than a yellow page listing, newspaper ads, radio spots, or any other form of advertising. If your business doesn’t rank near the top of the search results in Google, you’re losing business.
Let’s look at 10 ways SEO can help you dominate the local search results.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of optimizing your website for local searches. In other words, people who are looking for a business in their area — not just general information about the products or services you sell.
Google and other search engines can recognize when someone is searching for something local based on the phrases they search. For example, if someone includes “near me” or “in <city name>” in their search, they clearly want a local company.
Local SEO vs Organic SEO
The alternative to local SEO is organic SEO, which optimizes for any searches, regardless of where they’re coming from.
Organic SEO is more general than local SEO. It typically targets people earlier in the buying cycle, when they’re still looking for information, or people who are looking for an online store to buy something.
If your business works with local clients, local search engine optimization is a much more effective way to connect with them.
Local Search Results in the Google Local Pack
When Google identifies a search as local, the top results are all for local businesses. These results rank above the more general organic results, giving them much more visibility.
The first three of those local results are set apart from the rest and include even more information about the businesses. This is known as the Local 3-Pack and is where you want your business to rank for the best results.
Several SEO strategies will help you rank in the Local 3-Pack.
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
The most important ranking factor in local SEO is your Google My Business listing. This is your business profile on Google and it provides them with details like your hours of operation, address, contact information, and website.
To optimize your GMB profile, there are several steps to take, including:
- Verify your ownership of the business
- Keep the information up to date
- Fill out all the details in your profile
- Publish posts to your profile from the Google My Business dashboard
Missing this step will limit the effectiveness of the other SEO tips we’re covering in this article so do this right away.
Create Location-Specific Landing Pages
We’ve already mentioned that Google can recognize when a searcher is looking for something local. The same is true of the content on your website — it can identify local content, but only if you make it obvious.
Instead of creating a “catch-all” landing page in the hopes of ranking for every possible search, create location-specific content to help Google identify it as local. This means setting up different landing pages for things people might search for.
For example, a coffee shop might set up a landing page that talks about where it’s located and any landmarks nearby. If someone searches for a coffee shop near that particular location, that page is much more likely to rank than a general “about us” page would.
Keep Your NAP Consistent
One of the key SEO indicators for any local business is known as the NAP — Name, Address, and Phone number. These are the things that most local searchers most want to know.
You can enter this information in your Google My Business profile to tell Google what to display in the search results but you’ll likely include it in other places as well, such as:
- Your own website
- Facebook pages
- Other business directories
- Chamber of Commerce listings
Make sure you enter the same NAP details everywhere, including any abbreviations. For example, if your address is 123 West Broadway, don’t mix “123 West Broadway” and “123 W Broadway” on different sites. Use the same format everywhere.
If you use different styles in different listings, it makes it more difficult for Google to know what the correct details are. And if there’s any doubt about the information, Google will likely rank other sites above yours that have more consistent details.
Include Location Information in Your Website’s Meta Tags
Meta tags are part of the HTML code that makes up web pages. Visitors don’t see most of the information they contain but they help the search engines determine what a page is about.
Include location information in the Title, Description, Keyword, and other meta tags to help Google pinpoint your business’ location. Some of these tags, like the Title and Description, also show up in the search results so it can help searchers recognize that you’re local to them.
Optimize for Voice Search
Voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and OK Google drive a lot of search traffic, especially for local searches. A lot of people will simply ask their smartphone for an answer, rather than browsing to Google to search themselves. And data shows that a lot of those searchers are looking for local information.
The content on your website should answer the most common questions people might have about your product or service. For example, your location, phone number, and hours of operation are things that a lot of people would ask a voice assistant. Make sure those answers are clearly detailed on your site.
Optimize for Mobile Devices
Roughly 85 percent of Americans own a smartphone, which is often their primary computing device. They’re much more likely to search for a local business on their phone than on a computer.
Because mobile devices have much smaller screens, it’s important to optimize your website for those devices. If someone lands on your site on their phone but it’s designed for larger computer screens, they won’t be able to read anything, if it displays at all.
Most of those people won’t make any effort to read your page. They’ll just click back to Google and choose one of your competitors instead.
Target Local Keywords in Your Content
There’s an old saying in SEO that “content is king.” While there are lots of tricks for improving your search ranking, the content on your site is what matters most. If you don’t provide high-quality content, visitors won’t stay long and Google won’t rank you very well.
This is true for local SEO as well but in that case, you also need to optimize your content for local keywords. Include things like the city name, neighborhood, landmarks, and other location-specific words and phrases to help Google identify exactly where your business is located. Read more: vietsn
Get High-Quality, Relevant Backlinks
Links pointing to your website from other sites, known as backlinks, are another important factor in search engine optimization, including local SEO. But similar to targeting local keywords in your content, try to target other local businesses and organizations for some of your backlinks.
Get other businesses that are complementary to yours to link to your website (and do the same in return). Join organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club and set up a profile page on their website with a link pointing to yours.
Manage Your Online Reviews
Online reviews are one of the best ways to get people’s attention in search results. For example, if you’re ranked third in the Local 3-Pack but your listing shows a 5-star rating, you’ll get more clicks than a top-ranked site with a lower rating.
Ask your customers to post a review as part of your sales follow-up process. Respond to those reviews as well so people will see that you’re engaged with your customers.
This goes for negative reviews as well. If someone leaves a bad review, respond to it to show that you’re listening and open to feedback.
Create Content About Your Location
An easy way to come up with ideas for new blog posts and other content on your website is to write about local news and events. These can be things directly related to your business, such as a fundraiser that you’re helping support, or more general topics about something happening locally.
It’s important to add new content regularly to help keep your site ranked at the top of the results. Putting a local spin on it makes it even easier for Google to recognize the area your business serves.
Ignoring Local Search is Leaving Money on the Table
Now that almost everyone is carrying a smartphone that’s always connected to the internet, having your business show up in the local search results is critical. If you ignore local SEO as a source of new customers, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Start optimizing your site today.
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