Why Local SEO is important
The world is full of small-to-medium companies that advertise on Google, but fail to emphasize their local affiliation.
Is your company one of them?
Let’s fix that. Narrowing in on your location is a powerful local SEO marketing strategy that will significantly improve your lead generation and search rankings.
If you’re serving your local community and want to get the word out there, then ditch those old local advertising methods and focus in on your local SEO marketing
Most of your potential customers will use Google to find a service just like yours.
They will most likely use their location in the search bar when doing so. By focusing in on local SEO, you can tap into that huge pool of customers!
Can you guess who made this statement?
“Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.”
This quote is straight from the mouth of Google themselves. It’s a strong indication that an SEO strategy is a required means to compete in today’s market. Narrowing in on your location is one of the “combined” optimizations they are talking about above.
Today I’m going to give you the basics on how to begin shifting your optimization efforts to local.
If you follow the local search ranking steps, you can soon expect an increase in local traffic—and subsequently, more business.
Local SEO Basics
1. Utilize the ‘Google My Business’ Platform
Google My Business is one of the most effective ways to ‘claim’ your business name and location for web search and an important first step for local SEO. When your industry is searched together with your location—and sometimes surrounding areas—your name will pop up on a list of options.
Next, to your name, new users will see a star rating of your business from past customers.
Your address and contact details will also appear, and you can select an image to entice customers to choose your company.
This type of visibility is invaluable to local businesses. It looks authoritative and trustworthy, which is why your local business should be on Google My Business.
You won’t always appear on the top search results, but when you do your revenues are sure to spike.
The more specific and accurate the information Google has about your business, the better your listing will be correctly classified and displayed which in turn helps potential customers find you on Google Search, Maps, and Google+
You should include the following:
- Add your business address that’s consistent with that on your website.
- Add your website address and a local phone number in the contact info section.
- Choose the correct category or categories for your business.
- Add your opening times/days.
- Enter a brief description of your business—what you offer, what sets you apart, your history, or anything else that’s helpful for customers to know.
- Upload a high-resolution profile image and cover photo.
- Upload interior photos, exterior photos, photos at work, team photos and any additional photos of your products and services. All images should be relevant to the business represented by the page.
A complete and updated Google My Business listing is crucial to local ranking and increasing credibility among your local community.
2. Get Reviews and Testimonials from Local Customers
Each and every time you complete a successful transaction with a customer, you have the opportunity to gain a testimonial. If your company is small enough, personally email customers after their experience and ask them questions that deliver an organic response or compliment.
Larger companies can automate their feedback process. This will help you acquire continuous feedback.
Post positive feedback on your website as a testimonial and ask your customer if you may post their name and photo beside it.
Google is one of the best places to gain reviews and this has been an essential part of effective local SEO for some time.
Google is known to prioritize businesses that have reviews on their Google business listing so it makes sense to encourage your customers to leave you a review on this platform.
To make it easy for them, you could generate a direct link to your Google Business review page, using the Google Business Review Direct Link Generator
The more testimonials you get, the more trustworthy your company looks to local users—and Google.
Your local SEO rankings will rise and result in a snowball effect of customers and compliments.
3. Maintain Customer Satisfaction Publically
Facebook and other social media platforms are great for company exposure. But exposure sometimes comes at a price. When customers take the time to publically complain on your social network page, it makes you look bad.
But these instances are actually blessings in disguise. Because the complaint is public, you can handle it publically too.
Doing this shows that you take complaints seriously and that you are willing to resolve them speedily.
It also builds trust in your brand, which ensures repeat business and automatic customer acquisition.
Garner feedback through social media posts. Social engines will reward you for actively being involved on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Encouraging feedback posts or polls allows you to constantly work on becoming more customer-centric, by giving your users exactly what they want and making them feel heard.
Social media offers us a way to promote content, be found online and show our relevance to our potential customers and it can have a fantastic impact on your local SEO, your rankings and your conversions too.
4. Utilize Local Listing Sites
Local listing websites are sites that act as hubs for multiple or specific industries.
There are probably fifty or more sites that list your immediate competitors, so it’s time to fight for your local online market and make yourself known wherever you can.
Find as many quality local listing sites as you can that will accept your location and industry.
List your company name, the services, and benefits you offer customers, your contact details(as they appear on your website), what area you operate from, and a link to your website.
I also recommended searching for your business name on Google and see where you already have listings that need to be claimed.
Once claimed, you can add your website link, business hours, and photos to help your listing stand out from others.
These links will act as a backlink to your site, and the area you filled in will be associated with your business when customers do a search.
5. Link Your Web Pages to Each Other
If you’ve never done internal link building for your website, I’m going to recommend that you do so.
It makes a significant difference to your ranking and will also help your audience better navigate your content and website.
If a piece of your content refers back to something you’ve already written about, link a phrase to that page so that readers can read up on it later if they choose.
When linking your internal pages, be sure to follow these guidelines:
- Always link 6 words or less
- Use location-specific terms in your linked phrases
- Make sure the phrase you link is actionable
- Don’t link to the same page more than once
- Make sure the phrase you link is fitting to the content you’re referring to
- Add other external links that may be relevant to your article
6. Create Location-Specific META Tags
If the majority of your clients are local customers, it’s imperative that you add your location to your website’s META tag.
This immediately shows users that you are in their immediate area and assures them that you can meet their need.
Because this is the first description your users will see after hitting ‘ENTER’ on their search, make your META tag as descriptive as possible. Include key information:
- List your services or products
- Add a contact number
- Assure users that you have what they want
- Add your location and industry beside each other
Being location-specific filters out the users who will click on your site and then simply bounce back because you’re too far away.
Bouncebacks will negatively impact on your ranking, so make sure you’re only attracting the locals who will actually use your services.
7. Use Keywords and Location Names in Your Content
Mentioning your location on your home and contact pages is fine. But to boost your local SEO you must also add location names to your other content.
Product/service pages should re-emphasize your location within the content in a natural manner. This helps optimize your site for your location so that nearby users find you.
Your blogs should also have location names in them if it makes sense to do so.
Blogs are the perfect opportunity to dominate your location-specific keywords.
Don’t go overboard with keyword stuffing, but add your location at least once in some your blogs to rank higher for your industry in that area.
8. Create and Post Location Pages
Location pages are blog-like articles that are specially written to sell your product or service to a particular area.
These location pages should include relevant local information, a location-based case study if you provide a service and highlight the benefits associated with using your company.
Adding a location map showing where you are or if you don’t have a local address, where you serve and providing clear driving directions for the user is beneficial
If you only have a handful of locations, mentioning them on your service pages or linking to your “our locations” pages on all service pages is recommended.
This creates a clear link between your services and your locations for your users and the search engines.
Location pages are high-alert indicators for Google’s algorithm. Once your site is crawled,
Google will associate your industry with your location and rank you higher for when people seek out your services.
9. Post and Tag Authentic Images
Google’s algorithm has become more and more intuitive when it comes to images.
Adding images is always a plus, but the wrong images can cost you ranking points with search engines.
Post authentic images that you’ve taken yourself.
The less editing you do on these images, the better. But in the same breath, you must take good enough images to catch your users’ attention and ensure they’re optimized.
So keep those photos high-quality, but keep them authentic too.
Authentic local images will get a better response from your audience.
10. Claim a Hashtag
Hash-tagging all of your social media posts with the same hashtag each time will solidify your industrial leadership in a particular area. For instance; if you’re a florist in Exeter, your hashtag could be #ExeterFlowerDelivery. It’s a simple two-word hashtag that tells people the only three things they need to know:
- You sell flowers
- Deliver them
- You are based in Exeter
Google will also pick up on this hashtag, and each time it’s clicked on by a user, you will get ranking points for relevancy.
Local SEO is arguably more powerful than generalized SEO. It’s cheaper, more targeted and more effective.
Blow your competitors out of the water with this guide on local SEO strategies. Take each one step by step and watch your local rankings soar.
Are you a local business owner?
Will you now be paying more attention to local SEO?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments below.