Local SEO is essential because it helps businesses:
- Earn higher local search ranking positions
- Increases website traffic via organic search and referrals
- Connects businesses with local customers both digitally and through in-person foot traffic
- Optimizing your website with on-page SEO tactics
An overview of the top tips we’ll cover in this article:
- Keeping your business information up-to-date wherever you’re listed online (and how)
- Utilizing all areas of your Google Business Profile
When you want to connect with local customers, the right local SEO strategy can be a game-changer for your business.
Whether you’re a small business looking to get noticed in your neighborhood or an enterprise expanding into new markets, effective local SEO will help drive more qualified leads to your website and boost brand awareness within specific geographical areas.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss seven simple and cost-effective tips and tricks designed to skyrocket your local SEO campaign. From optimizing content for voice searches to leveraging NAP consistency and boosting reviews on key directories — these hacks are sure to help you get more out of every digital marketing dollar spent.
Why Should You Invest in Local SEO?
Many businesses don’t go a day without wondering how they could be attracting more local customers. These days, local SEO is the undeniable answer to that question.
Local SEO helps you get noticed by search engines based on your target location and relevant keywords. It’s also your key to connecting with customers and audiences in your target geographic area.
Why? Well, because almost half of all searches on Google are locally focused.
Since it’s obvious that consumers search for products and services nearby, you want to make sure your brand gets in front of them first.
How Local SEO Leads to More Customers
Your audiences are searching and finding what they want and need through online searches now more than ever.
Properly executing on local SEO strategies helps ensure that you’re not missing out on prospective customers.
Your business must appear high on Google’s SERPs if you hope to boost your lead count and connect with your target customers.
A Better Online Presence
Local SEO is an incredibly powerful tool for generating more website traffic. With the right optimization techniques, you can ensure that your website ranks more highly on local search engine results pages and reaches individuals searching for relevant keywords. Not only does this open up potential customers within tight geographic areas, it can also lead to more long-term visits from those more likely to become loyal customers. Taking the time to set up a sound Local SEO strategy can pay off big in increased site traffic and more profitable leads.
Optimizes Sites for "Near Me" Searches
People commonly search for a product or service and add “near me” so they see results that are close to them. For example, they’ll search for “doctors near me” and compare local practices. Local SEO allows you to account for those common search terms and get found.
Failing to implement a solid local SEO strategy means you will miss out on a lot of attention and leads online. The world has moved toward digital and mobile, so these considerations are more important now than they ever have been.
Differentiates Your Business From Competitors
Local SEO also gives businesses an opportunity to stand out from the competition by tailoring their strategies to appeal specifically to their target audience. For example, targeting certain local phrases and keywords can be used to reach potential customers who are searching with those terms in mind. Additionally, businesses can use content marketing tactics such as blogging and creating videos targeting the specific area they wish to reach out too.
7 Simple Local SEO Tips for Beginners
Now, let’s dig into helpful tools and tricks of the trade to help you perfect your local SEO approach. Implement these seven best practices as you get started:
1. Quality Check Your Name, Address, and Phone Number
For local SEO to work effectively, you must first ensure that your name, address and phone number (NAP) are consistent wherever you’re listed online.
Start by checking your website. Make sure you NAP is accurately displayed on the footer and your contact page.
Whatever is on your website should act as the standard for all other online mentions. Check your Google Business Profile, Facebook, Bing Places for Business, and so on to make sure they’re all consistent. If they’re not, update them.
You’ll need to scan the web for other mentions of your business to correct any other inconsistencies. Check out Chapter 4 of our definitive guide to Local SEO for a detailed guide on how to manually run a NAP audit.
2. Maintain Your Google Business Profile
Succeeding at local SEO means using all the tools available from Google, which takes up more than 92% of the current search engine market as of 2021. Google Business Profile is where you can set up a business profile and keep all your information updated. This is crucial if you want to rank high in local searches.
Simply creating a GBP will help you out in local searches, but there’s so much you can to help your Google listing stand out from your direct competitors. We put together a detailed guide on how you can optimize your GBP to capitalize on local search intent.
3. Understand Google’s three-pack
On the search results page, Google’s three-pack includes the top three local results for each search a user submits. Do everything you can to appear on this top-three list by maintaining your Google business page, getting reviews, using locally relevant links in your content, including backlinks, and building a strong social media presence.
Online directories such as Zillow, Foursquare, etc. help with local rankings drastically. Make sure your name, address, and phone number are consistent and up to date on all relevant directories. Perform a search for other directories your company can get listed in as well, especially those that are industry-specific. Consistency is key. Misspellings, abbreviations, incorrect addresses, and wrong phone numbers will degrade your page ranking.
Remember, Google is trying to verify who you are and what you do. The more often they find those pieces of information scattered across the web, the higher your validation.
If you come across duplicate listings of your business in the same directory, delete them. They confuse the web crawlers Google uses to scour the internet.
Don’t forget to include the Chamber of Commerce and other local directories. They’re a massive boost to your local ranking. They’re always a welcome source of inbound links (which we’ll get to next).
4. Optimize your website with Technical SEO
Your website is one of your most important online resources, and it can make or break your online presence and search marketing success. Best practices for website optimization include linking to quality sources that your audiences will find relevant, high-quality design and layout, and the integration of the right SEO tactics, including keywords, location-based search terms, and content relevant to your target audiences.
You may also include other links inside your page. You may direct these links to your other pages in your website or outside of your website. The links leading to another page in your website are called internal links. Try to include two or three internal links in addition to your navigation bar on each page.
5. Use meta descriptions and title tags
Remember that you always need to optimize the meta descriptions and title tags for your online content. These components help you become more recognizable to Google. Your meta description is a short summary of the content, and the title tag is your page title. Include your keywords and location terms in both of these elements.
6. Make your content mobile & voice-friendly
Today’s consumers are always on their mobile devices. It makes sense for you to optimize your local SEO content to meet their needs on mobile. Google also rates sites higher when they’re mobile-friendly. Use a website platform that allows you to view your content from the point of view of a mobile device and a desktop computer so you can assess any usability issues.
The growing popularity of voice search is a trend that’s closely related to local search. People conducting local searches are increasingly likely to use voice assistants like Siri or Alexa. Voice search SEO can actually be more intuitive than traditional SEO—it essentially means writing the way people normally speak.
We already referred to mobile searches using terms like “near me.” This is a perfect example of how people speak naturally using voice assistants. With modern GPS systems, users no longer have to specify where they are, since they can assume that the device and Google already know where they are. As people get more comfortable with voice search, businesses will transition away from the previous style of SEO keywords, such as “pizza Austin Texas,” and towards the more natural, “Where’s a pizza place near me?”
7. Conduct keyword research
Some local keywords are straightforward enough. If you have a gym in Atlanta, Georgia, you obviously would like to rank for “Atlanta gyms.” However, if you want to dominate local search you should think beyond the obvious. In addition to the name of your city, don’t overlook other terms people might use to locate you. These might include neighborhoods and prominent landmarks. If you’re close to a prominent building such as a museum or convention center, consider that people might search for something like “Atlanta gym near the convention center.” If your business has multiple locations, it’s best to create a separate page for each location. This allows you to insert the relevant local search terms on each page.
8. Understand the Importance of Local Citations and NAP
Local citations are any website that mentions your business, such as a directory or social media site. The most crucial element of citations is that they contain “NAP information” about your business: name, address, and phone number. Without this information, a mention or link to your business could be considered a backlink but not a citation. For local businesses, citations are extremely valuable.
Make sure that your NAP information is accurate and consistent. Even minor differences can confuse Google, such as different ways of writing your business name or address. If your official business name is “John Smith and Brothers,” don’t write it as “John Smith & Bros” on some sites, as this can be interpreted as a different business entirely.
Working with Direction for everything SEO
Make it easy for local customers to find your business. People searching online now expect to see local results, and utilizing local search practices will help pull your business to the first page of their Google search.
Building a successful local SEO strategy entails several moving parts. Sometimes you may not have the time to put the necessary energy into these considerations when you’re managing your business. Luckily, our team is here to help you optimize your local SEO strategy, boosting your online visibility and setting you up with our leading local SEO software, Direction Local.