Local SEO should be considered essential for any business that targets customers in a specific location. Physical businesses including stores, restaurants and dental practices that want to get found online need to focus on their local SEO efforts.
Wherever you are trying to attract local customers, local SEO plays a key role in boosting your visibility. Here’s why it’s still such an important channel, as well as how to improve your own local SEO strategy. Read – what is local SEO and Why you need it?
Recommended reading: A Beginners Guide to Google SEO
You Can Target the Exact Customers You Need
With local SEO, you are targeting the specific people you want to become your customers. You get in front of your target customers at the exact moment they are looking for the products or services that you offer. You are therefore getting your business right in front of the people who are most likely to spend money in your store.
People who search for a product or service using the name of a town or city are more likely to be looking for that thing right now. That means you are more likely to drive targeted traffic to your website.
This is at the heart of local SEO, and it is probably the main reason you are willing to invest your time and money in it.
Easier to Rank for More Specific Local Keywords
There may be too much competition for national or international keywords, but a keyword with your local town or city included is going to be far less competitive. This means you are more likely to rank for your keywords sooner.
And seeing as these keywords drive targeted traffic that converts, that’s well worth the time and effort involved. If people can find you when they are looking for what you offer, this can lead to lots of business. This makes local SEO an excellent return on investment, particularly if you have a local niche business – such as regional cheese.
Fast Way to Boost Your Online Presence
Because keywords are generally less competitive, you can often start ranking for them sooner, making this a faster way to ensure your customers find you.
For example, when you sign up with Google My Business, you can start appearing in Google Maps and in the 3-Pack, which is the top three results in Google Search. This is a great place to be because many people will click one of the results in the 3-Pack, and if you can get into it for your main keywords, you could quickly start to get a lot of business.
Boost Your Reputation
When your website starts showing up high in the search results, this rubs off on you and enhances your reputation. You may find that people start to trust your business more simply because you are at or near the top of the search results.
This makes local SEO the perfect way to boost a flagging business — one you’ve bought from a business listing and are looking to revamp. After all, if you rank high in search, you must be doing something right. And the more trust you have, the more leads you will get.
Great for Mobile Users
People are often looking for local businesses while out and about, and if they find a map to your store, they are more likely to go there.
Many people use mobile search when they want to find something locally. If they find your business nearby, they might pay you a visit or call your number. Check out the video below for top tips on how to do local SEO for mobile:
With mobile-first indexing, the world is going mobile. This makes it crucial that your business is built to support hand-held devices. Write your product and service descriptions with mobile readability in mind. Use a mobile-friendly option for your store or opt for a CMS like WordPress that’s great for making any site mobile. And make sure your SEO is primed for mobile users.
Mobile is crucial to local SEO, and more people are using their mobiles to search the web for local businesses. You can take advantage of this for your business.
How to Improve Your Local SEO
So now that you are convinced local SEO is important, how exactly should you go about boosting your own presence in the search engines? Here are a few of the most important strategies.
Sign Up with Google My Business
Google My Business is a free service that you can sign up with. Simply create a listing for your business, and this will help you to show up in Google searches, as well as in Google Maps.
Complete your profile by filling out all the details, adding photos, and collecting reviews. All this will show Google that you are a real business with a real presence, helping to boost your visibility.
Get Listed in Local Directories
Don’t stop at Google My Business. Focus on getting listed in other directories too. This provides more information to Google that you are a real local business,
One thing to be careful with is your NAP (name, address and phone number). These should be exactly the same everywhere your business is listed, otherwise, this can affect your rankings.
Build Local Links
Just like with standard SEO, you will need to build links to start ranking for local searches. This is an ongoing process, and it is something you should start focusing on as soon as possible because links give your site more authority.
Team up with other non-competing local businesses like local bloggers. Write guest posts for them with local links back to your website, and cross-promote each other.
Join groups and forums in the local area and share your content with them. You could even sponsor local events – you might get some good PR and a link back to your website.
Citations are also important. This is where your business name is mentioned on other websites. The more you get mentioned on authority websites, the better because it increases your trust in Google’s eyes.
Create Local-Optimized Content
Finally, focus on creating content with a local angle. Talk about local events, mention local places, and discuss nearby attractions.
As well as getting some relevant local keywords into your content, your content will also be more interesting for local people, helping to enhance your reputation.
Local SEO is something that every local business should take seriously, whether you run an online business or you have a brick-and-mortar store – or both. Getting local customers to find your business is essential if you want to compete successfully, so start optimizing your SEO to get more traffic and make more sales.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, offers advice to new business owners and grizzled ecommerce pros. She lives for helping her fellow solopreneurs.