Local SEO is a great way to get more customers in your area by using Google and some available tools. In this post, you will get a complete local SEO guide that will help you to improve your search rankings.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website and business listings for local keywords of Google. The main difference from the standard SEO is that you target keywords that include your area or your city.
Local SEO has some elements that you can use starting from today. If you put them together, you will definitely increase your local search rankings. Below you can read these elements and how you can apply them to your business. Most of your local SEO tasks are easy to follow and can be outsourced if you don’t have the time to work on them.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
Search engines impact the buying cycle of a customer. Most people can access the internet from anywhere with different devices. So, even if they are a few meters away from your store or your business, they can use Google to get more information, read reviews, and check your reputation.
Many people search on Google when they need a product. They type keywords like “product + area” or “product + near me” and visit some of the suggested stores. 88% of the users that make local business searches from a mobile will make contact or visit the business in the next 24 hours.
So, the advantage of local SEO compared to other marketing methods is that it makes your business the first option for many potential customers in your niche. You can get a share of this traffic or just leave it to your competitors who optimize their businesses for local searches.
Lastly, traffic from search engines is very targeted. Keywords that mention business and products have a buying intention and many of the users who type them need a relevant product fast. It does not mean that every visitor will convert into a buyer, but you can get more customers than other online marketing methods.
Create A Google My Business Listing
Google My Business is a tool by Google that helps you to add information about your business. Then Google will use this information to rank it under relevant local keywords. It should be the first step for every business on local SEO because it is free and easy.
You must create a Google My Business account before you add your business. You can get started with your Google account or just create a new one. The first step is to add your business name and some basic contact details.
The second step is to verify that you are the owner of your business. There are some options that you can use. For example, you can verify it by postcard, email, or phone call.
Once you verify your business, you have a new Google My Business listing. The last step is to optimize it by adding more information and helping Google understand your niche and products. You can add your contact details, a description of your business, images, open hours, and any other helpful information for the visitors. Keep in mind that many people will see your details before deciding if they will visit your business.
Google My Business allows two types of content. You can add questions with answers about your business or products and reviews from customers. So, it would be helpful to ask for honest reviews from real customers. The more information and reviews you will get, the better rankings you will get in the local searches.
On-Page SEO For Local SEO
A website is important because it can get ranked for multiple keywords, you can use it to publish content for your target audience, and it will be a tool for your marketing efforts. It’s quite easy to build a WordPress website or outsource this task. You will need a domain name and a hosting provider, but there are many low-cost options available.
Once you have a website, you can optimize it for search engines. The goal is to get ranked for keywords with many chances to get searches from your target audience. You must use these keywords in your content like “product + area” or “business + area”. If you have a hotel, you must use the word hotel and your city or town name.
The keywords must be included on the headline, first paragraph of your content, at least one subheading, and image alt text. Also, you can install a free SEO plugin to add the keyword to the meta title and meta description.
These steps are the minimum you can do about on-page SEO. They help Google to understand what your website is all about. If you want to go a step further, you need to take care of your website’s technical parts.
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. These contact details must be consistent with every platform and website that you use for your business on the internet. Google gets information from every listing, social media profile, and business directory. If your NAP citations are not the same to all these platforms, your rankings may suffer.
The goal of Google is not to send traffic to your website but to give its users the best user experience. If the search engine can provide them with the information they want, Google will achieve that goal and the users will be happy. So, when Google has doubts about the accuracy of your information, your rankings will drop.
You must check the NAP citations on Google My Business, review sites like Yelp, social media profiles, and any other sites that have links for your business. When they include the wrong contact details, you can request an update or change them by yourself.
Local Link Building
Backlinks are an important ranking factor for Google. When it comes to local SEO, you need local backlinks. It makes sense that when you get backlinks from other local websites, they have more value than other irrelevant links. Also, you want links from authority websites and trustworthy sources. Here are some places to begin:
Google My Business: A backlink from a Google tool is valuable and will confirm that this is a professional website for your business.
Review Websites: Most small and medium businesses can create a listing on Yelp, niche review sites like Word of Mouth, and business directories Australia like Trued Local, Start Local etc..
Local Press: You can publish a press release on local media to promote your business and get backlinks.
Other Local Websites: You can request a backlink from other local businesses. This process requires some relationships with your neighbors. Another option is to exchange backlinks if you are willing to add a resource page on your site or mention other businesses on your content.
Create Content For Your Target Audience
If you publish content, you can target more keywords and add more value to your site. You can make a list of questions from your customers and news of your niche. Then, you can write a blog post for each question and content idea.
The news of your niche and the questions of your customers are keywords. People type the same questions on search engines and social media to get more information. So, you can reach more people and educate your customers at the same time. Local topics have more chances to bring new customers than other topics, but you must focus on helping your target audience and not only on the keywords.
Engage On Social Media
Every business needs social media pages and profiles. Facebook pages can get reviews, you can use more NAP citations, and social media engagement is another important ranking factor.
However, you must find your target audience on social media and choose the best platforms. Usually, you can get started on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They are standard options, but you can ask a few customers what social media platforms they use to confirm it.
The first step is to create nice profiles. You can add a professional image, accurate information of your business, a small description, and a link for your site or a landing page.
Second, you can publish content and engage with your target audience. The right type of content depends on the platform. For example, Instagram works with images, but Facebook accepts every type of content. Your engagement can include likes, shares, and comments on other people’s posts.
This local SEO guide includes all the important steps you can follow to improve the search engine rankings of your business website. They are simple steps and have multiple benefits. For example, Google My Business listings are viewable from Google Maps that has over 1 billion users worldwide. Review sites and local backlinks can bring customers to your business as well. So, applying the steps above will give you positive results for SEO and traffic.