Google process over 40,000 global search queries every second. That’s 3.5 billion searches a day and 1.2 trillion every year. Of these, many searches are from local consumers who are looking for a store nearby.
Imagine finding a shop with the product you need, located just a few miles away. When consumers have easy access to the answers they’re looking for, they’re more likely to make a purchase.
However, you’ll need local SEO in order to appear for these searches in the first place. With these 12 local SEO tips, you can improve your strategy to reach relevant customers.
Local SEO, or search engine optimization, involves targeting local customers using keyword research. Once you know what your customers are searching for, you can create content that attracts them to your site.
However, an effective local SEO strategy requires a lot more than that. Keep reading for the 12 local SEO tips you need for business success!
1. Update Your Google My Business Listing
The first of our local SEO tips is essential. When customers search for your business online, they’ll want immediate access to specific contact information. This can include your:
- Business name
- Phone number
Listing your business on Google makes it easier for locals to discover your business. Once you update your Google My Business listing, your company will appear on Google Maps. Then, your business will appear among other local companies when people search for businesses similar to yours.
Updating your Google My Business listing will also improve your SEO ranking. The higher you rank on search engines, the more likely consumers will see your business before a competitor’s. Since not many people look beyond the first page, you’ll want a higher ranking.
Your Google My Business listing will also take up prominent space on a Google search page. Instead of a few lines on a page, you’ll take up enough space to draw the eye.
However, Google will need to verify your business is legitimate before you earn that space.
In order to optimize your Google My Business listing, use these local SEO tips:
- Claim your business
- Make sure all of your information is detailed, accurate, and up-to-date
- Add your company’s logo
- Include any payment methods, services or products, and your hours of operations
- Add photos of your business front, products, or services
- Encourage customers to add their comments and ratings
Once you start receiving reviews, make sure to respond back, too!
These tips will strengthen your local SEO strategy so you can attract new leads.
2. Optimize Local Business Listings
Once you optimize your Google My Business listing, you need to check your other online listings as well. After all, 97% of all search engine users have searched for businesses nearby. By optimizing your local business listings, you’re ensuring potential customers can find your business.
First, check for business listings that are popular for your business niche.
These directories often rank high on Google search pages for local queries. If a consumer is searching through a directory, they’ll find your company listed. Then, they can click on a link to visit your website.
When updating your local directories, it’s important to make sure all of your information remains consistent.
Make sure your name, address, and phone number in these listings match your Google My Business listing. The same information should appear on your company website. Displaying inconsistent information could cause you to miss out on potential customers.
If you ever change business locations or phone numbers, make sure to quickly update all of your listings.
Finally, make sure to check for misspellings as well. Avoid abbreviations, which might confuse customers.
By optimizing your listings using these local SEO tips, you can increase your chances of attracting new customers.
3. Know Your Audience
Before you can utilize the rest of the local SEO tips, you need to learn more about your customers. After all, they’re the ones you’re optimizing for!
Start researching. You can use tools like Semrush, Google Keyword Planner, or Google Trends. These tools will tell you which keywords your ideal customers are searching for.
Google Keyword Planner also allows you to specify your location. This tool will help you find popular, relevant keywords that locals are searching for.
You’ll want to make a list of keywords that have a high search frequency but low competition. If all of your competitors are using the same exact match keywords, you might have a difficult time ranking for those terms. Instead, try to find unique ways to approach these keywords.
It’s important to prioritize search intent as you use these local SEO tips.
Search intent indicates what your consumer expected to find when they started a search. Google is becoming smarter at recognizing search intent. By learning more about your customers, you can start creating content that matches that intent.
Optimizing your local SEO strategy for this search intent will help you rank higher on search pages.
You can also learn more about your audience by separating them into buyer personas.
For example, the interests of an 80-year-old grandmother probably don’t match an 18-year-old’s. You can create distinct buyer personas based on age, gender, household income, interests, behaviors, and more.
By creating these distinct buyer personas, you can develop content that appeals to different readers.
4. Check Your Content Keywords
Once you have a list of relevant, local keywords, you’ll need to update your website content. Adding these keywords across pages and posts will help your content appear when locals search for these keywords.
The keywords need to appear in:
- Page titles
- Header text
- Body text
- Meta descriptions
- Alt tags
However, you need to utilize white hat SEO practices when adding keywords to your content. Black hat SEO, on the other hand, could hurt your website’s ranking. You might want to ask a local SEO expert for help to make sure your site isn’t penalized.
For example, you don’t want to over-use keywords. Stuffing keywords on a page will make your site appear spammy. This can impact your site content’s readability and hurt your ranking.
If you’re worried about the competition, use tools like SpyFu. Determine which keywords your competitors are using. Then, determine if those keywords apply to your product or services.
You’ll want to distribute your keywords evenly throughout the content.
It’s also important to make sure they read naturally on the page. Otherwise, it will become obvious to readers and Google that you’re using a keyword.
5. Ask for Happy Reviews
Many people choose to buy from new businesses based on word of mouth. Online reviews can help you build brand trust with potential customers who are wary about your business. Positive reviews can influence new consumers as they make buying decisions.
Before losing contact with happy customers, as they for a review. They can post their comments on your Google My Business profile. Then, you can add these reviews to your website.
Encourage customers to give your business a positive rating as well.
As you gain more positive reviews, your brand will begin to appear more trustworthy. In an effort to earn these reviews, you’ll also work to continuously provide customers with quality services.
You might even start to develop an audience of brand advocates as well.
Brand advocates can use influencer marketing to represent your brand. Like positive reviews, influencers can help build brand trust. The influencer’s existing audience will reference someone else’s experience with your business before choosing to buy from your company.
Positive reviews will help your business appear more credible. It can also help you find members of your target audience. As a result, you’re gaining more qualified leads!
6. Make Sure You’re Mobile
73% of consumers say content must appear well-designed. Otherwise, there’s a chance they’ll look for the answers they need on a competitor’s website.
It’s important the desktop version of your website is designed with user experience in mind. However, you also want to create a consistent experience between desktop and mobile devices. After all, our society is on-the-go.
Ensuring your website is mobile-optimized will help you attract local customers who aren’t at home. For example, someone who is already shopping might check their phone in a store to compare products. Then, you can use these local SEO tips to entice them into your store instead.
Google also started using mobile-first indexing in 2018.
This means Google checks the mobile version of your website first to determine your ranking.
Make sure your site is mobile-optimized so you can keep reaching local customers!
7. Step Up Social Media
Improving your social media presence is also important for your local SEO strategy.
A strong social media presence will tell customers you’re a relevant resource in the industry. It can also help your brand appear credible and trustworthy. Many companies use social media as a way to communicate with and engage customers.
Beyond that, social media is also a great source of backlinks. You can post a link to your latest blog post on social media. Then, you can attract traffic to your site.
Increasing your site traffic will tell Google that people view you as a go-to resource.
Using social media will help boost your local SEO so you can achieve a higher ranking.
8. Get Relevant Links
High-quality links from relevant websites in your industry are also essential. Link building is a big part of Google’s local ranking algorithm.
You can team up with a local SEO expert to find relevant links.
You can also improve your link-building strategy by using internal and external links in your blog posts.
9. Create Fresh Local Content
Using your keyword research, start creating fresh content for local consumers.
Make sure this content is helpful. Show people you’re a useful resource in your industry. Don’t forget to consider search intent, too!
The more people read your content, the better it is for your ranking.
10. Add Location Pages
There was a 500% increase in mobile searches that included the phrase “near me” within the last two years. To take advantage of this growing trend, consider adding location pages to your site.
For example, you can add pages that include your key term and location.
You can also write about local events or your company’s involvement with local charities.
Adding location pages will help attract local consumers to your website. It will help show people your involvement in the community, too.
11. Structured Data
Google’s bots will crawl your website searching for specific information. Bots then use this information to determine your SEO ranking. In order to optimize your site for local SEO, you also need to consider your structured data markup.
When customers search for businesses using Google Maps or a search, the results sometimes show prominent Knowledge Graph cards. These cards display the specific information the searcher was looking for.
By using structured data, you can point Google in the right direction.
Using the Local Business structured data markup will tell Google about your business. For example, you can tell Google your business hours. You can also indicate which pages of your website house reviews.
Other types of local business structured data markups include:
- Multiple departments
- Phone number
If you take reservations, you can also use Google’s Maps Booking API to take bookings and payments.
Adding structured data to your website will improve user experience.
You can add structured markups using a tool like Schema. Google also has a guide you can follow. By adding structured data to your website, you’re developing a strong local SEO strategy with your customers’ needs in mind.
12. Consider Third-Party Visibility
Like Google My Business and local directories, there are also third-party listings that can improve your local SEO marketing. These include Bing, Yellow Pages, and Yelp.
Make sure your information is consistent between these popular sites and your website! Using these third-party sites, you can increase visibility and give your site a few new backlinks.
Bringing in the Locals: 12 Essential Local SEO Tips
Start bringing in the locals with these local SEO tips!
By utilizing this guide, you can attract new, relevant customers to your business.
Ready to improve your local SEO? Contact us today for a free consultation!