When looking for information regarding products or places online, four out of five consumers use local search. The implications of this are clear - if you’re a local business with a shopfront, you need to make local search your friend.
Wondering how to optimize your website for local SEO? You’ve come to the perfect place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll teach you all about local SEO tools, strategies, and techniques to take your business to the next level.
What’s local SEO?
Local SEO is a way to promote your products and services to people in your area. You need to ensure that all the information is available for search engines to view. Your local content, social media pages, links, and citations will be analyzed by search engine algorithms to determine your relevance to user queries.
What are the best local SEO techniques that I can use?
If you really want to excel at local SEO, there are three main things that you have to do. First, you have to create and optimize your Google My Business account. Second, you have to improve your website for SEO. Finally, you need to become an internet pro. Sounds like quite a few things, doesn’t it? However, it’s actually quite possible to become successful at local SEO with these three things. Let’s take a look at each one in a little more detail.
Optimize your Google My Business Account
The core of your local SEO efforts is your Google My Business account. Google likes sites and content that it can authenticate. This is why you need to ensure that all your required information is on Google My Business so that you can prove that you’re a verifiable site. If Google’s algorithms recognize you as high-quality and genuine, you may be able to score one of the coveted spots in the local 3-pack!
If you haven’t created a Google My Business account, that’s the first thing you have to do. After verifying your account, get started with the Google Posts feature. You want to get as many people as possible to leave local reviews. Many businesses do this by offering discounts or freebies to customers who do so. It’s also important for you to respond to reviews. Always make your location clear when doing so. Remember - this will be public information, so only publish things that you’re willing to have everyone see.
How to Improve Your Website for SEO
There are five major things you’ll have to pay attention to when it comes to optimizing your website.
1 - Fix internal linking structure
External links are important, but before you start reaching out to build links to other sites, you have to fix the ones already on your site. Google’s algorithm picks up on internal linking structure and showing a clear hierarchy will certainly improve your SEO efforts. Clear and concise internal links will make the navigation process easier for the user. Information architecture will be improved and website hierarchy will be established. Finally, a proper internal linking structure will also spread page authority throughout the site.
2 - Optimize your website URL, titles, headers, metadata, etc
Every new post that you put on your blog is another indexed page added to your website. That means that it’s a new opportunity for you to reach new people and zone in on people searching for particular phrases. It’s important to ensure that you optimize every single page by optimizing the URL, titles, header, metadata, and even the content. Choose a good mix of high-volume keywords and specific keywords, and don’t forget geographic location-based keywords, too!
3 - Create a page for each location
If you have more than a single location, make sure there is a page dedicated to each one. A location page allows users to see your business’s name, address, phone number, store hours, descriptions, parking options, promotions, and more. Make each one unique and refrain from copying things from one page to another. If you only have a single location, put some time and effort into your About page. Include the relevant local keywords and add plenty of description. Adding a Google Map to indicate your location will earn you brownie points.
4 - Produce content that attracts a local audience
Although you are trying to impress a search engine, you’ve got to appeal to your customers too. It’s important for content creators to always remember that they’re writing for users. Rather than filling your site with nothing but generic content, make a point of including focused content in your site. Try writing content that is relevant to a local audience. Become the local authority so that you’re the first site people seek when looking for information about the industry. Write about local news, employees, improvements, and other things that offer value to the reader. Remember - you aren’t just selling a product. You’re providing people with information.
5 - Optimize for mobile users
9 out of 10 mobile users use their smartphones for local search. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that your site is optimized for mobile users. People will be viewing your website on their phones, looking for reviews, directions, and even contact information. If your site is too complicated to use, they’ll leave and move on to another business. Keep their sights set on you by making your website mobile-friendly.
It's Now Time to Become a Pro
After you’ve optimized your Google My Business account and improved your website for on-page SEO, it’s time to become an internet pro. Sound rather vague? Well, you’ll have to be carving yourself a bigger portion of the web by making sure your business information is consistent, putting yourself on online directories, and getting yourself linked to other websites.
1 - Ensuring NAP consistency
Google’s search engine algorithms give you extra points when all your business information is consistent across the web. Include your business name, address, and phone number on your website. Make sure that it’s in text form and not image. Search engines read text, not visual content. Most of the time, the NAP is included in the header or footer of a website.
2 - Verifying citations on online directories
The most important thing to remember here, again, is consistency. All your citations should contain the same information. Misspelling your business name, abbreviating something in one that you didn’t in another, or mistyping your phone number will cause you to lose credibility. Google won’t be sure which business information is correct and will, therefore, keep you off of the local search results. Aside from ensuring that your business information is consistent, take the time to check if there are any duplicate listings and remove them.
3 - Build quality inbound links
One of the best ways for you to boost your local SEO is to build quality inbound links. Such links indicate that you’re a genuine business. Being connected to reputable websites with good domain authority will, in turn, raise yours.
There are three basic ways to get inbound links: sponsorships/partnerships, guest blogging, and scholarships.
Before you reach out to random sites, begin by reaching out to your personal network. Become a member of your local Chamber of Commerce will get you an easy inbound link, as will joining local business improvement networks, licensing bureaus, trade associations, vendor groups, and more. Get involved in local webinars or hold a meetup. Consider hosting or sponsoring an event on your own. Get to know influencers and business owners in your area. These things not only get you inbound links but help you build brand awareness.
Ultimately, you want to become someone prominent in your industry. By participating with others in your community through guest blogging, discussing, and providing information of value, you generate inbound links, social media growth, and more!
One of the more underrated ways to build inbound links is through scholarships. Since .edu links are all the rage for developing domain authority, you may see a decent boost by featuring a scholarship in your area. Of course, it should be relevant to your business and have a clear connection to your domain. When done right, you’ll get backlinks from great sources.
Who can help me boost my business’s local SEO?
Now that you know the basics of local SEO, the next thing you’re probably searching for is someone to help you with yours! Fortunately for you, Ranked covers everything mentioned! We also offer weekly content creation, link building & optimization from in-house experts! Get started with your free trial today!