Local SEO helps you optimize your online presence and become more visible to searchers in your area. Google, Bing, Apple Maps, and Yelp are examples of places where people find local establishments. Of these, Google is the largest, with about 87 percent of the market share. Most people use Google, so this guide will focus on it. Here are the things you should remember when optimizing for local search.
Come Up With Your SiL Keywords
For the most part, keyword research will contain your product or service and your city or neighborhood. For example, suppose you want to hire a roofing service. What you'd typically do is go to Google and type "roofing in (the name of your city)" or "roofing service in (your city)," or something similar. This is the service in location or SiL keyword. To find yours, make a list of all your services and the locations you serve, and combine them. Then, you can use these SiL keywords in your posts.
Claim your Google My Business listing
Google My Business is free, and many organizations use it to complement their SEO strategy. GMB is a significant contributor to a website's ranking factor. You have to follow several steps when claiming a listing.
Step 1. Input Your Business Name and Address
The first thing Google will do is ask for your business name. You can create a new business or claim an existing one. Then, Google will ask for your address. This is straightforward if you have a brick-and-mortar business with a storefront. However, you might have other circumstances.
For people who work from home, have a mobile business like a food truck, or have multiple locations, you have a few more options. If you have a physical office, use it as the business address. If not, list the home address of the person closest to your primary service area. Businesses with virtual offices should also list the home address of the person closest to the clients.
Step 2. Choose Your Location Pin And Category
Next, the screen will show a map. You can move the location pin on it to choose your exact business location. Once you've done this, you can choose your business category. Note that Google recommends that you choose one category for your GMB Profile. Even if you have products that fit multiple categories, choose one that encompasses them.
A good rule of thumb is selecting based on the statement "this business IS a (blank)." Don't think in terms of what your business has; focus on what it is. Describe your business holistically rather than listing all the products or services it provides.
Step 3. Add More Information and Verify Your Listing
Add optional information like your landline or mobile number and e-mail address. Even if they're not required, it will be helpful if you include these. It enables your customers to find you better, which will be great for your local SEO efforts. Finally, verify your listing with Google before it goes live. Google has a guide detailing the process.
Monitor Your Local NAP Citations
Mentions of your business name, address, and phone number or NAP are essential. Citation signals are among the top local ranking factors, and your NAP needs to be consistent every time your business gets mentions. Consistency verifies the data GMB has on file about you.
Meanwhile, if your NAP data is inconsistent, it will mislead or misdirect potential customers and Google's algorithms. Besides, people search for businesses outside search engines. Facebook and online directories should also have the correct NAP for your business.
Take Care Of On-Page Local SEO
Set up your website so you can rank for local landing pages. If you want to rank for multiple areas, you can use your main URL and have an extension for each location. For example, if you're a wedding photographer, the landing pages can look like this:
However, don't create location-specific pages just because you serve the area. As much as possible, have one landing page for each area that you have a brick-and-mortar office. For instance, if your GMB lists you as a London-based business, don't make landing pages for all the districts in your city. Instead, choose locations that matter to your company.
Feature Your Primary Location On Your Homepage
Use your primary location prominently on your blog posts, and include your SiL keywords on your website's homepage. Even if you want to attract customers from other regions or even countries, you should not forego having a location in your keywords. For one, a location-based keyword is more specific, so it will be easier to rank for it.
Also, even if you do not have a location modifier on your website, Google shows localized results by default. Your IP address and GPS settings will indicate where you are, and they add the local modifier for you even if you don't. As such, it is better if you take the opportunity to optimize.
Remember to show your NAP information on your homepage and in crucial areas. Your footer, local landing pages, and contact form are all places where you should have your business addresses and phone numbers. Also, consider embedding a Google Map of your exact location on your site. It helps customers better visualize where your store is, which increases the relevance of your website.
Aside from accurate information, you can also display testimonials or reviews from past or current customers. People look for social proof that they're making the right choice, so it's good to show them genuine positive feedback from people who have tried your service or products. If you have hundreds or thousands of physical locations, you can skip optimizing for local terms. Otherwise, you will always benefit from having your primary location and local SEO on your site.
Optimizing for local search is a great content marketing strategy for small businesses with a defined audience. When you have so many competitors, one way to stand out is through customer service. Convince customers that you are the best option for them, and they will be likely to purchase from you even if there are better-known brands available.
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