Big corporations aren’t the only ones that can benefit from search engine optimization. Small businesses that operate on a more local scale also have a lot to gain from SEO. Make use of local SEO tips to get your business on the map.
Local SEO Tips to Guide Your Business Efforts
If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ve probably heard of SEO — a system that somehow allows your website or article to gain more views than your competitor. But, what is local SEO marketing? How does it differ from traditional SEO? Why local SEO is important? Both local and traditional SEO improve your website’s visibility. But, whereas traditional SEO does it on a global or national scale, local SEO focuses on your local area.
How to Succeed in Local Business SEO
How do you know if you need local SEO? Well, all small businesses need to make use of local SEO. When it comes down to it, running a business is about making a profit, and you can’t make a profit without visibility. And, in modern times, print ads just won’t cut it anymore. You need to make a splash in the online scene to stay relevant and keep your business afloat.
Many businesses focus on creating and maintaining a social media presence as a start. While social media remains a critical part of local SEO, there are other strategies you can adopt to ensure success. Here are the best local SEO tips you can use to improve your business’s online visibility:
1. Search for the Right Keywords
You’re going to have to do some research for any SEO campaign no matter what, and local search engine optimization demands the same effort. Thankfully, researching your local keywords doesn’t require expert SEO skills.
For many businesses, the local keyword will be a combination of their service and location. For example, if you’re an electrician in Charlotte, NC, then good local keywords would be “electrician in Charlotte” or “electrical wiring repair in Charlotte.” Local keywords usually follow the same format (service in location), so you can use every permutation of the services you offer and the locations you offer them in.
When thinking of keywords, remember to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Imagine what they’ll type into Google when looking for a service you offer. You can try typing in your primary keyword into Google and let the autocomplete suggestions roll in. These suggestions will give you a better idea of what other keywords to use. Just make sure they’re relevant.
You can also use some online local SEO tools to help you generate keywords in an instant. Most of these SEO planning tools show you the volume of search for every keyword as well as other metrics. There are also tools that can help you identify which keywords your competitors are ranking for.
2. Use Keywords in Everywhere That Matters
Meta tags are the first things that build the relevancy of pages on your website. Ideally, every page has unique meta information because if it doesn’t, Google and other search engines crawl a page and assign that information solely based on what they seem to find. Meta titles are critical, and it’s essential that your primary keyword appears in that title. You should also include keywords in your URL and H1. Additionally, write a compelling meta description that also includes the appropriate keywords.
3. Optimize Your Homepage
Your homepage is a critical element of your website, so it should clearly indicate the name of your business, your location, and your product or service. This will allow search engines (such as Google) and visitors to know what your business is about at first glance.
If you operate in more than one location, you might wonder why it’s necessary to include a location modifier on your homepage. After all, “electrical wiring repair” may have a larger search volume than a location-specific version of that keyword. But, because Google can identify your location based on your IP or GPS, it will still show you location-specific results. In that case, it’s much better to optimize your homepage with your location.
4. Claim Your Listings
This is perhaps one of the most essential practices in local search SEO. When you don’t claim and update your listings, people will have a hard time finding you. They may see outdated information, causing you to lose a potential customer.
Make sure to claim your listings on Google My Business, Bing Places, and Apple Maps. You will need to enter critical information, such as your business name, address, contact details, and the like. It’s important to be consistent across all listings, though, so it’s best to copy-paste everything from one listing to another. Some listings will need verification, too, such as with Google My Business.
Although Google My Business is arguably the most useful, don’t skip out on other listings. Apple Maps, for instance, is what Siri and Spotlight use for searches. Considering there are millions of iOS users worldwide — and probably tons in your local area — it’s worth claiming and updating your listing on Apple Maps.
5. Create and Curate NAP Citations
NAP simply stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. Apart from listings, you should make sure your NAP citations remain consistent in other places as well. This includes social media pages and directories.
Go through your existing citations to check whether they’re all the same. Given that citation signals are one of the most critical Google ranking factors, you should make an effort to create more relevant citations. You can do this by registering with your local Chamber of Commerce, local business associations, and community hubs. You can also register with websites that are more specific to your business. For instance, if you run a local bed and breakfast, it’s worth building a NAP citation on TripAdvisor.
6. Have Dedicated Page for Each Product or Service and Location
If you are willing to do a little extra work to increase your click-through rate, you can create an individual page for each product or service you offer as well as each city you’re targeting. Google hates over-optimized doorway pages. Cramming a lot into a page with the intention of ranking high enough will, counterintuitively, hurt your rankings. Instead of doing that, separate your offerings and targeted locations into individual pages.
A dedicated page for each offering and location will not only help you rank better, but it will also give search engines a more organized sitemap to follow. You can also add schema markup (discussed below) to each individual page.
7. Make Use of Local Business Schema Markup
A structured data markup, also known as schema markup, is a string of code that allows search engines to crawl, understand, and show your content easily. With schema markup, search engines don’t need to work twice as hard to know what your page is about.
You may ask, “How can I optimize my SEO for free?” If you want to improve your Google local SEO and appear on its curated list of top businesses for free, you need to make use of structured data markup.
You should have a local business schema markup to let Google know who you are, where you’re located, and what you do. A product and service schema also helps, as this code elaborates on what you have to offer. If you already have schema markup on your website, you can test it out for any errors by pasting the URL to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
8. Manage Reviews
It might not seem obvious, but managing your reviews is one of the wisest local SEO tips you can adopt. Reviews not only signal to potential clients that you’re worth hiring or buying from, but they also communicate to search engines that you’re a credible business. In fact, it’s one of the things that search engines look at when considering which search results to show for a given search query. When you have a lot of reviews, you have a better chance at ranking high.
Of course, not everyone leaves reviews automatically. Encourage your customers to write a review on your product or service to increase your number of reviews. Do this for Google, Facebook, and even Yelp.
9. Create and Publish Local Content Regularly
Starting a blog is a great local SEO strategy that can improve your visibility and move you up the search rankings. Each post should have a primary keyword that you want to rank for. Use that keyword throughout your post, but be careful about overstuffing. Additionally, your posts should offer value. Don’t write a blog just for the sake of writing one.
Make sure to also keep your blog updated. Publish new content every month or two. This will signal to search engines and your audience that you have an active blog that’s worth checking out. Blogging also helps you build links. When you offer valuable content, other websites or blogs can link out to your posts.
10. Optimize Site Speed
Most people know this already, but it’s still worth mentioning — a slow site can hurt your revenue. Latency affects your bottom line, plain and simple. In fact, average session times decrease as your page loading time increases. When users stay on your site longer, they consume more content. It may even lead to a purchase.
To speed up your load time, consider moving your hosting from shared hosting or hiring a professional developer to increase site speed. Large images also tend to influence your site speed because it takes more time to load them properly. When your site loads fast, it makes both users and search engines happier.
11. Optimize for Mobile
You can’t have a local SEO guide without mentioning mobile optimization. It should come as no surprise that, in 2020, about half of all web traffic comes from mobile. Ergo, it only makes sense to optimize your website for mobile devices as well. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, not only are customers not going to bother working through your site, but Google will notice the lack of engagement. This will hurt your rankings. Don’t miss out on roughly 50 percent of your possible traffic by missing this step.
What Every Local Business Needs
The idea of local SEO can be scary if you’re unfamiliar with the concept. But, it remains a necessary part of improving your online visibility. By utilizing these local SEO tips, you’re well on your way to becoming a successful local business.
If you want to outsource your SEO needs, Tanner Grey can help. We offer local SEO services in addition to web design and other digital marketing solutions. Reach out to us online or call us today at 844.500.1339 to learn more information.
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