Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial pillar for your overarching growth strategy. Get your local SEO right, and you could catapult your small business to the top spot on the Search Engine Results Page. Understand how to optimize your local SEO strategy, increase website traffic, generate new leads, and ultimately boost your conversion rates. SEO of any kind is a long-term play, but local SEO allows small businesses to compete more effectively against national brands with big budgets. We’ve put together five local SEO tactics you can focus on, taking your business to new heights in 2021.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO aims to increase search visibility for businesses that serve their communities face-to-face. They operate in a specific geographic location, whether they’re brick-and-mortar businesses with a physical location or a serviceable area. Local SEO incorporates various techniques aimed to improve your business’ position in a local search ranking. In other words, if you own a small gift shop in Red Wing, Minnesota, you want to be the first business that appears when consumers are looking for gifts in your area. Think of local SEO as something targeted, allowing your brand to appear where consumers need you most.
Why Local SEO Matters
According to a Go Gulf report from 2019, 46% of all Google searches are people looking for local information. 72% of those consumers who search locally actually visit a store within five miles. Better yet, 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else, and 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale in the same period. Are you convinced yet? Local SEO increases your online visibility for interested searchers, and it’s one of the biggest sales drivers your business can use.
Top Five Local SEO Tactics For Your Business
1.) Complete a Google My Business Listing
One of the easiest ways to get your business to appear for local searches is to create a Google My Business listing. While this seems like a no-brainer, there are so many small businesses that skip this step. Not only does it affect your ranking on Google, but it negatively impacts a consumer’s perception of your brand. A Google My Business listing acts as a mini directory, displaying critical details like your address, hours, and contact details. It also features reviews, allowing potential customers to browse through feedback, a fundamental feature for your reputability.
In 2015, Google launched its new way of listing businesses; the local 3-pack. Before this, Google featured seven local companies. The local 3-pack introduced a new, trimmed view making your SEO all the more essential. You’ll need to optimize your listing continuously. Be sure to collect those reviews, showing Google that you are a trusted business. You can encourage this by contacting customers after they’ve purchased or by sharing a link on receipts and in-store material. It may even be worth offering discounted products in exchange for feedback; it’ll pay off in the long run.
2.) Build Quality Links From Local Sites
A large part of Google’s algorithm is relevancy. While an optimized Google My Business listing and continuous reviews serve as a sturdy foundation for your strategy, you need to get in with the locals. Build backlinks and hyperlinks to your website from other local sites, boosting your relevance even more.
It may be tempting to build backlink targets with heavy-hitters who have a national presence, but that won’t assist your local SEO strategy. One of the benefits of playing in the local arena is not having to compete with the likes of Forbes magazine. Instead, identify a list of local publications that could feature some of your content. It could include a press release, a guest post, or an advert for your product. Build relationships with these publications so you can continue to create backlinks on their platforms.
3.) Use Local Keywords
Most marketers understand the connection between keywords and SEO. It’s no different for local SEO. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to filter keyword searches based on your location. That way, you can get an idea of the popular search terms in your particular region. Use this to determine a list of locally relevant short and long-tail keywords you can target, and incorporate them into your site’s meta content, copy, and URLs.
Don’t be afraid to include mentions of particular landmarks or hotspots in your area. It will only boost your relevance.
4.) Incorporate Online Business Directories
Utilize online business directories like Yelp and Foursquare to boost your local SEO. By engaging with local online guides, you can improve your visibility online. Try to use consistent NAP citations. NAP refers to your name, address, and phone. It’s critical that these match across all your listings, maintaining the format you use on Google My Business. Put this exact citation on your website’s homepage too.
Take it a step further by incorporating a backlink to your website and a thorough description of your business in any online business directory. You can build up customer reviews on these sites in conjunction with your own, boosting your visibility even more.
5.) Get The Basics Right With On-Page Optimizations
Proper on-page optimization is something small businesses tend to overlook. It’s essential if you’re looking to up your organic ranking. Use the relevant local keywords you’ve unpacked above to drive more significant search volumes. Periodically update your site content, making sure the keywords are still relevant.
Make your website mobile-friendly with responsive pages. Without this, it’s going to be tricky to compete in the local SEO landscape. Today’s consumer searches on mobile, making it a top platform for traffic.
Spend some time working on your site speed. Fast loading pages will rank better on Google, so be sure to optimize your imagery and clean up your redirects.
In today’s economic climate, local SEO is more important than ever. By incorporating these five basic strategies, you can make the most of local searches, driving traffic to site and ultimately improving your bottom line. SEO of any kind is a long-term strategy you’ll need to maintain consistency. Stay up to date with Google’s SERP features, prioritizing your local SEO to see real returns.