Local search engine optimization is vital for businesses with brick-and-mortar offices. About 46% of online searches involve local information. Optimizing the business for local searches makes it easier to reach customers nearby. Up to 72% of local searches result in visiting the company and making a purchase. Here’s a guide to help you boost local SEO and attract more leads for your business:
Optimize Google Business Profile
The Google Business Profile is a free service from Google. It allows business owners to create a business profile and add relevant information. You can include the business name, contact information, address, products/service descriptions, logos, finished work photos, and more. The content can feature optimized keywords to help you rank highly for relevant searches.
Google displays business profiles as part of the SERPs(search engine results page), and the section appears at the top of the results. Optimizing your business profile increases the chances of being featured in the short-list of relevant businesses on the search result pages. Ensure you keep track of the business profile performance and update the information to leverage current trends and highly-performing keywords.
Research Local Keywords and Searches
Keywords play the most crucial role in search engine optimization, especially when targeting local markets. Local keywords are search phrases featuring a location keyword, like country, state, county, or local name. Other keywords don’t contain an actual place but use words such as “near me,” “nearby,” and “close by.” Google interprets such keywords as carrying location targets.
Your business will rank highly in SERPs for local searches featuring your business keyword. It’s important to research local customer browsing patterns, most-visited websites, and search keywords and language. Understanding how your potential clients find information online will make it easier to incorporate relevant keywords across each platform. Add a location-related phrase so Google can recognize the site as targeting local users.
Create Content for Audience Problems
Google and other modern search engines continue to advance search algorithms to identify sites designed for users, not machines. All businesses should write content to provide solutions for specific issues and subjects. To attract a local audience, you should write high-quality content answering their most pressing questions. Providing solutions and answers sets you apart as an expert in the field and can attract those looking to learn more before engaging.
You can write content promoting local industry events, trending topics, statistics, educational resources, and more. Such material can be featured in the blog section, exploring relevant issues of local interest. Ensure all content features optimized keywords and is structured to answer specific questions or offer help to the reader. You can also feature links to other resources or business videos and downloadable material for further reading.
Build Relevant Quality Links
Link structure is vital for on-page navigation and user experience. Inbound links from other authority websites also play a crucial role in SEO. You need to build an SEO-friendly link structure featuring quality internal and external links. Google and other engines value inbound links because they indicate authority and appreciation for your content/website. Think of Google like a popularity contest. The more that other sites link to you, the more value you have in the eyes of Google.
Link building is challenging, and the wrong links can hurt your SEO. Businesses can start with personal networks like the Chamber of Commerce, licensing bureaus, resellers and vendors, trade associations, and manufacturers. You can also sponsor community events and webinars. Active participation in the community allows you to build new relationships and networks, translating to quality inbound links and better local SEO.
Optimize Online Citations & Directories
Directories provide citations and mentions of your business. Modern online guides offer opportunities to include more information about your locations, addresses, products, and services. Great examples include Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Yellow Pages, BBB (Better Business Bureau), and Whitepages. You can claim citations in online directories and optimize the business descriptions with local keywords.
Many people use online directories to find business contacts. Search engines like Google also value such citations, so claiming your mentions across major directories can positively impact your SEO. Research popular guides that locals use and ensure your business is listed and properly cited. Such citations are essential for local SEO because they create consistent information about your business, establishing trust with Google and other search engines.
Perform a Local SEO Audit
An audit is probably the first thing you should perform when looking to boost local visibility. SEO audits examine various aspects encapsulating the optimization process. An audit involves reviewing keywords, links, content, website features, user experience, website speed, and more. The goal is to establish current SEO metrics and their performance and identify how to improve your ranking.
You can complete various audits, including Google business profile audit, search console audit, on-page SEO audit, citation audit, and competitor analysis. Audits can reveal areas of improvement and what needs changing. You can also evaluate website performance to determine if your efforts yield the desired outcome. Your SEO team will use audit results to determine the next course of action for better results.
In order to succeed with Local SEO, you should understand Google’s E.A.T. methodology. Everything we have talked about fits into this methodology. Google released this information to help guide local businesses to succeed in search. Below I’ll review what Google wants to see in local businesses online.
We talked about creating content that would answer questions or provide more information about what your clients are looking for. For example, if you were looking for a pest control company that uses pet-safe products you might search for ‘pet safe pest control’ which google would lead to your site that talks about the pet safe options available.
When we talked about link building and how Google is like a popularity contest, this is creating authority. Not all links are the same. Avoid PBN(private blog networks) as Google constantly looks for these sites to devalue.
Trust is about making sure your site is safe for your visitors. Ensure all code is updated and use Secure Certs to protect your visitors. Also, make sure your data is consistent across local listing sites.
Reputable Local SEO Services
Search engine optimization is not complex. Google wants to provide its users with a good experience. When websites provide a good experience, Google will reward those sites with higher rankings. Working with a reputable company specializing in geo-targeted SEO can help you navigate the process for better ranking, traffic, and customers.
As an award-winning SEO agency, we focus on client needs to provide highly-effective SEO services. Our team has over 10+ years of experience in SEO and business marketing, so we know what works. So whether you’re looking to optimize your business profile or overhaul a website to target local markets, we are ready to help