When you need an answer, where do you turn? Well… Google! It’s hard to imagine what we did before we could enter “Who was that guy who played in [fill in the blank]?” or ask Siri, “Where’s the best sushi around here?” An internet search probably brought you here to this article. Did you query “how to do local SEO?” or a similar term?
The vast majority of us rely on the internet and conduct major and minor searches, trivial and essential. Most of us (97%) also use online searches to find local businesses. Over 46% of all Google searches have local intent; 70% of searchers visit a location because of information they found online; 28% of local searches lead to purchase, and 78% of local mobile searches lead to a purchase made offline. These numbers add up to significant opportunities for your business.
How to Do Local SEO
Let’s dive in. Here are your lucky #13 tips on how to do local SEO, enhance your online presence, and grow your business.
Claim Your Google My Business Page:
Start here. Google’s goal is to deliver the highest quality, most relevant results to searchers. Trust and credibility are essential in achieving a high ranking - and as you know, a high ranking is important in driving traffic (and, ultimately, sales). Claiming and verifying your Google My Business page is a big step in establishing credibility with the search engine.
Simply go to business.google.com/add and enter the name and address of your business. Or you can find it on Google Maps or Search and go to the Business Profile section. Click Claim This Business.
Google will prompt you through the next steps. You’ll receive a message that indicates someone verified the profile. If you are the authorized manager of the page, request ownership, fill out the Request Access form, and click Submit. Done with that. Now optimize your GMB page so it’s fully updated with your current name, address, location, business hours, etc.
Keep NAP Updated… EVERYWHERE:
Your name, address, and phone number are key pieces of information, particularly when it comes to local search. People want to know where you are and give you a call if they need to - without having to navigate anywhere else. It should be on your GMB page, as mentioned, as well as on every other digital asset you own. From your website to your local directory listings to your social media profiles. Ensure these details are accurate and that you update them as needed.
Note: another important piece of information for searchers with local intent is your operating hours. Be sure to list those as well, and as they are likely to be subject to more fluctuations, prioritize keeping them up-to-date.
Hone In On Local Keywords:
Local keywords are most relevant to local searchers. Use Keyword Planner (a Google tool) to filter your keywords based on location. You’ll see what people in that locale are looking for so you can target keywords and phrases that will have the most significant impact. Include these keywords in your website content, social profiles, your site’s metadata, URLs, etc. (If SEO intimidates you… you’re not alone! Don’t hesitate to contact a local SEO company for help implementing more advanced steps).
Create Local Content:
You know what people in your area are searching for and what keywords and phrases they are finding. Now it’s time to create high-quality, original content that incorporates them naturally. Build out pages targeting your specific location; if your business serves more than one location, make sure each has localized content. This could be around the area’s current events, trends taking place there, opportunities unique to that area, etc.
Encourage Reviews and Use Them Strategically:
Reviews are another key component in establishing and building credibility, not only with Google but with consumers. People trust their peers more than they trust brands, at least at first. Encourage folks to leave a word after their experiences with you. Keep in mind that you will get the good and the bad and maybe even the ugly. Be sure to respond promptly to all reviews and keep your tone professional. If a situation turns sideways, try to take the conversation to a more personal medium, such as a phone call, email, or direct message.
Optimize for Mobile:
Mobile search influences more than $1.4 trillion in local sales, and 78% of location-based mobile searches lead to a purchase. We cannot emphasize this enough: you must optimize for mobile. Start by making sure your website loads fast; use bigger fonts; be ultra-selective with images and copy (strip away everything but the essentials), and focus on the user experience.
Optimize for Voice Searches:
Voice searches are yet another major element of local SEO. These searchers are likely to do voice queries on the go, and when doing so, they typically use longer phrases. Don’t be afraid of optimizing with those rich long-tail keywords. Cover FAQs related to who, what, when, and where. For example, if someone searches for your business hours (“When is Brand Z open?”), they should get that information first and fast.
Create a Location-Specific About Page or Location Pages:
Again, people are searching for specific locations and/or products/services to meet their needs. Be sure to optimize your content so that it covers your location(s). If you have multiple, create unique About pages for each or include a location page for each on your website. Integrate keywords for those specific areas.
List Your Business In Local Directories:
This is great search engine fuel and helps your business raise its online profile. Be sure to include your business in relevant industry directories (e.g., Avvo, Nolo, FindLaw for law firms).
Create a Separate Page for Each Product/Service:
Dedicating a page to each service area or product line is helpful in that it boosts your ranking ability. If you’re lumping them together on one page, you’re missing an opportunity to stand out as an authority in your field.
Optimize Your MetaData:
This is data about data, and it is useful as it is a form of micro communication between your website and search engines. It includes useful information (e.g., keywords) that helps Google discern what your page is about so it can serve it to searchers in the most streamlined way.
Use Local Schema:
Schema is another way to communicate with search engines. It helps Google quickly “analyze” your content and deliver it to interested searchers. A local schema is a form of structured data; you can add code to your pages that tell search engines who you are, what you do, where you are, and how you are the relevant result for people searching for the products/services you offer. You do not have to be a developer to implement this code, but if you need help, call on a local SEO company.
Build Your Backlink Profile:
This is part of your local SEO long game. Attracting high-quality links back to your site is critical in establishing credibility. It lends authority to your business. Focus on creating high-quality content that people find useful - other sites will link to it. You can also connect with local influencers and establish a mutually beneficial relationship that allows parties to leverage each other’s authority.
Knowing how to do SEO is the first step. Putting these strategies into action is next. Contact THAT Agency to optimize your online presence for local search. This is the path towards better results for businesses that rely on local/regional sales and even foot traffic.