You spent your talent, energy, time, and money on building your business. But do your customers know that it exists? How they can find your business? Relax — there is no need to panic. The good news is that customers are continuously searching for goods and services in their area, and it’s local SEO that can put your name in front of them. Read on and learn how you can do it.
While it’s easy to think of local independent businesses like cafes and plumbers implementing local SEO marketing, it’s a powerful marketing tool for any business of any size. From a ‘Ma & Pa’ shoe repair store to a nation-wide fleet of mobile dog groomers, optimizing your website for local searches can give your business the kick it needs.
Let’s dive into our list of practical SEO tips.
What is local SEO?
Localized SEO is the process of optimizing your website to market your business to a local audience. In doing so, you ensure that your website ranks highly for people that are searching for search terms that are relevant to your business while being in your local area.
It’s important to note that while we are talking specifically about Google’s search engine in this article, Bing, Yahoo! DuckDuckGo and many other search engines also utilize localization in a similar way.
How it works
If you search Google on your mobile phone for ‘tire repair service’, you’ll see various results from all parts of the world, as long as your phone’s location services are turned off. Turn your phone’s location services on, and you’ll see an entirely new set of search results. That’s because Google has used the information from your location services feature and fine-tuned your search to show you results that are, more than likely, what you need — a tire repair service near you.
Repeat that same search with a specific location after it (for example, ‘tire repair service Broken Hill Australia), and you’ll be presented with tire repair services in that location.
Why it’s crucial to your business
Take a look at the statistics below to understand why local SEO marketing is essential for your business:
- 76% of people who perform a local search on their phone visit a place within 24 hours.
- 28% of those people go on to make a purchase
- Over 50% of people looking for auto parts or services end up calling a provider directly from the search
- 86% of people use the internet to find a new store or service near them
- 46% of searches on Google are localized
(You can find more statistics like this directly from Google)
And if these statistics alone aren’t enough to convince you of the importance of local SEO marketing, consider the following:
Between 2015 and 2017, Google says that searches that ended with ‘near me’ went up 150%.
So the data clearly says that region-specific SEO is important. But how do all those searches translate to benefitting your business?
Optimizing your website for a local search engine can bring a host of benefits. This can range from more people simply knowing your business exists, to reducing your advertising costs.
There’s a saying in digital marketing — ‘The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google’. And when was the last time you personally went to page 2 of a Google search?
That’s because we automatically trust the results that Google gives us. By being high in searches in your local area, you built that trust, as well as traffic.
Reduce money spent on advertising
What you may notices is that none of these local SEO tips cost money. While local SEO marketing is free, it requires time to learn or money to hire a specialist to help you. While it isn’t truly ‘set and forget’, it does require some maintenance but is certainly cheaper (and more effective) than local print and TV advertising.
Did you know that 89% of consumers read reviews before buying a product? Once your Google My Business account is set up (more on this shortly), customers can leave reviews about their experience with your business. These views are publicly visible and play a massive role in building trust with new customers.
Stand out from your competitors
Depending on your business, chances are that the majority of your competitors aren’t leveraging the power of local search rankings. Even if some are, it’s probably not overly competitive. Making your business visible locally online helps you get the advantage over your local competitors.
Notoriety within the community
Regardless of the city you’re based in, your local community plays an important role in your business. When that local community knows that your business exists, it’s then easier for your business to become part of the local community. Location-specific SEO helps your business become part of that local community, as residents and passers-by can easily find your business and utilize your services.
Local SEO Marketing Strategies
Once you’ve made the decision to set your business up to take advantage of local small content SEO, here are a few ways to get started and maximize your efforts.
Google ‘My Business’
Google’s My Business (or GMB) is the equivalent of giving Google your company’s business card. It’s a simple and straightforward process and is essential to help Google place your website in local search results. Google My Business does more than just put your website into relevant searches. It gives searchers easy access to your website, products & services, contact information, opening hours, reviews, and everything else that the searcher needs to interact with your business.
Your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) are the three most essential elements required for local SEO marketing. Google will then put your NAP into citations (instances where your NAP is displayed), and put it into search results. Google deems your NAP as the three most essential things needed to find your business, so it will cite your NAP wherever possible. It’s worth noting that citations make up about 10% of all local search signals.
Local Link Building
Once your business shows up in local searches, it’s crucial that you do everything in your power to get your listing to the top of local searches. Ranking higher in local search results by building links from other sites to yours is one of, if not the most effective local SEO tips. And one of the easiest ways for a local business to do that is to list your business in both local and national online business directories.
Online business directories are abundant. Try listing your business in directories in your local area (Business Directory St Louis), nationally (Business Directory UK), as well as niche directories (100% Vegan businesses). Links from these websites to your websites not only boost your organic searches, but they can also bring traffic to your website.
Making sure that your website is built correctly, fast to load, secure and easy to navigate has a profound impact on your search results. There is a wide range of SEO site audit tools that can help you measure and test the technical aspect of your website and then help you make the necessary improvements.
Find & use relevant keywords in your website content
Keyword research is a vital part of any SEO strategy, not just for local searches. Local citations are critical to getting local visitors, but it’s keyword research that helps people find your products and services.
Paid tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush and free tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you find keywords that are relevant to your business as well as how many people search for them per month. These keywords should then be ‘sprinkled’ throughout headers, subheaders, blogs, metadata and general copy on your website.
Assess & compare your competitors
One of the lesser-known local SEO tips is to look at what your competitors are doing. Spend some time to assess their website and how people get to their website and then try and replicate those efforts. Links from similar websites, mentioned in local media, or partnerships with complementary brands are an excellent place to start.
If there are simply no competitors for you, take a look at local businesses that are of a similar size to you, and see how they are optimizing the sites for local search. Try replicating their efforts specific for your product, service, and industry.
Dedicated landing pages for specific locations
If your business is based on a mobile service like a dog wash or carpet cleaning, you’re able to travel from town to town. Fixing yourself in one location is equivalent to shooting yourself in the foot. Creating pages on your website that are tailored to areas that are within your reach is an excellent way to target searches in that area. Mentioning region-specific landmarks (parks, malls, tourist attractions) can also help make these pages rank in searches in that area.
Content referring to local events
Nothing builds trust like showing that you truly are a local resident. Boost your organic search results by writing a short blog about local events, such as a fair or event where your business had a stand. Working with local charities and getting involved with the local communities are great ideas, but so is creating website content about these ventures. This content will help build trust and also aid your SEO efforts.
Over to you
Local SEO marketing is a powerful way to attract potential customers into your store that are ready to buy. Whether you have an ecommerce brand, retail brand of physical service, give your business the shot in the arm it needs by implementing the above-localized SEO tips onto your website.