You can have the most expensive search engine optimization strategy in the world, but if it’s not optimized to capture your target audience, it’s all (mostly) a waste.
This is particularly true with search engine optimization strategies that are only designed to capture generic search traffic. If you sell mostly in your local town, why are you only attempting to improve your ranking worldwide? You’ll have to fight through thousands of similar sites, instead of targeting your niche area.
Ignoring Local SEO is a costly mistake that far too many companies make. When you neglect a local search strategy, you hand your customers to your competitors and miss out on easy-to-capture top local search spots.
How Does Local SEO Make a Difference?
We all know we need a search engine optimization strategy these days (if you don’t have a strategy in place, please call us ASAP).
Search engine performance gets more and more vital every year. The latest statistics show that the top 3 positions in Google searches get 70% of the clicks. So, if you’re not optimized for search, you’re losing out.
But, how people are searching is also changing.
Today, more than half of all Google searches have local modifiers like “near me” or “close by”. In the last two years, these types of searches have grown by more than 900%!
Customers who perform these local searches typically call or visit within 24 hours. So, if you miss them, you’ve possibly lost that customer for good to a competitor.
Understanding this shift in how people are searching allows you to optimize your strategy. It also gives you a way to experience quick wins with less effort. It’s much easier to rank for your location than globally. Even if you’re in a major metro area like Philidelphia, you’re only competing with a few other businesses for rankings, instead of thousands.
And if you’re a smaller business just starting out, local SEO strategies are cheaper and easier to implement than competing generically against every other similar business worldwide. Developing a strategy that targets your location or specific geographic locations lets you rank quicker, with less money required.
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you of the benefits of Local SEO and now you’re looking to get started.
Here are 5 local SEO tips to boost your local searches
1. Use Google My Business/Google Business Profile
One of the main reasons people perform local searches is for contact information like a businesses’ address, phone number, or hours of operation. Google My Business (now called Google Business Profile) is that helpful, prime spot that connects searchers with your company information without them needing to click through to your site.
You can’t ignore this listing. Sometimes people are searching quickly on their phone and if they can’t find your information, they move on to someone else.
Getting listed on Google My Business requires you to get verified with Google. This isn’t a super complicated process, but you should start it ASAP to make sure you get it going as soon as you can.
If you already have an account set up, take some time to ensure that all of your information is accurate and consistent with anything on your own website or any relevant listings.
2. Boost Your Online Reviews and Reputation
Social proofs are a great way to convince prospective customers of your business's ability to meet their needs. We all love hearing from others that they had a good experience with something before we commit.
Often these reviews are already out there in the wild. You just need to find them and possibly link to them from your site to make it easier for others to find them.
But sometimes we also need to build them up, or we have some super satisfied customers who haven’t talent the time to share their experience. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your customers to rate or review your business if you’re sure they had an excellent experience. Many will be happy to do it if asked, but you can always sweeten the deal by offering them a future discount or bonus for their time.
Having these kinds of honest conversations with your customers will also build your relationship with them, potentially turning them into customers for life. Plus, you’ll get valuable feedback and intel on how they view your business and possible changes you can make down the road.
3. Add Backlinks from Other Businesses
Google still loves and values backlinks in its search engine algorithm. Basically, if you’re pointing people to relevant sites, and some of those sites are directed back to you, Google knows that you’re legit.
If you have friends or relationships with complementary services or offerings, be sure to include them on your site. Customers will notice. “Hey, they don’t just promote themselves.” This will build goodwill in their minds…while also building your reputation with Google and helping you climb the page results.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to any vendors you have a positive experience with to ask for a trade of links from one site to another. After all, it benefits them as much as you!
4. Get Listed in Directories and Lists, but Ensure Consistency
We mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth repeating. You need to keep a list of every listing, site, etc that promotes your business. Regularly check all of these listings to ensure that all your information matches across each platform or directory. When we say to be consistent, be as specific as you can. If you use Ave instead of Avenue, be sure that every listing has it the same way.
Why? This seems like a minor detail that most people would understand. Which is right. However, search engine algorithms are set by robots. When they see inconsistent information, they can’t make the same leaps that humans can about the inconsistencies.
Plus, it’s easy to overlook changes. Maybe you shifted your hours and open later, but a popular site lists your opening hours at 8 instead of 10 am. Customers will get upset when they try to call you and can’t reach you.
So, reach out to any relevant local listing directory you can to be sure your company is listed in their recommendations. But, also take the time to double-check that they’ve listed your address, hours, and phone numbers correctly.
5. Add Specific, Targeted Localized Content to Your Website
Don’t neglect micro-sites and landing pages especially if you have more than one brick-and-mortar store or location. Purpose-built landing pages can help you capture unique searches and give you more chances to rank at the top of search results. You can even grab bonus SEO points by adding a Google Map to each localized landing page.
However, you need to avoid exact duplication here. If your content is an exact match on every page, you will be penalized by Google.
If you mostly serve one specific location, then really comb through your website to ensure that you’ve optimized your content for your location. Become the local authority for your area in your industry.
Get Started Localizing Your SEO Today
The usage statistics are clear, localized searches are growing more by the day. Don’t overlook or neglect these valuable searches. They are often performed right before someone plans to take action, so if you’re not prioritizing local SEO results, you will lose those customers at the last moment to your competitors.
Start putting all these tips into action before it's too late. If you’re short on time, manpower, or resources, we’re happy to help you out as well.
Contact us with any questions or needs you have and we’ll point you in the right direction or take things over for you.
With the right local SEO strategy in place, your business will rank better with less money and resources required. It’s a no-brainer!