If you own a business, you simply cannot afford to ignore local SEO in the growing competition for online visibility.
Businesses are popping up at an exponential rate and this feeds the need for focused marketing tactics. Knowing how to get the best local SEO for your business is essential today.
Local SEO allows you to tailor your online visibility to a target geographic audience and specific product or service. This helps your business stand out in local SERPs.
With so many businesses marketing online, this seems like an impossible task. However, there are things you can do to improve your chances of being found locally.
Let’s look at some of the primary tactics to achieve a healthy local presence.
1. List Your Business with Google
Start by creating a Google listing for your business. This service is free and will greatly improve your local ranking.
Creating a Google listing will take care of a number of things at once. It will ensure that potential customers find your business on Google Maps and see basic information such as location, hours, and a business description.
Think of this listing as Google’s indicator of who you are and what you do. The great thing about a Google listing is that it acts as the primary hub where you can manage all your Google needs. The setup and verification process is easy and will increase your chance of a higher local ranking.
Another important feature of a Google my business listing is that it gives your potential customers some valuable information straight away, from a mobile or desktop result. The three main bits of information are:
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- Your Phone number
- Your address
- A link to your website.
Your customers can click the phone number and call you directly from the listing and even click your address to get directions straight to you. They can click on the web link to go straight to your website. This is fantastic for conversions and is a great reason to use a local SEO service, as this makes it easy for your local customers to contact you.
The other really important feature is the review feature. Customers can leave reviews on your listing about your service. You can manage these reviews in your account and respond to customer reviews. Customer reviews are checked constantly by potential customers so it’s really important to ask your existing customers to leave you a review. Many people are happy to leave reviews for you if asked. It’s a good idea to get into the practice of asking for reviews.
Reviews are also a ranking signal for Google to rank your local listing and your website linked to your listing.
2. List of Other Local Directories
Although Google is the primary search engine used today, there are other local directories that shouldn’t be ignored. Listing with these local directories ensures that you have the best local SEO coverage.
Some of the top local directories include:
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Local
- Yellow pages
- True Local
You can also find local directories that are more specific to your industry. For example, Urban Spoon lists local restaurants and cafes. When setting up these listings, make sure all the information, such as hours of operation and your address is correct from the beginning. Your name, address, and phone number should be exactly the same as the ones that you are using in your Google My Business listing. This is really important as Google loves consistency and the more consistent you are across the web, the better your chance of improving your business listing in the search results.
For example, Urban Spoon lists local restaurants and cafes. When setting up these listings, make sure all the information, such as hours of operation and your address is correct from the beginning.
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There are even services that will take care of setting up your local listings for a fee. This is an option if you simply don’t have the time to devote to the process. If you need help building your local listings or your Google My Business listing, feel free to contact us.
3. Social Media Boosts Local Rankings
A strong social media presence is essential for any business wanting more exposure. Setting up profiles on top sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is a great way to engage your customers and share information about your products and services.
Social media profiles are also great platforms for sharing customer reviews. They also allow local customers to follow and share your site content to help spread information about your business.
There are also many local business groups on sites like Facebook. Becoming member-only increases your local reach.
4. Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?
Last year mobile devices beat out desktop computers as the primary device used to access the internet. When searching for a local business on the go, people are turning to their smartphones to find services nearby.
If your website is not compatible with mobile devices, it’s likely potential customers will pass you by. Making sure your website has a responsive web design is the best way to deliver a user-friendly mobile experience.
Other elements of mobile site optimization include separate mobile URLs and dynamic content. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, speak to your web developer about making this change.
5. Backlinks Matter
Part of having the best local SEO rankings includes having relevant links back to your site. Backlinks with strong anchor text can improve your site’s exposure in your niche market for a specific geographic location.
A good way to get quality backlinks is to have local clients link to your site. Getting involved with community business organizations like the chamber of commerce can give you an opportunity to get a relevant backlink that will improve your local ranking.
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Instead of paying for links, try establishing backlinks from stable, local organizations and businesses. Paying for links can actually end up hurting you, as many of these programs employ tactics that border on spam.
6. Generate Customer Reviews
It’s now the norm for people to make decisions on products and services based on customer reviews. Reviews help build credibility with the public and even help search rankings when people click through to your site.
It can’t hurt to ask your valued customers to go online and write a review. Google now gives businesses a review score based on the number of reviews they have, which only helps your local ranking. Plus, when potential clients see many satisfied customers, it builds consumer confidence in your product.
7. Don’t Neglect Onsite SEO
The content and SEO on your website have a direct relationship to your local SERPs. Aside from using relevant keywords to describe who you are and what you provide, your website should indicate your locality.
Your physical location along with the geographic location of your client base should also be included on your website. A contact page is a great place to incorporate a map of your location and can even mention local landmarks.
Making sure your website includes keyword-rich content will help you rank appropriately and target your niche market.
8. Include Locally Relevant Content
Producing content that includes local information and news is a great way to help get the best local SEO results for your business. A great way to do this is through blog articles related to local events your customers may benefit from.
Doing this also helps establish your local reputation and can provide another way to incorporate keywords into your site. It won’t hurt to establish relationships with local news organizations. They are typically interested in the local business community and may publish press releases or information about your business on their site.
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Best Local SEO Strategies
Don’t lose out on business by neglecting the best local SEO techniques for your company’s online marketing strategy. It’s likely that your competition is taking advantage of these tactics, so you can’t risk ignoring the trends in local optimization.