Focusing on local SEO is essential to small businesses that operate in a specific region.
It can help you build credibility in your community, help your customers find you more easily, and most importantly, it can play a key role in helping customers choose you over your competition.
Google My Business
Optimizing your Google business profile is one of the most effective ways to improve your local Google search results within Google Maps as well as local search engine result pages (SERP).
The first step is to create a Google My Business account and verify ownership of your business. This process can take a couple of weeks as they will send you a verification code in the mail to your listed business address.
Once your business profile is verified, fill in as much information as possible about your business. Include your logo, hours of operation, payment methods, a list of all the products or services you provide, and plenty of images. Businesses that have more images typically do better in the search results.
We’ve made a guide that can help you understand and get the most out of Google My Business. You can download it here.
Ask Your Customers For Reviews
Having reviews on your Google My Business listing is a great way to show social proof, gain the trust of new potential customers, and encourage them to buy from you.
Surveys show that 85% of customers believe online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And this could just be that extra nudge that helps them choose you over a competitor.
If you’re just getting started, reach out to some of your previous customers and ask them to leave you a review.
An effective practice for building goodwill online is to respond back to all reviews, even if it’s just to thank them for using your product or service. And if you do receive a bad review (it happens) then make sure you reply back addressing their concerns.
To continue building up your reviews on Google, make it a habit to ask customers for a review after the close of a sale. A good strategy to ensure you only receive positive reviews is to send a post-service survey so you can ask customers with a positive response to leave a review while dealing with any dissatisfied customers internally.
Optimizing For Voice Search
As technology advances, many customers are starting to use voice search when searching for solutions online.
Optimizing for long-tail keywords or keyword phrases will help your business show up when customers search using voice instead of typing in a phrase or search term.
When you’re creating your content use a more conversational tone. Try to incorporate traditional question starters such as “who, what, when, where, why, and how” or other common questions your customers might ask.
Using Local Keywords
It goes without saying that your local SEO strategy should focus on local keywords.
Google’s keyword planner lets you filter keyword searches based on location so you can see what search terms are popular for your specific region.
Once you have a list of local keywords to work with, these should be included in your website’s metadata, content, and URLs.
Another easy way to start improving your local SEO ranking is to create content based on news or events happening in your area. This can also be an excellent stimulant if you ever start running low on ideas for content.
Get Listed On Other Online Directories
Listing your business on multiple online directories is important to help with your overall visibility, but it can also boost your SEO.
Directories such as Yellowpages, Yelp, and Foursquare have high SERP indexes so setting up your profiles with a backlink to your website will help build and improve your own SEO ranking.
Where Should I Start?
There are many things you can do to improve your local SEO ranking and as you start putting together all of the pieces your ranking is sure to improve.
A good place to start is with a local SEO audit to see what will give you the most traction right away.