Local SEO is an underrated strategy for small and medium businesses.
Local search involves enhancing your business’s visibility, increasing traffic and ranking highly in local search results on Google. Any business which operates in a physical location or services within a geographic area can vastly benefit from implementing local SEO strategies. In fact, according to Google, searches for local places with the term ‘near me’ have grown 150% faster than those which don’t include this.
Since Google regularly updates its local listings and ranking algorithms, there is tremendously fierce competition for small businesses operating different local areas. However, by optimising your local SEO performance and improving your marketing efforts, you can make sure that your business stays relevant and acquire stronger online brand awareness. Here’s how!
Local Keyword Search Simulation
There’s nothing more important than building a strong foundation of keywords. You should actively research specific keywords related to your business and focus on optimising these throughout your website and Google listing – this involves integrating the keyword in your URL, title tags, meta description, headers and building localised content. The great thing is that unlike a typical blog or website article, you necessarily need to update these keywords when implementing your local SEO strategy.
Some different ways to improve your local keyword search simulation include: using Google Suggest and focusing on a specific geographic area (or using ‘near me’ in your search term, keyword research and analysis tools (e.g. SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner), and local mobile voice searches. In fact, 20% of all Google searches on mobile devices are now voice searches – keep in mind that this usually involves longer and more natural language.
Optimise Your Google My Business Profile
Google My Business (GMB) is practically a goldmine for any business who wants to optimise their local SEO and manage their online presence on Google. GMB is basically a free tool which enables you to promote your business profile and manage your local listings on Google Search or Maps. If you have a verified Google My Business account, then the search engine can reward your business with a dedicated space on local search results.
To optimise your Google My Business account, you should encourage your customers to share their reviews online and actively respond with sincerity. Even responding kindly and attentively to negative reviews can boost your SEO ranking and build greater customer trust. Your replies should ideally specify your business’s location, such as ‘We truly value your feedback on [product/service] in [city, state] and look forward to serving you again. Thank you from the [company name] staff members.’ Additionally, you should add photos and videos of your business, including various images of the building interior and exterior, product offerings, etc.
Other essential items to add to your Google business listing include: address / geographic location, contact details (phone number, website URL and email), business category, and opening hours. It’s incredibly crucial that you make sure all your business information is up-to-date, relevant and consistent across all online channels to boost your local search ranking.
- NAP (name, address and phone number) citations are a pivotal local SEO ranking signal, meaning that you should keep all this information listed out correctly in every online space. This includes your business website, online directories, social media platforms, online review websites (e.g. Yelp and TripAdvisor), local blogs or other search engines like Bing. Google often uses NAP to make sure that your business is legitimate and credible.
- The Map Pack, also known as The Local Pack, is a set of 3 local business results that appear on the top of the SERP, accompanied with a Google map of their locations. The normal organic search results appear right underneath. To optimise this Map Pack, you need to be super specific with your local ranking and use Map tracking tools such as LocalFalcon.
- Schema Markup is basically a code or microdata that you can place on your website, which makes it easier for search engines to deliver more informative results for users. They allow you to create rich snippets which make the search results much more visually appealing and hence, generate higher click-through-rates. This includes star ratings, product images, price displays, etc.
Build Localised Content
Although writing content geared around popular news or broad topics can attract a large crowd, it can be really beneficial to focus on more localised content. For smaller businesses, creating localised content means you’re able to further target your ideal customers who may be searching for specific things within your geographic vicinity. You can choose to write about local events, gatherings, community issues or industry news to attract a more local audience.
Some examples of localised content can be: a map or directory of local service providers, a comprehensive calendar of community events, an informative guide to local restaurants and cafes, or even an infographic which features the historical timeline of your local area’s development. When it comes to building valuable localised content, there are endless possibilities! Combine this with local keyword search terms and your business can acquire higher traffic and visibility.
Optimise Your Website on Mobile
Local SEO and mobile search optimization are crucial. In fact, nine out of ten smartphone users conduct local searches on their mobile devices. This includes browsing online reviews, finding directions to your business address / location, and searching your contact details. You can optimise your local search by making your site mobile-friendly and enhancing the user’s mobile experience.
Unlike desktop, people don’t tend to search for long-tail search queries on mobile. They prefer to keep things short and simple, so you should choose keywords or phrases which reflect this. Shorter content on mobile also increases engagement and even increases your ROI. You’ll need to create mobile optimised landing pages if you want to boost your conversion using these keywords. Other ways to create a seamless mobile experience for local search include using mobile ad extensions based on location, click-to-call ads, sitelinks and Promoted Pins on Google Maps.
Add Location Pages to Website
If your business has more than one brick and mortar location, then adding location pages is a great way to improve your local SEO. Location pages provide visitors with your name, address, phone number, opening hours, unique store descriptions, parking or transit information, store promotions, and even positive customer testimonials.
To improve the overall effectiveness and targeted reach across your location pages, you should also avoid duplicating content. For businesses with one physical location, you should create a descriptive About Us page that is integrated with relevant localised keywords. You’ll boost your local SEO even more if you add a Google Map to your website on your location page(s)!
Get Relevant & Credible Inbound Links
Inbound links are one of the most powerful ways to improve your local SEO. Inbound links signify to Google that your business is trustworthy and legitimate, meaning that it can further enhance your domain authority and boost your Google search rankings. You can get inbound links through sponsorships or partnerships, guest blog posting (media coverage) and scholarships.
To achieve partnerships, you can begin with your own personal network or business circle. This could even include other stakeholders like government organisations, licensing bureaus, trade associations, retailers, vendors or manufacturers, or other relevant affiliates. You can also sponsor a webinar, social gathering or community event, and promote a local program.
Creating a scholarship for your geographical region can do wonders for your local SEO strategy. Since education websites have very high domain authority, you can further improve your business’s outreach and legitimacy by creating a scholarship program catered towards the relevant industry or educational field. Through various backlinks from these schools and colleges, you’re able to truly kickstart your local search presence.
Want to Skyrocket Your Local SEO?
Achieving a top ranking on Google can be quite difficult. For smaller businesses, attracting customers can be even harder. Luckily, with OMDIGI Group’s SEO Service, we can work closely with your business to deliver the best results. From increased web traffic, detailed keyword research and analysis, web development, link building and content audits, you can improve your local SEO in no time. Contact us now!