The Internet has made our life easier.
We are just one search away from anything.
Looking for a brick and mortar store?
Search for a brick and mortar store near me.
Looking for a beauty salon?
Search for a beauty salon near me.
And so on.
You will find many businesses around your location. You visit their website or call them and book your appointment. As simple as that!
But wait. Do you have your own business? And if yes, does your business show up on Search Engine if someone searches queries related to your business?
For example, if you are a lawyer situated in New York, and when your prospect searches “ Lawyer in New York”, does your business listing appear on top in search engines? If not, you are missing out on tons of potential clients.
According to 99firms.com, 97% of consumers search online for a local business. Hence, if you own a local business such as a wedding planner company, window repair service, legal services, travel agent services then your business must show up on top of the Internet when someone searches for it.
But Akshay, what does “show up” on the Internet mean? Why don’t you simply call it SEO?
Okay, not SEO, but Local SEO!
Here we go.
What is Local SEO?
Local Search Engine Optimization is a branch of SEO that focuses on optimizing the online presence of businesses for location-based keywords.
Accounting services in [city_name],
Lawn care services near me,
Dentist in [area_name], etc.,
You see search engines show exactly what you are looking for. If someone searches for Accounting services in Chicago, Google or any other search engine understands that the search intent is location-based, and it shows the websites or business listings from that location.
So if you ask me what’s the difference between Organic SEO and Local SEO, then I will tell you, Local SEO results appear for location keywords. If you have a physical store, then Local SEO helps you to bring footfall to your store.
In fact, according to junto.digital, 72% of customers who perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their current location.
Hence, Local SEO is crucial.
Now that you have understood what Local SEO is and why it is important, let’s see the Local SEO strategy.
You see, you’re not the only business who want to appear on top for the location-specific searches. There are many competitors in your niche who are competing for the same.
But worry not, in this blog I’ll share with you some local SEO strategies that will help you to outrank your competitors.
Still with me?
Cool, let’s dive in.
8 Best Local SEO Strategies
1) Create and Optimize Google My Business Account
Google My Business is a free tool by Google for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence both in maps and searches.
Creating and optimizing Google My Business account can get you into The Map Pack results.
Google Map Pack is a set of top 3 Google map results based on various local ranking factors. It occupies around 33% of the total SERP area. Having your business listing in a map pack should be your priority.
For that matter, start with creating an account on Google My Business.
- Sign up to Google My Business and claim your listing.
- Fill in the business details like name, address, contact information, business category, etc.
- Choose a verification method. You can verify your business listing by postcard, phone, or email. Sometimes, you even get instant verification option.
- If you chose the postcard method, it will take around 12-15 business days to get the card that includes code which you have to submit to your GMB dashboard.
Now you are done with the GMB account creation. The next step is optimizing it which is the most important.
To optimize your GMB, you should follow the following steps.
- Add a description of your business and embed keywords you want to rank for.
- Add high-quality images. According to Impactbnd, Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their website than businesses that don’t have photos.
- Ask your happy customers to give reviews. Reviews are deciding factor for purchases. Also, don’t forget to give a response to reviews.
- Post consistently related to your events, company news, special offers & discounts etc.
2) Listing on Online Business Directories
Besides GMB, you can also list your business on other business directories such as Yelp, Glassdoor, YellowPages, BBB, etc.
Business directories allow you to fill in the details such as name, description, working hours, location, website link (Backlink) etc.
Listing your business on various directories boosts your Local SEO efforts. But make sure you add the same contact details on every directory.
Google is always looking for the best results to show to users. Hence, if your business is listed on various directories, it finds you authentic and resultantly gives weightage to your listing as well as the website.
Business directories are also responsible for your brand’s online reputation management. It allows users to give reviews. Get as many positive reviews as possible. In the case of negative reviews, reply politely. Remember reviews are the important decider metric for purchases.
3) Consistent Local Citations (NAP)
Citations refer to the online mentions of your business. NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) is one of the important Local SEO factors.
Nap Citations are places where your business’s name, address, and phone number are listed out.
‘Local’ SEO, as the name suggests NAP citations are one of the deciding factors while ranking for location-based keywords.
But make sure you are consistent with it. Your NAP should be the same across all the platforms and directories. It gives Google a signal that your business is authentic and correct. On the other hand, inconsistent NAP citations can confuse both Google and potential customers.
In fact, 73% of users lose trust in brand if their business listing contains inaccurate data.
Apart from Google My Business, Bing Places you can list your business on MapQuest, USDirectory, Yahoo Local etc. Want more directories? Check out the full list here.
4) Local Link Building
Link Building refers to acquiring natural backlinks from relevant websites. More high-quality domains pointing to your website and map pack are directly proportional to the ranking.
According to Moz, local link signals are the most important ranking factor for organic results and the second-most important ranking factor for local pack results.
How to acquire those backlinks?
Here are some tips for you.
- Create and promote a helpful local resource. For example, if you are a real estate agent from Miami, you can write a blog on the benefits of living in Miami.
- Guest blogging is another powerful way to get do-follow links. Approach influencers from your location.
- By using tools like Ahrefs you can replicate your competitor’s backlinks.
- You can also approach local event websites that write about what to do in a locality. For eg, chamber of commerce.
As you are a local business getting links from other local websites is more important than the authoritative sites like Forbes, Huffpost, etc.
Make sure you don’t spam and don’t embrace black hat SEO techniques. If you do so, Google may penalize your website/listing.
5) Mobile Responsive Website
The majority of people access the Internet from mobile devices. Talking about data, according to gs.statcounter.com, 51.74% of people use mobile phones to access the Internet. On the other hand, 45.61% of people use desktops.
Having said that, making your website mobile responsive is not an option, but a need!
Mobile responsive websites give the same user experience as desktops and adapt to their original size and layout.
Nobody likes to visit a website which is poorly designed and looks ugly on mobile. Hence, one should make sure that the website is mobile responsive.
Here are some tips to consider while making a mobile responsive website –
- Optimize images and make sure your website loads fast.
- Give special attention to typography and fonts.
- Navigation keys should be easily accessible.
- Clearly display call to action buttons.
- Balance the padding and margin.
- Add social media share buttons to blog posts.
You can use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to examine whether your website is mobile responsive or not.
6) Create Location-Specific Pages
If your business has multiple locations, then you need to create separate pages for all the locations.
Many people commit the mistake of including all locations in one master landing page. That’s really bad for SEO.
If you have one salon in Florida, and another one in Miami, then you should have two separate pages on your website. Optimize both the pages, make it mobile responsive, and also build links for both pages.
In the case of Google My Business listing, you’ll be able to create listings for individual locations.
Here are the guidelines –
- Add the URL of each of your locations to your business profile.
- Verify each location.
- Keep your business name consistent across all locations.
- Add description, category, and photos.
- Respond to reviews.
- Create location-specific posts.
- List accurate hours.
About the website, make sure your pages are crawlable. Submit sitemap!
7) Optimize Website for Voice Search
Voice search is an important factor that you should not ignore at all.
According to Google, 20% of searches are voice-based.
Imagine you are driving a car and you are looking for a restaurant. In that situation instead of typing on Google, voice search is more preferable.
Voice search is convenient and saves time. Hence, people are increasing the use of this feature.
Hence, while doing Local SEO you should include long-term keywords in your content. For example, while typing one might type “ Restaurants in Los Angeles”, but while using the voice search feature, one might ask “ Hey Alexa, what are the best restaurants in Los Angeles”.
Make sure you include question keywords like what, where, how etc. into the content. Also filler words like on, the, an, I, for etc.
Using Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) would help.
Voice searches are conversational, thus while including long-tail keywords keep note of this.
Local SEO is a great investment for local businesses. Once you made it to the top, it’s an automated lead generation system until your competitors outrank you.
The local SEO strategy I shared with you in this article is surely helpful as I personally used it to rank my client’s local businesses.
I hope you found it useful.
If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know.
See you soon in the next article.