Last updated on January 2nd, 2024 by RGB Web Tech
Local search is powerful for small businesses, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. If your business is not optimized for local search, you could miss out on potential customers ready to shop in your area. In short, local SEO is critical if you want your business to stay relevant.
To help you optimize your business for local SEO, we've created a comprehensive guide covering local SEO tips and tools.
1. Optimize for Google My Business.
Google My Business has become the RGB Web Tech local search. Since Google supports, verifies, and shares its own content generously, Google My Business is an ideal tool to help your business meet Google's needs.
To ensure you're optimized for Google My Business, you'll want to:
- Create and verify a Google My Business page.
- Use Google Posts within your account.
- Encourage your customers to share reviews online.
- Respond authentically to reviews, specifying location. For example, “We appreciate your feedback on [product/service] in [city, state]. We value your input and look forward to working with you again. Thank you from the [full company name] team.”
If Google can verify your business as authentic, the search engine could potentially reward your business with a coveted sidebar space in Google's local search.
Don't just do this for SEO, either. By having reviews and keeping your contact information and operating hours up-to-date, you're improving the experience for potential customers to find you. Finding current data is essential to consumers, now more than ever, due to 2020's disruption in consumer shopping behavior and business operation.
2. Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business
Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before.
Now that you've carved out a beautiful Google My Business page, share it on social media, further aligning social and search.
3. Ensure your name, address, and phone number are consistent online
You've got to make it easy for people and search engines to find you, and to do this you have to set up your NAP.
What does NAP mean in local SEO?
The acronym, NAP, stands for the name, address, and phone number (with area code) of a business. Your NAP should be considered crawlable HTML text on your site for Google to display it better according to location-based search results.
Pro Tip: Avoid the common mistake of only including the NAP within an image; images can't be crawled from search engines like HTML text.
The most common location for the NAP is in the footer or header of the site. Additionally, you should include your NAP on a “Contact Us” page, too.
4. Optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content.
When it comes to content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site, a new page on which to target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Every time you write a piece of content, you need to optimize the content for search engines by using high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body. If you're having trouble coming up with geo-targeted content, consider highlighting customer success stories and case studies.
Pro Tip: The more specifications you add to these assets (especially for each location of your business), the better you’ll be able to optimize “near me” local searches.
5. Add location pages to your website
If you have more than one brick-and-mortar location, create location pages. Location pages provide readers with your name, address, phone number, store hours, unique store descriptions, parking/transit information, promotions, and testimonials from happy customers.
It's also important you avoid duplicating content across multiple location pages. For single-location businesses, create a locally descriptive About Us page. You can even get bonus points if you add a Google Map to your website on your respective location page(s).
6. Create local content
Google continues to get smarter, which means content creators can now write more for users and less to appease search engines. And while writing about general topics will attract a vast crowd, sometimes it's more important to focus and write about local or industry news to attract a local audience.
Be the local authority for your industry by promoting local industry gatherings, news, employees, and other educational content on your blog. Think of top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what your business sells.
For example, if you're a local security company and trying to attract businesses new to the area, create a helpful resource to get these businesses well-acquainted with your city. A map of local service providers or a calendar of city-wide events could both provide value for your persona and contain highly relevant on-page local signals.
7. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
Local and mobile search go hand in hand (61% of all Google searches are performed on mobile).
Some of the most common ways people will use your site in a mobile environment are to look up reviews, find directions to your location, and search for contact information. In fact, "near me" searches on mobile have increased 250% since 2017.
Make it easy for your prospects and customers by making your site mobile-friendly.
8. Get inbound links with relevance and authority
Inbound links are compelling opportunities to boost your local SEO — every inbound link tells Google you're a legitimate company, and inbound links can also raise your domain authority. Here are a few ways to get inbound links:
- Sponsorships or Partnerships
- Guest Blog Posting
Start with your network, including the Chamber of Commerce, business improvement districts, licensing bureaus, trade associations, resellers, vendors, manufacturers, and other affiliates.
Consider sponsoring a webinar or meet-up, hosting a community event, promoting something local you love, and building relationships with prominent people and influencers. Additionally, learn to feel comfortable reaching out to partners to see if they can feature you in their partner directory.
Also, being a guest blogger can help attract links. Positively talk to or about other people in your industry, and act as a resource provider for the community. If you're an active participant in community conversations, the buzz around you grows in the form of inbound links, social media growth, and media coverage.
9. Participate in your local community
The more you participate in the local community, the more digital PR you'll receive. Partnering with a nonprofit on a campaign, having a volunteer day in your organization, sponsoring an event (even an online one!), or appearing in the local media as an authority in your industry are all ways to earn press, brand awareness, and inbound links.
For example, given that .edu links are the bee's knees for domain authority, why not earn some links by featuring a scholarship in your geographic region? It should be relevant to your industry, send the right signals to your domain (given the backlinks from schools) and make you feel good, too! Moz built a solid guide on the steps to success for effective scholarship outreach.
FAQs - Local SEO
1. What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of improving your online presence to get more business from local searches. These searches take place on many search engines, but local SEO focuses on optimizing for Google users.
2. Why is local SEO important?
Local SEO is important because many people use search engines to find local businesses. In fact, according to Google 30% of all mobile searches are related to location. 78% of people who search for something nearby on their phones visit the business within a day. 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. In short, customers are searching for your business. If you’re not there, you’re leaving money on the table.
3. How does local SEO work?
Local SEO is a game of two halves because Google shows two types of search results for local searches. These are “map pack” results and organic “blue link” results. You can rank on both of them. 1. Map pack results : The map pack (aka local pack) is a Google SERP feature that shows the top local business listings and a map. It often appears at the very top of Google’s search results for local searches. 2. Organic search results : The “regular” organic search results are the “10 blue links” that we’re all familiar with. They usually appear below the “map pack” results.
4. What is the difference between SEO and local SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) encompasses all areas of your website that relate to improving your search visibility, traffic, and conversion. Local SEO is a section of SEO that aims to boost local visibility or awareness of your local establishment worldwide. Local SEO is targeting consumers and clients who are interested in doing business in the local area.
5. How much does local SEO cost
Pricing for Local SEO services can range from $500 to $5000 or more. However, it will depend on what industry you’re in, the competition, and the SEO initiatives. Ultimately, your SEO consultant will be recommending an SEO strategy and a plan that will be presented to you for your approval.
6. What are local SEO citations?
Local citations are any mention of your business’ name, address, phone number and other information on the web. This can happen on websites, social media, or local business directories. It impacts how search engines view your website and can positively affect your local rankings.
7. How do you know if you need local SEO?
You know you need local SEO if you see that you’re not ranking locally or you need more leads and clients. It’s important to know that the ROI from local SEO is higher than other marketing initiatives. With more than 87.3 percent of the US population using the internet, you can be sure that a portion of those are locals looking for your business. So regardless of competition, there’s a lot of opportunities out there that you don’t want your local business to miss out on.
Local SEO is often a digital marketing tool that gets overlooked. Local SEO is just as important as traditional SEO. Ranking in Google Maps and local packs can help boost your foot and online traffic.
These fantastic suggestions, such as website optimization and Google Maps ranking can give you the boost your business needs.