Local SEO Is quite a bit different than your regular SEO tactics. There are multiple extra factors to consider.
You are losing a much greater number of prospects when your website does not show on top of popular search engines like Google.
Your pool of potential customers remains the same. Your ROI is not as steady and stable as you would like. Your client conversion is lower than expected.
It’s time to increase your sales, see your business grow, find new markets, rank well in search engines, level up your marketing, maximize local results, and stand apart from the local pack. Now is the time to consider a local SEO campaign.
But why should you invest in local SEO? What are the factors that Google considers when ranking websites at a local level? What pitfalls should businesses avoid? What are the important things companies need to know?
In this comprehensive local SEO guide, we will discuss the building blocks needed for your search engine optimization efforts. Are you ready? Let’s begin!
You have started marketing your business on social media. Perhaps, you have used email marketing. Of course, it has increased your ROI, built excellent brand awareness, and expanded your market reach.
But don’t underestimate local SEO. Let’s discuss some of the top reasons why you should dedicate weekly energy towards your local campaign and the important factors you need to consider:
Around 80% of local organic searches convert.
Studies show that at least 80% of local organic searches lead to conversions, making an important impact on the success of your small business.
“Near me” searches have skyrocketed up to 500%
Near me is one of the most popular phrases that users type in Google. Over the past few years, it has increased by 500%. Imagine how many prospects your website could receive when you’re near the top of the Google search engine results page. It’s an enormous number of potential clients.
Local organic searches lead to a purchase of your products and services.
Recent studies also indicate that users who conduct local searches are much more than willing to buy a product. With 28% of local organic searches that result in a purchase, you have a higher chance of attracting leads that can become loyal and repeat customers.
91% of consumers trust businesses with Google reviews
Positive online reviews play an important role in helping your business generate and find leads. Your target market considers other’s experiences to determine whether your business is worth it or not.
Let’s admit it. Managing reviews can be a daunting task, but a necessary one. When clients have queries, reply, and deal with their problems right away. You will not only earn a great review but also encourage other viewers to check out your services.
Google My Business
What’s the top factor that Google considers when ranking websites? It’s Google My Business listing, according to Moz.
How does Google My Business work? Well, a quality Google My Business listing is the best tool to improve engagement, boost your local ranking, and convert more leads.
To optimize your GMB profile, be meticulous with contact information, develop an interesting description, choose a category, select relevant attributes, add photos, encourage customers to leave a review, post to your GMB profile, reply to queries, add products, set up messaging, and maintain your profile.
Common information you need to provide in your GMB profile includes your business name, address/location, phone, website, and hours.
If you want to add a photo to your GMB profile, make sure it is crystal-clear, accurate, and sharp. Avoid images you’ve taken last year. Make sure it is updated.
Similar to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, don’t forget to post to your GMB listing to give your rankings a boost. What type of local content can you publish on your profile? You can post future events, announcements, special discounts, products, and other information that your target clients are waiting for.
A citation is one of the factors that Google considers. What is it? How does it work? Citations are an online reference to a specific business, which features a phone number, name of a local business, address and you guessed it… website.
Citations are usually in the form of a directory. But other kinds of citations now exist, such as Google Maps, Yelp, and Facebook.
Similar to other local SEO ranking factors, citations allow you to earn referral traffic, improving your local rankings, and allowing your customers to find your business.
Constant Conduct found that over 49% of small and even well-established companies have errors in their GMB, requiring an immediate update. But these businesses leave them unattended for months, losing the trust of their market. If you are in the same situation and don’t know how to update your GMB, data aggregators can help.
On-page signals are one of the ranking factors that can significantly impact your page’s ability to rank in local search results. To get the most out of an on-page signal, consider your content, title tag, and URL.
Keyword stuffing worked before. Today, Google penalizes websites with low-quality content. Yes, it is true that content marketing is king. But don’t be quantity-centered. Always provide something interesting and useful.
To get started, local link building or inbound links are among the most effective SEO tactics as it signals Google that your website is a resource that’s worthy of citation.
Apart from content, write an interesting title tag. Keep it short, integrate the right SEO keywords properly, and give your content a unique voice.
Your URL is another important on-page ranking factor as it helps Google add a relevancy metric to specific content.
You have created content that resonates with the needs of your target market. Your job does not stop there. It is important to establish domain authority, which you can earn from credible websites.
But never buy inbound links. Natural link building is ideal, especially for a long-term internet presence. Unfortunately, it is a time-consuming process. The trick is to create high-quality content, put your services in front of influencers, see/measure the effectiveness of your strategy, and gain links from business partners.
Another factor to consider is your domain name. Instead of a long domain, keep it simple and easy to remember. You can incorporate keywords in your domain and avoid those dreaded hyphens.
Reviews and local search engine optimization have been tied together for many years now. According to Moz, your reviews contribute at least 10% to your overall ranking position.
More than 80% of prospects look for a review about a business before a transaction.
Companies with positive reviews catch the attention of their target market. Bad reviews, on the contrary, increase the risk of losing prospective leads and rankings.
To gain the best reviews, you have to be proactive as a business owner. Make sure to encourage satisfied customers to leave their feedback. You could possibly provide some sort of an incentive towards their future purchases.
What if you receive a bad review? Respond or reply to negative client’s feedback right away. Reply to their concerns. You have to stay polite and professional. Apologize sincerely and promise to resolve the issue.
Social media doesn’t contribute to your local SEO. That means social signals don’t help your website have better rankings in search results.
While the links you share on your social media accounts help your business create online visibility, Google doesn’t see them as ranking signals.
But if you dive into social signals deeper, it has a positive effect on your website’s ranking.
Publishing content on your social media accounts is one of the best ways to contribute to your content marketing campaign. Once your posts get indexed, those keywords are likely to be shown in organic search results.
Social media opens many opportunities for local businesses to get a greater number of quality links, build a strong following, increase searches, and learn what your market wants from your services.
You have created your GMB profile listing, received positive reviews and established credibility through multiple links. But it is not enough to stand out from the local pack. Here are some additional ranking factors website owners need to know:
Your Website Must be Mobile-Friendly
A recent study conducted by BrightLocal indicated that approximately 77% of people used their smartphones every time they search for local businesses.
So not having a mobile-responsive website directly impacts your viewers interaction and guarantees the loss of qualified leads as they direct their attention to other companies in the same niche.
A mobile-friendly website boosts your local search results, provides a better user experience, and guarantees higher conversions. To make your website compatible with audiences who use mobile phones, choose the right theme, make images as light as possible, avoid flash, space out your links, change button size, eliminate pop-ups, and take advantage of a readable font.
Your Business Location must be available on your Website.
Don’t let Google search for your location itself. Include your physical address on your site. Remember the zip code, address and phone number. Then, include this information in your contact page and site footer.
What will you do when you have multiple locations? A separate page is ideal and embeds a Google local map.
Optimize Meta Descriptions
Referred to as pieces of code added to the backend of a specific webpage, a meta description is used to help search engines like Google understand what your content is all about.
To optimize your meta description, research your keywords and include in a robust description about your website, location and services.
While title tags can have 60 characters, a meta description can reach up to 320.
Optimizing other pages on your site for local keywords should not be ignored. These are usually long-tail keywords with geographic areas.
Let’s say you are in the dry cleaning sector. You can use phrases that include “dry cleaner” with your local region.
It’s a big mistake to just focus on the on-site page. Don’t ignore off-page SEO as it builds both the relevance and authority of your site.
The number of links that point to your website tells search engines that your site is trustworthy. To establish quality links, try guest posting and influencer marketing.
Local SEO can be intimidating, but taking these things into consideration will help you avoid common mistakes that other website owners/businesses commit:
Avoiding Voice Search
Voice search has taken the world of local SEO by storm. Over 31% of people with smartphone devices use voice once a week based on the recent reports of Statistica.
Comscore, a media analytics firm, also predicts the majority of searches made online will be made through voice command for 2020 and beyond.
If it is not part of your local SEO strategy, it’s never too late. Incorporate it into your SEO. Understand your target customer in terms of their device behavior and use conversational keywords. Remove short tail keywords from your list. Next, develop compelling persona-based data. What else? Offer context developed with schema markup, create FAQ pages, and make it mobile-friendly.
Not Optimizing Landing Pages for SEO
Before writing your headlines and descriptions for your services, it is recommended to do keyword research. Note, don’t stuff your landing page with keywords. Yes, it worked before. Today, Google will penalize your content and lower your rankings.
Using Anchor Text the Wrong Way
This type of text is another powerful SEO tool when you want your site to rank higher in Google. But it can be tricky to use if you are less tech-savvy. Using unrelated anchor text is a common mistake that website owners fall victim to. Your anchor text needs to directly relate to the page content it is pointing to.
Also, never link out to a spammy site. Always focus on trusted and quality platforms to increase your credibility and authority in the industry.
Not Replying to Client’s Questions
One of the reasons why a business receives negative client reviews is because of poor response time. When you want to increase your rankings or results on search engines, reply to their concerns as soon as possible. They would highly appreciate your effort. When replying or responding to customers, don’t forget to be professional. A friendly reply matters!
Every business owner wants to have great rankings in Google. Creating a Google My Business profile, establishing domain authority, providing individualized services, taking advantage of citations, optimizing your website, and improving your pack ranking guarantee client conversion and successful digital marketing.
I hope this guide to local SEO helps you throughout your process! But providing well-tailored services is more important than ever, remember.