Are you running a small business in a small town? Are you looking to local SEO your way to fame and fortune? Then this post is for you. I’ll share with you some of the digital marketing best practices for local search engine optimization (SEO).
You know the importance of having a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy for growing your business. However, there are many local SEO best practices that many companies overlook. And these often-overlooked best practices can result in increased growth, leads, and sales.
Everyone is talking about local SEO, but they don’t know the real tricks to it. If you’re not sure how to nail down local search engine optimization, don’t worry. We’ve got your back!
Local page title/meta description optimization
When people search Google for something like “moving company,” they’re more than likely looking for a local business to help them. If you have a local business, you need to be found in the results when people are searching locally.
A well-optimized page title and meta description is very effective when it comes to local SEO.
While title tags are critical for organic performance, they are also important for local SEO, too. When setting up your titles and descriptions, it’s important to craft them such that they include your city or region in the title tag and meta description.
Optimizing for local SEO is all about getting your brand in front of the right people at the right time as they search for businesses and services like yours.
Go Beyond the On-Page Basics
If you want to rank today, you need to know the best local search engine optimization techniques and have a solid digital marketing strategy that goes beyond the basics to help your business thrive.
If you run a local business, then your online strategies are going to have to account for location-specific searches. If you don’t, your competition is going to eat your lunch. But this means more than just on-page optimizations and getting a few backlinks from the local chamber of commerce site or the newspaper.
On-page factors like title tags and meta descriptions are important, but take it a step further by optimizing your content with semantic search. This means writing content that uses related phrases — not just repeatedly using the same keyword or phrase — to help search engines understand what your content is about and how it relates to a user’s search terms.
Optimize your local directory business information
This is probably the most obvious step, but it’s one that’s often overlooked. The data you enter in your Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) listing and other sites such as Yelp and YellowPages should be accurate, consistent and complete.
Claiming local directory listings is only part of the process — you also need to keep them up-to-date with accurate information about your address, phone number and hours of operation. You should also include as much detail as possible about your products or services.
If you have multiple locations, be sure to create separate listings for each one. While it might be quicker to post everything from one central location, it’s not nearly as effective from an SEO standpoint.
Get business citations in a few different categories of local listings
The more business listings you have, the stronger your local SEO will be. Your goal should be to get business citations in a few different categories of local listings.
The key is to remember that your goal is not just to get listed everywhere, but to get listed in the right places. Some sites are more useful than others.
When it comes to local SEO, however, many business owners find it difficult to get their businesses listed in a wide range of high-quality local listings. You can’t simply “create” a listing for any directory or site you like — your business has to be eligible to appear there. The first step is to check whether there are any citations that your competitors have but you don’t, and then work towards getting those citations for yourself.
Use a maps widget on your website or blog
If you have a local business, adding a map (and/or driving directions) on your website or blog is one of the most powerful things you can do for your local SEO efforts. In fact, Google specifically claims that “adding a detailed location description helps users feel more confident about your business.”
Local search is more important than ever, thanks to mobile devices and voice search. According to Google, 46% of all searches are seeking local information — and more than half of those are conducted on mobile devices. With a map and directions, it’s a no brainer for your customers to make it to your location.
Use social media for Local SEO
There is also great opportunity in using social media to tell people where you are located, opening hours and any upcoming events or changes. Depending on the type of business you run and your target audience, different types of social media might be more suitable than others.
For example, if you’re running a restaurant or coffee shop, Instagram is a great channel for sharing photos of your food and drink specials with your local community. The same goes for a locally owned retail store that wants to show off new products available in-store.
Small businesses have a lot to gain from social media marketing. It helps them reach more customers and build brand awareness. And it’s great for SEO.
Social signals are a factor in search engine algorithms, so social media posts can help your business rank higher in search results when people search for related terms near your location.
Get Local Online Reviews
According to the Local Consumer Review Survey, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. And ratings and information on sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages and Google are often pulled into search results.
Your target customers are reading these reviews before they decide where to spend their money. And if your competition has better reviews than you, there’s a good chance they’ll get those customers instead of you.
If someone is unhappy with your product or service, contact them immediately. Don’t wait until the review shows up online. You may be able to make the person happy before they post a negative review. Ask them if there was something that made them unhappy with their experience, so you can fix it in the future. Listen to what they have to say! Even if it’s not what you want to hear, it will probably help improve your business in the long run. If the customer had a positive experience but didn’t think to leave a review, gently remind them about leaving one — in person or by email.
If you’ve read this far, then you should definitely sit down to analyze your current local SEO strategy. See what’s missing, what’s ineffective, and how you can better evaluate your efforts in the future. Ultimately, the more effort you put into local SEO, the better results you’re going to see. And with these seven little-known tips in mind, you can be more effective than ever before.
Overall, these little-known SEO tips should provide some good advice to anyone looking to rank better on local search results pages. Remember that ranking well in the local SERPs takes time and effort, but you can make it a lot easier for yourself by following these few simple guidelines.