If you’re running an organic SEO campaign for your website, then you will always stand the chance of getting ranked higher in search results, which will only lead to good things eventually. However, if your website is for a business that gets its revenue primarily from local customers, you might want to give your SEO strategy a local component as well.
Search engine users today are in the habit of typing in location-specific keywords when looking for products or services near their area. Surely, if you’re a local shop that can provide what searchers are looking for, you would want to be at the top of the local search results, right? Maximize your local SEO, and you can be right there on Page 1 of the local search engine results pages or SERP.
What local SEO can give you
When you’re a local business, and all you’re running on your website is an organic SEO campaign, you might miss out on having a piece of the pie that local search brings. While organic SEO is a great way of getting your site to the top of the SERPs, it’s local search that can boost the chances of your business’ physical address getting visited by people who are looking for very specific offerings in a given area.
If search engines—Google in particular—have gotten so much smarter these days, we can also say the same of the people who use them. They know that the best way to get the information they need about, say, the best burgers in Scottsdale or the top HVAC contractors in Tucson is to make sure the names of those locations + the product or the service are part of the keywords they’re typing into the search bar.
As things stand today, Google’s algorithms are now capable of identifying searches that have local intent. When Google gets searches asking about a specific industry + location, it pulls up a list of companies that have high local SEO rankings and presents them automatically to the searcher.
Considering the value that Google and the other search engines now put on intent based search optimization, you should try to get your business get a leg up by maximizing your local SEO to get that all-important ranking on Page 1 of localized SERPs.
Ways you can maximize your local SEO
Google My Business
Use this free listing service properly, and you’ll have at your disposal a tool that will impact your local SEO ranking directly.
Always verify your Google My Business profile once you claim it because verified profiles stand a better chance at ranking higher on local search results than those that have no verification.
Your Google My Business profile should contain your name, address, telephone number, business hours, website address, and other relevant information. It would also be great if you can put up images with the right keywords. Make sure all the details you put in are accurate to make it easier for searchers to find your business and avail of its products or services.
You would also do well to create Yahoo Local, Yelp, and Foursquare profiles once you have claimed and verified your Google My Business Profile.
While some platforms such as Yelp frown upon asking customers for reviews, Google My Business actually encourages businesses to invite customers to leave reviews. Since 86% of consumers check out reviews for local shops according to the BrightLocal 2017 Consumer Review Survey, your local business is bound to get more exposure if there are reviews about it. The same survey also says that 50% of consumers visit websites of local businesses after reading positive reviews.
Optimize title tags with a location-specific keyword
Adding a local keyword to your title tags will enable you to inform the search engines that your page has a direct link with the location you provided. “Best chimichangas in Phoenix” would be a good example, and once search engines see that, it would only be a matter of time before your page makes it to local SERPs.
Acquire high-quality links
High-quality backlinks are beneficial for both organic SEO and local SEO. If you want to get links from local authority sites, becoming more active in the community would be a good idea. You can sponsor sports activities, speak at a local university, or present at a local business conference. For sure, linking to your website wouldn’t be a problem for the individuals and organizers who made your participation possible.
Put up more localized content
To grab more attention from locals, you might want to make blog posts about local news, events, and activities to boost your chances of competing in local search. On top of that, content that interests residents of the area you’re operating in will also be good for promoting brand recognition and loyalty.
Content with a local focus could also help Google understand better the relevance of your business to its location, and that could bolster your site’s chances of ranking for a much wider array of keyword searches.
Optimize for mobile
Mobile users have surpassed desktop users, and about half of the former look for local addresses and other pertinent business information when doing online searches.
And if a 2017 study by Acquisio is to be believed, 75% of those local searches turn into actual visits to the business within 24 hours. Local businesses need to optimize for mobile if only for that.
Improving the speed of your website, using fonts that people can read easily, and of course, making the switch to a responsive design are just some of the ways that you can optimize your website for mobile.
There are so many ways to maximize your local SEO, and the ones mentioned above are just a few of them. Learn about local SEO factors and apply them to your site to get the high local SEO ranking that will bring in traffic and lead to those conversions that will help you achieve your business goals.