Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a topic that can seem rather daunting for those just launching their online presence. However, for those who are launching more than just a presence, such as a brand or larger business , SEO is a need to know. For those with more traditional businesses, such as brick-and-mortar stores, local SEO is another niche that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with.
For those providing services or who have a traditional storefront, you may be wondering just how significant an online presence is. In our technologically driven age, it is an absolute must.
While search engine optimization is an in depth process, we’ve compiled a list of Local SEO tips that are sure to help give brands a head start.
What Is Local Search Engine Optimization?
Before we dive into our local SEO tips, it’s vital to have a solid understanding of what exactly local search engine optimization is, and what it can do for your business.
Let’s face it; everything we do now is online. That means that even if our services aren’t online, such as those who work in trades like plumbing or animal grooming, having an online presence is essential. Having your business online is what is going to bring in your clientele.
Despite the ease of the internet, those clients won’t be able to find you if you don’t drive traffic to your website or social media profiles.
That is where search engine optimization and local search engine optimization come into play. For now, we will focus on Local SEO.
Local search engine optimization is all about helping to increase your online search visibility in your local community.
Again, this means those that interact with their local communities on a day to day basis.
There is no one way to optimize your website or social media profile. Instead, it includes several different steps that you’ll want to continuously work on to make sure your pages and content are following the recent online trends.
- Keyword optimization for content (blogs, social media posts, etc.)
- Backlinking to your content & having reliable/quality external links
- Having a Social Media Presence over a variety of platforms – not just Facebook
- Having a verified business listing online
- So much more
Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list. In order to make this in depth process a little easier to digest, we’ve compiled nine simple local SEO tips that readers can begin implementing to help them start seeing more traffic online.
9 Local SEO Tips & Tricks
When it comes time to improve local SEO for your page, several different tips and tricks can help a growing business out.
1. Google My Business & Google Business Listing
When you think search engine optimization, one of the first words to come to mind is Google. Google is one of the top search engines used today, and that means when people want to find something, that’s where they are headed to first.
Google has a neat tool built with local businesses in mind – Google My Business(GMB). This platform is an ever-growing virtual list of businesses, where they are and what they provide consumers.
Think yellow pages, but virtual. Claiming and verifying your business’ GMB listing can help locals find your business through Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, and Google Maps.
Take advantage of your Google Business Listing by following every step in the setup process. Adding more detail to your listing will mean that users will be more likely to find you.
2. NAP – Name, Address, and Phone Number
When it comes to setting up your online presence, you’ll want to make sure you include a filled out NAP section.
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. These are all business essentials for those serving in a physical location. While owners will typically include this in their Google Business Listing, it is also essential to add it on your social media pages and your website.
It is also important to update any outdated NAP information.
Say you have existed in this location for some time, but under a different business name with a different number. Sure, you may want to keep that brand recognition, but those that don’t know of your past can end up confused and take their current business elsewhere.
That is why it is vital to update and monitor all your NAP information across all your platforms. At the same time, you’ll want to make sure all addresses, names, and numbers are written the same way. This creates consistency and will help later when you go to develop and monitor SEO citations.
3. Online Reviews & SEO Citations
Local businesses rely on the public to help them spread the word of who they are and what they provide to the community. Reviews and local SEO citations are vital pieces to this puzzle and here is why.
SEO citations and online reviews are similar in that they are online mentions of your business and its NAP information.
Where these two topics differ is how they serve your SEO strategy.
Local SEO citations are any online mentions of the NAP information of your local business. This Means any online mention of your business name, address, and phone number. It can also include the following:
- Business categories
- Hours of operation
- Driving directions
- Business description
- Links to Social Media or Other Press
SEO citations are more about information accuracy, while online reviews are more about spreading work of your business.
Online reviews are vital to business for several different reasons. A recent survey shows that over 90% of consumers use reviews to evaluate a local business, but 84% of them trust reviews just as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend.
Sure, while high ranking reviews are great for business, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll rank higher. What search engines are looking for, such as Google, are factors such as the overall volume of reviews, the diversity and the content included in them.
Having frequent positive reviews across several platforms can help your ranking, as well as what is written in them. Terms such as “ok” and “good” are not as likely to be highly ranked when compared to reviews that include terms such as “best” or “terrific.”
4. Content Strategy
Sure, word of mouth is a great way to get business, but it shouldn’t be the only manner of drawing in consumers.
In the digital day and age, you’ll want to have not only your online presence but a content strategy to keep your audience and consumers in the know. Digital marketing is a must, and that means taking the time to write about what you do, how you do it and so on.
This can be done on social media and your website via a blog. You’ll want to take the time to research common keywords and questions in your area of service. These will help you generate topics you can write about and share. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but relatable and serve a purpose such as answering a common question or providing a solution to your consumer’s pain points.
5. Link Building
Link building is essential when it comes to creating a functional site that is known to be trustworthy, authentic and reliable. It’s also known as the art of getting other sites to link back to you, giving your site more authority over others.
Search engines such as Google use links to assign values to sites, and those values help to either rank the site higher or lower than others of similar nature. Different factors need to be considered when it comes to link building, and some include:
- Link signals
- Global popularity
- Trust Rank
- Local/Industry-Specific Popularity
- Social Sharing
What’s important to remember is that once these factors have been considered and implemented, the story doesn’t end there. Links need to be continuously updated and refreshed to stay relevant and continue earning links from other sites, thus increasing your site popularity.
6. Utilize Online Local Directory Sites
Remember the days of the big Yellow and WhitePages books we once received at our doors every year or so? Yea, those are long gone and have been replaced with online local directory sites.
These online directories are places that people go to find a business to suit their needs, just like the physical phonebooks of the past.
These sites include:
- Google My Business
Of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands of other local directory sites that users can check online. This short list tends to be some of the most relied on and preferred directories used by consumers, especially for local businesses.
7. Optimize Social Media Profiles
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest– These are only a handful of the most popular social media sites that businesses should be using to optimize their local SEO.
Using pages that include yourNAP information help to create places that can be linked to your business and gives consumers a less intimidating place to turn to when they want some additional information or to connect with you.
Besides helping to increase your overall visibility online and help you connect better with your audience, having adequately optimized social media profiles can help to strengthen your brand and even help generate future leads.
8. “Near Me” Keywords
Let’s face it, when we are out and about, when we are looking for a given local business, we tend to type into our search engine “Topic X Near Me.” A common search would be “restaurants near me” or even “hardware stores near me.”
“Near Me” keywords are growing ever popular when it comes to local SEO because these keywords help to send clear signals to the given search engine that you are looking for something local instead of something across the country.
So how can you take advantage of the “Near Me” search phenomenon? Add these keywords to title tags, within your location page’s text and try getting backlinks to your location pages with geo-specific anchor text.
9. Connect with Your Local Influencers
This is often overlooked when individuals begin their online presence. Sure, as business individuals, we know that we always want to be building relationships and growing our connections list. However, many don’t utilize their connection to help them develop their reputation.
For those trying to draw in their local community members to their business, you know that word of mouth is essential. Another way to get the word out is by connecting with local influencers and having them talk about your product or service!
For someone who has just opened a new bakery, having a well-known local food critic say that your chocolate chip cookies are outstanding will help draw in those that trust the critic’s opinions. That critic’s blog will not only spread positive word of your product but will also lead others to your social media and websites to see what else you may have to offer.
Local SEO Takes Time and Consistency
Mastering the art of local SEO will take some time, but by staying consistent and keeping these nine tips in mind, you will be well on your way.
What is one area you plan to work on to help your local SEO?
Share with us in the comments below!