Have you ever noticed that each time you search for ‘best Italian restaurants’ online, the top results are usually locally owned joints close to you? This is not a coincidence, it’s the power of local SEO.
Local SEO helps small businesses promote their services/products to customers in a targeted area. With local SEO, your listing in the Local Map/Pack can rank higher and appear more frequently in response to search queries.
That’s not all.
Local SEO is an excellent way to compete with neighboring enterprises, attract more leads, and increase conversions. Given how 99% of consumers used the internet to look up local businesses last year, now is the perfect time to step up your local SEO game.
If you’re new to the field and don’t know where to start, here’s a list of seven tried-and-tested local SEO tips to help you out. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Video: SEO Tutorial – How to Rank Your Small Business #1
#1. Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Google is currently a search engine giant, with a market share of 83.84% in July 2022. Every day, billions of people use Google to look up a wide range of information: from news and fashion trends to local coffee shops and repair tips.
Hence, it makes perfect sense for you to optimize your pages for Google search. The more ‘searchable’ you are, the better your chances of securing potential customers.
This is where Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) comes in. It’s a free tool that allows local businesses to display a snapshot of their products/services. Think of it as a mini-website that shows up on Google’s Maps section.
Here’s what makes GBP so effective. Google realizes that when people search for a particular service, say a dentist or yoga studio, they want to see local results. That’s why it puts Google Business Profiles above regular websites.
As you can see, a Google Business Profile is integral to your local SEO strategy. However, your listing must be complete and accurate for it to work as intended.
For this, you need to:
- Choose the right categories for your business
- Make sure that the name, address, phone number, and hours of operation are correct and identical across all online listings
- Add a description or brief overview of your products/services
- Display images for increased customer engagement
#2. Target Local Keywords
Targeting local keywords is one of the basics of local SEO. Your job as a local entrepreneur is to list all the keywords your audience might use- and then rank for them.
This may sound complicated initially, but it’s easy if you break it down. Here’s how.
Start by brainstorming words and phrases relevant to your business. For example, café owners may want to use ‘coffee shops’, ‘coffee stores’, and ‘cold brew coffee’, among others.
Once you have a compiled list, it’s time to automate the process. Use keyword research software, such as Google Keyword Planner, to reveal significant phrases you may have overlooked. You can also get volume and competition data for the listed keywords.
A few keyword research tools:
The final step is to select the actual keywords you want to optimize for based on their volume and competitiveness.
#3. Audit Your Website
Before jumping into the optimization process, you’ll need a website health check to identify any lingering gaps in your website maintenance plan. Since Google does not take kindly to site performance issues, you must have a solid base to build upon.
An SEO audit can help isolate technical/on-page hitches. You could either use SEO tools to do it yourself or hire an SEO specialist to comb through your site and identify problems such as:
- Slow page speed
- Missing meta descriptions
- Missing HTTPS security
- Poor mobile responsiveness
- Broken links
- Repeated content
- Missing page titles
#4. Execute On-Page SEO
Following the audit, it’s time to optimize your website for the list of localized keywords previously created. Usually, this involves:
- Mapping different keywords to relevant pages on your website
- Including target keywords in titles and meta descriptions
- Writing informative, keyword-rich local content
- Adding internal links to various pages
- Optimizing images
- Developing concise URL structures with target keywords
The point of on-site optimization is to craft web pages that answer searchers’ questions. Your goal is to enrich the user experience and demonstrate your value to search engines. Fortunately, these two things coincide. And they start with including on-page SEO in your website designing plans.
#5. Add Location Pages
Location pages are a vital asset for businesses with multiple physical storefronts. They provide visitors with your name, address, phone number, store hours, unique selling points, transit information, promotions, and reviews from happy customers.
Since localized landing pages are created specifically for organic local search, they must be optimized with geo-specific keywords and locally descriptive body content.
As a seasoned custom website design company, we know a thing or two about developing location pages. Based on our experience, we have listed a few best practices for you to keep in mind.
- Make sure the page is easy on the eyes. Avoid harsh colors, small fonts, and irrelevant graphics that take away from the central information.
- Your custom web design should work on mobile just as much as it does on a desktop.
- Be careful not to use duplicate content across any of your location pages.
- Include optimized H1, H2, and H3 headings.
- Add internal links.
#6. Secure Links and Citations
Before we dive into how citations and links can enhance your online reach, let’s take a look at what they are.
A link is exactly what you think it is: a hyperlinked text that leads to your website. On the other hand, a citation is a listing of your business’s name, address, and phone number in an online directory like Yelp, your local Chamber of Commerce, or other sites relevant to your niche.
But why are links and citations important to your website design project?
Google views online popularity as crucial to local search ranking. References from credible sources are often considered endorsements. In this regard, links and citations are small advertisements representing your business across the internet. The more references you get, the more legitimate you appear.
#7. Request Reviews and Testimonials
There’s no underestimating the power of online reviews. Not only do they help you get noticed, but they can also improve search rankings and convince customers to give your products/services a shot. According to a Bright Local survey, 77% of consumers ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read online reviews when shopping for local businesses.
Exit interviews are a great way to have clients share their experiences with your brand. You can also send out follow-up emails and reminders requesting` reviews on GBP, Yelp, and social media.
Simply asking for reviews isn’t enough: you must address both positive and negative feedback. This is especially since 57% of consumers say they would be “not very” or “not at all” likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to online reviews. A polite, professional response goes a long way.
Over to You
Local SEO is non-negotiable to business success. It can help you grow your local customer base, connect with your community, build brand awareness, and improve your local reputation. Hopefully, these tips will point you in the right direction and enable you to fine-tune your local SEO strategy hassle-free.
Do you have more questions about local SEO? The team at Watermark Design will be happy to help. We are a website design and development service dedicated to creating jaw-dropping, highly functional sites that don’t break the bank. We’re focused on delivering results, no questions asked. For more information, feel free to contact us today!