Updated: Aug 18
Did you know that 46% of searches on Google today are related to local information? Many people use local search to choose which products or services to buy. Optimizing for a global market is excellent, but ignoring your local audience could cost you the opportunity to strengthen your business locally and win more customers. Local SEO is very important, but many companies either do not know how to start or have not even thought about optimizing for a local audience.
Local SEO allows businesses to capture customers looking to buy from businesses close to them. Local SEO is a good way to strengthen your local foothold in your industry. To help you optimize your business for local SEO, we’ve created this guide to walk you through the process so you can get started immediately.
So, What is local SEO?
Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a type of SEO that focuses on improving the search engine visibility of a website or web page to reach customers searching for local products and services. While local SEO allows brick-and-mortar businesses to reach potential customers shopping in areas close to them, businesses can also use it to improve organic traffic from searches performed by local customers.
Search engines typically use local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant information for local search results shown to users. Here are tips that you can use to optimize your business for local prospects and customers looking for businesses like yours.
Tips for Improving Your Local SEO
Optimize for Google My Business
Creating and verifying a Google My Business page is the first thing you want to do. Google prioritizes pages that it can verify. Therefore, helping Google achieve this is an excellent way to improve your site’s organic ranking. Setting up a Google My Business page is simple. Here’s a quick overview of what you need to do:
Create and verify a Google My Business page
Add posts within your account
Get your customers to share reviews on your page, and
Respond authentically to reviews, making sure you specify your business location
One of the most significant benefits of using Google My Business is making it easy for potential clients to find and contact you using your phone number, address, and email. Google could also potentially reward your business with a coveted sidebar space in Google’s local search. It is a win-win situation for you, your prospects, and even Google.
Confirm that your business name, address, and phone number are consistent
It is easy to make mistakes in these details, so to ensure your prospects are not seeing misleading information, it helps to cross-check and confirm that the information on your Google My Business page and your website tally: the name, business address, phone number (with local area code), and email or other contact info must be correct and free of errors.
Be sure to include this as crawlable HTML text on your site (typically on the footer or header of the pages) instead of images to make it easy for search engines to index your site.
Use social media and add posts to Google My Business
Consider using social media to support your local SEO efforts. Thankfully, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest offer excellent opportunities to expand your business to a local audience. Now that you have created a Google My Business page, use social media to spread the word about it.
Optimize online directories and citations
Next, you want to ensure that your citations and map data are correct. Some good recommendations are Express Update, Neustar Localeze, Foursquare, and Factual. If your business is located in the U.S, you could use these map data aggregators to improve your local SEO. However, be sure that your citations are correct and complete across all of them. Avoid duplicate listing and wrong information. If Google cannot verify which information is accurate about your business, it may not index your site.
An improved internal linking structure will boost your local rankings
Like quality backlinks help your page SEO, good internal links also help your site’s local SEO. For instance, implementing solid internal linking makes it easier for customers to navigate your website. It helps to distribute the page authority and ranking power among the pages on the site.
Add location pages to your website
If you have two or more physical locations, a good strategy for improving local SEO is creating location pages for each business location. While at it, ensure the phone number and other contact information are correct. Also, avoid using the same content on different location pages and consider adding Google Maps to those pages.
Is your website mobile-friendly?
You will lose big time if visitors cannot navigate your site on mobile devices. According to Statista, about 61% of all Google searches are currently performed on mobile devices. This is no longer news, but it is also easy to forget this part. Google even prefers mobile-friendly websites since it makes for an improved user experience.
Implement on-page SEO
In addition to all that we have discussed above, make sure that your on-page SEO is intact. This typically involves optimizing the URLs, title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and on-site content for each page on your business website. This strategy applies specifically to new pages of content you write.
If you look at it, you will see that each new content is another opportunity to improve your ranking. And the best way to do this is by ensuring search engines can index those new pages. How? Optimizing URLs, title tags, headers, and meta descriptions and consistently providing quality content.
Carry out a local SEO audit
Once you have the basics knocked out, the next part you want to see is how you perform. You need to complete an audit to know what is working and where you need to change things. A good checklist for a local SEO audit is:
Google My Business
Google Search Console
These audits will give you a holistic idea of your success so far, as well as what you need to do differently to improve your results.
Getting Started with Local SEO
Now that you understand local SEO better and what you must do to improve your local SEO, it is time to get started. If you have done this already but are still not getting the desired results, perhaps it would be best to have an expert audit your website to determine what you might have been doing wrong and where you need to make changes.
At Mission, we use our profound market insights and expert guidance to help you improve your marketing results and business productivity. We are experts at assisting businesses to implement the best growth strategies successfully. As leading partners in the PEO, HR, payroll, and benefits outsourcing marketplace, we provide result-oriented services for small and medium-sized organizations and government contractors. Contact us today for further assistance.