How to Create a Winning Local SEO Strategy for Your Business
Local SEO has always been an important factor in digital marketing. However, it became even more crucial amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Internet usage unsurprisingly went up over the past year. With nearly everyone staying at home to stay safe, we became more reliant on the internet for nearly everything. It became our go-to source for entertainment, food, services, and updates about the global situation.
Although business slowed down due to quarantines, movements to support local small businesses soon popped up across the country. As such, having a solid local SEO strategy is more important than ever, so you can make the most of the increased local support.
What is Local SEO?
If you want to increase website rankings in search results pages, you need to develop a great local SEO strategy.
Local SEO or Local Search Engine Optimization is what helps your business become more visible on local search engine results pages. It is the process of optimizing the overall online presence of your business to rank higher in searches and gain greater local visibility.
Who Needs Local SEO?
This is a fairly common question, especially for new and small businesses. So, do all businesses need local SEO?
No — unless you have a legitimate physical address for your business, you won’t need a local SEO strategy. All you need is regular or traditional SEO.
The only businesses that really need local SEO are those that have a physical location. Local SEO is also necessary if you have more than one brick-and-mortar store or serve more than one area. In these cases, you’ll want each of your locations to rank high in searches for their respective areas.
Businesses that have face-to-face interactions with their customers also need local SEO. If you run a business from your home and meet your clients in person, a local SEO strategy will greatly benefit you, as well.
Here are several types of businesses that need local SEO:
- Food businesses, including cafes, bars, and restaurants
- House repair contractors, such as plumbers
- Local non-profit organizations
- Law offices
- Real estate agencies
- Hospitals and medical service providers
- Schools, colleges, and universities
- Nail salons and technicians
The Benefits of Local SEO
Local SEO for business is necessary if you want to increase website traffic and increase website leads. That’s because local SEO allows more people to find you when searching on Google or other search engines and directories.
An optimized SEO strategy helps your business appear higher in organic searches and in Google’s map pack or top three location search results. That’s only one of the many benefits of local SEO for business, though.
Here are five others:
- Higher organic traffic
- Lower advertisement costs
- Greater website authority
- Better brand awareness and trust
- More local backlinks
Overall, having a solid local SEO strategy allows you to find new leads, reach your target audience better, and drive business growth.
Factors to Guide Your Local SEO Strategy
Optimizing your local SEO strategy requires a basic understanding of the different factors or signals that affect your Google search results ranking. Although Google isn’t the only search engine, it is the most popular one all over the world.
Industry experts are surveyed to determine the most relevant local search ranking factors for the year. Results are provided two-fold. One set of relevant signals each to rank higher in local organic searches and to help you appear in Google’s map pack.
Although the percentage changes, the signals remain largely the same each year:
- Google My Business
- On-page SEO
- Link building
- Behavioral signals
- Social signals
Top Tips for a Winning Local SEO Strategy
You need to always account for the top local search ranking factors when creating a local SEO strategy. Here are our top tips to help you get started.
Check if Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
Many consumers search for local restaurants and other businesses using their mobile phones. This includes searching for contact information, finding directions to your location, or looking up reviews.
If you have a mobile-friendly website, consumers searching for your product or service may be more likely to visit your website, stay longer, and contact you. As such, ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly is one of the first steps in optimizing your local SEO strategy.
Audit Your Whole Website for SEO Issues
Mobile optimization isn’t the only thing you have to check regarding your business website. There are many other website and SEO issues that may prevent the local SEO strategies you implement from performing optimally.
Here are some website and on-page SEO issues you need to check:
- Slow website speed
- Missing or unclaimed Google My Business listing
- Missing page titles or page titles without keywords
- Missing meta descriptions and titles
- Broken links or incorrect citations
- Insecure websites (no HTTPS)
- Duplicate content
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Having a Google My Business listing is a must-have for any local business wanting to increase website rankings. Google My Business is a free service or platform that Google manages. You can use it to generate more reviews, publicize essential information like your business hours, and increase website traffic.
Optimizing your listing is arguably the single most valuable thing you can do to improve your local SEO strategy. Unless you create an account and claim your business name, it will be almost impossible to rank in Google’s map pack.
Make sure your listing contains all the essential information:
- Business name
- Location or address
- Business category
- Business hours
- Contact numbers
- Website link and other relevant links
- Business description
Once you’ve optimized your Google My Business page information, don’t leave it as-is. Use it to interact with any customers or clients who leave reviews or to answer any questions they may post. This can further improve your search results ranking.
Optimize for Other Online Directories
Although Google is the most used online search engine, it isn’t the only directory people use. Make sure you also optimize your business so that you appear in other online directories.
- Yellow Pages
- Bing Places
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Make also need to make sure you also optimize your business listing to appear in map data aggregators, such as Foursquare and Factual. These aggregators feed you map data and business information to other big directories, like Apple, TripAdvisor, and more.
Optimizing your online directory and search results listing calls for consistency. You need to be consistent in how you write your business address and other important information across all aggregators and other websites. This helps Google and other search engines verify your business information — verified businesses rank better in searches.
Conduct Local Keyword Research
If you’re an established business, you most likely already have a set of keywords you use for traditional SEO. However, you may need to tweak those keywords and add new ones to target local SEO.
Make sure you conduct keyword research again when creating your local SEO strategy. One way to determine new relevant keywords is to look at what your competitors are using. There are several online SEO tools you can use to check what keywords your competitors rank for and where their backlinks come from — target these as well.
Regardless of what type of business you run, make sure you have your main keywords with the modifier “near me” — such as “pizza place near me” or “hair salon near me.”
You also need SIL or service in location keywords. This refers to attaching your business location or city to your major keywords, such as “coffee shops in New York” or “yoga studios in the Bay Area.”
Improve On-Page SEO for Local Search
Once you’ve got your new keywords to help you rank in local searches, make sure you use them to improve your on-page SEO. Revise your webpage content to include these keywords. This includes your meta titles and descriptions, as well. You should also ensure that any on-page issues you discovered during your website audit were all addressed.
Aside from adding your localized keywords, adding your NAP information also helps optimize your homepage for local searches. NAP refers to business name, address, and phone number.
Like with your listings on search engines and data aggregators, you need to make sure the NAP you include on your homepage is consistent. A great way to ensure this is by using the address and phone number format that Google My Business uses.
Build Local Citations or Backlinks
Citations are any online mentions of your company. These often include not only your business name but also your address and phone number. You get local citations from business directories, social media profiles, blog posts, and other website content.
Citations that mention your NAP information help you rank higher in local searches. That’s why you need to make sure your citations are consistent and the links included are working properly.
You can build your business citations by making accounts or business profiles in industry-specific directories, listing your business on the Local Chamber of Commerce website, and joining community hubs.
If you need to build better backlinks, guest blogging is still one of the best ways to do so. Creating your own informative and useful blog posts is genuinely helpful, as well. Once you’ve created your blog content (complete with relevant keywords and links), all you need to do is promote them well.
Another way to build backlinks is to be active in your local community. Consider sponsoring a sports team, partnering with a non-profit, organizing a volunteer day, or even sponsoring an online event. This not only provides better brand visibility in your community but can also generate positive press and backlinks with authority for your website.
The Bottom Line
These tips only lay the foundation for a winning local SEO strategy — the work doesn’t stop here.
In order to remain on top of local search results, you need to continuously improve the online presence of your business and its keyword usage. This means regular audits and optimization measures.
We understand how this can take its toll on you and your whole business — after all, digital marketing isn’t without its challenges and intricacies. If you truly want to create the right local SEO strategy and get positive results, it’s best to get help from experts.
That’s what Sayles Industries: Digital Marketing Agency is here for — to help you optimize your local SEO strategy and take your business to new heights. Visit our website today to get a free SEO audit and get started on your path to local SEO success.