Local search has never been important for small businesses like today. In fact, 4 in every five customers rely on search when looking for local information. This means if you have not optimized your business for local search, then there is a possibility that you are not reaching 80% of your target market.
What does this mean in regards to local SEO? If you own a small business, you should take local SEO seriously if you want the business to remain relevant.
This post will assist you in learning how to optimize your small business for local SEO, and we shall cover most of the areas involved in local SEO. By the end of the post, you’ll have learned how you can optimize your business to reach your target audience who rely on local search when selecting which products or services they want to buy.
Defining Local SEO
This is a service that assists businesses to market their services and products to local clients and prospects. To collect local search information, search engines depend on signals like social profile pages, local content, citations, and links to give the most relevant and accurate local search results to the user.
Local SEO best practices
If you want your business to success in local search, you must do the following things:
- Improve your on-page SEO updating your website
- Optimize your Google My Business (GMB) account
- Excel in the World Wide Web (WWW)
For many people, this looks challenging—but you can easily succeed in all these so long as you have perseverance and patience. Let’s delve deeper into each of these areas.
Optimize your Google My Business (GMB) account
GMB has become a key element for local search. The main reason behind this is that Google is willing to share content, so long as it verifies and supports the content—and GMB is their tool to assist your business in meeting Google’s needs. If Google can verify the authenticity of your business, your business has the potential of featuring in the most sought-after sidebar space in Google local search.
To make sure that your business is optimized for GMB, you must do the following things:
- Create and verify a GMB page
- Specify the location of your business
- Incorporate Google posts in your account
- Respond to customer reviews
- Encourage your customers to share their reviews
Updating your website
Now, since you know how you can optimize your business for GMB, let’s look into how you can improve your local SEO by updating your site.
Improve the internal linking structure
Even though the external links directing users to your site are recommended, improving your internal linking structure can go a long way in boosting your local SEO rankings.
So, why is internal linking that important?
- It helps in web navigation
- Allocates ranking power and page authority among the web pages
- Helps with web hierarchy and information architecture
Optimize your content, headers, title tags, URL, and meta description
There is one thing that you should understand about content creation—every blog post you create is a new indexed page for your website. This is a page on which you can target a certain geographic search phrase, as well as a new opportunity for your website to be found in the SERPs. Whenever you create new content, always make sure that you optimize it for search engines by using keywords in the following areas:
- Title tags
- Meta description
If you don’t know how you can create a geo-targeted content, here is how you can do it—highlight case studies and customer success stories.
Add location pages to your site
You should create location pages if your business operates in more than one physical location. Location pages should provide your readers with your Name, Address, and Phone (NAP), unique descriptions for each store, store hours, customer testimonials, promotions, and directions, among others.
Also, you should never create duplicate content if you have multiple locations for your pages. If you have a single location business, consider creating an About Us Page with local description. Adding your location to Google Maps can give your website bonus points.
Creating local content
Previously, content creators used to write for search engines, but things have changed. As Google continues to update its algorithms, content creators are being forced to write for users, unlike for search engines as before. Creating content about general topics can assist you in attracting a lot of audience, but it’s becoming more important for content creators to put more emphasis on industry or local news if they want to attract a local audience. You can become a local authority in your industry or niche by promoting local news, industry gatherings, employees, as well as other educational content on your site or blog.
Optimize your site for mobile search
Mobile search and local search go hand-in-hand. In fact, research has revealed that close to 90% of local search is conducted via a mobile device. People will mostly use mobile search when searching for directions, looking for reviews, or even searching for contact information. Therefore, you need to make your website mobile-friendly if you want your customers and prospects to have an easy time.
Excel in the World Wide Web (WWW)
By now, you know how to improve your website and optimize your website for GMB, let’s look at how you can use directories, inbound links, and NAP consistency to assist your business to rank number one in local search.
Name, Address, Phone (NAP) Consistency
If you own a business, it’s important to ensure that you make it easy for customers and search engines to find you. For you to make this possible, you must set up your NAP—which represents name, address, and phone number, with your area code. Make sure that you have added this to your website as a crawlable HTML. Some people tend to include the NAP in images—but this is a big mistake since search engines cannot crawl images, as they do in HTML text. The best place to insert your NAP is the header or footer section of your website.
Optimize online citations and directories
If you own a business in the United States, kindly note the following map data aggregators, as they usually provide a considerable amount of data for Yelp, Google+ Local, Trip Advisor, Apple, and others.
- Neustar Localeze
- Express Update
- My Business Listing Manager
Now, consistency is vital when it comes to these data aggregators. Therefore, you need to check and verify whether your citations are complete and consistent in the data aggregators we have highlighted above. Inconsistencies like abbreviations, misspellings, wrong address or phone number, or lack of suite number can be huge problems.
Also, you need to make sure that you remove duplicate listings, in case you find any in these listings. Stressing a chambers of commerce membership in your community can earn you bonus points, and this can also earn your website an external inbound link.
Acquire inbound links with authority and relevance
Getting relevant and authoritative inbound links are one of the best ways to promote your local SEO. Inbound links are effective when it comes to boosting your domain authority, and also informing Google that you are a legitimate business. The following are a few ways that can assist you to earn inbound links:
- Guest blogging
- Partnerships or sponsorship
First, you will need to start with your personal network, and this can be the Chamber of Commerce, licensing bureaus, business improvement districts, resellers, vendors, trade associations, manufacturers, as well as other affiliates. You can opt to sponsor a webinar, host a community event, and promote something local that you love, or even build networks with prominent influencers and people. Furthermore, you should always feel comfortable whenever you are reaching out to partners to ask if they can allow you to feature on their directories.
If you want to start guest blogging, consult other people in your niche or industry, and also provide information to your community. In case you like participating in community conversations, then you will be able to earn inbound links, media coverage, and social media growth.
.edu can assist in boosting the domain authority of your site, and you should make sure that you earn some of their links. This can happen by appearing in scholarships in your region. However, you should maintain your industry relevancy, and also send the correct signals to your domain. Lastly, make sure that you continue being engaged in Add Posts, Social Medial, and Google My Business.
One thing you need to note about Google is that it likes content that’s shared on social media. So, once you create your GMB page, go ahead and share it on social media to boost your local search.