Sometimes, finding the best product or service isn’t the most important focus for the consumer. In many cases, finding a business that is closest to you will determine whether you will visit a business or not.
For example, ordering the tastiest and least expensive pizza would be great. However, it won’t help you if the highest-ranked pizza restaurant is located in Italy and you are in Michigan. Many internet users rely on search engines to help them find which businesses are closest to them.
How can you build SEO for your local business? How can you make sure you are reaching the right local customers?
In this article, we will touch upon the basics of SEO and how local SEO is different. We’ll provide you with some great tips on SEO for your local business. We’ll also show you how to improve your search engine rankings today!
What is local SEO?
Recent studies indicate that 46% of all Google searches are for local information. Search engines understand this, which is why when you search for “grocery stores,” most search engines automatically show you a map pack with locations closest to you.
Search engines rely on many factors to provide the most relevant local search results, such as:
- Local content
- Social media pages
- Traffic levels
- Accurate information
- Crawlable HTML
How do you improve local SEO?
Google My Business
The first and easiest step you can take to improve your local SEO is to create and monitor a Google My Business account. No surprise: Google favors its own content in searches. Your company should encourage customers to visit your Google page. You can do this by requesting that they write reviews, which will increase rankings.
It’s also important to post a response to every review. You should especially respond quickly to the bad reviews that can harm your online reputation.
This, as well as keeping up-to-date information on your account, can help Google verify your business. It can also help future customers learn more about important aspects of your business (like business hours, whether you ensure PCI compliance or offer free consultations).
Local search engine rankings focus on NAP - an acronym for name, address, and phone number. It’s vital to ensure that your business name, address, and phone number appear on your website as HTML text. This means that it can be “crawled” within the Google index. What if your business name, address, and phone number are only displayed as an image or logo on your website? Google will not be able to pick up on this information, and your ranking will be negatively affected.
Search engines such as Google rely heavily on online databases for their rankings. These online data aggregators include Data Axle, Neustar Localeze, Foursquare, and Factual. It’s vital to make sure your local business is listed on all these four data companies. Equally important is making sure the information listed is accurate and consistent.
Increasing the number of external sites that contain links to your website is key. You can partner with local clubs, charities, or organizations. Your business can donate your services, volunteer, or offer sponsorship for a link to your website.
You should also consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce to get featured on their website. Another great practice is to have company accounts on popular social media pages such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Ensure all these accounts are verified by social media platforms so your customers know you are legitimate.
Know the SEO basics
While local SEO is different from regular SEO, they have a lot of commonalities. It’s important to brush up on your basic SEO knowledge to increase your local rankings. Your website should optimize title tags and meta descriptions and follow other SEO best practices to ensure higher search engine rankings than your competition.
You should also do keyword research among your target demographic. What kind of phrases, words, and questions are your customers most likely to search when they are looking for your type of business? You should be sure to include these often in the text of your website.
It’s also crucial to post regular content and update your website to optimize your search engine rankings. Every new blog post your website publishes is considered a new indexed page for your site. Ensure that the relevant keywords and search phrases are included in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body of the post.
Google algorithms are continually getting smarter. The aim of these algorithms is to identify content that is truly useful for users rather than fluff pieces were written just for SEO. Posting content about general topics may attract a larger audience. However, attracting the right audience with local businesses is more important. Consider creating local content focusing on local news and local issues to hone your focus.
While external links are important, internal links are important as well. This shows that your website has decent navigation and internal linking structure, which influences your ranking. Include links wherever it makes sense within new content and your website. It is also extremely important to ensure your website is mobile-friendly to boost rankings.
Maintain your local SEO
So, you’ve put in a lot of hard work to increase your search engine rankings locally. Great! However, just like everything else with your business, you do need to dedicate time and resources to maintain this ranking. SEO is constantly changing and being updated. It’s essential to ensure that you are staying on top of this.
You can do this by scheduling regular SEO audits to help you see if there are any errors on your website that would make it less crawlable. This would mean it would be less likely to appear accurately on the Google Index.
You should also monitor your website’s analytics to see what level of traffic it is drawing. You can also see how much time people spend on average on your website, among other factors. You should also stay up-to-date about your competitor’s websites and their search rankings to see how you stack up.
Local SEO is of vital importance to small businesses. In years past, it was important for your business to be listed in the Yellow Pages. Now, it’s crucial for your business to appear as high as possible on search engine results. Now that almost every consumer has a smartphone making sure your local business is at the top of search engine results is more vital than ever.
With this article, we’ve given you some of the most critical considerations in local SEO. However, keep in mind that SEO is constantly changing, and there will be more to learn along the way. We hope you’ve found this article helpful in boosting your local business's search engine rankings.