Local SEO has become a quintessential marketing process in recent years, which is mainly due to the ever-increasing size of the internet. Its sheer depth makes it nearly impossible for small businesses to get noticed on the web. And this is where Local SEO comes in; the main objective of a Local SEO campaign is to increase the visibility of a business/website by presenting information in a search-engine friendly manner.
Regardless of your business, whether it is in a single location or nationwide, you need to improve your local search SEO to increase traffic and sales.
Google uses links, website content, local listings, local citations, and business listings to return the most relevant results to their users. Thus, it is essential to know ways to improve your local business SEO.
In this article, I will be going into some of the most effective and efficient Local SEO strategies.
SEO for Local Business
New businesses misunderstand the applications of an SEO strategy. A typical SEO strategy is meant to draw in traffic from global searches. It will affect International keyword rankings while a Local SEO strategy is expected to bring traffic from local searches and will jeopardize the keyword rankings of a given geographical area. For example: If I were to search for “The best mattresses” in the U.K. and U.S.A, the results for the two locations would vary considerably.
When I say the above, I am by no means saying that a Local SEO Strategy is more effective than any other form of SEO strategy. I just mean that if you’re not an international business, your resources would be better spent on Local SEO strategies as it is more likely to bring in traffic that converts. Now, here is a breakdown on some of the competent local SEO strategies
The Best Local SEO Strategies
1. Accurate Local Citations
Simply put, a citation is an online reference to your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number). A citation is very much like a link but does not link back to your business. Therefore, they are mostly put up in plain text. Local citations are used by search engines to try and evaluate the authority of your business. Here is an example of a full citation (Full citations are made of the complete NAP while Half citations have, well, half a NAP): 17 Drive, East Midlands, A81 2EL (0330001152)
The thing you need to be conscious about when working on citations is that the format and information of your NAP must remain the same in all listings. It is because search engines examine NAPs to root out fake businesses, and if your NAP is the same on multiple directories, Google will be convinced that yours is not a fraudulent business. There is a general misconception that citations are only put up on business directories; the truth of the matter is that there are numerous websites except for business directories that take citations. Here is a list of sites that allow citations for the U.K region.
Partially completing local listing pages appears to be common practice on Google, Yahoo, and Bing won’t get you the results you want. Every section needs to be completed, and all available space needs to be used to maximize your results. Try and fill your local pages with as many videos, images, and text as the listing will allow.
2. Online Reviews
This local SEO strategy is perhaps the easiest to plan and implement. A good review on the internet can work wonders for your business and pull in heaps of business for you. Some websites are dealing with nothing but reviews for businesses from the same city/country. Here are a few examples of websites that work with local reviews: Yelp.co.uk, brownbook.net, reviewcentre.com, and bview.co.uk
Not only do reviews help you climb the keyword ranks, but they also play a serious role in a consumer’s decision-making process. How do you get good reviews? Easy, ask for them. A happy customer will be more than willing to lend you a hand in building up your business. Every time you think a customer is pleased with your service, ask them to go online and leave you a review. Like last month, I went to a restaurant that had just opened up recently, I was quite pleased with their service, and I guess the manager saw that. After finishing up my meal, I decided to leave behind a tip. It led to me being told that the house was refusing suggestions and, in its stead, asking for Yelp reviews. I was more than happy to abide.
Reviews help with click-through rates and play a significant role in local SEO. It is because consumers will always be engaged listings with a lot of reviews. However, you have to approach this naturally and not force your customers to leave a review, so you need to apply the ‘gently, gently’ approach. Let them know that you would appreciate their feedback, and direct them to where they can do so.
I recently read an article that said 72% of consumers trust an online review as much as any personal recommendation. Maybe that ought to prove the importance of a good review.
In local SEO strategies, your location is one of your most important keywords and is an active part of your NPA. You need to make sure that your address and all are present on all pages. Certain on-page elements ought to include your location, and they are meta descriptions, title tags, and headings.
It does not mean you ought to stuff the keyword in where it isn’t relevant, but it ought to be prominent. And if you happen to be a franchise and have multiple offices, then you will have to make sure that each office has a web page of its own, this is important as slacking off in this area may cost you quite a bit of traffic. And be sure that the web pages for the different branches have their own unique and relevant content. Google, like other search engines, tends to penalize websites that duplicate content. Using similar content seriously endangers all your SEO efforts.
If you have multiple business locations, then you will want to create a page on your website that is dedicated to listing all of the information for all locations. You should include the address, phone numbers, locations hours, and a brief description.
4. Longtail Keywords
The changes in the recent search engine algorithms (especially hummingbird) have changed the way keywords can be used. According to most local SEO experts, the new algorithms allow the search engine to sort through web pages faster and a little more efficiently. They can find relevant WebPages while discarding those that are not despite keyword density and all.
Go back to the drawing board and chalk up a new keyword strategy. You may want to consider keywords that are in a question format, as the search engines tend to favor those as much as (if not more than) the robot-friendly counterparts. Figuring out an exact keyword’s rank has always been a little tricky, and more so with the updated algorithm. But there is a new and reliable method that allows you to check the keyword rankings
5. Link building
Link building will always be an important aspect of local SEO, so there will always be a need to focus on earning inbound links. Local citations are occurrences of your business name, address, and phone number on other websites. You should focus on increasing both your links and citations to increase and strengthen your local search results.
It’s essential that you do guest blogging and blogger outreach, as it will give you an excellent opportunity to create content that targets specific local keywords. If your blog content is high quality and proves to be useful to the visitors of your website, it increases the chance that other websites will be willing to link to your content, thus creating inbound links to your website.
Now, link building to improve local results is going to be a little different from that of a national campaign. You will want to build relationships with local community groups, organizations, and even the local school system. Many schools have a sponsorship or donor page on their websites, and a small donation can help to get exposure within your community, but also earn a link that will help improve local results.
6. Local Directories
While identifying national directories is important, you will want to identify local industries as well as industry-specific industries that will give you a high-quality listing. Try to avoid low-quality directories that are created solely for SEO. You will want to make sure you only include your listing on directories that have frequent traffic to maximize your chances of acquiring links.
You must create your local pages for Google My Business, Yahoo Local, and Bing Places for Business. These are often referred to as the top 3, so make sure you create and verify each of them, and if your business is in multiple locations, make sure to set them up properly, so each location is represented.
Businesses will have duplicate local pages, so using a service such as Moz to identify and remove any duplicates is important. Duplicate listings occur when a company lacks organization and has multiple people working on marketing. You must continue to monitor your listings once you have removed the duplicate listings to ensure that any more listings aren’t created.
7. On-Page Optimization
Do a correct on-page optimization if you want to achieve the highest possible local search rankings. Many business owners either don’t know enough about on-page optimization or are so scared of it they won’t do it. That’s why employing an SEO agency is the right decision as they will be able to take care of all of this for you.
8. Publish Regular Content
You will need to create useful information about your business and industry that your site visitors will enjoy reading. It gives your business a voice and an outlet and, if the content is topical and informative, will position your company as a leader in the industry, thus increasing the likelihood that visitors will be converted into customers.
These are a few Local SEO strategies, but they are quite effective. A thing to note down is that all these are quite incomplete; you need to combine them to come up with the strategy that fits your website.