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Why should you care about Local SEO?
If you really want to grow your business and draw in more customers, you need to optimize your Local SEO. This is more targeted than the standard SEO strategy, as it includes a geographical component. The majority of Google searches include a location, so you need to make this work for you. The most common search is usually “product/service in city“, which as an example would be “barber in Boston“.
Whether your business is “local” or not, optimizing local SEO helps you reach out to the community, and increase revenue. It boosts your online presence in a specific location. It allows members of your local community to know that you exist and are open for business.
Local SEO is essential for growth and there are many ways you can use it to get more customers. Let’s look at how to boost your Local SEO.
1 - Claim 'Google My Business' listing
A ‘Google My Business’ (GMB) profile/listing will greatly increase your chances of getting more customers. You can claim your business using Google Maps by following the steps to add your business name, address, and any other important details customers will search for.
This will ensure that your business appears in Google searches, and on Google Maps. Google dominates the market, so it’s essential for growth to add your listing. It will add credibility by boosting your online presence, not to mention it’s also free. Have a look at the video below.
2 - Build business citations
Building business citations will help to increase your website’s ranking on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). A citation is essentially a mention of your business on another website and typically includes useful information such as the name, address, and phone number.
Having business citations built in multiple places allow for search engines to connect the dots, and essentially help verify, who you are. Building citations gives your business more opportunities to be discovered by new customers as they are searching for your product/service.
3 - Check for NAP (Name, Address, Phone) consistencies
It’s vital to be consistent across all your listings and mentions. Your name, address, and phone number need to be exactly the same on all of them, otherwise, this will send mixed signals to both Google and potential customers. It will also have a negative effect on your ranking.
Frequently check all listings, mentions, or any social media posts about your business and ensure your NAP is accurate and consistent. If you come across your business details online which are not accurate, it is usually incredibly easy to send a quick email to get this resolved.
4 - Build more positive reviews
Positive reviews are an incredibly effective way to draw in more customers to your business and increase your revenue. This is because potential customers are more likely to trust a business that has been reviewed positively by others in the past, eliminating the trust barrier.
Online reviews also have an impact on how Google ranks your business. It’s one of the factors that determine your local search ranking. Asking for reviews is the best and easiest way to get them. This method for Google reviews is incredibly underutilized by most businesses.
If you’re looking for a café in Paris, one of the first that shows up in the results is Café de Flore. Have a look at some of their reviews below.
5 - Include testimonials on your website
Another way to improve your reputation is by including testimonials on your website. These will not only give you credibility but will also appeal to your customers’ emotions. Try to create a compelling story about a time you went above and beyond for a customer, for example.
More detailed testimonials from your previous customers will also provide more information about your product or services and how your business works. This an effective way to draw more interest and remove trust barriers for new customers, especially in the local community.
6 - Mention your location & service in the website title
Using popular keywords in your website title will help it to rank higher. For local SEO purposes, you should try to incorporate your location and service in your website title. This will improve your click-through-rate (CTR) from Google search results and help with brand recognition.
Potential customers will search Google for the product or service they require along with the location, so you want this to directly relate to your site. This will show you as an authority in your area and will improve your ranking on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) as well.
7 - Mention your location & service in the website description
This is referring to the ‘meta description’ of your website pages and it’s essentially a tag line that follows the title of your website, or domain name. Ideally, you want this description to be as attractive and relevant as possible. This will increase your clicks in Google searches.
By including your location and service you are essentially incorporating the keywords potential customers will search for on Google. It’s the location that’s the main thing that will boost your local SEO in the community. Customers will be searching for the most convenient option.
A bonus to this is that any of the words the user searched that are also in your description will appear as bold in Google and stand out.
8 - Mention your location & service in the website heading tags
When using heading tags (H tags), be sure to include the type of service you provide and your location. Heading tags tell browsers how to display content correctly and organize it so it’s easy to read. In order to improve your local SEO, you need to add this important information.
Search engines pay special attention to your headings because it gives them an indication of what product/service you can provide to potential customers in the future. The heading tag for each page of your website should directly point out what it’s about. Including your service and location will indicate to Google that your business has more authority in the field. This will improve your ranking and visibility.
We did a search on Google for ‘chiropractor in Chicago‘ and found chicago-chiropractic.com on page #1. When looking at their site we can immediately see that their H1 tag (the biggest heading you are greeted with) is simply just ‘Chicago Chiropractic’. The proof is in the pudding.
9 - Mention your location & service in the website image alt tags
The purpose of alt tags on images is to improve your site’s accessibility. This can not only help with obtaining higher rankings, but you’ll also be able to reach out to more customers. Alt tags are also displayed if an image doesn’t load correctly on your website for whatever reason.
Search engine “crawlers” can’t actually see your images (although Google is becoming increasingly clever about this), so if you label them with an alt tag including your location and service, this will indicate to them what they are. They’ll then be directly linked to keyword searches.
10 - Mention your location & service in the website page copy (text)
In order to boost your local SEO, you need to optimize keywords in your website copy. This is all the written content on your site. Potential customers will most likely search for the service or product they need in a particular location, for example, “baker in London”. You need to include these words regularly in your copy. However, don’t over-do it, as that would be classed as ‘keyword stuffing’ which Google doesn’t like.
Creating location-specific content indicates to the search engines that you provide this product/service in a particular area. You will rank higher on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), getting more traffic, drawing in more customers, and boosting your revenue as a result.
11 - Research keywords that are always searched
Keyword optimization is essential for local SEO. Essentially, you’re including the specific terms entered into a Google search repeatedly in your website’s content, title, and description. If you’re not sure which keywords to use, try research the competition, or alternatively test out options by typing them into Google. Google will generate the most commonly searched options. Also, check within the ‘people also search’.
You could even look into using long-tail keywords with a more detailed description of your product or services. These may get less traffic initially, but they have a much higher conversion rate. If you can match exactly what a potential customer is looking for, they’ll be more likely to invest in your product/service. Look at the top 15, out of 86,617, search terms containing ‘dentist‘ searched each month in the UK alone.
12 - Provide useful and unique content
Once you’ve drawn customers to your site, you want to get them to stay. You can do this is by providing useful and unique content. It’s also important to have a good local content marketing strategy. Create content unique to your local community for a hyper-targeted campaign.
Your content needs to ideally include local information, something that would really speak to members of your local community consuming it. You should try to keep content fresh so you could even refer to local news or events, for example. This will help you to reach your community.
13 - Add relevant FAQs with Schema
Schema is a type of code that helps search engines understand the semantic nature of websites. It’s formed by tags that are added to webpages, and there’s a type of tag for everything, including FAQs. You can use Google’s ‘people also searched’ to find common FAQs.
FAQ schema indicates to search engines that the content is in question and answer format. Common FAQs will also appear at the top of search engine results. If your website appears in the top spot followed by a list of relevant FAQs, your business will appear more legitimate and draw in more customers. Check out the dedicated FAQ page from Optical Express with the Schema markup working in the background.
14 - Build internal links on your website
Another important part of your SEO strategy is link building. Internal links indicate to Google the structure of your website. You need to ensure all pages are linked to each other in a logical manner, with more links back to the most important pages, or as some call them, ‘money’ pages.
This a way to inform the search engines (such as Google) of the hierarchy of your website. Ideally, you want the more important pages to rank higher. These may include your specific product/service pages. Include more internal links to the pages you want to rank the highest.
15 - Build backlinks from reputable sources
Backlinks are external links back to your website from others. The more reputable backlinks you have, the higher your website can appear in search results. It’s important to choose reputable and relevant sources, however. Building links is very much a quality over quantity situation.
Ideally, you want a backlink from another high-ranking or authoritative website. This will boost your appeal to the search engines. You can also try to build backlinks with influencers on social media that your target audience looks up to. It’s all about generating the right leads.
16 - Add a Google Map (and directions) on your website
You can embed a map on your website, and include directions for customers. You can do this by following the instructions on the ‘menu’ tab on Google Maps, then simply click on “share or embed map”. It’s important to have a map of your location in order to boost your local SEO.
You could also include additional information such as opening hours, directions, phone number links (yes, using tel: links), and social media links. These will all help not only in providing potential customers with information but will also improve your rankings as a local business.
Take a look at the screenshot below from the website for The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. They make it so simple for their customers to get to their location. They’ve gone the extra mile by covering all possible modes of transportation and even mentioned where close car parks are.
17 - Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
The majority of local searches are made on a mobile, so it’s essential that your site is mobile-friendly. If your website doesn’t look good or work well on a mobile, this will result in a poor customer experience. There are several ways you can make your site more mobile-friendly.
Use a responsive theme that automatically adjusts to the size of the screen. Make your page load faster with a Content Delivery Network (CDN). You can include bigger Call-To-Action (CTA) buttons to prevent accidental clicks. Test your website to check if it is mobile-friendly.
MAJOR UPDATE: Google has confirmed that as of March 2021, if your website does not work well on mobile, it will not rank in searches at all.
18 - Create dedicated pages for each product/service that you offer
If your business offers different types of products or services, give each one their own web page. Include relevant and specific information on each respective page. This is also a good opportunity to use long-tail keyword optimization in order to drive extremely targeted traffic.
Link together these distinct pages from a single page that summarizes all the products or services your business offers. If your company has multiple branches, you should also create a separate page for each of these and optimize your local SEO for each different location.
19 - Add your location on suitable social media
Location tags on social media, such as Instagram for example, help to increase your visibility online. They also help to increase engagement in the local community and improve the customer experience. Users are able to click on your location and instantly find all the information they need. Find a way to incentivize your customers to tag themselves at your location. You wouldn’t believe the reach your customers have.
Choose the relevant social media platform for your target audience. It may be a good idea to brainstorm a buyer persona and research which is the most popular social media platform according to age, background, interests, etc. You also don’t need to be limited to just one platform.
Take a look at the Facebook page for Aussie Outback in Dublin. Their location (with a map) is immediately visible to visitors of their page. Also, as a little bonus tip – Look at all of the incredible information that their new customers can obtain within a matter of seconds. Hint hint.
20 - Use Google Analytics to measure results
Google Analytics will help you to find out how well your local SEO strategy is working and how you can improve it. Find out more information about which traffic sources draw in the most customers from your community, and which content has been helping generate business.
By constantly monitoring your local SEO, you’ll be able to optimize it to bring in more revenue. You can track website traffic and get a better understanding of your customers. Do not underestimate how powerful this data can be. This is the best way to achieve business growth.
Video - How to Do Local SEO: Complete A-Z Tutorial
Whilst we were brainstorming all of the topics that we wanted to include in this article in order to provide the most value to the readers, we came across this awesome video from ahrefs (who we use as our SEO tool of choice). Grab a coffee and check out what Sam has to say.
It covers many of the points that we have mentioned but we’d still highly recommend watching it to see just how important Local SEO really is.
For the items in this document that you can implement yourself, please do. The information in this document is there to help you grow your business. It cannot harm your business by implementing the tips that you have read, it can only improve your business, so why not do it?
If you don’t, your competitor will. You have the opportunity to get ahead of the competition, so strike while the iron is hot and start making growth improvements today.
Thank you for taking the time to read this document and we hope it helps you in growing your business by harnessing the power of organic growth. We wish you the best of luck!
– The team at Launch Site Boot.
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