When looking for specific products and services in your neighborhood, how do you find them?
You go to Google and hit the search button.
That’s also what customers do when searching for local businesses like yours. Statistics say that 97% of people learn about a local business through the internet, and 46% of all searches on Google seek local information. With these facts, there’s no other reason not to bolster your local SEO strategies.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of increasing your search engine visibility for a specific location.
Both search engine optimization (SEO) and local SEO are used to improve search engine rankings in order to generate more website traffic. However, local SEO focuses more on localized search terms and on making you visible to nearby customers at the exact time they are looking for your products or services online.
In other words, local SEO is an excellent way to market your local business. Any business with a brick-and-mortar store or serves a geographic area can reap significant advantages from this strategy.
Local SEO tips for small businesses.
1. Claim your business on Google My Business.
If you’re new to the local SEO world, creating and verifying your Google My Business page should be at the top of your to-do list. GMB is a free business directory owned by Google. Claiming your listing here will establish your presence on the search engine and put your business on Google Maps.
Here are a few steps to help you get started on GMB optimization:
- Create or claim your Google My Business listing.
- Provide your accurate business information and publish your listing.
- Add posts, photos, and videos to your GMB profile.
- Encourage your customers to write online reviews.
Aside from Google My Business, it’s also best to claim other business directories. Yelp! is a great directory to get listed with if you want to improve your local SEO. You can also consider Bing, Facebook, YellowPages, and MapQuest.
2. Perform a local SEO audit.
Like in any digital marketing move, you need to know if your local SEO strategies and efforts are working. Performing an audit is the perfect way to determine that.
Through a local SEO audit, you can see your website’s strengths and weaknesses and find out how you are performing against similar websites or local businesses. That way, you can make improvements that would help you bring more customers to your brick-and-mortar location.
A local SEO audit may include:
- Checking if you’re targeting the right keywords relevant to your business and service areas. Keywords are the search terms or queries people type into search engines like Google when finding information.
- Catching duplicate content or copied content from other websites.
- Finding out if your business is listed in directories and if there are any mentions of your key business information online (it could be in a blog, review site, or another local website).
- Analyzing social media platforms.
If you think auditing local SEO is not your strong suit, you can work with an SEO expert or digital marketing agency that can perform a comprehensive audit.
3. Target local search terms.
Similar to search engine optimization, search terms or what we call “keywords” are also a vital part of local SEO. It’s just that local SEO focuses more on words and phrases that are specific to your business’s geographic location.
Let’s say you own a small local coffee shop in Cincinnati. Instead of using obvious search terms like “cafe”, “best coffee shop”, or “coffee for sale”, use more localized search terms that include your city or zip code. For example:
- Best coffee shop in Cincinnati
- Coffee for sale in Cincinnati
- Cincinnati coffee shop near me
Did you know that “near me” and “close by” types of searches grew by over 900% in the past two years? Combining high-volume search terms with local search terms can help you reach more people in your area.
4. Create hyperlocal content for your website.
Once you have determined which local search terms can benefit your small business, it’s time to create content based on them.
Sprinkle your local search terms throughout your website content (don’t stuff them!) to have higher chances of showing up when someone in your area searches for products or services like yours. Doing that also makes it easier for search engines to better understand what you offer and what areas you serve.
5. Add location pages to your website.
If your business has multiple physical stores or branches, it helps to create a web page for each location. Your location pages should be optimized with specific search terms and have unique content that includes:
- The store’s address
- Phone number
- Business hours
- Testimonials from happy customers from that particular area.
Avoid duplicating content. We also recommend adding a Google Map to each location page, creating individual Google My Business listings for your locations, and writing content about local news to boost your local SEO further.
6. Make your website mobile-friendly.
Considering that 61% of mobile users are more likely to contact a local company if their website is mobile-friendly, there’s no other best time to go mobile than now.
Having your website responsive on any device also makes it easier for prospective customers to find the information they need. Some of the ways people will use your mobile-friendly website are to search for your contact details, look for directions to your store, or check out customer reviews.
If the above tips are not enough, here are some more ways your small business can succeed at local SEO.
- Improve your website’s structure, URL, and elements like content, headings, and page titles and ensure they include the primary search terms you’re targeting.
- Make sure your business’s details (name, phone number, address) are consistent online and across all directories.
- Ask for customer reviews and respond to them.
- Get your business mentioned in different online directories, social media sites, review sites as well as in your local newspapers, chamber of commerce, and any organizations you’re part of.
- Join the social media bandwagon.
- Invest in Google Ads.
Need more help with your local SEO efforts? Sprout Digital is just a call away.
We are a digital marketing agency that helps local businesses, small business owners, and companies with specific service areas beat their competition with local SEO tactics that work.
Our team performs SEO audits, SEO competitive analysis, and SEO copywriting and can help you with your local citations and reputation management. Call us at (937) 528 1423 to schedule a talk.