In this digital age, local search has become a big deal. In fact, local search has become even more important than ever before. With the increased usage of mobile devices, local searches have increased. Many small businesses tend to overlook the value of local SEO as an online marketing channel. This is because small businesses generally don’t have the same budget and resources as larger companies. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of this great opportunity for your business. Read on to find out how you can leverage the power of local search to drive more traffic and customers to your business.
What does local SEO have to offer?
If you’re new to the world of online marketing, it can be hard to understand why local search is such a big deal. Most people are looking for information online that’s relevant to their current location. This means that local search is a huge market, with countless people searching for local businesses and information every day. How does this affect your business? Most people don’t know you exist. Whether you’re running an ecommerce store or a local business, most of your customers likely don’t know you exist. This is where local search comes in. If your customers are searching for businesses in their area, you want them to find your business. You want them to be able to see your products and services and be able to find information about your business. Thanks to local search, you have the chance to be right at the top of those search results. And by optimizing your listings, and making sure your website is optimized for local search, you open yourself up to a completely new customer base.
How is Local SEO Different from Regular SEO?
As mentioned, local search has become an even more important part of modern digital marketing than ever before. You may have assumed that the same strategies and tactics you’ve been using for your regular SEO efforts would also work for local search. However, when you look at the fine details, you’ll see that there are some significant differences between the two. Here are the major differences:
· Audience: As mentioned above, the audience for local search is much narrower than the audience for regular SEO. So, your content needs to be much more specific, and tailored for a local audience.
· Opportunities: Because there are fewer people searching for local businesses, the opportunities for success are much greater. Local businesses that rank highly on local search pages usually have very loyal customers. As such, you’ll have a lot fewer people trying to compete with you for keywords.
· Competition: Ranking highly on local search pages is much harder than ranking well on general SEO terms. The competition is much fiercer, and you’ll be competing against local SEO experts.
· Time Frame: Local SEO efforts results are achieved on a much shorter time frame than regular SEO. Whereas regular SEO efforts can often take months or longer to see significant results, local search can often be achieved in just a few weeks.
Do This First- Create a Google My Business Account
A Google My Business account allows you to create a virtual storefront that appears in search results when users search for your business name. When you create a GMB account, you’ll enter the basic information about your business, including your address and phone number, so that it appears on Google’s SERPs. You can also add a description of your business, your operating hours, and photos of the inside or outside of your business for a more visual experience for your potential customers. It’s important to note that you can only create a GMB account if you have verified ownership of the business. To do this, you’ll need to provide Google with some basic information, like your name and the name of your business. Once you’ve created your GMB account, you’ll want to fill out the details of your business as thoroughly as possible to ensure that your business is properly represented on Google’s SERPs. We have created an complete guide to creating your Google profile. Make sure you complete each step so your business will show up when someone searches for what your business offers. Add Rich Snippets and Featured Image Google has been increasingly prioritizing mobile search results, so it’s important to optimize your business’ GMB listing for mobile users. To do this, you’ll want to add rich snippets to your GMB listing. This will let Google know that your business has a website and allow you to include information like the name of your company, your business hours, your address and more right in your GMB listing. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a featured image on your GMB listing. This image will appear at the top of your GMB listing when users are conducting a mobile search, and it will also be used as an ad on Google’s network.
Write (Good) Reviews
Reviews are one of the most important factors for local SEO for small businesses. Reviews act as social proof that people are happy with your services, which can help you rank higher in the local search results. If you’re new to the business scene, you may not have any reviews yet. But don’t worry—there are plenty of ways that you can encourage your customers to leave you reviews. You can ask them at the end of each transaction, leave a note in their receipt, or even set up a system with your regulars. If you don’t currently have any reviews, you might want to consider leaving reviews for other businesses first. This will help you build up a profile on review sites like Google My Business and Yelp, while also giving you the opportunity to leave positive reviews for businesses that you’ve had good experiences with.
Be Updated with NAP Information
NAP stands for “name, address, and phone number. It’s essential to make sure that your NAP information is up-to-date and consistent across all of your marketing materials. This includes your website, social media accounts, review sites (Yelp, TripAdvisor) and any other online presence that you have. This will help Google link together all your different profiles and make it clear that your business is authentic. Practice Good SEO Practices for Small Businesses
There are many ways to optimize your local SEO for small businesses. One of the best ways to do this is to create a good overall content strategy. When you’re developing new content, you should always keep your potential customers in mind. What are they looking for? What questions are they trying to answer? What do they need? By creating content that is useful and solves your customers’ problems, you can rank higher in the SERPs and keep your customers coming back for more. Another way to optimize your local SEO for small businesses is through link building. This is the process of getting other websites to link to yours, which can help your website rank higher in the SERPs. One of the best ways to do this is to create meaningful, helpful content for other websites. If you create a piece of content that is helpful to many people, other websites may be more likely to link to it, which will help you to build your link profile. Other ways to create links to your website is to join your local Chamber of Commerce as they provide links from their site to their member’s. Also make sure your business is listed on any review sites that are relevant such as Yelp, TripAdvisor etc.
Local Website and Listing Optimization
Once you’ve got the general SEO elements of your website taken care of, it’s time to focus on local SEO. This includes making sure your website and listings are optimized to appeal to your local customers. Here are some of the ways you can optimize your website and listings: Use keywords in your website copy that your customers will search for such as including your city so you show up for "near me” searches. Include a Local Phone Number: While consumers are becoming less reliant on speaking with a sales rep before making a purchase, many people will still prefer to call your business before ordering something online. Make that easier for them by including a local phone number on your website and in your listings. Include a Map-Driven Directions: If you’re worried about people not being able to find your business, make sure to include directions on your website, and in your listings. This will help people find your business without having to look at a map. Optimize Your Listings: One of the best ways to improve your rankings in local search is to make sure that your listings are fully optimized. This includes your business name, address, phone number, and hours of operation. Make sure to also include attractive photos of your products, and an attractive description of the services you provide.
Conclusion Google Search is the primary way that people find businesses online. The more of your business that users can see, the more likely they are to check you out and become a customer. Local SEO is one of the best ways to increase your visibility as a business and drive more customers your way. A recent study showed that almost half of all local search results reveal nothing about the company’s address or phone number. With this in mind, it’s important to take steps to optimize your business for local searches so you don’t fall behind on this crucial Google ranking factor. While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for optimizing your local SEO, the tips in this article will help you get started.