Being local is a powerful thing. If you’re not utilizing online search for your business, you’re probably painfully unaware of just how many people are out there looking for you.
Social Media Today says that 97 percent of search engine users have searched online to find a local business. So, if you aren’t ranking in local search results, you’re missing out on some really valuable traffic. Local SEO could make a world of difference.
Alright, Let’s Start With the Basics
“Local search” refers to anytime someone searches for a business, product, or service relevant to one specific location. For example—if you and your coworkers can’t decide where to go for lunch, you might type “bbq places near me” into your phone. Local search might sound like a fancy marketing term, but really you use it all the time.
So, what is local SEO then? It’s the process of trying to optimize your online visibility—so you show up in those local search results.
Local SEO helps your business become more visible online, it brings more foot traffic into your brick-and-mortar location, it attracts more targeted traffic, and it boosts your credibility. Okay, you’re convinced—now let’s get to the good stuff.
Okay, Let’s Really Dive In
So, you understand local SEO and you want in. Here are some great tips for how to get where you want to go with local SEO:
#1: Start With Your GMB Listing
Google My Business, or GMB, is the most important part of your local SEO strategy. Naturally, it’s where you want to start. It’s one of the top factors Google considers when ranking businesses in organic local search.
Don’t have one yet? That’s okay! You can set one up, or you can let a really cool marketing agency do it for you. Here’s the info you’ll need:
- Full business name
- Physical store or office address
- Exact location on a map
- Business category
- Phone number
If you really want to kick it up a notch, here’s some additional info you’ll want to include:
- Photos of your business (inside and outside!)
- Business hours
- Additional relevant categories
- Additional phone numbers (if applicable)
For even further optimization, you should share business updates and fresh content regularly.
#2: Keep It Consistent
Make sure your NAP—your business name, address, and phone number—is consistent all throughout the interwebs. Your basic information should be exactly the same on Facebook, Yelp, Bing, and GMB.
And we mean EXACTLY. No misspellings, no typos, no differently formatted phone numbers, no nothin’. No duplicate listings either! This kind of rigid consistency will tell Google that you’re trustworthy—plus, your customers won’t ever be confused by conflicting information. Don’t skip this step. A lot of businesses do, and it hurts their rankings.
#3: Customer is King
Reviews, reviews, reviews! It’s how most people make decisions these days. Having positive, authentic reviews will do wonders for not only your reputation, but your online visibility as well. Not to mention it’ll convert more of the people who find you.
Most people are happy to help out a local business that they love! But people are also busy and forgetful. It never hurts to ask or remind your customers to leave a review if they had a good time.
Remember, Google isn’t the only place where reviews matter. Work on collecting reviews for a wide range of platforms like Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List, Foursquare, Thumbtack, etc.—whatever’s relevant for your industry.
#4: Always Keep Mobile in Mind
Eighty-two percent of those “blah blah near me” searches we mentioned earlier happen on a phone. That’s huge. If your website isn’t designed well for mobile, odds are you’re missing out on most of that 82 percent. The last thing you want is for someone to find you online (hooray!) only to bounce because they can’t navigate your website (sad trombone music).
Also, don’t forget that 60 percent of mobile users have contacted a business directly from a search result. That means you should have plenty of easy-to-spot click-to-call buttons. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for your searcher. Too many obstacles, and they’ll move on.
#5: Build Those Links
Link signals, like linking domain authority, are some of the top factors that influence your local search rankings on Google. Similar to traditional SEO, local SEO also requires link building to give your business profile a boost.
The difference? With local SEO, the linking domains should be more relevant to your location. That means you should be targeting authority websites near you, like the Chamber of Commerce or “.edu” sites in the area.
Guest posting, scholarships, partnerships, etc. are all great ways to get those oh-so-coveted backlinks from local sites.
#6: Keep an Ear to the Ground
As with any kind of marketing, make sure you’re utilizing good, old-fashioned social listening. It’s still one of the best ways to cater to your customer. Find out what people in your area are saying—not just about you, but about their interests and priorities, too.
The gist is this: you hear your customers complaining about something, so you provide a solution. Maybe you’ve heard people complaining about having to stand outside in a long line at your business. Provide some benches or some shade! Boom.Then share that update on your GMB! Double boom.
Want Some Help?
We know, it’s a lot. Not to mention a lot of maintenance, too. But we have an entire SEO team ready to help out! Get in touch with us, and let’s grab coffee. We can chat about your business and get to know each other—no commitment necessary.