In this post, we teach you how to craft the perfect local SEO strategy.
In today’s world, phone books are basically extinct. Now, if your business has a physical location, you must be found on local search results to attract customers. With 140 billion local searches conducted on desktops and mobile devices in 2014 and 91 percent of customers searching the internet to find a local business, a local strategy with unique and specific elements will impact your local ranking to improve sales.
Google found that four out of five people use search engines to conduct local searches, with 88 percent originating from Smartphone’s and 84 percent from a computer or tablet. According to the study, 18 percent of local searches lead to sales; whereas, it’s only 7 percent for non-local searches.
So, whether you’re a retail store, restaurant, or a dentist, local SEO will drive customers through your door to produce higher sales.
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In addition to keywords that are relevant to your business, you also need location-based keywords, which promote Google’s ability to index your site locally. Research and compile a list of 10-15 keywords and place them in order of relevance to begin building keyword-focused web pages and content. Focus on keywords and variations that are relevant to your business, and will drive conversions and promote your local ranking.
Use the location-based keywords within your content, title tags, meta descriptions, Google My Business Page, images, header, and social media profiles. With the right keywords, you’ll generate higher conversions, whether online, physical store visits, or phone calls.
On-Site SEO for Local Results
Your website needs to have unique location factors to drive search engines and website visitors to your physical business location. Optimize your site just as you would for your national SEO strategy, but place a stronger emphasis on your business’s contact information, business hours, city, and state.
If you have more than one location, create a separate landing page for each location. Add Local Business Schema to optimize your local landing pages and include links to location-specific local assets, which can be done by installing the G+ Widget or link. Include a local optimized image to show your readers where your store is and to appear in Google Image search.
Create a local keyword assignment to use throughout your strategy to build more local authority. Incorporate your keywords with your city and state within content ranging from 600-800 words. Although your main goal is to boost your local ranking, maintain a tight focus on your keywords while creating quality content that’s informative and relevant to your customers.
Make sure your readers know exactly where to find your business by referencing local landmarks and intersections. Include an embedded Google map and double check to make sure the listing coordinates with the map code and the flag shown on your site.
With a strong local website, you’ll increase your sales as 31 percent of consumers report to be more inclined to contact a local business if they have a website. From this initial contact, 34 percent of customers who perform a local search on a computer or tablet visit the location on the same day of the search. Why? Because people have already made the decision to buy.
Mobile-Optimized for Local SEO
It’s a well known fact that mobile searches now exceed those of desktop, which is why a properly configured, responsive design is critical to reaching mobile visitors. But, for location-based businesses, mobile optimization is an even more important factor as over 70 percent of Smartphone users contact a business after viewing their local information. This leads to nearly 50 percent of users visiting a business on the same day of the search.
In addition to a mobile-friendly website, you must also optimize your mobile site to promote local searches. This includes featuring your city and state in the title tag, H1 heading, URL (if possible), content, alt tags, meta description, and an embedded Google map.
On and Offsite Link Building
As with national SEO, you need a solid link building strategy; however, link building for local SEO can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Using the appropriate on-site and offsite methods, you’ll strengthen the quality and authority of your link profile, which is used as a local ranking factor.
To earn links from major websites, brainstorm ways to make other local websites want to link to you by producing great content and a positive reputation. Then, comment and guest post on local blogs, and offer testimonials to other local businesses, but don’t be spammy. Work to target local-friendly websites, like Trip Advisor or Yelp to earn a trusted backlink. Finally, don’t forget to share your website’s links on social media to help draw visitors back to your website.
Promote Local SEO Content
Create content that’s specific to your location and your niche to attract customers with quality information by adding a blog. Use your keywords within your content to further boost your local ranking with valuable indexable content. Not only will you attract new customers and maintain existing, but each post you publish with local keywords will give your site another local page for Google to index. However, remember to create content with your readers as your top priority and your keywords second.
Over 60 percent of consumers visit locations based on local online ads. Customers crave local ads because they want results catered to their surroundings. As a result, 19 percent of customers will make an unplanned purchase from a location-based advertisement. 73 percent of Smartphone users and 78 percent of PC users said that one of the most important aspects to the ads were directions to the business, while 77 percent said the phone number was the most important factor. To ensure your ad is powerful, include as much location-based information as possible to get customers to walk through your door.
Building citations is one of the biggest differences between local and national SEO. Citations are a power source behind an effective local strategy, so complete local listings and directories on sites such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Bing. Carefully fill out the information on third party sites to direct local customers to your business. If possible, publish quality content on these sites to direct customer to your business. Remember, to remove any duplicate listings.
The larger the sites you’re listed on, the more visibility you’ll gain, which will encourage customers to leave a review regarding their experience; thus, further benefiting your local strategy.
We all know reviews play a crucial role in swaying purchasing decisions, but reviews also hold a strong power over customers choosing local services. In fact, 88 percent of consumers browse local reviews prior to choosing a local company for products or services because 8 percent of customers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.
Work to generate as many reviews as possible, especially on your Google My Business Page and local directories. However, don’t buy or post fake reviews because you’ll lose the trust of your customers if they discover the reviews are fake.
Claim Google Listing
A large element to promoting your local ranking is your business’s listing on Google. Claim your Google My Business Page for each business location and fill it out with complete accuracy. Write an optimized 250-300 word description, which includes your business’s name, contact information, physical address, and relevant keywords.
Use hyperlinks to connect your description to relevant content pages, including a location-specific URL on your website. Link your business page to your branded Google+ Social page and establish a link between your Google+ Social and My Business page as a website publisher using the rel=publisher markup.
When creating your business profile, you have the option to list categories. List at least 5 categories to properly index your profile. Don’t forget to link to top services in your “About” section with keywords as the anchor text. Double check your map marker to ensure it’s pointing to the correct location.
Maintain consistency across all of your Google listings, which includes your logo, cover photo, and name. Don’t forget to remove any duplicate listings and optimize your images and videos. Once your Google listings are established, work to build at least two reviews per month to earn brand trust.
Engage on Social Media
More than 72 percent of SMBs use social media to promote their local business, with 70 percent of customers choosing a local business who has a social media site. In addition to customer engagement, social signals play a role in page rank, which will help you gain more local recognition.
Use social media platforms to engage with your customers by offering discounts, promotions, and giveaways. Plus, advertise local events or local teams to further gain a positive local reputation.
Use Your Location in Your Favor
The secret to ranking well locally relies on your use of NAP (name, address, and phone number) in as many appropriate places as possible. With 98 percent of internet searchers choosing a business that’s listed on page 1 of a search engine, you need a solid strategy in place to reach your customers. Your strategy will get customers to walk through your door, allowing your great customer service to seal the deal
“14 Great Stats for Convincing SMBs to Invest in Local Search” Bright Local
“The Definitive Guide to Local SEO” Search Engine Journal
“Understanding Customers’ Local Search Behavior” Think with Google
“Local Searched Lead 50% of Mobile Users to Visit Stores” Search Engine Watch
“9 Steps to Improve Your Local SEO Strategy” Inc
“6 Steps to Creating a Successful SEO Strategy” HubSpot
“How to Create a Successful Local SEO Strategy” Entreprenuer
“Everybody Needs Local SEO” The MOZ Blog