There are plenty of small- or medium-sized businesses that spend money advertising on Google, but the problem is that they aren’t advertising to their full potential. How is that? They are failing to highlight their local affiliation.
Are you one of those companies?
If so, we can fix that problem. One of the most dominant local SEO marketing tactics is to hone in on your location, as this has the potential to dramatically improve your search rankings and lead generation. If you are currently serving your local neighborhood and are interested in getting the world out to them, then you need to eliminate any old and outdated local advertising approaches that you are using and focus on your local SEO marketing strategies.
The majority of your prospective customers are going to be using Google to locate a service just like your own, and when doing so, these customers likely utilize their location within the search bar. So, by honing in on local SEO tactics, you can finally tap into that large customer pool.
Take a guess as to who made the following statement…
“Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.”
Did you guess Google? If so, then you’re right. It strongly suggests that an SEO strategy is necessary to compete in the market today. Focusing on your location is just one of those “combined” optimizations that is being talked about in the paragraph above.
So, we are going to provide you with some fundamentals that will help you start shifting your current optimization efforts to local ones. If you pursue the below local search engine ranking steps, then you should soon see a boost in local traffic, and as a result, more business.
Local SEO Fundamentals
#1 – Make Use of the Google My Business Platform
Google My Business is among the most effective and valuable ways to claim the name and location of your business for web searches, and it is also a vital first step when it comes to local SEO. Once your industry is searched by a user online in combination with your location or neighboring areas, your business name will appear in a list of options.
Beside your name, individuals will see a star rating for your business based from ratings from previous customers. Business information, such as your address and phone number, will also appear, and you will be able to choose a picture that will help persuade customers to select your business.
This kind of visibility is priceless to local companies. It looks trustworthy and authoritative, which is why it is so important for your business to be on GMB.
Now, your business will not always show up on the top search engine results, but when your business does, you can rest assured that your revenues will increase.
The more accurate and specific the information that Google has regarding your company, the better your listing can be classified and displayed for users, which will help users locate your on Google Maps, Google Search, and Google+.
Make sure that you include the following information in your listing.
- Add a business address that is consistent with one that is on your company website.
- Add a local telephone number and website address within the contact information section.
- Add opening and closing hours and days.
- Select the appropriate category/categories for your local business.
- Add a short and concise description of your business, such as what is offered, your history, what it is that sets you apart from your competitors, and anything else that you believe would be helpful and valuable for your customers to know.
- Upload a profile picture and cover image—both in high-resolution.
- Upload interior and exterior photos, team photos, images at work, and any supplementary photos of products/services. These images should all be directly relevant to your business.
A complete and up-to-date GMB listing is essential to local search rankings and boosting credibility among the local community.
#2 – Obtain Testimonials and Reviews from Local Customers
Each time that a transaction is completed with one of your customers, you have the perfect opportunity to get a new testimonial or review. If your business is small enough, you can personally send an e-mail to your customers after their in-store experience and request that they leave an organic compliment or response. Larger companies tend to automate their feedback processes.
Make sure to post any positive feedback that you receive on your websites as testimonials and find out from your customers if it is alright to post their name and a photo beside the testimonial.
Google is among the best places to obtain reviews, and this is an important part of successful local SEO—and it has been for years. Google is notorious for prioritizing those businesses with reviews on Google listings. Therefore, it is important to take the time to persuade customers to leave reviews on Google if they can.
In fact, you can make it easier for them by providing a direct link to your GMB review page.
Keep in mind that the more testimonials and reviews that you can get, the more reliable your business appears to not just local users but to Google as well. In the end, your local SEO rankings will increase, resulting in a snowball effect of compliments and customers.
#3 – Uphold Customer Satisfaction in a Public Manner
Social media platforms like Facebook are fantastic for business exposure. However, exposure often comes with a price tag. Customers will sometimes negatively bash you on your social network page, which makes you look bag. The good news is that this can be a blessing in disguise when your customers do this, as the complaint is made public, which allows you to publically handle it.
In doing so, you will show customers—existing and potential—that you take your customer complaints sincerely and that you’re willing to resolve complaints quickly. In addition, it also helps to build trust with your brand, thereby helping to guarantee repeat business and customer acquisition.
Take the time to acquire feedback through posts on social media. Social engines will “compensate” you for your active involvement on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Encouraging feedback-related posts, polls, etc. will ensure that you are constantly working on become more customer-focused, which gives your customers what they want and ensures that they feel like you hear them.
Social media offers you a way to promote your content, be located online, as well as show your industry relevant to prospective customers. In addition, social media can have a great affect on your local SEO, rankings, as well as conversions.
#4 – Make Use of Local Listing Websites
These sites are websites that serve as hubs for specific or multiple industries. There may be 50+ sites that list your direct competition, so it is important that you fight for your home market and ensure that you are known to the online world.
Locate as many premium local listing websites as you can that are willing to recognize your location as well as your industry. Then, list your business name, services/products offered, benefits that are offered to your customers, contract details (as shown on your website), area that you are operating from, and a direct link to your company website.
You should also search for your company name on Google to see if there are any current listings online that you need to claim. Once you have claimed them, you can add company details that will allow your listing to stand out from the rest of them.
These links will essentially serve as a backlink to your company website, and the area that you previously filled in will now be linked with your company when users perform an online search.
#5 – Internal Links Optimization (Link Pages Within Your Website)
If you aren’t familiar with internal link building and have never done it for your own website, then you are missing out—and it’s time to get started. Internal link building can boost your ranking and assist your site visitors with site navigation.
If one piece of your web content somehow refers back to a previously written piece of content, you should link a phrase on that page to the previously written page so that your readers have an easy way to read that initial content if they desire to do so.
When linking internal web pages, you will want to follow the below guidelines:
- Only link six words or fewer
- Use terms that are location-specific within the linked phrases
- Ensure that the phrase you’re linking is an actionable phrase
- Try to only link to the same page once
- Ensure the linking phrase is appropriate to the content that you are referring to
- Add additional external links that are relevant to the piece
#6 – Develop Location-Specific META Tags
If the bulk of your customers are local, it is important that you add your location to the META tags on your website. This will show your users immediately that you are within their immediate surrounding area and reassure them that you have the ability to meet their needs.
Since this is the description that potential customers will see once they hit enter on their search, your META tag must be as description as possible. Essentially, this is your way of making a good first impression. Key information that should be included in the META tag is as follows:
- Products or services
- Contact number
- Location and industry (beside one another)
- Let users know that you have what they’re looking for
By being location-specific, you are filtering out the online users who would click through to your website and bounce back to the search results because you are not within their immediate geographic area. Bouncebacks have a negative impact on your search rankings, so it is important that you are only attracting local users who are interested in utilizing your services.
#7 – Utilize Location Names and Keywords in Your Web Content
While it is completely fine to mention your company’s location on contact and home pages, it is important that you also add in the location names to additional content in order to give local SEO a boost. For instance, service/product pages should naturally reiterate your location within your web content. This will help with the optimization of your website for the location so that users nearby area able to find you.
In addition, your blogs need to contain location names, assuming it makes sense to include the location. Blogs create the perfect chance to dominate location-specific keywords. Just make sure that you don’t stuff your content with keywords—simply add your location in the content at least once to give a boost to your rankings for your industry within that specific area.
#8 – Develop and Post Location Web Pages
Location pages are similar to blog articles in that they are articles that are specifically developed to sell your service or product to a specific geographic area. These pages need to include local information, a case study based on the location if a service is provided, and emphasize the specific benefits that are associated with doing business with your company.
It is a good idea to add a location map that shows your location. If you do not have a local address, then you may want to add the area that you are serving and offer clear and understandable driving directions for potential customers.
If you have just a handful of business locations, you will want to mention them all on your service pages and/or link to them on your “Our Locations” web page. This develops an obvious link between your locations and your services for online individuals and the search engines.
Location pages are on the radar for Google’s algorithm. As soon as your website is crawled, Google will immediately connect your industry and location with one another and give your ranking a boost for when online users seek your services.
#9 – Post and Tag “Real” Images
Google’s search engine algorithm is more and more perceptive when images are involved. While it is always a benefit to add images, it is important that you ensure that they are the right ones as the wrong images can literally cost you points in terms of search engine rankings.
Make sure that you’re posting authentic images that you have taken yourself. The less editing that these images require, the better. At the same time, though, the images need to be of high enough quality that you are capturing the attention of your users and that they are properly optimized.
So, ensure your photos are high-quality and authentic. “Real” local images will garner a far better reaction from online users.
#10 – Claim Hashtags
Hashtagging social media posts with the exact same hashtag every time can essentially solidify your leadership within your industry in a specific area. For example, if you are a pizzeria in Huntsville, you may create a hashtag like #HuntsvillePizzaDelivery. It is a simple hashtag that consists of only two words (other than your location) that lets others know three things that they need to be ware of about your business:
- You sell pizza
- You deliver pizza
- You are based in Huntsville
Google will pick up on the hashtag, and every time that someone clicks on the hashtag, you get search engine ranking points for relevancy.
When compared to generalized SEO, local SEO is much more powerful. In addition, it is more targeted, cheaper, and more effective. The aforementioned information will help ensure that you get that leg up on your competition that you’ve been itching to get.
If you have any questions or need any help, contact us at WebDetail today.