Search engine optimization (SEO) is an online strategy that can result in your website being displayed at the top of the search engine results pages. If you want to attract and engage customers in your area, you will definitely need local SEO. This is where you optimize your site for local search results. Here are some examples of local searches:
- Clothes shops near me
- Clinics near me
- Lawyers in [name of city]
Now, why is local SEO vital for your physical business? Here are just some of the benefits:
- There is a 50% chance that people will visit your physical store if they find you online using a local search on their cell phone. If they use a computer or tablet, at least one out of three people will visit.
- Almost eight out of ten local searches on mobile phones end in an offline sale.
- First-time customers often perform a local search to confirm a shop’s existence or location.
- Almost all consumers search online to look for local businesses, and over 10% of people conduct local searches every day.
Who will benefit from local SEO?
- Traditional brick and mortar businesses, such as restaurants
- Professionals (e.g., lawyers) or those offering services (e.g., plumbers)
However, not all companies are suited to local SEO, such as:
- Ecommerce shops
- Businesses that won’t share their contact details
- Private online vendors
So, how can you use local SEO for your business? Here are six tips that will help you promote your company.
1. Get listed on Google My Business (GMB) and other online directories
If you want to achieve a high ranking in Google’s local search results as well as visibility on Google Maps, a GMB listing is the best way of going about it.
- Create your GMB account and verify your business ownership.
- Make sure the information you provide is accurate and up to date.
- Your listing should include your product and service offers, business logo, operational hours, payment methods, and images.
- Respond immediately to customer reviews and queries.
- Publish posts, such as announcements for new products, events, or special offers.
Besides GMB, there are many other online directories where you can list your business (for example, YellowPages). If you are going to use several directories, make sure you include:
- Your business name, address, and contact details
- Backlinks to your site
- A complete and accurate description of your business
2. Encourage satisfied customers to write reviews
Positive feedback from customers acts as a personal recommendation for your business, products, and services. If you would like to encourage reviews, consider the following advice:
- Request a review in person after successfully closing a transaction.
- Send an email or text asking customers to write a review. However, make sure you avoid reaching out to disgruntled customers.
- Maintain a professional tone when responding to the reviews. Thank the customer for their feedback and address any complaints straightaway.
3. Create blogs or videos about local concerns, news, or events
Writing about local issues is an effective way of attracting the attention of your customers. You can write blogs or create videos about local news, activities, or events.
If you are writing blogs, they need to have specific characteristics to make them engaging. According to this article, blogs should be:
- Long and comprehensive – If the content is over 3,000 words, it will attract more traffic and backlinks than shorter articles. However, the blog’s length will also depend on your customers’ search intentions and the content type. For instance, infographics are primarily images with only a few words.
- Long headlines – Headlines of 14 words or more are likely to generate more traffic, social shares, and backlinks than shorter ones. Titles that include the phrase “how to” often attract the most traffic. Deciding on the type of title to use will often depend on the preferences of your target audience.
- Subheadings and lists – Subheadings and listings will make your blog readable and user-friendly. This will encourage your audience to read the content and share it on social media platforms.
4. Create a mobile-friendly website and optimize it for voice search
More and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet. This is a lucrative source of potential customers since studies have shown that three out of four mobile searches usually result in a physical visit within 24 hours.
Accordingly, your local SEO strategy should include mobile optimization of your website. Here are some useful tips to get you started:
- Your website should have a loading speed of three seconds or less
- Use large fonts that are easy enough to read
- Only include essential images and details
- Ensure visitors will enjoy an excellent user experience (UX) by implementing an intuitive user interface (UI)
Another local SEO strategy worth implementing involves optimizing your web content for voice search. To achieve this, you will need to adjust your content so that it carries a more conversational tone. In addition, it should be able to answer traditional questions such as:
5. Research local keywords
It is vitally important that you identify the keywords used by your local customers in their searches. With this in mind, you can use the Google Keyword Planner tool to discover the search terms often used in a particular location. You can then create a list of these relevant local keywords and add them to your site content and URLs. Furthermore, you should include local landmarks and hotspots in your web pages.
You can add them to your location pages and provide information such as:
- Name, address and contact details
- Operating hours and parking availability
- Promotions and testimonials
- Google Maps for each location
- Customized descriptions
6. Create a page that focuses on your product and service offerings
If you provide a variety of products and services, it is tempting to group them all on a single page. However, this may have a negative impact on your search engine ranking as your business/brand will not be recognized as having authority in one particular area. Therefore, it is much better to incorporate only one unique product or service on a single page.
If your business has several locations, you can use a location-based copy for every page. For instance, “hardware store” can become:
- California hardware store
- Sacramento hardware store
As a business owner, it is imperative that you adopt local SEO strategies to attract and engage customers in your area. First of all, you should list your business on GMB and other online directories. You also need to search for local keywords and include them in your blogs, videos, and web content. Furthermore, you need to encourage satisfied customers to write positive reviews and testimonials. Finally, by allocating a single page to each of your product and service offerings, you can quickly build your brand authority.