In today’s world, local search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for many businesses. If a significant portion of your target demographic is located in the same general area as your business, then local SEO will benefit your online marketing plan.
One of the most incredible things about the internet is its ability to spread messages across the world, but if your audience is located in a specific area and you are not using local SEO, you are just yelling into the abyss. Local business SEO is about knowing you are yelling in the right direction.
What Is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization is the process of improving search engine visibility for local businesses, primarily those with brick-and-mortar locations. Following local best practices helps your business improve organic traffic from customers who are searching in nearby areas.
A strong local SEO strategy is key to driving more people to your business. Local SEO statistics from Ahrefs show that 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day. Furthermore, 28% of those searches for something nearby result in a purchase. Therefore, if you serve customers locally, you should focus on improving your local search presence so more people can find you.
Why Are Local Search Keywords Important?
Once you have decided that you are, in fact, a local SEO business, it is time to learn what a local search marketing plan can do for you. Your business must rank higher in search engine results when compared to the competition. This depends heavily on the keywords that your potential customers are using in their search queries. Some of these terms will be quite obvious while others are more nuanced.
Combining common sense with online resources leads to the best mix of keywords. Where and how they are placed on your business page also plays a vital role. Doing proper research on effectively using keywords will drive your business up in search results.
Online Tools to Improve Local SEO
There are several local SEO tools that you can use to improve your search engine ranking. Screaming Frog, Moz Local, and Ahrefs are a few tools that can help you find appropriate keywords, collect data, and check backlinks to improve your business’s local SEO.
The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a website crawler that helps you improve on-site SEO by extracting data and auditing for common SEO issues. Download and crawl 500 URLs for free, or buy a license to remove the limit and access advanced features.
Moz Local is an automated listing management tool with active and continuous syncing of location data to Moz’s partner directories. The primary purpose of Moz Local is to positively affect your visibility on Google by allowing you to publish location data and maintain its consistency in bulk.
Ahrefs is a well-known toolset for backlinks and SEO analysis. They offer a variety of tools to improve several aspects of your website’s SEO.
- Site Explorer helps you easily analyze your site’s backlinks as well as the sites of your competitors. This is helpful if you want to explore the most profitable keywords for organic and paid searches.
- Content Explorer helps you find the most shared content for any topic that has the largest amount of shares on social media channels.
- Keywords Explorer helps you get relevant keyword ideas and traffic estimations.
- Rank Tracker allows you to track desktop and mobile rankings for any location and get daily, weekly, or monthly reports.
- Site Audit analyzes your website for common SEO issues and monitors your SEO health over time.
Ahrefs offers several tools in one platform. It gives you new ideas for link building and content. It also provides social stats and ratings. Additionally, it gives you the ability to export any data for further analysis on your own, including various charts and graphs for visual representation.
12 Tips for Successful Local SEO
To effectively gather information for local search, search engines rely on local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user. With local SEO, businesses can use this to their advantage by positioning their products and services to local customers who are searching for them.
Follow these 12 tips to create a successful local SEO strategy for your business.
1. Optimize for Google My Business.
Google My Business is one of the best options for local search. Understandably, Google feels most comfortable with sharing content it can support and verify. Therefore, GMB is their tool to help your business meet Google’s needs.
2. Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business.
Sharing content on social media is more important now than ever before. If you want to increase your rankings on Google, use your beautifully optimized GMB page to your advantage. Share it on social media to further align social and search.
3. Make sure your name, address, and phone number are consistent online.
Make it easy for search engines and people to find you. Set up your NAP (name, address, and phone number) as crawlable HTML text on your website. Headers and footers on websites are common locations for the NAP.
4. Optimize online directories and citations.
Express Update, Neustar Localeze, Foursquare, and Factual are four map data aggregators that provide a large amount of map data for Apple, Yelp, Bing, Google, Trip Advisor, and more. Verify that your citations are consistent and complete across these four data aggregators.
Check for discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, a missing suite number, or the wrong phone number. If Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business at all in search results.
5. Perform a local SEO audit.
Once you’ve completed the basics, you may be tempted to stop your local search engine optimization. However, SEO is an ongoing process. To get the best results, you should perform a local SEO audit to see the status of your website and what you can do to achieve your goals.
6. Improve your internal linking structure.
Internal links are hyperlinks that point to pages on the same domain. These are different than external links, which link out to pages on other domains. Internal links help Google find, index, and understand all of the pages on your site. If you use them strategically, internal links can send page authority to important pages.
Improving your internal linking structure will boost your SEO rankings by supporting website navigation, assisting with information architecture and website hierarchy, and distributing page authority and ranking power among pages.
7. Optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and content.
Every time you write new content, you need to optimize the content for search engines. Use high-volume keywords in the URL, title, headers, meta descriptions, and body. Optimizing the content improves its chances of appearing on the search engine results page (SERP).
8. Add location pages to your website.
If you have more than one physical location of your store, create location pages. Location pages provide readers with your name, address, phone number, store hours, store descriptions, parking and transit information, promotions, and customer testimonials.
9. Create local content.
Writing about general topics is great for attracting a wide audience. However, it is also important that you focus on local industry news to attract local readers. Position yourself as the local authority in your industry by promoting local industry gatherings, news, employees, and other educational content on your blog.
10. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Local search and mobile search are inextricably linked. Mobile users tend to look up reviews, find directions to your store location, and search for contact information. Make searching easy for your prospects and customers by making your site mobile-friendly.
11. Get inbound links with relevance and authority.
Inbound links are great opportunities to boost your local SEO as they prove your business’s legitimacy and increase your website’s domain authority. You can get inbound links by offering sponsorships, partnerships, and scholarships. Additionally, you can write guest blog posts.
12. Participate in your local community.
Increase your digital public relations by participating in the local community. You can earn press, increase brand awareness, and get more inbound links by partnering with a nonprofit on a campaign, having a volunteer day in your organization, sponsoring an event, or appearing in the local media as an authority in your industry.
Local SEO Solutions from SEO Design Chicago
Local SEO goes beyond using the right keywords. Simple things such as listing your business details identically across all platforms will improve your search results. Search engines are a frequent resource for reviews, so the more positive reviews that are compiled, the more visible your business will be. Additionally, your website must be both presentable and mobile-friendly. Tying in your social media presence to your comprehensive local SEO package will lead to success.
At this point, you should have a basic understanding of the process and whether or not local SEO services can help your business. SEO Design Chicago will help you improve your local SEO by performing a free local SEO analysis. Our experts will develop a strategy with you to maximize your local presence.