HubSpot claims that 46% of Google’s searches are local. Given this fact, it’s not surprising that local SEO plays a fundamental role in small business promotion.
Its importance has also grown with the rise of mobile and voice searches. Studies show that 58% of users use voice search to find local business information.
By optimizing your site for geographically-related queries, you will put yourself in front of your local prospects, build trust with them, and successfully convert them into paying customers.
Here are the most significant factors that impact your local rankings.
On-Page Signals Are Key to High Rankings
According to the 2017 Moz Local SEO Ranking Factors Survey, on-page signals are one of the strongest factors Google considers when ranking your site. Here are a few practical on-page SEO tactics to leverage:
- Build a dedicated contact page, where you clearly display your name, address, and phone.
- If have multiple business locations, you still need to add the full NAP (Name / Address / Phone Number) information for each location on your site.
- Make sure your phone numbers are clickable. Tech-savvy mobile users don’t want to waste their time switching between multiple apps to call you.
- Encourage customer reviews and testimonials; publish them on your site.
- Add a map. Remember, the main aim of local SEO is to help local customers find you easily. The abovementioned HubSpot report shows that 86% of users search for a business location on Google Maps.
- Don’t forget Schema, as it makes it simpler for Google to understand what your site is about. Using Schema, you will show Google you’re a local company and get it to rank you higher in the local search algorithm.
Quality Local Content Builds Authority
Content is the most powerful weapon of local SEO.
First, it positions you as an authoritative online resource and earns you loads of authoritative backlinks.
Second, quality content builds trust with your customers and gets them to buy from you.
Most importantly, SEO-friendly content gives you an opportunity to target the right local audiences.
Here are a few tactics that will help you create awesome local content:
- Segment your audiences and build your buyer personas. To create local content that converts, you need to understand the needs and problems of your customers, as well as the intent behind their searches. Therefore, if you need help with content creation and decide to outsource it to digital marketing agency, always choose the one that understands your local market demands.
- Experiment with different types of content. In addition to traditional posts, create engaging content like infographics or videos.
- Write content that solves your customers’ everyday problems, like how-to articles.
- Optimize your content for local keywords that will increase your exposure in relevant local searches. Q&A articles and lists are a perfect option for local content, as they give you the opportunity to optimize your titles for local keywords organically, as in “Top Fashion Brands in New York” or “What are the Best Fashion Brands in New York?” This is also a great opportunity to rank high for voice search queries, as they are highly conversational and question-based.
Google My Business Increases your Visibility
One of the first steps in any SEO strategy is to claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing. By creating a solid GMB profile, you will boost your chances of appearing in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and local search results pages.
However, just creating your Google My Business profile is not enough. The Big G uses citation signals like NAP consistency when ranking local sites. Therefore, you need to make sure your GMB account is perfectly optimized:
- Include a location keyword in a GMB title.
- Choose the relevant category for your business.
- Write a lengthy description of your business and include links.
- Make sure your NAP information is up-to-date.
- Ensure your website link is correct.
- Add high-resolution photos of your business.
- Include other important information about your business, such as maps.
Local Directories Build Trust with Customers
Google My Business is the most significant place to appear, but it’s far from being the only one. You need to get your business listed on other significant local business directories, as well. These offer multiple benefits for your local SEO strategy.
Most of your customers do research before buying from you. They want to learn more about your working hours, products, address, or phone number. And, business review sites are one of the first places they will visit.
For example, Yelp is one of the highest-traffic sites on the entire internet. Millions of people visit it every day to find the information about the companies relevant to them.
As such, it is your invaluable partner in driving loads of traffic and building trust with your audiences. In addition to Yelp, here are a few other business directories both uses and search engines find valuable:
- Chamber of Commerce
- Bing Places
- Angie’s List
- Better Business Bureau
Backlinks Are an Important Ranking Signal
Backlinks are one of Google’s most prominent ranking signals. They also matter a lot in the local SEO sphere.
According to the Moz report mentioned above, link signals (inbound links, linking domain quantity, linking domain authority, etc.) are a notable part of Google’s Local Pack.
This is why you need to focus on building high-quality local links:
- Create insanely good content to earn quality backlinks from authoritative local sites.
- Connect with the relevant sites in your niche and start publishing guest posts there.
- Leave insightful comments (with your link) on authoritative local sites.
- Sponsor local events to increase brand exposure and earn loads of relevant links.
- Offer scholarships for local students. Create a dedicated landing page for your scholarship on your site for local schools to link to.
- Build relationships with micro-influencers in your niche.
- Offer testimonials to other local businesses.
Optimizing your site for local searches may seem like a tedious task. However, in the mobile-first era, it should be your priority.
Local optimization gives you the opportunity to set yourself apart from your local competition, drive relevant traffic to your site, and boost your ROI. Be sure to include it in your overall marketing priorities moving forward, and your business will benefit in the end.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.