Let’s face it — pretty much every business has competitors. It’s an unavoidable obstacle that we must overcome, especially if you’re a local business.
When you’re going up against well-established or better-known companies, you might struggle to get in front of your potential customers. Local SEO can provide huge benefits on your path to fending of such competition.
Have you ever typed in a brand, product, or service in search of a local supplier? If so, you’ve surely noticed the top listings (the local pack as we call it in the SEO industry). These are the closest options for meeting your needs, and typically includes business name, address, and phone info (NAP info).
If you serve a local market, you want to appear in the local pack. Unfortunately, local SEO serves up results on its own separate algorithm from that of Google. What you do for natural organic ranking doesn’t automatically provide value for local efforts.
But you need to figure it out nonetheless. Here are our top tips on how to make sure that your local SEO gets you in front of more customers.
Set up a Google My Business Page
First of all, you’ll need to set up a My Business page on Google. It’s free, quick, and easy.
This profile should show your opening hours, contact details, location, and directions to make sure you’re easy to find on Google maps. It’s important to ensure that your NAP information is consistent across your website as well as every local directory (verbatim, down to the character). including Google My Business
Many local SEO experts recommend adding pictures and a detailed description, which will help people get to know your business better.
All you’ll need to do after this is to verify the listing. Google will send you a postcard in the mail with a PIN. Once you have the PIN you can verify your page right inside the My Business management section.
He continues, “There are some services such as Moz Local or Yext which will automate this process for you, saving you plenty of time. But keep in mind that these services do not come for free. It is worth spending a bit extra, since it will make sure that your business appears on sites such as Bing and Yahoo Local as well as the Google local pack,”
Sometimes people prefer to make buying decisions based on how others felt after working with you. For this reason, reviews on your My Business page will help to improve your local ranking.
Just to be clear, however, note that reviews are only one of several factors that drive your placement in the local results. You won’t want to rely solely on reviews for your local optimization.
That said, if you do have reviews showing, you can expect a higher click through rate (CTR) on the SERPs. And as luck would have it, a higher CTR will help to further improve your ranking on the local pack just like it does on the organic rankings!
Every review not only tells potential new customers more about your business, but it also encourages them to take a look at your website. This is especially true if you can show that you listen to customer opinions.
Pick your Keywords
If you want to further influence where you show up in the local pack, take time to determine your ideal and top local SEO keywords.
You can start by taking advantage of a free tool such as the Google AdWords Keyword planner. There, you can research what keywords have the highest volume.
It will also help you to determine which search terms people local to you are looking for, this way you can cater to their needs and pick what’s right for your business.
And if you can get your hands on a more premium keyword research tool, you will be able to identify how difficult or competitive it will be to rank for that keyword.
With all of this information on hand, you will be able to pick the perfect keywords for your website to rank both organically and locally.
Update your Website
Your website is important to your local ranking. Make use of your local keywords in your descriptions, page titles, headers, and content to help improve the ranking.
You will need to regularly update your content to stay on top of this and so that your customers get to see something fresh too. Be sure to use long tail keywords with local modifiers and semantic variations on those keywords to help expand your keyword coverage for both national and local searches.
Other items we strongly recommend:
- Add semantic markup to your business locations, which will help Google and other search engines better match your NAP information across the various directories where your business is listed
- Include directions and a Google Map on your contact or locations pages, so customers can find you more easily and the local algorithms will have additional data to confirm your accurate physical location
Bottom line: Don’t overlook the role of your own website in driving success with Local SEO.
Cater to your Customers
“Customers are key. Many of them won’t have a desktop at home, so make sure that your website is mobile-friendly,” says Daniel Perez, digital marketer and writer for Draftbeyond and Writinity. “It will help to improve your rankings on the mobile SERPs if more customers can easily access and view your website.”
Next up is social media. Love it or hate it, nearly everybody is on it.
Google will pull results from social media platforms, so it is up to you to ensure all your pages and profiles are up to date. Make sure you are active on the platforms. In addition, be sure you have reviews and ensure that all the information on those profiles is correct.
You don’t want to give customers the idea you can’t follow through or simply don’t care. If you’re not going to use a profile or platform, get rid of it so a dead page doesn’t come up in the search.
Summary: Local SEO Gives you an Edge
Take time to perfect your local SEO and improve your on-site SEO. Both of these improvements will help to give you the edge you need over your competitors.
Customers require detailed information about your business but won’t type in a lengthy phrase into the search bar.If you want to bring them to your door, put forth conscious effort to know who your customers are and what they’re looking for.
The effort you put in will be rewarded by your search rankings. And even better, you’ll soon build up your presence in the local area.
Feature Image taken from screenshot of a Google SERP in the Austin, TX area.
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.
Latest posts by Paul Salas (see all)
- How to Improve Your Local SEO: 5 Priorities to Address - February 26, 2019