Would you dream of setting up an entire business without putting up a sign?
Ummm, I don’t think so.
After working day and night to establish your business, you wouldn’t get any visitors. People would simply drive by your place simply because they don’t know it exists. And that’s precisely what can happen if you don’t invest in local search engine optimization. Follow through with this local SEO checklist to create an effective campaign.
Your local SEO checklist- The perfect formula for success
Customers are increasingly searching for businesses near them on their mobile devices with the help of GPS-based apps. According to HubSpot, 97% of consumers are searching online for a local business. And the best part is that 88% of them visit or call a store within a day.
Impressive statistics, huh?
Well, it’s pretty clear you need to bring your A-game to the table before you can even begin to see results like these in your own business. And it begins with making your business discoverable on search engines and ranking higher on SERPs. It’s time to invest in a killer local SEO strategy.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at some of the important ranking factors in local search and how you can optimize them to rank higher.
1. Build citations and get registered in local directories
A citation is just a mention of your business on another website. It provides people with the essential information required to contact you. The core components include the business name, address, and phone number (NAP). Often, there is also a reference or link to a page of the company’s website.
Citations are often mentioned on websites, apps, and social platforms. They can help you get found. In order to expand the local reach and impact local search engine rankings, you need to register in online directories so that your business can show up in search results. Therefore, get listed in online directories such as Yelp, Yellow Book, Facebook, and much more. As a matter of fact, citations from local directories and sites can help reinforce your position within the local business community.
The question now is, what are citations in seo?
For small and local businesses, citations are an important aspect of local SEO. The more citations there are, the likelihood of being returned above others in SERPs increases. As you’ve already figured out, citations are important SEO ranking signals. If you want to improve your SEO local citations strategy, ensure consistency of NAP everywhere, on and off your website. Google notices whether data about a business is accurate everywhere and uses it to confirm the legitimacy of the business.
Moreover, reviews for your business, listings on local platforms, and the popularity of your website are just a few factors that help build trust in you as a local service provider.
2. Create a Google My Business profile
Your Google My Business (GMB) profile is the most important and easiest part of this local SEO checklist. And as a free tool, it’s not something that you should overlook.
Your GMB profile is an excellent source of concise data that consumers will base their shopping decisions on. By presenting accurate, up-to-date information about your business, consumers know what products or services you are offering, the timings you operate, whether you offer delivery options, what others think about your business, and whatnot.
To ensure your business appears higher in search results, include the following:
- Name and address of business
- Business type
- Provide accurate contact information, such as phone number and email address
- List opening hours
- Add Map location and directions
- Place a link to your website
- Make sure all the information is accurate and up to date
- Upload photos so that people can see into your business. Include pictures of staff members, products, places of business, etc.
- Provide customer reviews
More importantly, it adds credibility to your business. According to Hootsuite, 70% of customers are more likely to visit a business with a GMB listing. It’s a great way to earn trust from customers, a key factor in making purchase decisions.
But to get the most out of your GMB listing, remember to use the right keywords in your profile.
3. Collect customer reviews
According to marketinginsidergroup.com, 90% trust brand recommendations from friends, while 70% rely on online consumer opinions. This goes to show that your potential customers are more influenced by what real people are saying.
However, online reviews strongly correlate with search engine rankings. Positive reviews can significantly improve rankings. So collecting reviews from your customers can contribute to your local business SEO strategy.
One of the easiest ways to get customer feedback is to send surveys through emails. Inquire about how your customers found the products or services, the level of customer service, etc. In fact, ask if they would be willing to submit a Google review.
This strategy can help generate a consistent stream of reviews for your GMB listing and review sites like Yelp that your business is listed in. To improve engagement, try offering a discount or small gift in exchange for a review. The key is to strive to grow online reviews. Not only is it great for local SEO, but it’s also valuable as a way of gauging your business against customer satisfaction. Their feedback can help continually improve your business and continue to attract more customers.
4. Optimize the on-page element of your website
92% of consumers pick businesses from the first page of local search results. This is where you want to be.
Google rewards websites that meet its criteria with higher positions in search. So it’s not enough to simply have a website. In order to rank better in search, preferably higher on the first page, you need to optimize it. This includes using the right keywords, creating high-quality content, building backlinks, seamless UI/UX, exceptional site performance, mobile optimization, and much more.
So if I’m already focusing on organic SEO, why do I have to worry about local SEO?
The two are not the same. Optimizing a website for organic SEO requires strategies that will help it show up on search. In fact, ranking highly in organic results is an essential aspect of local SEO.
Since Google places a lot of weight on the location that a person searches from, local SEO focuses on the geographical component of a search. It helps consumers find businesses that are nearby. But besides proximity, other local seo ranking factors that you’ll need to work on, are rich reviews and ratings from previous customers, acquiring robust link profiles, geographic keywords, etc.
The ideal approach for online stores is to develop a strong local SEO campaign alongside organic SEO. That way, your brand has a greater chance of getting noticed and receiving more traffic, especially by individuals who are on the go and are searching for shops closeby. A good place to start is by optimizing title tags and meta descriptions with localized keywords. For instance, instead of ‘Arabian Food’, use ‘Arabian Food Chicago’.
5. Generate backlinks
To get discovered, you need to capture the attention of the right audience. And that means linking up with high-profile, trustworthy sources. Local SEO backlinks are an effective way of building your online presence, growing a credible reputation, generating more traffic to your website, and ranking higher on SERPs.
But it’s crucial to cultivate local links to boost your online local visibility. Depending upon the types of local businesses you are interacting with, create content about local and industry news. This can help you earn big points in the SERPs as well as the local community. Remember, Google rewards fresh content. So commenting on current events and their impact on the local industry helps your business stay relevant. (Right now, it’s COVID-19!)
But you need to apply efforts offline alongside online ones. It can help connect with a broader target audience and increase brand awareness. Consider sponsoring local events, actively participating in outreach programs, donating to local community initiatives, and whatnot. As a supporter of the local community, you’re doing wonderful PR for your business.
6. Don’t forget the importance of social media
No local SEO checklist would be complete without the mention of social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, there’s no denying the power behind these platforms for your business.
According to SmartInsights, nearly 90% of active social media users access platforms through their mobile devices. Most turn to social media for reviews, product recommendations, or service experts.
But since local search and mobile search are a match made in heaven, you know that maintaining a strong and active presence on social media is an easy way to boost online visibility in local SEO.
Begin by identifying which platforms your customers are active on. With a network of loyal followers and local influencers on these channels, you can continue to attract the attention of a wider audience.
Remember to share user-generated content on your accounts to get the most out of your social media campaign. Instead of focusing on selling products, use this opportunity to connect with your customers. Offer advice, answer questions, ask for reviews, or simply develop open channels of communication.
Do I need to worry about this during the pandemic?
More than ever, you need to work on perfecting local SEO. People are staying close to home. They are searching for local businesses that can meet their requirements and resolve their issues.
The important thing to note here is perfecting your local search marketing strategy- pronto. Since this requires continuous effort, you may need to contact a professional digital agency and inquire about the local seo services that they provide.
In order to truly succeed in local SEO, you need to make both organic and social media a priority. Focusing on a mix of techniques can help you achieve long-term success.
You need to be aware of best practices that will help your business rank better on SERPs. With the right local SEO strategies in place, you can effectively optimize your website and reach more local customers.
And as SERPs is getting more localized, you need to be looking at the ideas mentioned above. Tell us about how they have enhanced your local SEO campaign and improved your business’s rankings in the comments section below.