Nearly 50% of all Google searches are looking for local business information. These people are searching for things like where to buy their outdoor plants, what is the best local pizza, ‘where can I get my hair done’ and ‘what doctor, dentist or veterinarian should I set an appointment with?’ Especially if you are a local business with a brick and mortar location, improving your local SEO for business is tremendously important for driving traffic to your business website and location(s).
An Overview of Local SEO
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is simply the process of improving your website, through a series of upgrades and additions, so that when people near your business search for products or services your business offers using their mobile devices (geolocation) or desktops (IP address) they will see your business on the first page of their search results. A lot of factors go into your local search engine rankings on Google, Safari, Firefox, etc. They use a combination of rankings on these factors to determine whether your business will show up on the first page of local search engine rankings. Because a search engines’ most important product is relevant, reliable and up to date information when providing local search results, they look to things like local content, social profile pages, reviews, links and local citations to provide their users with the best search results possible. When pushing for Google My Business optimization, these local efforts are essential.
How to Improve Local SEO
Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Establishing trust with Google is paramount. They hold the keys to effective SEO and since they very thoroughly verify and support their content while also generously sharing their information they are vital to success. Google My Business optimization begins with building your Google My Business Profile. This is one of the most important ways to improve your local SEO.
If you do not have an active Google My Business Profile yet, claim or create and verify (most commonly done by postcard) one right away. Share with them as much pertinent information about your business as possible and double check that the information is correct and matches what is on your website. Identify your business category and subcategories as accurately as possible. Give a clear description of your business in your profile, including your location (also include it on your website), and use your main keyword for your business in the description.
Incorporate Location Based Keywords in Your Site
When you optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta description and keywords in your content, you are building connections with Google that lead to improved rankings.
New blog posts each become new indexed pages for your site, and each new page helps to target your business geographically, providing another opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
When your business has multiple locations, creating location pages that have your name, address, phone number, store hours, descriptions and photos of each store, parking/transit information, promotional information and reviews will not only help with SEO but benefit your customers. You also want to publish these in the local business directory for each location.
Respond to and Manage Reviews
You definitely want to ask your customers to leave Google reviews for local businesses, but it is also important to know that these reviews are not weighted as heavily as other factors. What is more important is to reply to your reviews. Whether good or bad, be polite, be professional, offer thanks for their positive feedback and respond to criticism in a way that indicates you listened carefully.
It is possible to send customers an easy, quick link for leaving Google reviews for local businesses for your business by building a link into your customer emails or newsletters.
Submit to Local Directories
Do not submit business information or content on products and services to mass directories because they have extremely low value, both to Google and to your business. Instead, focus on getting local citations through a local business directory (in each of your locations) as well as niche specific directories that fit your business profile. Register with your local Chamber of Commerce and other business associations to get external inbound links that are specific to your locality. Another way to receive local citations is to get involved with local charities, make contributions to their events and get your business name, logo and brand visible.
Using SEO Tools
There are hundreds of companies offering services and products to help local businesses improve their SEO ranking and expand their customer base. Many of them are very effective and helpful. All of them charge monthly fees that vary in price depending on how much help you need or want.
What is often missing with the use of these tools is an overall strategy that identifies the target audience, the specific goals, an appropriate timeline and other important factors that will greatly contribute to the success of local SEO for business campaigns.
By learning and putting into practice these SEO tips and tools, you will help to transform the world wide web into your local business directory for anyone with a mobile device who is looking for what you sell. That is true marketing power!
If you need help navigating the world of local SEO for businesses, zö agency is here to help. We are experts at working with our clients to get the big picture, identify needs, goals, assets and timeframes and create an overarching strategy that we can implement within your business’s budget. If this sounds like something you need and want, contact us at zö.agency for a consultation.