Improve Your Ranking: 10 Local SEO Tips That You Should Know
All style, no substance. That’s what happens to some businesses who think they’re doing a great job with search engine optimization. They see their web traffic skyrocket so they sit back and wait for the windfall of revenue. It never arrives. Then they realize all that traffic is from people on the other side of the country or the other side of the globe, so there’s no chance that they’ll become customers.
As important as your general SEO is, you can’t assume that it will bring in local traffic. Instead, use these local SEO tips to target people in your area who could actually convert into customers.
1. Start with Google
One of the most important things you can do for your local SEO is to have a Google My Business listing. This listing includes your contact information, a preview of your services or products, customer reviews, and more. It’s the listing that appears next to a map at the top of a Google search result page if you know what you’re doing.
Do a search to find out if someone has created a Google listing for you. If they have, claim it and go through the process of verifying your information. Google may send you a postcard or call you with a code you need to enter to verify that your contact information is correct.
That’s a huge step in confirming for Google that you are where you say you are. It’s one of the fastest ways to improve your local SEO.
If there is no listing yet for your business, you can create one and go through the same steps above.
2. Have a NAP
No, we’re not saying that if you fall asleep, local traffic will come on its own.
Your NAP is your business’s name, address, and phone number. This should be on every page of your website. Many businesses do this by adding it to their site’s footer.
Make sure your NAP is consistent everywhere. We’re talking about “Rd.” versus “Road,” “Ste.” versus “Suite,” and your exact company name. Subtle differences make Google think your address is inconsistent and therefore unreliable.
3. Write About Local Topics
You’ve probably heard it a million times before, so here’s 1,000,001: blogging on your website is one of the best ways to improve your SEO. You can also use it for local SEO by writing about local topics.
For instance, a blog about an upcoming festival where your business will have a booth. Blog about a recent event that you sponsored.
This gives you opportunities to organically drop in the name of your city or community. If you gratuitously sprinkle your city name throughout your other content, it reads as less genuine and it may not help your local presence as much as you think.
4. Add Location Pages to Your Website
In addition to having your NAP on each page, you need to have a page on your site dedicated to your location. Embed a Google map to show users where you are. Offer directions from the nearest interstate.
If you have multiple locations, have a separate page for each of your locations. This improves your local optimization for each one, far better than if you list all your locations on one page.
5. Spend Time with Your Google Reviews
Let’s go back to that crucial Google My Business Listing. On top of your contact information, this listing allows customers to post reviews.
The way you handle your reviews will impact your local SEO. When you have a great rating and a large number of reviews, it tells Google that you’re a well-known and well-liked business. They’re more likely to feature your listing for new searches.
Encourage happy customers to post reviews for you. An easy way to do this is to send an email after their purchase or service. Thank them for their patronage and include links to your Google My Business reviews page and other review sites.
It also helps if you show Google and the public that you’re active on your Google listing. Respond to every review. It doesn’t need to belong and detailed, and in most cases, it shouldn’t be. Still, a simple reply shows that you’re engaged and listening.
6. Add Your Location to Your Keywords
A standard and essential part of search engine optimization are identifying keywords to focus on throughout your site. To bring in more local traffic, make some of those keywords location-specific.
For example, let’s say you’re a plumber in the Los Angeles area. Instead of using “plumber” in your metadata list of keywords, use “Los Angeles plumber.” You don’t need people in Maine to see your page, so you might as well focus on the locals.
Depending on your area, you can get more or less specific. You can use “LA County plumber” or “plumber in DTLA.”
To figure out which keywords will work best, use Google’s keyword planner tool. It helps you compare keywords to see which phrases people search the most.
7. Post on Google My Business
Thought you were done with that Google My Business listing? It’s never done.
On top of your contact information, business details, and reviews, you should use the other features on Google My Business. Fill out your profile with pictures and descriptions.
Make sure to post on Google My Business on a regular basis. These can be similar to your social media posts, letting people know what’s new.
As useful as those posts are for customers, they’re even more useful from a local SEO standpoint. The more active and engaged you are on that local profile, the more likely Google is to feature it as a top search result.
8. Use a Local Strategy for Pay-Per-Click Ads
Pay-per-click ads like Google Ads are among the most useful ways to improve your SEO. They give you a greater chance of getting clicks and the more traffic your site gets, the more relevant it looks to Google.
To make sure you get local traffic, incorporate local keywords into your PPC strategy. These can be similar to the location-specific keywords we mentioned above for your website. After all, after you’ve done the keyword research, you may as well use it for all it’s worth.
Make sure you track your progress. Your analytics will show you where your web traffic is located. Instead of looking at your total traffic, compare the local numbers to see if you’re bringing in more local users.
9. Hunt for Local Backlinks
Backlinks are crucial for any website’s SEO. A backlink is a link to your website from another site. For instance, if someone else writes a blog and links to your site within the blog, that’s a backlink.
To make a greater local impact, work toward building backlinks on local websites. One easy place to start is with local organizations you already have a relationship with.
For example, perhaps you sponsor your local elementary school’s parent-teacher association. Their sponsorship package could include placing your logo on their website with a link to your site.
In addition to those existing relationships, start getting in touch with local businesses and bloggers.
One idea is to look for locally-focused blogs, like a blog about LA life. Contact the blogger and offer to write a guest post for them if they allow you to include a link to your site in the post. You get a quality backlink and they get free content: it’s a win-win.
10. Scour the Web for Directories
We’ve talked a lot about your Google My Business listing, but that shouldn’t be the only listing on your radar.
There are countless directories for local businesses out there. Having accurate listings on those directories benefits you because it further establishes your location. Consistency translates to reliability in Google’s eyes.
When it comes to directories, you need to focus on two things: consistency and quantity.
Start by hunting down your listing on as many directories as possible. These directories often use automated processes to create listings for businesses in different areas. You’re likely to have dozens of listings out there that you didn’t create.
Check each listing to make sure your NAP is consistent with your website. For all the directories that let you claim and manage your listing, claim it and make sure to update it if your information changes.
Next, make a list of any major known directories that don’t have a listing for you. That includes Yelp, YP, the Better Business Bureau, and any directories that are specific to your industry. Go to those directories and create a listing yourself.
Putting the Best Local SEO Tips to Work
Marketing business is never easy, whether you’ve been operating for a year or a decade. The key is using technology to your advantage and getting wisdom from the pros, like these local SEO tips.
The tips above will put you on your way to a more successful and profitable local web presence. They do require time and skill, though. If you prefer to hand the reins to a professional, contact our digital marketing agency today.
“This post was selected as one of the top digital marketing articles of the week by UpCity.”