When it comes to the importance of different digital marketing aspects, local SEO is right up there. If you do your local SEO well, you’ll reach more consumers more quickly and build a name for your brand among the local community.
That said, you would probably like to know what exactly local SEO is, how it can impact your business and how you can improve your local SEO efforts.
Having a deeper understanding of the concept of local SEO will give you a clearer idea as to why it holds such a prominent position in online marketing. It will also show you what it takes to produce an effective local SEO strategy and bring more awareness to your business. So, let’s start with the basics.
Local SEO — 101
Local SEO is an SEO variation that aims to ensure your business is ranked highly on search engine result pages (SERPs) for people in the vicinity. Its main task is to promote the visibility of your business in location-based searches.
For example, if you run a web design company, it may be next to impossible to get your website to show up near the top of the results in every related search. But if you’re willing to tighten your scope somewhat, you may be able to get the first result when people search for the “best web design company in New York.”
Geo-qualifiers like this (state, city, service area, zip code) are often used when people look for businesses in their area. Another common search term is “… near me.” Here, Google uses the person’s location to provide results pertaining to their area.
Why Local SEO Is Important
The paragraphs above have probably already given you some idea of the importance of local SEO. Aside from improving your digital marketing ROI, local SEO helps you penetrate your local market and build your brand within the community.
Local SEO is hugely important for brick-and-mortar businesses in particular and those bound to operate in a specific area due to shipping costs and other limiting factors. This SEO subtype helps drive traffic to your location by making your contact information available to local searchers.
According to Forbes, 95% of mobile users have used their devices to perform local searches. Out of these, 59% ended up visiting the local business they found.
This tells us that location-based searches can help you generate some high-quality leads in impressive numbers. Because these leads are all explicitly searching for the products or services offered by your business, we can safely assume that they are highly likely to convert as well.
If you run a small business, helping local customers find you online is critical. Small businesses are always looking to generate more leads and traffic to their brick-and-mortar locations, so visibility is key.
How to Improve Your Local SEO
Now that we’ve covered the basics of local SEO and its importance for small businesses, in particular, we can move on to some specific and actionable tips on how to improve your business’s local SEO.
There are many things you can do to improve your local SEO strategy. On the one hand, this is great because it means there are many options at your disposal. On the other hand, it perhaps makes the situation more complex than you would have wanted.
Suffice to say that this short guide will not give you the all-encompassing local SEO knowledge you may be looking for. However, we can give you a few tips to get started, and you should see a clear and measurable impact if you can implement the strategies outlined below. Let’s take a look!
As you might know from dealing with “regular” SEO, link building is a crucial component in building brand awareness and bringing more traffic to your website. For the uninitiated, the term link building refers to placing links to your website on either internal or external web pages.
Internal link building is more straightforward and arguably much easier to do. It entails placing links within your content that lead to your own pages. For example, you could place links within one of your blog posts that lead to other blog posts you’ve written.
External linking follows a similar principle, the difference being that the links come from other websites rather than your own. In most cases, external link building is more powerful as it builds your domain and page authority more quickly, raising your search engine index.
Perhaps more importantly, external link building expands your reach by allowing a new audience to see your website.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Another critical local SEO strategy has to do with optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions. There are meta descriptions and title tags on every website, and these pieces of data help make websites more accessible for search engines to recognize and crawl.
The small snippet of information that is the meta description is used to describe your website’s content. It helps not only search engines but users as well by showing them a short description of the content on the search engine result page itself.
The title tag is the title of your web page. It is usually the same or very similar to the title of the post or whatever content you have on the page. Both the title tag and the meta description should include keywords you’re looking to target. This helps increase your content’s visibility by showing the search engine algorithm that the content within the page is relevant to the search phrase.
We can’t talk about search phrases without mentioning keyword research. If you want to create a successful local SEO strategy, you’ll need to do your research — as is the case with any other aspect of your business.
Keywords are, well, a key aspect of SEO. If you can incorporate the words that your audience uses in their search phrases within your content, you’ll be able to reach more people more quickly and improve your chances of getting the top SERP spot.
Blog posts, not unlike this one, are a quick and easy way to include the right keywords into your content and target the desired audience. All you need to do is have the optimal keywords in your titles and the text itself.
The most important part of the entire process, however, is learning which keywords make the most sense in your particular case. This depends on your location, specific niche, and other factors. We recommend looking at some of the best digital marketing companies to help you with this step.
Reviews may sound a little intimidating at first, especially for a small business operating locally, but search engines favor business pages with reviews massively. When ranking your business, Google will look at the number of reviews your company has received.
As the future of service is digital, you’ll want to build a strong connection with your customers and prospects. So, try and respond to as many reviews as possible, especially the negative ones. Your customers should know that you’re listening to their complaints and that you’re open to making changes to your products and services if necessary.
Whichever way you look at it, Google reviews will help your business by boosting your search engine ranking and building trust with your audience.