Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing your website and online presence to rank higher in local search results. It helps businesses promote their products or services to local customers when they search online.
While this is a great beginners guide, you might feel that a local marketing company like Zee Creative is better equipped to handle all of this for you! So you’ll have more time to work with customers and focus on the other aspects that drive your business.
Local SEO Best Practices
According to Google, over 46% of search queries have local intent. For small to medium sized local businesses, that means you want to optimize your presence to ensure you show up when people are looking for you. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, no need to worry! We are here to walk you through the best practices of local SEO.
In order to thrive online locally, a business must do three things: optimize their Google Business Profile, update their website to contain local information, and stay present on relevant channels across the web. This is the first step in Local Search Engine Optimization
Google Business Profile
With Google reigning supreme out of the 3 main search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo!), Google Business Profiles (GBP) have become the standard for local search. If your business has more than one physical location, you will want to create a location listing for each location and optimize individually. Google Business Profile (GBP) is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google, including search and maps. Claim your GBP listing and ensure all information is accurate and up to date, such as your business name, address, phone number, website, and business hours.
Optimize Your GBP
After you have verified your GPB, the next step is to optimize. To do so, begin by posting different types of media often, ensure your listed business hours are up to date.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Google listing and other relevant review platforms. Positive reviews not only build trust with potential customers but also improve your local search rankings – and respond to reviews within a timely manner (even negative reviews, should it happen).
Photos should be large, clear, high quality images. When potential customers see your Google business listing, it will show a preview of your posts in the knowledge panel. Those posts are only shown on the Google My Business listing for 7 days, so it’s important to post frequently so customers know that you are actively engaged.
Update Your Website To Contain Localized Information
SEO is all about intent, and when search engines analyze a new query for local intent, it takes into account three core elements: proximity, relevance, and prominence. That is, how close are you to the user, how relevant your service is to the query or search, and how well you rank in reviews.
To satisfy these needs, you will want to have a single location page for each physical location you serve clients. Pages should include physical address with city and state, business hours, and contact information. While building these pages it helps to include localized keywords in the URL of the page, the page title and included in the meta description.
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Optimize for Mobile
With the increasing use of smartphones, it’s crucial to have a mobile-friendly website. Optimize your site for mobile devices by using responsive design, fast loading times, and ensuring a seamless user experience across different screen sizes.
Implement Local Structured Data Markup
Add structured data markup (Schema.org) to your website’s code to provide search engines with additional information about your business, such as your address, phone number, business hours, and customer reviews. This helps search engines display relevant details in search results.
Optimize Your Website for Local Keywords
Conduct keyword research to identify relevant local keywords for your business. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your website content, including page titles, headings, meta descriptions, and body text. This helps search engines understand the local relevance of your website.
Have A Presence On Relevant Channels
When it comes to local SEO, the type of links directing to your site matter. You may not have the bandwidth or desire to post on social networks, but because of their high domain authority, it behooves you to at the very least setup a profile and optimize it for search. Aside from standard search engines, Facebook and YouTube are increasing in popularity as a user’s preferred social search tool, so why wouldn’t you want to be where your potential customers are?
Engage on Social Media
Even if you don’t post frequently, it is a great idea to claim your profile on the major social networks. To optimize your profile, choose a cover photo and save it in different ratios to fit perfectly on each channel. Upload your logo in square format, and post a single welcome post. If you do not plan on being active on that network, attach a link to your website, or the network you choose to use.
Build a strong social media presence on platforms that are popular in your local area. Engage with your audience, share local content, and encourage social sharing and interactions. Social signals can indirectly influence your local SEO rankings.
Create Localized Content
Develop content that caters to your local audience. Write blog posts, articles, or create videos targeting local topics, events, or news. This not only engages local users but also signals search engines about your local relevance. Include local keywords naturally within your content.
Facebook Business Location Pages
If you have multiple locations, you should create your business page as a brand, and add as many locations as needed. Facebook location pages can be setup to show posts made on behalf of the brand page, or posted to individually.
Always Keep Your Presence Up To Date
Build Local Citations
Citations are online mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites, directories, and social media platforms. Ensure your NAP information is consistent across all citations, as accuracy is crucial for local SEO.
Local Link Building
Seek opportunities to acquire backlinks from local websites, such as local business directories, community organizations, local news sites, or influencers. These local backlinks can boost your website’s authority and visibility in local search results.
Monitor and Analyze Your Results
Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor your website’s performance, track local search rankings, and gain insights into user behavior. Adjust your local SEO strategy based on the data and results you observe.
Remember that local SEO is an ongoing process, and it takes time to see significant results. Stay consistent, adapt to changes in search engine algorithms, and continually refine your local SEO strategy to improve your local online visibility and attract more local customers.
If all of this sounds overwhelming, or you just don’t have the time, give Zee Creative a call or shoot us an email. With over 25 years of business experience, we have helped many companies big and small with their digital marketing needs and are happy to help you as well!