If you own a local business, it is essential that you practice local SEO. That’s because it allows you to build your online presence in a specific location. As such, you can promote your products and services to local customers.
Why should you do that? Because 35% of all search traffic is local. These are search queries that include location or “near me.” And often, people who use local search queries have the intention to buy.
This means that if you can attract a local consumer, you might as well ensure that completing a purchase is as easy as a breeze.
That said, we have listed down nine actionable tips to improve your local SEO efforts and propel your business.
Create a Google My Business Account
If you want your business to appear on Google Maps, it is imperative to have a Google My Business account.
For one, showing your business on Google Maps results increases your online visibility. Second, it allows you to attract local customers who are comparing prices or are ready to buy.
This means that people who are searching locally are often close to completing a purchase.
In addition, you should optimize your GMB account. This includes filling in all the necessary information like business hours.
Get Listed on Online Business Directories
Aside from having a GMB account, getting listed on online business directories can help optimize your local SEO campaign.
Online business directories include Yelp, Yellow Pages, Foursquare, MapQuest, and more. What’s cool about these directories is that you can produce location-specific business listings. This is ideal if you do not have a website yet.
However, you have to ensure that your business name, address, and contact number are consistent with what’s listed on your GMB account. Doing so can help boost your online visibility for location-specific search queries.
Another advantage of leveraging online directories is that you can cater to people who prefer to use these listings.
Leverage Social Media
Once you set up a couple of directory listings, the next step is to have a social media presence. You do not have to be on all networking platforms, though. Instead, create an account on popular ones like Facebook and Instagram.
For one, social media marketing can help boost your business’s online visibility, similar to business directories. Second, it lets you connect with your customers and learn what people say about your business. That’s because social media platforms allow users to message a business account.
Lastly, you can use social networks to build or join a community around your business. For example, you can join a Facebook group of residents. That way, you can promote your business to them and receive online orders straight from the residents.
Make Your Website Mobile-friendly
More than 50% of global search traffic comes from mobile devices. In relation to this, 75% of mobile search traffic with local intent results in in-store visits within 24 hours.
It is like realizing you want to have some pad thai for lunch, so you googled “Thai restaurants near me” on your phone. Once you find the nearest diner, you save the information to visit later during your lunch break.
This is why you need a mobile-friendly website. It is also vital that you link it to your GMB account so that customers can tap the “website” icon should they need more information.
Incorporate Local Keywords
Whether it is your website or GMB account, incorporating local keywords is a must. After all, you want to attract and cater to local consumers.
PRO TIP: Mention landmarks and tourist spots that are specific to your area.
Say you have a restaurant in Los Angeles, you add something like “A few steps aways from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.” Doing so allows your business to appear on tourist search queries. These are keywords that people typed in on the search engine should they want to visit a specific place.
Add Location Pages on Your Website
One of the best ways you can incorporate local keywords is through your website.
This is ideal if you have multiple brick-and-mortar locations. You can have a Locations or Branches page on your website wherein you can list down all your branches. Make sure to include the complete address, phone number, and store hours of each location.
On the other hand, you can set up a “How to Get Here” page on your website if you only have one business location. Other than the necessary information, you can include a map, parking information, and transit information.
Doing so allows you to mention street names and popular hotspots. As such, your business can be associated with these local landmarks.
Get Regular Customer Reviews
Having glowing customer reviews is another way to optimize your GMB account. Moreover, it encourages other customers to buy from you.
That’s because 8 out of 10 consumers believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Here’s how you can get customer reviews:
- Ask a customer in-person to leave a review after closing a sale
- Send a post-purchase email or SMS reminder
- Incentivize customers who will leave a positive review
Meanwhile, you should not ignore negative feedback. If anything, filter which reviews are legit versus trolling. Respond to the former and consider it as a chance for your business to improve.
Create Relevant Local Content
If you want to attract the local market (and tourists), you need to create relevant local content. You can choose to produce your own or do a local collaboration.
The first one is ideal if you have your business website. From there, you can publish content that is relevant to the local market and can attract tourists.
If you own a cake shop, an excellent topic idea would be “X Affordable Gifts You can Buy for Your Mom This Mother’s Day.” And then you can include your cake shop in the list.
Meanwhile, you can choose to work with local social media influencers. For example, you are running a Mother’s Day promo. Consider tapping local food bloggers and incentivize them to spread the word about your promo to their audience.
Doing so allows you to create relevant local content around your business.
Optimize for Voice Search
In the United States alone, 40% of internet users are using voice search. Its popularity is expected to increase by 9.7% in 2021.
In relation to this, people who use voice search often use the 5Ws and H question format. For example, “Where can I find the nearest Thai restaurant?”
That said, you should ensure that you optimize your business’s online presence for voice search as well. So, if you run a Thai restaurant, make sure to optimize your website or GMB account for such queries.
Local SEO allows you to attract and nurture leads that can lead to better conversions. That’s because your marketing efforts are more relevant to local consumers.
Meanwhile, it allows you to compete against big brands more effectively. That’s because you can target a specific market instead of relying on broad keywords for online visibility. Mind you; your business location can be an integral value proposition.
So, if you are looking for ways to maximize your online presence, consider incorporating local SEO into your marketing mix.
About the Author:
Kevin Urrutia is the founder of Voy Media, a marketing agency for SaaS companies. He helps people promote their SaaS business by creating digital marketing, demand and lead generation, content, and web design and strategies.