A majority of consumers look for businesses that offer products or services in their location. Sometimes businesses lose these potential customers because they have not optimized for local search. Local SEO or search engine optimization focuses on improving a website’s ranking so that it can be found on local search results. Consumers who find businesses in their proximity are most likely to visit the physical location.
Local SEO is especially useful for the small businesses that operate only in one particular region. It helps these businesses target the customers who are relevant and who intend to make a purchase. In this article, we will discuss some simple strategies that can help you kick start your local SEO efforts.
First, let’s understand Local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a part of search engine optimization that enables businesses to promote their products or services to local customers. Search engines use signals like local content, citations and links to gather information for local search and display local results to the user. These results generally provide answers to “near me” search queries. Local SEO makes businesses more visible to their local audience.
To ensure that the search engine displays your business for relevant local searches you will need to take the required measures. So, here are some strategies that can help you improve your rankings on local search results pages.
Optimize your Google My Business account
If you do not already have a Google My Business (GMB) profile, then create one first. You can claim your business profile or add your business. It is essential to have a GMB account because through this Google can verify that your business is real. Also, the search engine can possibly grant your business the sidebar space in Google local search. However, just creating an account is not enough, you also need to make sure that you optimize your GMB account.
To optimize your account, make sure to fill out the correct information in all sections. Double check your contact information as it is very important. Write a description for your business using relevant keywords. Upload good quality images to your account and publish weekly posts. Add your products and services with descriptions and other details. Update and maintain your GMB account regularly. Lastly, encourage your customers to write reviews about their experience with your brand and ensure that you respond to reviews. All these factors can help Google authenticate your business and subsequently improve your search engine ranking.
Create local business listings
List your business on various online directories like Yelp, YellowPages, Foursquare, etc. Information like company’s name, address, phone number, website URL, hours of operation and more can be added in these listings. You can also add a brief description of your company and images. This listing is typically free of cost to create. Search engines scan information on your website to determine your rankings. They look at what type of links you get on your website and if they are credible sources. Links from business directories can help Google determine that your business is authentic. However, you need to ensure that the information you enter is accurate and consistent on all directories.
Check your listings and correct any inconsistencies. Make sure to add the right address and contact information. Enter the correct website URL so that you have a backlink to your website. Creating a business listing can help your business become more visible.
Integrate local keywords
Consumers use certain search terms to look for businesses in their location that provide the products or services they need. Hence, in order to appear in these search results, you need to use local keywords. Local keywords include location specific terms which generate search results relevant to that particular location. Google Keyword Planner is one such tool that can help you filter search terms based on location. This enables you to find keywords that people in a specific region are searching for.
Include these keywords in your URL, title tags, headlines and descriptions. These region-specific terms can also be included in your content. This helps your business appear for local searches.
Add location pages
If your business has more than one location in an area, then it’s important to add location pages on your website. Location pages include information like operation hours, address, phone number, parking, customer reviews and testimonials. Ensure that you do not duplicate content for different location pages.
Businesses with only one location can create an ‘About Us’ page that includes some relevant local information. Or even a ‘Contact Us’ page can include location information like address and Google map.
Make your website mobile friendly
One of the most common ways people search information is through their mobile devices. It gives them access to information quickly and conveniently. To cater to these users, you need to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Users will look for product, contact or location information on your website. Make sure that these pages are quick to access through mobile devices. Along with site speed, you also need to pay attention to the layout and fonts. The pages should be easy to read so that users engage with them.
Google uses mobile-first indexing which entails a Googlebot using a smartphone to crawl the website. Now, Google uses mobile version of a webpage in determining the relevancy of your content to a search query. Hence, it is important to create a good user experience on mobile devices to help improve your rankings.
Upload consistent information
Lastly, it is a good practice to ensure that all the information you put online like name, address, phone number, email, etc. is consistent on all platforms. You may have business listings, GMB accounts, social media platforms and website pages where you upload all these details. Keep a track of all these platforms that you have all your information on and keep it updated. In case of a change in address or phone number, make sure to update it across all these accounts.
Many businesses can sometimes find search engine optimization challenging. But these easy to implement strategies can help you get started with your local SEO efforts. Local SEO is an important element of your overall SEO efforts. With local SEO businesses can become more visible to their potential customers. Also, it helps search engines determine the credibility of your business which in turn improves your rankings.
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