Local SEO, or local search engine optimization, is a broad and nebulous concept that touches on many different disciplines within digital marketing. It's easy to over-complicate the process of local SEO and make it seem like black art that's out of reach for mere mortals. But the truth is, there are only a few basic principles that must be followed to be considered local SEO-savvy.
However, to be effective, local SEO must be implemented strategically. To help you better understand the basics of local SEO, we've created this complete guide. In this guide, we'll give you an overview of the local SEO basics, tell you how to optimize your Google my business listing on search engines like Google, and how to craft a successful local SEO strategy for your business.
Understanding Local SEO
Local SEO is the act of courting potential clients and fans by improving your visibility in their neighborhoods. It involves researching local businesses and organizations, then creating content for your website that helps people find you. This can include creating social buzz about your business through social media and word-of-mouth.
In short, it's marketing your business in your local area so potential clients feel inclined to contact you and potential fans feel inclined to visit your store. If you're planning to launch a business, then local SEO should be a key component of your overall online marketing strategy.
In fact, local SEO may be the only marketing strategy you have to implement to succeed. With so much competition out there, it's becoming increasingly difficult to get noticed, let alone convert visitors into customers. Luckily, there are many tried-and-tested tactics that you can implement to improve your local SEO.
Let's take a look at some of the most important factors to consider when creating a local SEO strategy for your business.
How Local SEO Works?
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Unlike traditional SEO that depends on backlinks from distinct niche-related but authority websites, superbly crafted content, a highly performant website, and more to rank a given search query, local SEO is based on one factor - proximity.
Local SEO depends on relevant local search strings and local business listings on local citation websites, GMB, maps & other sources to get a business to the top of local search results.
Local SEO, thus, aims to create a balance between a business's online presence and offline presence for the purpose of converting as many visitors as possible into paying customers.
The Basics of Local Search Engine Optimization
In order to achieve success in local SEO, businesses need to have their listings optimized across all major local search platforms such as Google Maps, Yahoo Places, Bing Business Center, Yelp, etc. This means they should ensure that:
- They're listed correctly on these sites with accurate information about themselves;
- Their contact details are correct;
- They have a good description of what services/products they offer;
- The images used in their profile photos are high quality and representative of them;
- They have a clear call to action button directing users where to go after viewing their page;
- All pages linked to from theirs are also well optimized;
- And finally, make sure your business is active on social media platforms and has positive reviews and citations from businesses that matter in your local area.
Remember, Google as a search mammoth is very fickle with its rankings. If you, as a responsible business owner, cannot optimize your local business listing and the pages linked to from it, you're pretty much wasting your time and money. Google has always advocated enriching user experience, and so, when it comes to local search, the search giant will only reward businesses that are actively engaged in a meaningful way with their community.
In essence, local SEO is all about getting your business to the top of the local search results by creating a compelling profile that engages and inspires your potential customers.
3 Ways to Improve Your Local SEO
There's no doubt that local SEO is an effective method of generating leads and sales for any type of small or medium-sized business. However, if done right, it could be even better than other types of marketing methods like PPC advertising. Here are three ways to help you boost your local SEO efforts:
1. Create & Optimize Google My Business Account
Creating a Google My Business account is one of the easiest ways to improve your visibility in local search results (and bring more leads into your door). A GMB account allows you to manage your company's data and content in real-time without having to wait days before seeing changes reflected in search engine results. It can take up to 48 hours for new business profiles to show up in search engines, but once this happens, you'll see immediate improvements in how people find your business. You can learn more here.
2. Use Keywords That Are Relevant for Your Niche
If you want to rank highly in local searches, then you must use keywords relevant to your niche market. These keywords should reflect what your target audience wants to know about your products or services. There are many tools available online which allow you to research keyword ideas based on popular queries related to your industry. Once you've identified some relevant terms, you can begin creating and publishing content to attract the needful readership.
3. Get Reviews from People Who Matter
Reviews play a huge role in determining whether someone clicks through to visit your website or not. So, if you don't already have reviews posted on your Google My Business listing, request your previous clients to leave feedback. This may seem like a daunting task at first, especially since most customers don't feel like wasting their precious time writing reviews. But trust us, they won't mind doing it if you could offer them some discount coupon or freebie. In short, make sure to solicit feedback because the smallest details do matter!
Local SEO isn't rocket science, but there are certain aspects that require careful planning and execution. If you follow our tips above, we guarantee that you'll start ranking higher in local search results within a reasonable time. And as long as you keep improving your local presence over time, you'll eventually reach the top spot where you can reap maximum benefits.
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