Local search, or Local SEO, is an important lead generation tool for businesses of all sizes. According to a recent marketing report, 46% of all Google searches look for local information. Therefore, if you have a business that isn't optimized for local search, you are missing out on local leads. In such a case, hundreds of potential customers in your area will remain unaware of your business.
Local SEO is the way to go if you want to maximize your revenue by increasing your customer base. This article will help you understand how to improve your business's local search and SEO using the following tools and tips.
What is Local SEO?
Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a type of SEO in which a local business's search engine visibility is enhanced. It improves the visibility of a business in local search results on Google. This is most beneficial for businesses with a physical location, such as a brick-and-mortar store. If the business's website is optimized for local SEO, it will experience an increase in organic traffic from potential customers in the same vicinity as the business.
- Search engines usually depend on local content, social profiles, citations, links, and metadata to provide users with relevant information. Therefore, a business that has accurately positioned its products and services and optimized for local searches can benefit from this feature.
Listed below are some proven ways to optimize your website for local search.
Best Ways To Optimize Your Website For Local Search
1. Optimize for Google My Business
Google My Business is an industry-standard tool that helps businesses verify the information that appears online. Google is more likely to display verified information such as a Google Business Profile in local searches than unverified information.
To get started with Google My Business, you, as the business owner, will have to take the following steps:
- Create your Google My Business page and apply for verification.
- Use Google Posts within your account.
- Encourage your customers to post reviews online. Reviews enhance credibility for any business.
- Offer a professional reply to each review posted. To enhance your credibility mention the store's location in the reply.
These steps help Google authenticate your business's credibility. In addition, Google has been known to reward authenticated businesses with a sidebar space on the Google Search page.
- While encouraging customers to post reviews and replying to them does help local SEO, it also helps gain new potential customers. Consumer shopping behaviors have drastically changed post-covid. It is important for customers to find up-to-date and relevant information before deciding on a purchase. By reading customer reviews and your responses, they can be sure they will receive an excellent customer experience.
2. Increase Social Media Engagement & Add Posts To Google My Business
- By default, social media profiles, communities, and business pages are indexed by Google search. This means that anything that is shared and posted on a social media platform will eventually end up on someone's Google search.
While it is important for a business owner to make regular posts and engage with potential customers on social media, it is equally important to take care of the type of content it creates. The content should be interesting and relevant to the target market.
- In addition to the social media platforms, businesses are recommended to share their social media profiles on their Google My Business pages. This helps align Google My Business with social media.
3. Ensure Your Details Are Available Online
It is imperative that you, as a business, make it easy for people to find your contact and other information online. Setting it up is really simple. Simply create your NAP. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number (with area code). NAP is a crawlable HTML text on your website.
When a potential customer searches for your details, they will instantly appear on the first page of the search results.
- One of the biggest mistakes made by business owners is that they include their NAP as an image on their website. They often forget that images aren't crawlable like text. The best practice is to include your NAP in the footer or header of your site as a simple text.
4. A Local SEO Audit Always Helps
- SEO is an intuitive and ongoing process. A website needs to be constantly fine-tuned so that its SEO ranking enables its appearance on the first few Google search pages, and its visibility does not diminish. Rather than sticking to one SEO strategy, most business owners find that a test and apply process helps them more. They can test different strategies, and use the ones that yield the best results.
An SEO Audit is one way to determine the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. It helps to see where your website currently stands, and what steps you can take to improve its positioning. One of the most common SEO strategies is content marketing, which marketers widely use to improve a website's SEO. A local SEO audit generally includes the following:
- Google My Business Audit
- Google Search Console Audit
- On-Page SEO Audit
- Citation Audit
- Competitor Analysis
- Website Audit
5. Organize and Plan Internal Linking Structure
External linking is one of the most promoted aspects of improving local SEO. These are links that redirect the user to your website. However, improving internal linking is equally as important. An efficient system of internal links helps boost SEO scores in the following ways:
- Improves and supports website navigation.
- Assists with website hierarchy and information architecture.
- Distributes ranking power and page authority among pages.
6. Optimize Content and Metadata
Each new blog post on your website is like a new indexed page for your website. It allows you to target potential customers using a specific keyword or geographic search phrase. It is also a unique opportunity to be discovered by a potential customer on the search engine results page.
- Content posted on your website must be search engine optimized and search engine friendly. This can be done by ensuring high search volume keywords are used extensively. These keywords shouldn't be limited to the actual content but can be included in the URL, headers, title, and metadata as well.
In the event that it is difficult to find high search volume keywords for your content, an alternative approach would be to highlight case studies and customer success stories. These often contain keywords of interest and will be picked up by a search engine.
7. Location Pages Are Important
- It is imperative to have a dedicated location page on your website. Creating different location pages is a good idea if your business has multiple store locations. In addition, it is important to post your contact information, such as an address and phone number; information on your store hours, parking facilities, transit information, promotions, unique location descriptions, and testimonials from satisfied customers.
One thing to avoid is duplicating the same content across several different location pages. If you find that creating multiple pages is a difficult task, then you can include all of this information on a single page.
- An informative About Us page will suffice if your business has a single location. In addition to adding location descriptions as text, using the Google Maps plug-in on your website is highly recommended. It will highlight your business on Google Maps and improve local search for your website.
8. Local Content Helps
You can post content on your website that covers a wide variety of topics and areas. Previously, most web content published was written in a way that helped search engines understand it, and index it accordingly.
- This is not the case anymore. Google is continuously improving its algorithms, and can now take out specific information from within a blog post or a content-rich page and display it on its search results page.
It is imperative to know your focus and write content accordingly. Content should highlight local or industry-specific news in order to target local audiences. You can consider posting top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what your business sells. Ultimately, your content can help you become at local authority within your industry or niche news.
9. Ensure Your Website Is Compatible With All Devices
- A recent survey concluded that over 61% of Google searches made within the past year were mobile searches. The importance of tablets, mobiles, and other hand-held devices cannot be ignored. They offer ease of use and convenience, which is why they are the source of most Google searches.
It is important for a business to make sure its website is optimized to run on all devices and not just on a laptop. A website that is not optimized for mobile devices will fail to load properly, lag, have improperly positioned links and pages, and be almost impossible to browse easily.
- A popular survey asked users to provide the most common reasons for which they carry out mobile searches. Among the top responses received included,; looking for reviews, finding directions, and searching for contact information. Since 2017, "near me" searches have spiked by about 250%, which shows mobile search is the new normal for searching local businesses.
10. Use Relevant Inbound Links
One of the best ways to boost your business's local SEO is to use inbound links. These links inform Google that you are a legitimate business. Inbound links also help boost your domain authority. Some popular ways of getting inbound links include:
- Sponsorships and Partnerships
- Guest Blog Posting
Using your personal and professional circle is the best way to get inbound links. Search for Chamber of Commerce, business improvement districts, licensing bureaus, resellers, trade associations, vendors, and other affiliates.
- You can target influencers and people with a huge fan following to promote your business and your products and services. This will help you generate substantial organic traffic and make your inbound link popular. Contacting partners and affiliates and asking them to feature you on their platforms can also help your business greatly.
11. Increase Local Community Participation
- One of the most rewarding ways to enhance your local search is to increase local community participation. Local participation helps you and your business build digital PR.
Your business can partner with a NGO on a campaign, volunteer (even online), offer support, host a volunteer day in your business, sponsor an event, offer webinars, or appear in the local media as an authority for your industry. All these steps will boost your digital PR and local search.
Popular Local SEO Tools
In addition to the above steps, in order to improve your local search, you can also take help from several powerful local SEO tools. These tools can help you focus and improve a specific area that is relevant and important to local search.
Whitespark Local Citation Finder
The online mention of any business's name, address, and contact number is known as a local citation. Local citations are critical because they help enhance the visibility of local businesses in local searches. In addition, when a business effectively manages its local citations, it promotes trust in such listings.
- Whitespark is an expert in local citation management. It assesses your business and offers advice on where to list your business. It also examines your competition and monitors your citation growth for an improved local search ranking.
Screaming Frog is a service that crawls a website's images, links, pages, scripts, and CSS from an SEO perspective. It helps users test their websites so they can make improvements to enhance their local SEO. It also allows users to test dead links and 404 errors and know about missing metadata.
- Screaming Frog offers a free analysis of up to 500 URLs and offers unlimited service for an annual fee of $200.
Moz Local is a useful tool that verifies whether or not your local listing has been verified on Facebook and Google. Moz Local also works with data aggregators to push listings, thus helping your business enhance its local search visibility.
- Ahrefs is a service that is used for checking and verifying backlinks to your website. These backlinks are important for your local search ranking as they redirect users to your website, and serve as an indicator of website authority.
Additional services offered by Ahrefs include keyword research, competitor analysis, and anchor text insight analysis for other websites that backlink to your website.
- Buzzstream helps you identify potential influencers local to your area, and form a mutually beneficial relationship with them. It researches influencers, tracks conversations, and provides insights into your campaigns, link placements, and team performance.
We hope that this article has been useful for helping you learn how to boost and enhance the local search for your business. A business with an optimized local search can see an increase in organic local traffic, an increase in potential customer visits, and subsequent growth in revenue and sales.