Local SEO has become increasingly important for businesses looking to improve their visibility and attract more local customers. With more and more people using smartphones and voice search to find nearby businesses, having an effective local SEO strategy is crucial.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the top local SEO strategies you can use to boost your local visibility and bring in more foot traffic.
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Your Google My Business listing is one of the most important local SEO factors. This profile is what shows up prominently when someone searches for your business name or your services on Google.
To optimize your GMB listing:
- Completely fill out your business information including your address, phone number, website, business hours, photos, services, etc. The more information you provide in your listing, such as your business hours, photos, services, etc., the better optimized it will be.
- Make sure your business name, address, and phone number are consistent everywhere online. This helps affirm your NAP (name, address, phone number) details.
- Including high-quality photos of your business’s interior and exterior helps give customers a good idea of what to expect when they visit.
- List your service areas if you serve customers in a larger region beyond your neighborhood. This helps you rank for searches in those areas.
- Encourage customers to leave detailed and positive reviews. GMB listings with more 4+ star reviews rank better in the local pack.
- Respond professionally to all reviews in a timely manner. This shows you value customers.
- Verify your GMB listing for better visibility. You can do this by receiving a postcard with a PIN code or talking to a live agent via phone verification.
Optimize Your Website for Local SEO
Your website is another important asset for your local SEO success. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, loads fast, is secured with HTTPS, and incorporates these local optimization tips:
- Include your city, state, and area codes in page titles and headings (e.g. Best Pizza in Chicago IL).
- Display your full business name, correct address, and phone number prominently on your site.
- Highlight what makes your business unique to your location with locally flavored images, descriptions, and content.
- Create dedicated landing pages with your important local keywords like “Chicago orthodontist” for better optimization.
- Add schema markup to display rich snippets prominently in search results. This can boost CTR by 30%.
- Publish regular blogs targeting local searches such as “Top 10 breakfast spots Brooklyn”. Include your location name and geo-modifiers like neighborhoods, cities, counties, etc.
Local Link Building
Local link-building should be a core part of your strategy. Relevant local links from neighborhood directories, local business partners, local review sites, and niche directories help a lot with local SEO.
Here are some easy ways to build local links:
- List your business on YellowPages, Yelp, Foursquare, and other top directories relevant to your industry. Keep these listings updated.
- Partner with local businesses and cross link to each other’s websites. Neighborhood restaurants, flower shops, car washes, etc. make for good partners.
- Volunteer for or sponsor local community events, charities, and sports teams. This can earn goodwill links from their websites.
- Claim and optimize all relevant listings on niche directories like Hotfrog for your industry, TripAdvisor for restaurants, etc.
Encourage Customer Reviews
Positive online reviews can hugely influence local SEO and visibility. Various studies show that ~85% of customers read reviews before visiting a local business.
Some good ways to get more genuine customer reviews:
- Place feedback cards encouraging reviews at your checkout counters. Offer incentives for filling them out.
- Email customers after purchases/service and politely ask them to leave an online review if satisfied.
- Prominently display new & best reviews on your website. This further encourages customers to leave their reviews.
- Respond professionally to negative reviews, address issues, and offer resolutions. This reflects well on your business.
Invest in Local PPC Ads
Local pay-per-click ads can deliver a surge in phone calls, store visits, and sales by targeting nearby searchers. You only pay when someone clicks your ad.
Some tips for effective local PPC:
- Perform detailed keyword research to identify high commercial intent local searches like “auto shop near me”.
- Set a tight geographic radius within 5-10 miles to target nearby searchers.
- Use location extensions in your ads to display your address, phone number, and route link.
- Include unique local selling propositions like “located downtown” or “5 mins from airport” etc.
- Run limited time offers and promotions via ads to drive visits from searchers.
- Call reporting helps track calls driven by ads. Call analytics can optimize your PPC campaigns.
Leverage Social Media Presence
Your social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can also be used to improve local SEO and visibility.
Some ideas on using social for local marketing:
- Ensure your business name, address, and contact details are correctly listed on your social media profiles.
- Post locally flavored images, updates, and events showcasing your business location activity. Check-ins help.
- Run hyperlocal Facebook and Instagram ads targeted by location, demographics, and interests.
- Engage local customers on social by responding to comments, queries, and feedback.
- Encourage customers to post photos at your location and tag you by running a promotion.
Measure and Monitor Location Rankings
It is important to track your local SEO efforts and monitor your progress on Google Maps and in the local pack. Some helpful tools for this include:
- Google My Business Insights to see your search impressions and clicks.
- Moz Local to track your local rankings and listings.
- Whitespark Local Citation Finder to fix duplicate NAP listings.
- SEMrush Sensor provides useful local ranking data.
- Google Analytics Location Reports shows your location-based traffic sources.
By regularly monitoring your local SEO metrics, you can refine your strategy to maintain top visibility for your business.
Focusing on local SEO is hugely valuable for any brick-and-mortar small business looking to drive more store visits and sales. Use this opportunity to implement the strategies discussed here, or partner with a small business marketing agency to kickstart your local SEO efforts.
With an optimized local online visibility strategy, you can ensure customers continue to find and patronize your small business when searching locally. Investing in professional local SEO services can give your small business a competitive edge.