Are you having trouble finding new customers for your small business?
Owning and operating a business that appeals to local customers is a totally different beast than running a national or international company. Appealing to your customer base requires a different set of tools that you need to master in order to survive. With dozens of other local businesses vying for people’s attention, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve.
One of the most effective ways to do this is with local SEO. Search engine optimization has driven the world of digital marketing forward for the last 10-15 years and it’s always changing, so it can be hard to keep up. In this post, we’re going to give you 7 simple, yet effective, local SEO tips that’ll boost your rankings and drive both your online traffic and foot traffic.
1. Start With Your Listings
The first thing you should do when you get your business up and running is to fill out your Google My Business profile. Doing so is extremely important for gaining visibility on Google and on Google Maps-based searches. All you have to do is register your account and claim your business’ profile by filling out all of the requisite information.
If you don’t optimize your GMB profile, however, then you’re not going to see all of the benefits. You can’t just claim the profile and go on with your day, you need to ensure that the location information is 100% accurate, then add pictures, your hours, the types of payment you accept, information about your products, and make sure to update this whenever necessary.
One of the keys to local SEO is maintaining consistency with all of your listings and citations. GMB is one business directory, but there are numerous others, both international and local, that you should be signing up for. Fill out all of the information exactly as you did with your GMB profile, as inconsistencies with your listings will create SEO problems for you rather quickly.
2. Creating Content With a Local Spin
Once you’ve optimized your listings, you can turn your attention to your website and social media profiles. Everyone understands how important content creation is for digital marketing and it’s no different when discussing local SEO. One of the best ways to boost your rankings is by creating a steady stream of content based on what’s going on in your region.
Use local news sources and keep your ear to the ground to find out what people are talking about. That will be the inspiration for your blog posts, videos, and social media content. The more landing pages you have on your site with local content, the more your customers will associate you with your location and you’ll see those pages move up the search rankings as well.
3. Ask for Ratings and Reviews
Customer reviews can make or break a young small business. Over 90% of customers are likely to read a review of a product or service before deciding to purchase it and Google is only going to promote the businesses with the highest and most star ratings. If you want to be one of the businesses that rank high on Maps and local searches, then you need to find ways to get more positive reviews.
There’s no shame in encouraging your customers to leave you a review if they’ve been satisfied with your service. It doesn’t matter what listings site they use, the more positive ratings you have, the more local customers you’re going to find.
4. Link Building
In addition to building a presence through listings and citations, you’ll find that having lots of backlinks will help boost your rankings. Backlinks are created when other sources – blogs, businesses, news publications – link back to something on your website. When it comes to link building, however, it’s more about quality than quantity, although you’ll have both in a best-case scenario.
The easiest way to get more backlinks is by creating high-quality content yourself, that other sites will want to link to. You can also guest blog on other influential sites or use influencer marketing to boost rankings and forge alliances with other local businesses.
5. Going Mobile
In the last few years, mobile search has outperformed desktop search. This isn’t surprising, considering how important our smartphones have become in our daily lives, but it does affect local SEO in a few important ways.
First, your website needs to be optimized for mobile viewing. If you’re using a site builder like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace, you can easily adjust your website templates to include various screen sizes. The last thing you want is for your website to be unusable on some mobile devices.
The other thing that’s come with mobile devices is more voice search. When someone performs a voice search, they’re usually speaking in full sentences, so you need to adjust your keyword strategy accordingly.
6. Local Keywords
Your keyword strategy is among the more important facets of SEO. When it comes to local SEO, you obviously need to implement keywords that are relevant to your local customers. Fortunately, there are useful tools out there to help your keyword strategy.
Google’s Keyword Planner is one that allows you to filter your keyword searches by location, so you can find out what the most effective ones are going to be. Once you find the right keyword(s) for your page, make sure that you’ve got them not just in the copy, but in the URL and metadata as well.
7. Hiring a Local SEO Service
No matter where you live, there are going to be digital advertising agencies to help you craft your local SEO strategy. Find the best SEO agency for your needs and work with them on everything we’ve discussed in this article.
SEO is always changing and it really helps to have a professional on your side. You can bet that the most successful businesses in your area are outsourcing their digital advertising needs in order to get ahead of the competition.
Staying On Top Of SEO
Like we said, SEO and local SEO practices are always changing, so you have to really keep your ear to the ground if you’re going to create a successful strategy. Take these tips to heart and start building your online presence up right away. Your business will be stronger for it.
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