Local search is powerful for small businesses:46% of all Google searches look for local information.. If your business isn't optimized for local search, you could miss potential customers ready to buy in your area. In short, local SEO is essential if you want to keep your business relevant. To help you optimize your business for local SEO, we've created a comprehensive guide that covers local SEO tools and tips. By the end of the guide, you'll have a clear idea of how to optimize your business to reach potential consumers who use local search to choose which products or services to buy. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving search engine visibility for local businesses, particularly those with physical locations. By following local SEO best practices, businesses can improve organic traffic from searches performed by customers in nearby areas. Search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links and citations to deliver the most relevant local results to the user to gather information for local search. With local SEO, businesses can use this to position their products and services among potential customers and local customers who are looking for them. google my businessit has become the cream of the local research crop. Because Google generously endorses, verifies, and shares its own content, Google My Business is an ideal tool to help your business meet Google's needs. To ensure that you are optimized for Google My Business, you must:
What is local SEO?
Local SEO Tips
1. Optimize for Google My Business.
Local search is powerful for small businesses:46% of all Google searches look for local information.. If your business isn't optimized for local search, you could miss potential customers ready to buy in your area. In short, local SEO is essential if you want to keep your business relevant.
To help you optimize your business for local SEO, we've created a comprehensive guide that covers local SEO tools and tips.
By the end of the guide, you'll have a clear idea of how to optimize your business to reach potential consumers who use local search to choose which products or services to buy.
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving search engine visibility for local businesses, particularly those with physical locations. By following local SEO best practices, businesses can improve organic traffic from searches performed by customers in nearby areas.
Search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links and citations to deliver the most relevant local results to the user to gather information for local search.
With local SEO, businesses can use this to position their products and services among potential customers and local customers who are looking for them.
google my businessit has become the cream of the local research crop. Because Google generously endorses, verifies, and shares its own content, Google My Business is an ideal tool to help your business meet Google's needs.
To ensure that you are optimized for Google My Business, you must:
- Create and verify agoogle my businesspage.
- Use Google Posts in your account.
- Encourage your customers to share reviews online.
- Respond authentically to reviews by specifying location. For example, “We appreciate your feedback on [product/service] in [city, state]. We value your opinion and look forward to working with you again. Thank you from the [full company name] team.”
If Google can verify that your business is authentic, the search engine may reward your business with the coveted sidebar space in Google local search.
Don't just do it for SEO either. By having reviews and keeping your contact information and hours of operation up to date, you are improving the experience for potential customers to find you. Finding current data is critical for consumers, now more than ever, given the 2020 disruption to consumer purchasing behavior and business operation.
2. Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business.
Google believes that sharing content on social media is more important now than ever.
Now that you've created a beautiful Google My Business page, share it on social media, further aligning social and search.
3. Make sure your name, address and phone number are consistent online.
You need to make it easy for people and search engines to find you, and to do that, you need to set up your NAP.
What does NAP mean in local SEO?
The acronym, NAP, stands for the name, address, and phone number (with area code) of a business. Your NAP should be considered crawlable HTML text on your site so that Google will better display it in location-based search results.
Pro Tip: Avoid the common mistake of only including the NAP in an image: Images cannot be crawled on search engines like HTML text.
The most common location for the NAP is the site footer or header. Also, you must include your NAP in a "contact us” page too.
4. Optimize online directories and citations.
For businesses in the United States, these four map data aggregators provide a wealth of map data for Apple, Yelp, Bing, Google, Trip Advisor, and more:
Consistency is key: make sure your quotes are consistentand complete through these four data aggregators.
Discrepancies such as misspellings, abbreviations, missing suite number or incorrect phone number can be problematic.
If Google can't determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business in search results.
Pro Tip: Remove all duplicate listings found in online directories. And while you're at it, get a Chamber of Commerce membership in your community to get an external backlink specific to your area.
5. Conduct a local SEO audit.
Once you've mastered the fundamentals, it can be tempting to put your foot on the brakes. However, SEO is an ongoing and intuitive process. Rather than stopping there or just making changes and seeing what happens, it's helpful to do a comprehensive audit to see where your site stands and what you need to work on to achieve your goals. A local SEO audit can include the following:
- Google My Business Audit- How does your Google My Business show up on the SERPs? Is the information accurate?
- Auditoria do Google Search Console- Is your website crawlable? Do you have a bug that would make indexing difficult?
- On-page SEO audit- Does your site accommodate all of the on-page SEO elements that help you rank?
- dating audit- Are all your citations correct in major business directories?
- Competition Analysis- How does your site compare to the competition? Is there a gap that needs to be closed? How do they compare in terms of backlinks, content, design and placement?
- website audit- How is your website performing?
6. Improve your internal linking structure.
While external links pointing to your site are ideal (which I'll talk about shortly), tweaking yourinternal link structureit will also increase your SEO ranking.
Why are internal links important? It does the following:
- Support site navigation
- Help with information architecture and site hierarchy.
- Distribute page authority and ranking power across pages.
If you're looking to improve your internal linking structure but don't know where to start, check out Kissmetrics' The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking for Top Rated SEO.
7. Optimize the URL, title tags, headers, meta description and content.
When it comes to content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your website, a new page to target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to be found on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Every time you write content, you need to optimize the content for search engines using high volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description and body. If you're having trouble creating geo-targeted content, consider highlighting customer success stories and case studies.
Pro Tip: The more specifics you add to these assets (especially for each location in your business), the better you can optimize."close to me” local searches.
8. Add location pages to your website.
If you have more than one physical location, create location pages. Location pages provide readers with your name, address, phone number, store hours, unique store descriptions, parking/traffic information, promotions, and testimonials from satisfied customers.
It's also important to avoid duplicating content across multiple location pages. For single location businesses, create a locally friendly About Us page. You can even earn bonus points if add a google map to your websiteon their respective location pages.
9. Create local content.
Google continues to get smarter, which means content creators can now write more for users and less to please search engines. And while writing about general topics appeals to large numbers of people, sometimes it's more important to hone your approach and write about local or industry news to appeal to a local audience.
Become the local authority in your industry by promoting local meetings, news, employees and other educational content on your blog. Think top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what your business sells.
For example, if you're a local security company trying to attract new business to the area, create a useful resource to let those businesses know your city well. A map of local service providers or a calendar of events across the city can add value for you and contain highly relevant local signs on the page.
10. Make sure your website is mobile friendly.
Local and mobile search go hand in hand (61% of all Google searches are done on mobile devices).
Some of the most common ways people use your site in a mobile environment are by searching reviews, finding directions to your location, and looking up contact information. In fact, searches for "near me" on mobile have increased250%since 2017.
Make it easier for your prospects and customers by making your website mobile-friendly.
11. Get relevant and authoritative inbound links.
Inbound links are enticing opportunities to boost your local SEO – each inbound link tells Google that you are a legitimate business, and inbound links can also increase your domain authority. Here are some ways to get inbound links:
- Sponsorships or Associations
- guest blog post
Start with your network, including Chamber of Commerce, business improvement districts, license offices, trade associations, dealers, suppliers, manufacturers and other affiliates.
Consider sponsoring a webinar or meetup, hosting a community event, promoting something local you love, and building relationships with important people and influencers. Also, learn how to feel free to reach out to partners to see if they can list you in their partner directory.
Also, being a guest blogger can help attract links. Speak positively to others in your industry and act as a resource provider for the community. If you're an active participant in community conversations, the buzz around you grows in the form of inbound links, social media growth, and media coverage.
12. Get involved in your local community.
The more you participate in the local community, the more digital PR you will receive. Partner with a nonprofit on a campaign, have a volunteer day at your organization, sponsor an event (even if it's online!).
For example, since .edu links are the bee's knees for domain authority, why not gain some links featuring a scholarship in your geographic region? It needs to be relevant to your industry, send the right signals for your domain (given school backlinks) and make you feel good too! Moz has created a solid guide on the steps to successful grant disclosure.
Local SEO Tools
Now that we've covered how to optimize your business for local SEO, let's explore some practical tools you can leverage to improve your rankings in the areas where it matters most.
Pricing: Small Business Plan; $25/month, Specialized plan; $50/month, agency plan; $100/month, business plan; $200/month
Alocal citationis any online mention of a local business name, address, and telephone number.
Citations are important because they help local businesses emerge in online search, and when local businesses actively manage their sources to ensure data accuracy, they foster trust in those online listings.
Whitespark knows this realm well, very well. Whitespark offers local listing management, recommends where to list your business, examines your competition, and robustly builds and monitors your citation growth for better local search rankings.
Price: free basic version, paid version; $209/year
This desktop program crawls website links, images, CSS, scripts and applications from an SEO perspective. Curious to know if you have any 404s? Or are you wondering if you are missing meta descriptions or H1? Screaming Frog will analyze up to 500 URLs for free and unlimited in its paid version.
3. moz local
Pricing: Lite plan; $14/month, Preferred Plan; $20/month, Elite plan; $33/month
Cheaper than most of its counterparts, Moz Local will ensure your business listing is verified on Google and Facebook and distribute your listing throughout the search ecosystem.
Additionally, Moz Local will collaborate with data aggregators to help generate listings, ensuring your business gains visibility.
Pricing: Lite plan; $99/month, standard plan; $199/month, Advanced Plan; $399/month, business plan; $999/month
Ahrefs helps in checking backlinks which is essential as these links (pointing to your website) indicate the authority of the website.
Ahrefs also provides competitor analysis, keyword research, and information about other sites' anchor text when you link to your site.
5. buzz flow
Price: Starter plan; $24/month, growth plan; $124/month, Professional Plan; $299/month, custom plan; $999/month
BuzzStream makes it easy to get local backlinks, helping you identify and build relationships with local influencers, research influencers, track conversations, and provide reports with insights into your outreach campaigns, the performance of your equipment, and the location of links.
6. bright spot
Price: Single Business Plan; $29/month, multi-business plan; $49/month, SEO Pro plan; $79/month
BrightLocal is a comprehensive suite of SEO tools built explicitly for the marketing needs of local businesses.
The tool can help you generate and monitor reviews on local websites, understand local search performance, and analyze nearby competitors.
BrightLocal also offers client access and white-label reporting, making it a solid choice for agencies and brands alike.
Improve your business visibility with local SEO
Local SEO is an integral part of any SEO strategy for local businesses. Local SEO will help your audience find you when searching online if you have a store or service area. We hope you find this article helpful in your journey to gain brand awareness and authority on the web.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been updated to be more complete.
Subjects: SEO local