As a small or medium business, you may have noticed that the entire digital universe is dominated by major enterprises and established conglomerates. These large corporations, with their unending budgets and dedicated SEO teams, can end up at the top of the SERP in a wink. Resultantly, there is hardly any space left for others! Even if by a stroke of luck, you do end up somewhere on the first page, you would need deep pockets not to get knocked off that position!
Fortunately, local SEO offers a level-playing field that allows small and medium business owners to get more customers without being ousted off the charts. Local SEO focuses on building a strong online presence and attracting a larger audience within the local sphere. Thus, with some slight adjustment, your business can feature at the top of the search results and may even make it to Google’s local pack.
Following are the three most important factors that will help you nail local SEO:
Google My Business
Google My Business, or GMB, forms a significant chunk of local SEO. In fact, nearly 84% of users will stumble upon your business or its services due to your GMB listing!
Thus, the first step to gaining visibility on the local front would be by claiming your GMB profile. A claimed and owner-verified profile will carry more weight than an unclaimed profile. In case your business is not listed on GMB, then you can create your own listing.
Next, you need to enter all the relevant details in your profile. Every bit of information counts, hence ensure that you have filled out the following information:
- Name of the business
- Phone number (and any other contact details)
- Hours of operation
- Photos of the store, products/services, etc.
- Areas that you cover.
Even though some information is purely optional, populating all the fields with accurate and relevant information will help your business profile rank better. Furthermore, the above information must remain consistent across all channels on the internet.
Tips for Optimizing GMB Listing for Local SEO
Once you have carried out the above basic tasks, you need to optimize your GMB profile for improved visibility. Here are a few tips:
- Include your products and services in the GMB profile.
- Add visual elements, such as photos and videos. These don’t need to be all professional photographs; you may even upload quirky, behind the scene snaps.
- Update your profile frequently to maintain accuracy and relevance. Remove or add services as per your business offerings.
- Seek out legitimate, high-quality reviews from patrons and loyal customers.
- Make it a priority to respond to all customer reviews, especially the rave ones.
- Include locally-relevant, high-quality links, and citations.
Keywords have always been crucial from an SEO perspective. However, local keywords play an even more vital role in helping businesses rank locally.
Therefore, start by focusing on local keywords rather than broader keywords, where the competition may be stiff enough already. Plus, these keywords may not be as successful in driving qualified leads. As a result, the findings of your keyword research could be the determining factor in ranking your business.
Next, you need to illustrate the relevance of these local keywords to your business so that search engines can rank them accordingly. Search engines rely on crawlers to analyze web pages and their content. If these crawlers notice a consistency in the presence of local keywords throughout your website, its listings, etc., your business is bound to feature in the local limelight!
Fortunately, Google’s Keyword Planner does an excellent job of filtering in keyword searches that are categorized regionally. Thus, you can find popular keywords and search terms popular in the nearby regions. In addition to incorporating these local keywords in the website, also include them in your GMB listing, meta tags/titles, URLs, business directories, and so on.
Tips for Identifying and Using Local Keywords
- Focus on long-tail keywords (3+ words) to capture voice search and local search users.
- Long-tail keywords also eliminate bigger businesses from the competition.
- Add local addresses or landmarks to the service to create locally-relevant keywords.
- Optimize relevant short-tail keywords for “Near Me” searches.
- Incorporate local keywords organically and avoid over-optimization.
Website Optimization and Customer Experience
Website optimization and customer experience go hand in hand to boost your local ranking. Optimization adds prominence to your brand, while a pleasant customer experience promotes brand awareness. Thus, the former directly impacts your ranking, and the latter plays a supportive role.
Considering that search engines are now following a mobile-first approach, the first course of action would involve making the entire website mobile-friendly. You may also extend the same to your GMB listing by making “call now” buttons available. It would also help to make your profile voice search compatible. Website optimization may appear to be an ambitious task, but it will deliver stellar results.
On the other hand, as search engines are pushing websites to be more customer-centric, it is imperative for businesses to adapt accordingly. Positive customer experience would indicate the relevance and usefulness of your business in addressing customer pain points. Thus, for every visitor that spends more time on your website, your ranking will progressively improve.
Tips for Carrying Out Website Optimization
- Publish engaging content (the more local, the better) to increase engagement and pages per session.
- Maintain a highly responsive website to reduce bounce rates.
- Including CTA (call-to-action) buttons to increase the click-through-rates (CTRs) for your website.
- Set up social media signals to engage with customers through various channels. Integrate these social links to your main website.
- Create dedicated service pages.
As several businesses gradually realize the potential offered by local SEO, the competition in this area is bound to heat up. If you wish to gain a competitive edge, now would be an excellent time to get the services of a reputed Local SEO Company. Having a team of professionals on your side can put you in a comfortable spot where you would have dominated the local space even before businesses consider it!
Author Bio: Sheryl Jones
Sheryl is the Sr. Marketing Specialist at Uplers who has a great experience in designing well-defined user journeys across the digital marketing domain. She leverages her digital marketing expertise to help businesses draw significant ROIs.