What do you do when you want to find a prized local restaurant or a nearby place to change your oil? You search for it online!
You may not realize it, but you’re intuitively familiar with the local search already. For searchers to find the best local spots, they rely on local search engine optimization to guide them to the best results. In fact, 78% of consumers look up local business info online at least once a week. Local SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of making your business visible on search engines like Google when people in your area are looking for the products or services you offer.
How can you ensure you’re taking advantage of local SEO as a business? It starts with understanding how local SEO works and what searchers are looking for. Then, you can optimize your website, online listings, and social media profiles accordingly.
To learn more about local SEO and how to optimize your website for better local visibility, check out our dedicated guide below. But first:
Who Needs Local SEO?
Only some businesses have a physical location or serve a local area. But for those that do, optimizing their website for local SEO is essential to reach potential customers nearby. Local SEO is also crucial for businesses with multiple locations.
Common examples of businesses that need local SEO include:
- Retail stores
- Service providers like plumbers, electricians, etc.
- Local branches of national businesses
How to Think Like a Local SEO Pro
The first step to thinking like a local SEO pro is understanding how local SEO works and what factors influence your ranking in search results. Google considers many factors when determining which businesses to show for local searches, including:
- Relevancy: Google wants to match searchers with the most relevant results. To do this, they consider things like your business category, location, and keywords.
- Distance: All else being equal, searchers will generally choose the closest business.
- Prominence: Google also looks at how well-known or established your business is. This includes things like having a robust online presence, good reviews, and awards/media mentions.
So how can you optimize your website and online listings for better results? Here are a few tips:
Use keyword research to choose the right keywords to target.
Keyword research helps you identify the terms and phrases potential customers use to find businesses like yours. Once you know which keywords to target, you can use them throughout your website and online listings to improve your relevancy score.
Create accurate and up-to-date NAP listings.
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Your NAP should be consistent across all your online listings (like on your website, Google My Business profile, and directory listings). Inconsistent NAP information can confuse search engines and hurt your ranking.
Generate reviews and testimonials from past customers.
Reviews and testimonials are a great way to show off your prominence score. When potential customers see you have happy past customers, they’ll be more likely to choose you over a competitor with no reviews.
Add photos, videos, and other rich media to your website and online listings.
Google loves websites and listings rich in media – and so do people! Adding photos, videos, and other forms of visual content can help you stand out in search results and attract more clicks. Plus, people are more likely to enjoy interacting with your website and online listings if they’re filled with engaging visuals. A whole wall of text is just not as appealing.
Encourage happy customers to leave Google My Business reviews.
Google My Business reviews are one of the most important local ranking factors. So if you want to improve your local SEO, focus on getting more (and better) GMB reviews.
How to Optimize Your Website for Local SEO
If you want your website to rank higher in local search results, you need to optimize it for local SEO. But what exactly does that mean? And how can you do it? Here are a few tips:
1. Add your city or region to your website’s title tags and meta descriptions.
This helps you show up in search results for people searching for businesses in your area. For example, if someone searches for “plumbers in Los Angeles,” your website will be more likely to show up in the results if you have “Los Angeles” in your title tags and meta descriptions.
2. Create location-specific pages on your website.
If you have more than one location, create a separate page for each one. This helps Google understand that you’re relevant for searches related to each individual location. Plus, it allows you to include location-specific keywords on each page.
3. Add a Google Maps widget to your website.
A Google Maps widget helps potential customers find your business more efficiently. Plus, it tells Google that your website is relevant for local searches.
4. Include local content on your website.
Write blog posts about local news and events. This helps you show up in Google News results and attract attention from people searching for things happening in your area.
In addition to optimizing your website, there are a few other things you can do to improve your local SEO.
Get listed in online directories.
Online directories are like digital Yellow Pages. They’re used by people searching for businesses in their area. So if you want to attract attention from potential customers, make sure your business is listed in as many relevant online directories as possible.
Claim your Google My Business listing.
Google My Business is a free listing that allows businesses to manage their online information in one place. Claiming and verifying your listing is an essential step in improving your local SEO.
Monitor your online reputation.
Your online reputation can have a significant impact on your local SEO. Make sure you’re monitoring what people say about your business online and responding to positive and negative reviews.
Add structured data to your website.
Structured data is code that helps search engines understand the information on your website. Adding structured data to your website can help you show up in rich results, which are special search results that include things like images, ratings, and prices.
Related Reading: How to Complete a Technical SEO Audit in 4 Easy Steps
Local SEO is vital for any business that wants to be found online. If you’re unsure where to start, these tips will help you get into the right mindset and learn what you need to do to optimize your website for local SEO. With a little effort, you can attract more attention from potential customers and improve your chances of ranking higher in local search results. So what are you waiting for?