Local SEO in 2019: 6 Easy Ways To Get You Started
Local SEO works like this:
Let’s say you got your car scratched and you require a local car shop to repair the damage. What do you do?
You Google it, of course.
Customers do the same thing. When users want a local product or service, they turn to search engines like Google to find it.
This is where Local SEO comes in. High local search ranking lures more people into your business.
In this blog, we will simplify the complicated process of Local SEO in 6 easy steps.
Once completed, you can expect an influx of customers.
What is Local SEO?
First things first, how do you define Local SEO? How is it distinct from traditional SEO?
There isn’t much difference, really.
As the name already suggests, Local SEO means positioning your business at the top of local search results.
Local Search is critical, and the numbers are there to prove it.
50 percent of those who do a local search via mobile visit the physical store within the day.
Understanding the consumer’s local search behavior is crucial to developing a Local SEO strategy that works.
1. Set Up Google My Business
If you’re new to SEO and don’t know where to start, Google My Business is the best place to start .
This internet-based service gives business owners more control of what shows up in the search results when a business is searched on Google.
You first have to create a Google My Business listing on your account and verify it.
Once that’s done, you want to go ahead and optimize your Google My Business listing.
What exactly can you do with your listing?
On the Google My Business dashboard, click “Info” the listing you want to work on. You can update sections from here.
Include all relevant information in this section, including a business profile photo, description, location, opening hours, phone number, and a website link.
Users can “suggest an edit” to your GMB listing, so make sure you get all the details correctly.
If you’re looking to build your online presence, you should stay engaged with your customers by sharing photos and responding to reviews.
Your GMB listing is a great place to show off your business using photos.
The standard size is 720 pixels (length and width). The preferred file format is JPG or PNG.
Your GMB cover photo might just be the most important photo of all. This is what greets users when they do a search.
Apart from your cover photo, pay close attention to your other photos as well.
Perhaps you can include shots of the interior and exterior design of your business, your products, happy customers, employees at work, and more!
This makes your listing engaging and attractive to users.
And according to Google, businesses with photos receive 42 percent more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google.
When completed, this increases your chances of getting into Google’s Local 3-Pack.
A Local 3-Pack refers to the top three local listings, as shown above.
This means that once a search is done, your business can be found at the top of the search results.
While you’re at it, go ahead and take a look at the business listings of your local competitors.
Do you want to remain on top of the game?
If the answer is yes, you have to monitor the competition’s performance closely.
2. Make your website mobile-friendly
You have to remember that Local SEO is mobile-driven.
A potential customer is more likely to search on a mobile device rather than a desktop or laptop.
And no one wants to visit a website that is impossible to navigate on a smartphone.
This means that your site’s mobile responsiveness can determine your placement and ranking in Google’s search results.
Mobile-friendly websites also enhance the user experience.
Keep this in mind while you make mobile improvements to your website.
If you want to delve into the technicalities of mobile responsiveness (coding, meta tags, etc.) this Google article is handy!
3. Gather online reviews
Try to remember the last time you made an online purchase.
Do you simply visit the site, search for your product, and place your order?
Or do you read through the reviews of the product to see what other customers are saying?
This is why reviews in your local listing can significantly impact your rankings.
The more genuine reviews from real customers, the higher your customer engagement. It means people are actually talking about you online.
I’m talking about referrals, testimonials, word of mouth marketing, and more!
Not only are customers compelled to buy, but it also allows them to trust your business a bit more.
Oh, and did we mention that good customer reviews pave the way for word-of-mouth advertising?
It’s a win-win!
4. Do your keyword research
Keyword research simply means you’re looking for keywords with good search volume.
This is important for your website to remain fully-optimized and properly targeted.
For example, let’s say you run an automotive shop in Charleston.
You’d want to search for something along the lines of:
- “automotive shops near me”
- “where can I get my car fixed in Charleston”
- “car repair in Charleston”
These types of keywords are part of Service in Location (SiL).
Simply list all the services you offer and the locations you serve. This can form a list of potential keywords that are relevant to your business.
Some websites that can give you a hand with this.
On Craigslist, for example, all you have to do is select a category and location, and type in your keywords.
Here are the results for “automotive” in Charleston:
Look at that, a bunch of keywords at your fingertips!
Apart from Craigslist, you can do the same thing on Google Suggest.
Search engines don’t suggest terms that aren’t frequently searched.
And that’s what makes Google Suggest so great—these keywords come from Lord Google himself!
For example, here are the results for “restaurant los angeles”:
Take note of these suggestions and repeat the process for your other keyword variations.
Once your research is complete, you can then create content related to these keywords. This drives more traffic to your site, and that is precisely what you want!
And once again, when it comes to the topic of keywords, we have to plug out favorite keywords tool, Keywords Everywhere.
This tool is basically a browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox. It splits your keyword research time in half because it automatically gives you figures for search volume, cost per click, and competition data.
It even gives you a list of related keywords when you search for a specific topic.
If you want to download this tool, click here.
5. Include Local Citations or NAP
When you want to claim local profiles or acquire local SEO citations, your NAP information must be consistent.
Citations are online mentions of your business. When your business is mentioned on the web, it displays your name, address, and phone number (NAP). This information must be exactly the same.
You have to ensure that your links and citations are strong.
For example, this is how you submit your NAP information:
Mimic Digital Marketing
540 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
If this is how your NAP information looks like on one site, it should be the exact same thing on another.
Don’t jumble the sequence of your street address, and make sure your business name stays the way it is.
You may be wondering why accurate and consistent NAP citations are so important.
Well, according to Moz, citations come in pretty handy in local ranking factors.
This is true for the local 3-pack results as well as regular organic search.
Consistent NAP information across the web helps verify the data that Google has for a specific business. Inconsistent or faulty NAP information only confuses and misleads Google as well as your potential customers.
This is a thumbs down for your user experience. And Google won’t like that.
Besides, local SEO isn’t exclusive to Google alone.
Keep in mind that users also do searches on Facebook and other directories. Accurate NAP information across all platforms or websites can help potential customers find you better.
And if you’re easy to find, you can acquire more customers and revenue!
This article by Ahrefs has a section on local citations (NAP) that I’m sure you’ll find very useful!
6. Get your business on social media
Online visibility does not end with a website.
When your brand is absent from social media channels, your customers might have a hard time finding you.
Even when you’re on Google My Business with a fully functional site, social platforms make for added customer engagement.
Social media enables you to connect and respond to customers in more meaningful ways.
Because let’s face it, customers won’t be checking your website 24/7.
But if they follow you on Facebook or Instagram, there’s a high chance that your posts will make it to their news feed.
This also gives them an opportunity to share your content with their friends and followers.
If you want to reach more people, reconnect with existing customers, build your brand’s identity, and earn more traffic, social media is your answer.
That’s hitting four birds (and possibly more) with a single stone!
And that’s a wrap!
That wasn’t so hard now, was it?
We tried our best to make this blog as un-technical as possible, so we hope you learned a thing or two from us today.
Now it’s time for you to apply the tips and tricks mentioned above.
Anything else you want to share? Let’s talk in the comments!
Frost, Aja (n.d). HubSpot. The ultimate guide to Google My Business. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/google-my-business
Hardwick, Joshua (2018 July 13). Ahrefs. Local SEO: A simple but complete guide. Retrieved from https://ahrefs.com/blog/local-seo/
Harnish, Brian (2018 Aug 10). Search Engine Journal. Local SEO for beginners: How to get started. Retrieved from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-guide/local-seo-for-beginners/
The Hoth (n.d.). The ultimate guide to local SEO. Retrieved from https://www.thehoth.com/local-seo/