Local SEO, when properly implemented, will generate tons of new leads and search results driven traffic just by existing.
Local SEO is all about optimizing web content so that it ranks well in local search engine results. For example, a chiropractor located in Nashville, TN may use a local SEO strategy to appear in search engine results relating to phrases such as “best chiropractor in Nashville”.
And it also works. Since local SEO searches usually have an intention, roughly 80% of them convert in web traffic. In addition, an estimate 50% of users visit a store in the day following the research, and 28% of local searches result in a purchase.
Read on to learn how to develop your own winning SEO strategy in a few easy steps.
^ Open the doors of your business after tightening your local SEO.
The case of local SEO
A local SEO strategy can be extremely beneficial for regional businesses. Here are three reasons why:
Over the past few decades, people have found local businesses through the Yellow Pages. You remember? These days, 86% of people rely on the Internet to help them find local businesses and the only time you’ll see a Yellow Pages directory is in a classic 80s or 90s movie.
In other words, customer habits have changed. When we need a plumber to fix our leaky faucets, we search Google for the professional with the highest ratings. When our kids need new soccer cleats, we ask Bing for the nearest sports equipment store.
But voila, your business will only appear in search engine results and gain new customers if you have a solid local SEO strategy in place.
Website traffic, by itself, doesn’t add much value. What you want is quality website traffic, that is, traffic who genuinely cares about the products and / or services you are selling and will consider purchasing them from you now or in the future.
Local SEO can help drive that kind of traffic by making your business visible to potential customers who are already searching online for the products you offer.
Think about it, if a user is looking for “best CPA in Sacramento,” they’re probably looking for a qualified accountant in the Sacramento area who can do their taxes or advise them on other financial matters. By appearing in search engine results for that query, a CPA can easily get in touch with potential clients who are willing to invest in their services.
According to recent studies, 28% of local searches result in a purchase. The best part? Local SEO can help drive quality traffic for free!
Finally, it is much easier to rank in local searches than in global searches, which means your local SME has the opportunity to compete with mega-brands and to win. Just because there’s a Walmart or Best Buy in your town doesn’t mean you can’t grow your business!
In addition, only 56% of local businesses have claimed their Google My Business listing – a key aspect of local SEO. For this reason, a local SEO strategy will also give you a head start over other SMEs in your area that cater to a similar audience.
Narrow your pool of competitors and empower yourself to overtake them with a solid local SEO strategy that we’ll help you design in the section below.
How to optimize SEO
Local SEO often seems wild and mysterious. Is It Really Possible To Tame Google’s Big Beast? Taming is a strong word (in this context), but there are certainly some proven ways to bend the powerful search engine to your will, which we’ll explore below.
1. Configure your Google My Business page
Google is the world’s biggest and most important search engine – and it’s not even close. (Sorry Bing!) For this reason, we recommend that you use ALL of the tools available to you to make sure your business shows up in Google search results.
Google My Business is a free tool that allows local businesses to be included in Google Maps; display photos of their storefronts, products, customers, etc .; and easily connect with a wide range of potential buyers in a specific geographic area.
To set up your Google My Business profile, simply follow the instructions provided by Google, which will take you quite a distance. But also keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure your name, address, and telephone number (NAP) are correct and exactly the same in all of your online ads.
- Choose three to five categories focused on services rather than the results you help your customers succeed.
- Keep your description between 100 and 200 words – long enough to share important details about the business, short enough to accommodate tiny attention spans.
2. Choose your keywords
The next step is to choose (and use!) Strategic keywords. A keyword is a specific word or phrase that an Internet user will enter into a search engine. For example, when searching for ice cream parlors in Boise, ID, someone might type “top glacier Boise” into Google.
Your job as a local business owner and / or manager is to find out what keywords your unique customers are using and then optimize them for them.
There are many ways to find relevant keywords. First, think about all the words and phrases your customers could use to describe your business. If you are selling pet products, keywords such as “dog food”, “pet store” and “Desert Iguana” may apply.
Once you’ve done a huge keyword brain dump, it’s time to bring in the big guns: keyword software. Google Keyword Planner is a free option to get you started. If you want a more powerful tool, try something like SEMrush.
These solutions will reveal important keywords that you might not have thought of, as well as volume and competition data about your phrase list.
The last step of the first step is to choose the keywords you are going to optimize for. We suggest that you choose keywords that generate decent traffic (over 70 searches per month) but are not so competitive that it will take a miracle to rank them.
3. Quotes and secure links
Now that your keywords are locked, it’s time to secure quotes and links to your site. This is a very important part of your local SEO strategy!
So we’re on the same page, a quote is earned when your business’s NAP details are added to an online directory. Sites like Houzz, Yelp, and AngiesList, as well as your local chamber of commerce, are good examples of online directories.
When securing quotes, make sure your NAP is the same in all directories.
A link is earned every time an external website is linked to yours. Links can be acquired through online directories, blog posts, web pages, etc.
As you develop your site’s link profile, reach out to other businesses in your area, suppliers, and business partners to try and create legitimate link exchanges. Then use a tool like Moz Link Explorer or Ahrefs to find out where your competition is gaining links. Then contact those same websites with a compelling reason for them to link to your site instead.
4. Create great content
Your local SEO strategy is really cooking! Now is the time to create great content so you can rank well in search engine results, drive traffic to your site, and turn casual visitors into paying customers who trust your brand. Easier said than done, BUT we have a few tips for you:
- Keyword optimize your content: Remember all those keywords you found in step one? You are not done with them! Create content – blogs, YouTube videos, podcast episodes, etc. – using these subjects and expressions.
- Create for humans, not robots: Keywords are important, but they are not the ultimate solution. In fact, keyword stuffing will actually hurt your local SEO strategy. Instead, create easy-to-use content and then add keywords where appropriate.
- Aim for internal and external links: By linking to relevant content on other websites and your own, you will signal to search engines that your site can be trusted. Just make sure your anchor text is relevant to what you’re linking to.
- Share your content: Once you’ve created your blog, video or podcast, share it with your broadcast list, social media followings, your mom… Have as many eyes as possible. This way you can prove to search engines that your content is legitimate.
Not all the local SEO tips in the world will help you if your content sucks. Take the time to create great pieces and you will be rewarded with higher search engine rankings.
5. Encourage customer reviews
Customer reviews are important to your local SEO strategy for two reasons:
- They prove to search engines that your business really exists.
- They help potential customers trust your business enough to do business with them.
The question is, how do you get reviews? And how do you make sure these reviews are good? Oh, and on which platform should you be trying to get reviews? Sorry, those were three questions… We’ll cover each one in the order listed:
First, how do you get reviews? The easiest way is to just ask your customers for them. Then make it as easy as possible for them to follow up by sending a direct link to the platform where you want them to rate your business.
Afraid of bad reviews? If you Treat your customers well and strive to create amazing experiences for them, you shouldn’t be. To make sure your reviews are great, go above and beyond what your customers expect so they only have good things to say about you.
Finally, which review platform is the best? It really depends on your goals, but if we had to choose it would be Google. Why? It’s simple, Google is by far the biggest search engine, representing 86.86% of the global research market.
6. Optimize your approach
The last step in an effective local SEO strategy is to track and analyze your approach. Are your efforts moving the needle? If not why?
When you understand what do not work, you can make the necessary adjustments. Conversely, when you know what is by working, you can double your winning tactics. The only way to find out what works and what doesn’t is to dig into the data.
We also suggest that you keep an eye on your competition so that you can learn from their mistakes and successes and how you can differentiate your brand in a positive way.
Reach your local audience
An optimized local SEO strategy will help you reach more customers in your area, while lowering your marketing costs. To win! But to reap the benefits of SEO, you must follow the six-step system outlined in this article:
- Configure your Google My Business page
- Choose your keywords
- Quotes and secure links
- Create great content
- Encourage customer reviews
- Optimize your approach
97% of consumers investigate a business’s online presence before visit them. If you follow our six-step local SEO system, you will be able to improve your business online profile, connect with more potential customers, and grow your business.