Local search is powerful for small businesses: four out of five consumers use search to find local information, which means if your business isn’t optimized for local search, you could be missing out on 80% of your potential customers. In short, local SEO is critical if you want your business to stay relevant. To help you optimize your business for local SEO, we’ve created a comprehensive guide, which will cover local SEO tools, local search best practices, how to optimize for Google My Business, and more.
What is Local SEO?Local SEO helps businesses promote their products and services to local prospects and customers. To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.
Best Practice Local SEO TacticsTo thrive in local search, you need to do three things: optimize your Google My Business account, improve your on-page SEO by updating your website, and excel on the Wild Wild Web. While it might sound overwhelming, it’s entirely feasible to succeed in all three with some patience and perseverance. Stick with us, and we’ll explore each one in-depth.
Optimize for Google My BusinessGoogle My Business has become the creme de la creme of local search — since Google understandably feels most comfortable sharing content it can support and verify, Google My Business is their tool to help your business meet Google’s needs. If Google can verify your business as authentic, it will potentially reward your business with a coveted sidebar space in Google local search. To ensure you’re optimized for Google My Business, you’ll want to create and verify a Google My Business page, use Google Posts within your account, encourage your customers to share reviews online, and respond authentically to reviews, specifying location. For example, “We appreciate your feedback on [product/service] in [city, state]. We value your input and look forward to working with you again. Thank you from the [full company name] team.” To learn more about using Google My Business, check out our full post here.
Website UpdatesNow that we’ve discussed optimizing your business for Google My Business, let’s take a look at five simple website updates to improve your local SEO. 1. Improve Internal Linking Structure Although external links pointing to your site are ideal (which I’ll discuss soon), adjusting your internal linking structure will also boost your SEO rankings. Why does internal linking matter? It does the following:
- Supports website navigation
- Assists with information architecture and website hierarchy
- Distributes page authority and ranking power among pages
Engage with Directories and the Wild Wild WebYou’ve learned how to optimize your business for Google My Business and how to update your website for an internal SEO boost — now, let’s take a look at how you can use NAP consistency, directories, and inbound links to take your business one step closer to that number one spot on local search. Name, Address, Phone Consistency You’ve got to make it easy for people and search engines to find you. To do this, set up your NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number (with area code). This should be included as crawlable HTML text on your site. Avoid the common mistake of only including the NAP within an image — images can’t be crawled from search engines like HTML text. The most common location for the NAP is in the footer or header of the site. Optimize Online Directories and Citations For United States companies, these four map data aggregators provide a large amount of the map data for Apple, Yelp, Bing, Google+ local, Trip Advisor, and more.verify that your citations are consistent and complete across these four data aggregators. Discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number or wrong phone number can be problematic. If Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business at all in search results. Additionally, be sure to remove any duplicate listings you find. Bonus points for emphasizing a Chambers of Commerce membership in your community, which will garner you an external inbound link. Get Inbound Links with Relevance and Authority Inbound links are incredibly powerful opportunities to boost your local SEO — every inbound link tells Google you’re a legitimate company, and inbound links can also raise your domain authority. Here are a few ways to get inbound links:
- Sponsorships or Partnerships
- Guest Blog Posting