Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
Do you want to attract more local traffic to your website? Check out The Next Scoop’s guide for all the tips you’ll need.
If your business has an online presence, you’re probably looking for ways to take your SEO to the next level all of the time.
For companies with physical locations or a lot of customers in one area, local SEO can really help to increase website traffic and in-store footfall.
In this article, I’m going to explain how you can optimize your web presence for local searches so, the next time someone nearby searches for your products or services, you’ll appear in the results.
1. Use of Google My Business listing
First thing’s first: you need to claim your Google My Business listing.
Whenever you use Google to search for a specific business nearby, you might see their listing pop up on the right-hand side of your browser. This feature allows companies to provide their customers with details like their address and contact details, as well as connect with them through reviews and comments.
So, if you haven’t already claimed your Google My Business listing, do it now. If you’re not sure what you need to do, check out Google’s video tutorial, which will walk you through the process.
There are a lot of benefits to having a Google My Business listing. First off, it’s free, so it’s truly a risk-free way to promote your products or services to locals. Plus, your listing will help to show that your business is legitimate, will allow you to claim your space on Google Maps, and will improve your online visibility, as it can help you to leapfrog your competitors on the Google search results pages.
It’s also worth noting that Google recently added new features to these listings to help businesses to weather the ongoing pandemic. Roadside Dental Marketing has a great guide to updating your GMB listing for a COVID-19 reopening, which outlines all of the different features you can use, and how to make the most of them. Make sure you check it out if you would like to use your listing to its full potential.
2. Ensure your NAP is consistent on every platform
You don’t want search engines or customers to get confused when they’re trying to work out your location. For this reason, it’s vital that you keep your company name, address, and phone number consistent on every platform.
For example, if your business has several different phone numbers — perhaps you have one for customer service, and one for complaints — make sure you choose one as your main point of contact and list this at every opportunity. It’s also important that you write your address the same way each and every time. So, for example, if you typically spell out words like North, Avenue, or Street, make sure these aren’t abbreviated elsewhere.
These might seem like minor points to make, but they can have a huge impact on your local SEO. So, if you’re serious about optimizing your online business presence, check that all of these details are consistent on your website, social media channels, local directories, and anywhere else your company is mentioned.
3. Create a page for each of your locations
If your business has multiple locations, it’s a good idea to dedicate a webpage to each one. You can optimize your pages by including the location in the header tags, title, and body copy of your page.
Bay Property Management Group is a great example of a company that does this well. They have their location in all of their header tags and in various places throughout their body copy. Plus, they have their Google Maps location that people can easily use to get directions to their nearest office.
Because the company has multiple locations, its website has multiple of these pages. But the most important thing is that they aren’t carbon copies of each other with a few details changed. Each one is completely unique, with details about their services in each area, photos of local properties that are available, and any other unique details that set them apart from each other.
Excel Builders is another great example of a company with strong location web pages. They build custom homes in Maryland and Delaware, across several different counties. So, they have a location page for each specific area.
Again, the area in question is mentioned in the header, as well as the body content. And the copy on each page is completely unique. This makes it much easier for search engines like Google to work out which counties the company serves, so it can rank this website for local searches related to custom built homes.
Even as a major national store chain, Target manages to optimize its site for a variety of locations. Take a look at this snapshot of information about one of their stores in Minneapolis, for instance. They offer up the address, opening hours, services offered, phone number, and COVID-19 information.
While this might be quite brief, it makes it very clear to both search engines and prospective customers that there is a Target in this area. So, it’s much easier for people to find the company online through a local search.
4. Ask your customers to leave Google Reviews
When it’s appropriate, make sure to check in with your customers and ask them to leave Google reviews for your business. Google likes to send their searchers to well-reviewed websites so, if your happy customers leave positive comments about your products or services, the search engine is likely to push you up the results.
There are a number of ways you can convince your customers to leave a review. For example, you could send them an email after they make a purchase, or ask them for feedback the next time they visit your site.
You should also monitor your Google reviews and respond to any that you receive to show that your business cares about its customers.
If you need some more help with this, check out The Next Scoop’s guide to the different ways you can get reviews for your small business. It outlines how to ask on social media, why you might want to boost your online presence, and more.
5. Produce content with a local angle
Content marketing is incredibly important for SEO, as it allows you to target relevant keywords, show your expertise, and give people a reason to link back to your site.
And, more specifically, if you create content with a local angle, it can give search engines a better idea of where you’re located. The approach you take will depend on the type of business you run but, for example, a wedding dress store could create a listicle of local wedding venues, or a pet shop could put together a round-up of the best dog walks in the area.
Think about what kinds of information your target customers are interested in, and how you could relate this to your local area.
6. Incorporate local sites into your link building plans
Link building is an essential part of boosting your SEO. This involves convincing other authoritative sites in your niche to provide you with high-quality backlinks. When lots of reputable websites link back to your company or content, Google will take this as a vote of confidence in your work, and will boost your search engine rankings as a result.
You can incorporate the tactic into your local SEO strategy, too, to give search engines more context about the area you serve.
When building your local backlink profile, there are a lot of different approaches you can take. For example, you could offer to write a guest post for the blog of a local business, or you could ask a local online newspaper to cover an event you’re holding. I would recommend making a list of local sites you would like to get your business featured on, and then think about how you can make it happen.
7. Target local keywords with your copy
If you’ve been working on improving your overall SEO, you might have some experience with keyword research. And, when you’re trying to give search engines more context about where your business is based, you can start targeting keywords with more of a local angle.
Tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush allow you to input words that are relevant to your niche, and they’ll then show you similar search terms that are particularly popular. You’ll also want to add the name of your city, county, or state to find out what people are looking for in your area. For example, plugging “restaurants Seattle” into Google Keyword Planner gives you a huge amount of results, including “best breakfast Seattle” and “best sushi Seattle.”
Travelodge, a hotel near the Space Needle, does a great job of targeting local keywords on its site. And the strategy has really worked for the business — Google has a strong understanding of where the hotel is based, and now ranks the site on the first page for the popular phrase “dining by the Space Needle” as a result.
Just ensure that any keywords you do incorporate into your content seem natural. You don’t want to overuse them, or you might be penalized for keyword stuffing. For more information about this, check out The Next Scoop’s article on keyword density. It’ll help you get the balance right.
If your business has a physical location or serves a particular area, you need a local SEO strategy to reach the right people. There are so many strategies you can use, from claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing, to creating content with a local angle. Building links on local sites, encouraging your customers to leave Google reviews, and targeting local keywords can also do wonders for your rankings.
Would you like to learn more about improving your online visibility? The Next Scoop has lots of other articles that will teach you more about SEO, so be sure to check them out.
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