I am positive that everybody who has some type of online content to show to their customers has heard about SEO before.
In this day and age, SEO is something that you absolutely have to know plenty about especially if you are writing SEO articles.
It is the practice of increasing the number of people that come to your website, but also the quality of those visits.
SEO is great for brand exposure and customer engagement. The most important thing to understand about SEO is that the focus is on the people and what they are searching for.
Once you understand what your target audience might search for, you can optimize your own content to fit those standards.
But since most of the companies are focusing on SEO and how to serve their customers the best, it can get quite competitive.
You need to invest high efforts in order to be able to rank well among your competitors.
Why is Local SEO Important?
If you are in need of a pharmacy right now, you would probably google something like “pharmacy near me” in order to get the pharmacies that are the closest to your location.
That is very important. Local SEO promotes the visibility of your business based on location.
So when people search for whatever it is that you’re offering them, they would find your business in their vicinity and become customers.
Searches that include geolocation like city, country, zip code, or the near me searches—all come under this category.
Having SEO that targets these needs of the business is very important especially if you have a business that provides something in a certain physical location.
This can be a very big and amazing opportunity for your business to catch new customers and those that are merely passing by.
According to Social Media Today, 75% of consumers that search for business actually end up visiting the stores within a five-mile radius.
Almost 80% of those mobile searches end up with an in-store purchase.
Looking at these statistics, you just can’t allow yourself to miss an opportunity of this caliber.
Relevant: Read my in-depth Amazon SEO guide here.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits that could come from a good local SEO, and some of them are:
- It helps potential customers to discover your business—many non-local people are the main source of searching for businesses near them and if you have a good SEO in place your business can reap the benefits of that.
- It helps your business to stand out—you might not even have a website, but your business can stand out in local searches and thus lead to more traffic online to your store.
- It gives customers relevant information—the customers want to know if you are pet-friendly or your working hours or do you offer free Wi-Fi. All the information can be available online attracting certain people.
- It can lead to a better business reputation—a good local SEO can help drive people’s decisions towards your business. The better information they have, the bigger the trust they will build. And trust is always good for the brand’s reputation.
- It increases traffic to your page—once people find out your business, increased traffic is guaranteed. Even more so in case, they visit your business and like it.
There are many benefits as I previously mentioned, and you can get them yourself if you are interested.
Also read my post on top secret SEO tricks.
How to optimize your website for local SEO
If you want to start optimizing your business for local SEO, you’d have to start with your webpage.
Nowadays, it is extremely rare for a business to not have a webpage because of its extreme importance.
However, having a webpage is not nearly enough. You have to spend a lot of effort making it perfect for good rankings.
Let’s get into some tips and strategies on how you can optimize your webpage for local SEO.
1. Web Page optimization
As I previously stated, the webpage is very important. It can tell a lot about your business and you need to be careful with how you communicate your business with customers.
The webpage should be easy to look at, and it should be very clear. One glance at it and people should know what your business is, where it is located, and what you are offering.
Optimizing the webpage in this way will make it easier for Google too to understand the basics of your business.
There is no optimization without the proper Meta tags.
You have to pay attention to writing good page title tags, correct header tags, and proper Meta descriptions.
Whether or not Meta tags help your rankings is debatable among many people, but they unmistakably play an important role in making a good first impression to your visitors.
For local SEO, include local tags such as the name of the city your business is in. This will be a huge help in letting Google know where your business is offering its products or services.
3. Make a clear sitemap
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses do in this context is trying to cram all their offerings on one or two web pages.
This is not helpful for local SEO at all. Instead, you should create a separate page for every service or product that you’re offering and that should be clear enough so when people are searching for that particular thing, your page comes up.
Painting a clear sitemap with categories and subcategories can be really helpful.
Another thing is if you have multiple locations where you’re offering your business, make a separate page for all of them.
You can’t come up on search results in New York if you’re only mentioning your Los Angeles location, right?
4. Implement SEO practices throughout the whole website
Pretty logical, huh?
If you don’t work on normal SEO optimization to everything that can be found on your website, it won’t be good enough for local SEO.
Make sure that you’re offering a good content that is search engine optimized itself.
Better content strategy, better blog posts, a better relationship with your visitors all mean better profit.
Local SEO Strategies
Local Content Creation
Writing content that applies to the general public is good and can attract many people from all over the world, but if you want to do some local SEO you have to focus on creating some localized content.
Try producing top-notch content for the local industry or the local audience’s wishes and needs.
Depending on what your business is, write about local events, gatherings, industry news in the local area, and other educational content that might help the local people.
Try to be specific and to talk to the local people only.
For example, if your business is selling outdoor clothing, try to write about the weather in the upcoming period in your city and the vicinity where people usually go to do some sports, etc.
Create and optimize your Google My Business account
GMB is getting very relevant when it comes to local SEO. Google is the largest search engine as we all know, and it makes sense that the Google directory is the most important out of them all.
If you optimize your GMB you can achieve increased visibility especially when it comes to local searches.
The best thing is that applying for it is not too hard of a process. All you need to do is the following:
- Go to Google My Business
- Sign in to your Google business account (or create a new one if you don’t have one)
- Enter the address, specify the location on a map, add other information. If you don’t have a physical store for your business but operate in a certain area, you can list the area only.
- Choose whether your business location will appear on Google Maps
- Select a business category
- Add a phone number, website, other contact information
- Select the verification option
After this, the verification process can begin. According to Google, verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable by customers.
The verification process can be done via a verification postcard or in some cases phone call, text, email or Google Search Console.
Normally, the postcard is a usual verification process. What happens is Google sends a postcard with a verification code to the address of the business that you’re trying to verify.
It takes a few weeks to receive the postcard depending on where your business is located. The unique verification code needs to be entered in the GMB account to confirm.
Once you verify your business, it might take a few days until you can actually see the GMB option in Google, so be patient.
In the meantime, make sure that all the information you’re providing is correct and try to add as many details as possible.
Customers want to know as much as possible with that one local search on Google.
Don’t be afraid to add even the tiniest data like for example your business being pet-friendly, or having free Wi-Fi, etc.
Add photos and videos from inside the business, outside in front of the business making it easier for people to know what they’re looking for.
Once you’ve done a great job at preparing all of this, use the GMB to your advantage and connect to your customers more. Share offers, products, news, events, use the Q&A feature, reply to reviews, etc.
Get listed in other directories
Business directories are a very important thing when it comes to increasing online visibility.
You have to think of all the different customers that you have and all the different business directories they trust, so you ought to have as many of them as you can.
Business directories are usually giving basic info about your business, contact details and reviews by the customers.
Other than Google My Business which I already discussed, there are hundreds of other directories out there where you can create a profile.
The more business directories your business is on, the higher the visibility that your business has. It’s logical.
Other than Google, you should first start with Yelp, Yahoo, and Foursquare. These are the most used ones, but there are many others that you can choose to have.
And of course, you don’t have to have them all just those that make the most sense for you and your business.
Consistency and updating
Once you have made all the directories, you absolutely have to make sure that they are all consistent meaning they offer the same information.
This is not only good for SEO and local SEO purposes, but it is also very important for your brand and customer trust.
Be aware of having duplicate listings since those can make confusion among your customers and make things worse than having none at all.
Another thing you should focus on is updating the info in all directories. If you are too busy to do this, then it’s better to disregard the directories than to offer faulty information to your customers.
A better idea would be having one or two main directories that you will update and work on all the time instead of having them all and leaving them like that forever.
The contact info should always have NAP: name, address, phone number displayed.
A good idea is to use a master directory listing that will make it easier for you to keep all your directories updated and in check.
Another possibility to keep track of your directories is the good old spreadsheet document where you would keep info on which directories are updated and which should be.
Another thing that should be consistent through all of the directories is the brand and the logo. If you are using an old logo on one directory and a new one of another it can cause confusion about your brand.
Most of the local searches are done on mobile devices, and this makes sense.
If you are somewhere in a new place and you want to find the best restaurant near you, you’d just take your phone out and google that.
Also in general, people are using their phones more often these days instead of pc.
This puts extra pressure on webpages to be extremely mobile-friendly and optimized for local SEO and general SEO as well.
Some ways you can do that are:
- Make sure that your website loads very quickly- up to two seconds
- Use clear fonts that are easy to read
- Use design and images to make your content more interesting, but only for the very necessary information
- Have an amazing UI for good UX of the visitors
Add Local Keywords
Keywords are important and you should add the ones relevant to your industry and the target audience.
However, you should also insert keywords that are relevant to the local customers if you want your content to rank well on a local level.
There are many keyword searches where you can filter the keywords by a location so you can have an idea of what is the most relevant in your community.
Once you did your research and have the local keywords, make sure to insert them not only in the content but in the meta tags, URL’s, etc.
Another great tip is to include local attractions in your content or place that your city is known for.
Pay attention to voice search
Another trend that is on the rise is voice search. It can be a convenient option when you’re busy typing or it’s not a safe thing.
So, you need to explore this opportunity as well when it comes to local SEO. There is one problem with this.
It is different from typing SEO because when people tend to use voice search they do it in a different manner than while typing.
Usually, people will talk more lengthy sentences where the words are much more naturally connected.
A good strategy around this might be to cover the basic questions starting with the common question words like what, who, where, when, why and how.
This way, you are likely to more or less cover your basis.
Local SEO Tools
If you are wondering what type of SEO tools can assist you in your local SEO fight, then I have some suggestions for you:
- Whitespark Local Citation Finder— is a local listing management tool that might be a good investment for your business. You can also find your next business listings on the tool that improves your local SEO rankings. There are lots of additional features like monitoring local searches, collecting reviews, discovering link opportunities, and more. The prices start from around $17/month.
- Screaming Frog—is a desktop program that can crawl the website’s likes, apps, images, scripts, etc. It can be extremely helpful in letting you know if you have some errors, missing meta tags, etc. There is a free trial of 500 URL’s and after that, the unlimited version costs $200/year.
- SEOProfiler—is one of the most powerful and expensive local SEO tools with lots of features like website page optimization, identifying local keywords, finding out bad backlinks and much more. It is a very helpful tool and for that reason, it can cost from around $50/month to $1000/month depending on what features you need.
- SEOPressor—is a tool that gives a score for your overall SEO strength on the webpage. It also gives bits of advice and recommendations for improvement which can also benefit your local SEO. One feature that is very successful is notifying you of any pages that have to be optimized in special ways.
- Moz Local—it is a tool that will make sure your business listing is verified by Google and Facebook and distribute those listings accordingly through the web world. Moreover, the tool can help your business gain visibility. It costs anywhere from $99 to $179 per year, so it’s more affordable than many of these tools.
- Synup—is useful for the NAP information for the local directories and allows you to manage your listings. You can also review then and analyze them. It is one of the best and most comprehensive tools for this area and the price is $25 per month which is not so much for such an effective tool.
- BuzzStream—an amazing tool for earning local backlinks. It will help you to identify and build relationships with local people that will help your traffic and awareness. Additionally, the tool is effective in content promotion and PR. The prices start from $24/month and can go up to $1000/month.
- Ahrefs—is a tool that helps with backlink checking and competitor analysis, keyword research, and other features. It is quite effective in that, and the price starts at $99/month up to $179/month.
To sum it up, local SEO is a very important part of the overall SEO that you do for your business.
You should not avoid working on it, and you should invest in research, time, and/or necessary tools to make sure that your local SEO is on point.
Implementing just some of these pieces of advice can go a long way in creating brand awareness and customer trust among your local target audience.
Drop a comment below and let me know which SEO tips would you like me to cover in my next post.
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