Local SEO has become a crucial component of any digital marketing strategy, particularly for small businesses. Local SEO involves optimizing your website, Google My Business profile, and other online directories to rank in local search results.
Why is local SEO important?
According to HubSpot, 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information, with 72% of consumers performing a local search before visiting a store within 5 miles. Furthermore, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
In this complete guide to local SEO, we’ll walk through some actionable strategies to help you optimize your local search presence and get your business in front of more customers.
Start with your Google My Business profile
Your Google My Business (GMB) profile is the foundation for your local search presence. It’s the first thing people see when they search for your business on Google, and it provides key information such as your business name, address, phone number, directions, hours, and reviews.
Here are some tips to optimize your GMB profile:
1. Claim your profile: First and foremost, you need to claim your GMB profile. Go to the Google My Business website and follow the prompts to verify your business.
2. Complete your profile: Make sure you fill out all relevant fields on your GMB profile. This includes your business category, hours of operation, website URL, phone number, address, and photos. Be sure to use high-quality images that showcase your business.
3. Get customer reviews: Customer reviews are important for building trust and credibility with potential customers. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your GMB profile. You can also respond to reviews to show that you value customer feedback.
4. Use Google Posts: Google Posts is a feature that allows you to create short posts that appear in your GMB profile. You can use Google Posts to promote events, sales, or other promotions.
Optimize your website for local SEO
Your website should also be optimized for local search. Here are some tips to help you do that:
1. Use your location in your content: Mention your city or region in your website’s content. This will help users and search engines understand that your business is located in a specific area.
2. Include location-specific keywords: Research keywords that are relevant to your business and include location-specific keywords. For example, if you’re a dentist in Seattle, you might use the keyword “Seattle dentist” on your website.
3. Use schema markup: Schema markup is code that you add to your website to help search engines understand your content. This can help your website appear in rich snippets in search results. You can use schema markup to add your business name, address, phone number, and other relevant information.
4. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly: More and more people are using their mobile devices to search for local businesses. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices so that users can easily navigate and find the information they need.
Get listed in online directories
Online directories are another way to improve your local search presence. Here are some directories to consider:
1. Yelp: Yelp is a popular review site where users can search for and review local businesses. You can claim your business profile on Yelp and respond to reviews.
2. Yellow Pages: Yellow Pages is an online directory that lists businesses by category and location. You can create a free listing on Yellow Pages.
3. Angie’s List: Angie’s List is a review site for local businesses. You can create a profile and respond to reviews.
4. Local Chamber of Commerce: Your local Chamber of Commerce may have a directory of member businesses. Check to see if this is an option for you.
Build local links
Links are a key factor in SEO, and local links can help you appear higher in local search. Here are some strategies for building local links:
1. Guest blog on local websites: Reach out to local websites and offer to write a guest blog post. This will give you exposure to their audience and a link back to your website.
2. Sponsor local events: Sponsoring local events is a great way to get exposure and build links. Many event websites will list their sponsors and include links back to their websites.
3. Join local business associations: Joining local business associations is a great way to network with other businesses and get backlinks. Many business associations have member directories where you can list your business.
Local SEO can be a powerful tool for attracting more customers to your business. By optimizing your Google My Business profile, website, and online directories, and building local links, you can improve your local search presence and get your business in front of more potential customers.