Along with on-page SEO, off-page optimization, and link building, local search is one of the most important marketing types you should invest in. Some benefits of local SEO include attracting more traffic and improving search ranking, so don’t miss the opportunities local search provides.
How to Get Started With Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
According to HubSpot, 72% of consumers that conducted a local search visited a store within five miles. You could experience an instant increase in local traffic if you start with the following.
1. Consult Local SEO Experts to Help You
With patience, you can create a local SEO tool kit. But if you don’t have that kind of time, hire an expert that can get your business found locally. For example, if your business is located in New York, contact an SEO service in NY that understands your area and potential customer base.
If you already have an SEO strategy in place, a local SEO service can complete an audit of your platforms (including PPC ads and social media) and see where improvements can be made.
2. Claim and Optimize Google My Business
A fully optimized Google My Business page that includes keywords and high-quality photos will help Google crawl your business and place it on the front page. To optimize your page, add your phone number, business hours, address, directions, reviews, and a link to your main website.
Before you can use Google My Business, you have to start the registration and verification process and then wait for Google to send you a postcard to your store location.
3. Understand What’s Counted as a Citation
Anytime your business is mentioned online, Google counts it as a citation. The more citations you receive, the better your local SEO. However, Google separates “good” and “bad” citations by checking if your business name, address, and phone number are mentioned correctly.
For example, if your address is 1234 Smith Street, but a fan says your business is located at 1234 Smith Street, it won’t count. You need accurate citations to improve your local SEO rating.
4. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users
Every business owner should optimize their website for mobile because the vast majority of searches come from a smartphone. Not only that, but mobile devices are intent-backed, meaning they search for relevant data based on their current location and search inquiries.
Responsible layouts, interface design, and intuitive user experience are mobile website basics, but you should go above and beyond. Use this Mobile Friendly testing tool to get started.
5. Create Profiles on Local Business Directories
Business directories, like CitySearch and Yelp, are necessary to collect citations. However, you shouldn’t rely on the most common business directories, as they’re oversaturated (possibly by similar-sounding companies). Be sure to include specific business directories in your search.
But don’t stop there. Look for local business community sites, state government sites, citation aggregators (like Acxiom, Factual, or Infogroup), and local news or newspaper websites.
6. Online Reviews and Website Content
Your customers will check online reviews before they ever set foot into your business, so don’t underestimate the value they hold. You’ll need at least 5 reviews before Google starts showing them on your Google My Business page, so ask for testimonials whenever you make a sale.
For example, you could motivate field sales personnel or store managers to get reviews from customers, or you can utilize email marketing and insert a review link in each message.
7. Focus on Local SEO Relevant Rich Schema
Schema markups are a form of microdata that creates an enhanced description, which appears in Google search results. There are several tags that focus on local website attributes, such as local relevance, address, ratings, working hours, phone number, reviews, and much more.
Rich schema is a complicated subject, but you can use various structured data testing tools to make sure you’ve done it right. Once you have, all relevant information should be present.