Local SEO 101
Three quick tips to optimize your online presence for local search and stand out from the competition:
Build a Google My Business profile that shows your name, address, phone number, website, hours, photos, reviews, and more.
Use local keywords that match what people are searching for in your area or niche.
Get more reviews and citations that show your authority and reputation.
Local SEO Tip 1: Build a Google My Business Profile
One of the most important things you need for local SEO is a Google My Business profile. This free profile shows up on Google Maps and in the local pack (the three results with a map that appears at the top of the search results).
Your Google My Business profile can show your name, address, phone number, website, hours, photos, reviews, and more.
Having a Google My Business profile can help you:
Increase your visibility: Your profile can make your business more visible to people searching for what you offer in your area. According to Google, 46% of all searches have a local intent, and 29% of all search results contain a local pack.
Increase your credibility: Your profile can show your ratings and reviews from your customers, boosting your reputation and trustworthiness. According to BrightLocal, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020, and 73% only paid attention to reviews in the last month.
Increase conversions: Your profile can show your offers and promotions, persuading people to choose you over your competitors. You can also add a call-to-action button, such as "Call Now" or "Book Online," making it easier for people to contact or visit your store.
To create and optimize your Google My Business profile, you need to:
Claim and verify your profile: By entering your business information and verifying it by phone, email, or mail. This will ensure that you have control over your profile and that it is accurate and up-to-date.
Complete and update your profile: Fill out all the fields in your profile, such as your category, description, services, attributes, and more. You must also update your profile regularly with new photos, posts, offers, and events.
Encourage and respond to reviews: Ask your customers to leave reviews on your profile and respond to them politely and professionally. Reviews can help you improve your ranking and reputation.
Local SEO Tip 2: Use Local Keywords
Local keywords are words or phrases people use to search for things in their area.
For example, if you have a barber shop in Cleveland, some local keywords might be "barber near me," "barbershop Cleveland," or "best barber in Cleveland."
Using local keywords can help you:
Increase your relevance: Local keywords can help you match what people are searching for and show them you have what they need. They can also help you avoid competing with businesses, not in your area or niche.
Increase your ranking: Local keywords can help you rank higher on search engines and directories for local searches. They can also help you rank for voice searches, which people looking for things near them often do.
Increase your traffic: Local keywords can help drive organic traffic to your website or online profiles. They can also help you attract more qualified leads who are more likely to convert.
To find and use local keywords, you need to:
Conduct keyword research: Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or UberSuggest to find local keywords with high search volume and low competition. Use tools like Google Trends or AnswerThePublic to find trending topics and questions related to your niche.
Optimize your website and content: Use local keywords in your URL, title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and content. Also, use local keywords in your anchor texts, image alt texts, and schema markup. Avoid keyword stuffing and use natural and varied language.
Create local landing pages: Create separate pages for each location or service area you serve. Each page should have unique and relevant content that showcases your value proposition, testimonials, offers, and contact information for that area. You should also include a map and directions to your store or office.
Local SEO Tip 3: Get More Reviews and Citations
Reviews are customer feedback that appears on your Google My Business profile, social media platforms, or third-party websites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor.
Citations mention your business name, address, and phone number on other websites or directories.
Getting more reviews and citations can help you:
Increase your authority: Reviews and citations can show Google that your business is trustworthy and popular among your customers and peers. They can also help you build social proof and word-of-mouth referrals.
Increase your ranking: Reviews and citations are important ranking factors for local SEO, as they signal to Google that your business is relevant and reputable. According to Moz, reviews and citations account for 19% of the local pack ranking factors and 13% of the organic local ranking factors.
Increase your conversions: Reviews and citations can help you influence your customers' buying decisions and persuade them to choose you over your competitors. According to BrightLocal, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 68% are likelier to use a business with positive reviews.
To get more reviews and citations, you need to:
Encourage and incentivize reviews: Ask your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile, social media platforms, or third-party websites. You can do this by sending them an email or SMS reminders, offering them discounts or rewards, or displaying signs or stickers in your store or office.
Respond and manage reviews: Respond to all reviews, whether positive or negative, promptly and professionally. You should thank your customers for their feedback, address their concerns, and invite them to revisit you. You should also monitor and report fake or spammy reviews that might harm your reputation.
Build and update citations: Create and claim citations on relevant websites or directories that cater to your niche or area. You should also update your citations regularly with accurate and consistent information across all platforms. You can use tools like Moz Local or BrightLocal to manage your citations.