Are you planning to put up a small business this year? Or are you looking for ways to boost your presence and brand recognition? Then one important strategy you need to start using is search engine optimization or SEO.
SEO is the process of improving your website to make it more visible in various online searches. Through an SEO strategy, you can increase your site’s rankings on page 1 of Google searches.
With businesses closing permanently because of the pandemic, you need to start strong in your community. You need to consider implementing a local SEO strategy.
If you have no idea how this works, continue reading below for a comprehensive guide for 2021.
What Is Local SEO? It’s Meaning and Importance
What exactly is local SEO? How does it differ from regular SEO?
Local SEO involves optimizing your business website to boost its visibility and create traffic from local search results. In essence, local SEO works much like SEO; only that it zooms in on your local community.
Local SEO is crucial for any business, especially start-ups. This is because local consumers are always on the hunt for products right around their area. If they can get a product close to their location, they will not buy from a source from another location.
Optimizing your website for local SEO is non-negotiable. Without a local SEO strategy, you will fail to attract prospective customers who cannot purchase items from merchants who are outside of geographical scope.
Furthermore, you will have slimmer chances of ranking high on leading search engines. 46% of all Google searches come with local intent. This means almost one in two persons who search in Google search for a product or service within their community.
With all of these in mind, you need to come up with a solid local SEO strategy. To do so, there are certain aspects you need to work on when building your local SEO strategy.
Your Google My Business Page
The first aspect you should focus on with your local SEO strategy is your Google My Business (GMB) profile. This is Google’s tool for businesses to create their Business Profile. Through this page, you can manage your online presence across Google.
This includes your presence on Google Search and Google Maps. These two elements play a huge role in helping prospective clients find your business faster, among other things.
Through Google Maps, you can manage your business information. You can get a better understanding of your local presence. From there, you can find ways to expand it. Moreover, you can interact with your target audience through the reviews and feedback they send.
However, the question is how do you do these things? By claiming and optimizing your GMB listing. After creating and verifying your GMB, you need to keep boosting it.
Start by updating your company information. Make sure all the key details in your listing are present. You also want the details to be complete and accurate.
Make sure there are no errors in grammar and spelling. Spell out the name of your business. Never miss out on a letter or number when it comes to your address and contact details.
A Mobile-Friendly Website
Another important aspect you need to cover is your website’s mobile-friendliness. With the ongoing pandemic, more people shop using their mobile devices. You need to make their shopping experience on your website a breeze.
Begin by creating a website infrastructure that is easy to navigate. Moreover, you want to publish clear and concise content. You don’t want to overload content, which may confuse visitors.
Speaking of confusion, you want to avoid it by directing customers on what to do next. Also, avoid using videos and images that take too long to load. If your pages are slow to load, it will turn off your customers.
Furthermore, a slow-loading page hurts your chances of ranking high on Google Search. Also, you want to integrate some social media buttons into your website. These buttons will send your visitors to your Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube accounts.
Master Your Keyword Research
We cannot talk about SEO strategies without mentioning keyword search. It pertains to the practice of finding words and phrases that your audience use when searching for product and services on Google. Hence, it is one of the most important parts of local SEO for many reasons.
For starters, it helps you create landing pages with searchable phrases and words. It also gives you a better understanding of your audience’s search behaviors. In turn, you can create strategies that will build stronger customer connections.
You can learn new ways to attract new clients and find similar markets you can expand to. Since you want to focus on keywords that relate to your products, ensure that you’re using the right keywords for your products.
The key is to be specific in the keywords that relate to your business. For example, if your business is vegan hamburgers, you don’t stick to the keyword “hamburgers.” Instead, you should optimize for words like “vegan hamburgers,” “healthy burgers,” and the like.
Leverage Your Social Media Presence
We mentioned earlier about incorporating social media buttons in your website. This is because you want to make your social media platforms work hand-in-hand with your social media marketing strategy.
Thus, you need to have active social media platforms. Moreover, you want to aim for verification for these platforms.
Google and other leading search engines view content people share on social media as legitimate. Having a strong social media presence adds to the credibility of your brand.
To do this, focus on becoming more active across your social media platforms. You need to keep the engagement level high by publishing relevant content.
The more often you post new and relevant content, the bigger the chances of appearing on Google’s page 1.
Your Location Counts
Since local SEO is all about letting your audience know where to find you, your location counts a lot. Make sure your website references your business’ location in strategic parts. This means your home page and other pages containing key information about what you’re offering should show your location.
The specific places you need to reference your location include the headings, the title tag, and the body copy. It should also include the meta description, as well as the footer.
Also, it is advisable to add your location in relevant URLs. This is crucial if you have more than one branch.
Another valuable tip to consider is to submit your website to local directories. However, make sure these directories are reputable ones.
Listing your site in quality local directories helps your rankings in many ways. First, Google indexes the entries in various directories. If your site belongs to a trusted local directory, you may see your directory entry appear in the top 5 results.
Also, local directories can yield some backlinks. In turn, backlinks add to your business’ credibility and improve your search rankings.
Focus on Your Website Link Structure
Another valuable technique that will boost your local SEO is your link structure. This means paying attention to your internal and external links.
An internal link is a hyperlink that site visitors can click. As they do so, the internal link will bring them to other pages or content within your website. By sprinkling internal links across your content, you are increasing customer engagement.
Your audience will get to learn more about your website and offerings. In turn, Google will notice the relevance of your pages through these internal links. As you now know, you will rank higher in Google searches if your pages are relevant.
Meanwhile, external links or backlinks work the same way as internal links. The only difference is that third-party sites are the ones linking to your pages.
If a reputable website backlinks to your site, this will add to your brand’s credibility. As a result, your traffic will increase. Google will also use backlinks to determine the reputability and legitimacy of your business.
Capitalize on Your Online Reviews
Last but not least, you need to capitalize on customer feedback. Your main goal is to earn as many positive reviews as possible. You can do so by providing top-notch service to your clients.
Regardless of the feedback you receive, responding to them will help do you good. Always thank your customers for every positive review. On the flip side, acknowledge the negative ones using an apologetic tone.
Google notes that high-quality positive reviews increase a business’ visibility. They can also boost the chances of customers visiting the shop in person.
Let’s Work on Your Local SEO Today!
Through local SEO, you can build that crucial connection with your local audience. You can establish a solid foundation that will help your business reach the next level. However, building an effective SEO strategy is no joke.
Thankfully, we are here to extend a helping hand. We offer comprehensive SEO and content marketing services. Schedule an appointment for a free strategy session.