Local SEO is the foundation of any small business's marketing strategy. The world is moving rapidly into this digital space and being visible online is only becoming more important as we progress.
There are two paths to getting the viewed on search engines. You can pay for advertisements (which have gotten more expensive as competition has increased) or you can do it organically through SEO.
However, there are a lot of people who don't understand that local SEO is important and they fumble around with other forms of marketing only to lose faith in the process altogether.
Possibly because they don't understand how local SEO works, they don't have time to learn or implement it, or they don't have the budget to have someone else to the work for them. So rather invest in a process they're unsure of, they trash the idea altogether.
Let's get into what you need to know about local SEO: Why is it important? How can you rank higher in the search results page?
What is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization is about making your business the best it can be in the eyes of Google. This means ranking as closely to the top search result for search terms that are relevant to you; and aligning with what people are searching for in your area.
There are a lot of reasons why this is important, not only because it helps bring potential local customers into your brick-and-mortar businesses but also because it gives you authority online, which can lead to higher rankings on adjacent platforms and other forms of digital marketing.
Local SEO helps businesses of all kinds, but it is especially important for those who rely on foot traffic to stay afloat. Why bother caring about this at all?
The first and most obvious reason is that the competition is increasing online. Not only are more people reaching out to find businesses through their phones or computers—which makes your business much easier to find—but there's also a lot more noise in general because everyone else is vying for their slice of the search engine pie.
One of the ways local SEO works best is by giving you an advantage when customers are looking for your location specifically when searching for products or services. This means if someone searches "plumbers" in your zip code, they're going to see your handyman service instead.
How can I start using SEO for my business?
SEO is an important component of a business's online presence. If you're looking for ways to boost your visibility and make sure potential customers find what they are looking for, then local SEO is the way to go. But where do you start implementing something like SEO?
Google My Business
For local businesses, the most impactful step you can take is setting up and optimizing your Google My Business listing. Making sure that you are thorough when setting it up, but also not "over-optimizing" to the point where it becomes cluttered. Your local listing on Google is where a majority of your customers will be drawn to when they search for your business online.
Having a website to list on your GMB is the next major step. If you haven't invested in a website yet, look into having one built by a professional. Something to remember; this is not the time to go bargain hunting. The cost up front may seem daunting but a properly done website that has been optimized for conversions will be worth it in the end.
The next logical step once your site is up and running would be to run a professional audit to determine any glaring mistakes, technical errors or performance issues that my affect your user-experience and search engine rankings.
There are tons of tools out there that can give you a basic overview of your site and what you may need to fix, but an audit from a professional will always be more in-depth and may cover areas that a standard DIY tool might overlook.
If you would like to start the process with our auditing tool, simply click the link in the top right corner of the site. We will send you a comprehensive report with details of the site, its technical health, and ways to improve your site's performance. If you are still unsure of where to go from there, feel free to contact me directly and we can do an in-depth review of the site to diagnose potential problems and provide ideas on how to get more web visitors that convert into paying clients.
Once you have your audit report, you should have a pretty clear idea of what needs fixing. Most technical errors should be a breeze to repair, but if you struggle to make the changes yourself, reach out to a professional for help.
Beyond the audit, you'll want to keep a few things in mind as well. Google prefers "mobile-first" sites. Remember to make sure that the site is built optimally for mobile devices and you include your address and phone number on each page of the site (typically in the header or footer).
I suppose for some service based businesses/local businesses that this could potentially be your final step regarding the site. Once the site is up, healthy and performing well, you'll want to make sure that your pages are optimized for the keywords that your customers are using.
Keyword planning is a huge step in making sure that you are not only getting traffic to the site, but also making sure that your traffic is highly qualified and ready to convert.
Consider what google searches your customers are using to find you. When they need your services, what are they typing into the search engine?
These are the queries that you need to be sure you are appearing for.
Once the site is complete and optimized for the keywords you've chosen, you're ready to kick back and relax a bit. From here on out, the work is in managing and nurturing what you've built.
To give yourself a boost; post to GMB 3-4 times a week, include keywords from the site in your captions, and link back to a relevant page on your site.
And don't forget your local citations! Make sure to list your site on as many local listings and online directories as you can. Adding your listing to a business directory can help increase your exposure and count as low-level backlinks to your site.
If you've been considering adding a local SEO campaign to your digital marketing strategy, now is the time. Our team can help you identify which keywords will be most effective for reaching your ideal market and how to optimize them on Google Maps so that potential customers who are looking for what you offer don't get lost in a sea of competitors. We'll also show you ways to rank higher with reviews from previous clients or social media posts about their experiences working with us.
The only thing stopping you from getting more exposure to this highly targeted group of consumers could be yourself!
Contact my team if I can answer any questions or provide additional guidance.