If you own a physical store and want to expand your brand’s reach, you need to know about Local SEO. Local SEO (also known as local search marketing) is the act of putting your business on the map for people to discover. Whether you’re a national brand or a small and mid-size enterprise, having a local presence is key to generating consistent revenue.
You want to ensure that your business appears on the search engine results page when people type in specific terms. For example, if a user searches for “restaurant near me,” your business name, address, and contact number should appear. Local SEO helps generate foot traffic by directing people to your store.
In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of local SEO so that you can build a local presence and maintain an advantage over your competitors.
Why is Local SEO important?
Nowadays, businesses focus mainly on social media marketing, email campaigns, PPC advertising, and more. While these methods are great at building your online presence, they tend to leave a gap in local visibility. That’s why local SEO exists; to ensure your business is always visible to customers near you.
According to HubSpot, almost 88% of customers who search for a local business will either call or visit them in the next 24 hours. Imagine the potential sales you can generate when your local SEO is on-point. By optimizing your website and business details, you can pull more organic traffic and ultimately have customers walking into your store.
But there’s more to local SEO than just maintaining a local presence. When implemented correctly, local SEO can provide the following benefits:
- Improve your conversion rates
- Reach the right customers
- Generate both foot traffic and website traffic
- Create more brand awareness
- Bypass your competitors
Now that you understand the importance of local SEO, it’s time to implement it into your marketing strategy.
Steps on implementing Local SEO
1. Create a Google Business Profile
The first step in implementing local SEO is to set up your Business Profile on Google. Formerly known as Google My Business, this tool helps you reach more customers by displaying your profile on Google Maps and Google Search. Think of your Business Profile as a modern yellow-page listing where people can easily contact you and locate your business.
Setting up your Busines Profile is pretty straightforward. Just go to google.com/business > enter your business name and business category, then fill up the rest of the required details. Once your Business Profile is complete, you can now provide updates on your establishment’s operating hours, updated services, and other important information that you don’t want your customers to miss.
In addition, a Business Profile lets you build trust with your customers in the form of reviews. Google’s star ratings indicate how good your products/services are. The more five-star ratings you acquire, the more credibility your brand gains. So make sure to strive for the best customer service possible to obtain positive recommendations.
2. List your business in other online directories
While Google’s Business Profile is a great way to put your business on the map, it’s not the only tool you should use. Online directories effectively build search engine visibility which is crucial for generating leads. You want to drive as much organic growth as possible to ensure you reach your target audience, and online directories will help you do just that.
Here’s a list of the top online directories where you should list your business:
- Touch Local
- Yahoo Business Listings
- Bing Places for Business
Keep in mind when listing your business in online directories, you want to make sure that your NAP information (name and place) is accurate and as consistent as possible. Double-check the business name, address, and phone number to ensure everything is correct. If there are any changes to your business details, always update them across all of your listings. That way, you maintain a strong SEO presence and ensure the foot traffic heads directly to your store.
3. Optimize your content for voice search
We live in a digital era where people value convenience above all else. That’s why many users rely on voice search to look for the products and services they need. Therefore, businesses must optimize their content for voice search to maintain their visibility across search engines. When creating content for your website, you want to use long-tail keywords as these fit the conversational tone that people use when doing voice searches.
Ensure that your content is also relevant to your local area and integrates keywords people use to discover your business. In your meta description and title tags, consider adding “near me” as users attach these phrases when looking for products/services near them.
Having a FAQ page built around local SEO is critical to maintaining visibility. When constructing your FAQ page, use conversational tones that flow naturally. That way, you get a better opportunity of being featured on Google’s snippets.
4. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
To be a strong player in local SEO, you need a fast and responsive website. The shift to mobile devices is happening at a lightning pace, and users rely on their tablets and smartphones to look for what they want/need. Website speeds are a big factor for SEO, and the faster your website is, the higher rankings you’ll achieve in the SERPS.
First and foremost, you should use a reliable web hosting service with strong support. From there, you can make the necessary adjustments like downsizing your image files, enabling accelerated mobile pages (AMP), and using a responsive WordPress theme.
There are plenty of ways to speed up your website, and Google’s PageSpeed Insights gives you insightful tips on how to optimize your site for mobile devices.
5. Use relevant keywords for local SEO
Keywords are your bread and butter when it comes to local SEO. That’s why you need to use relevant keywords so that your business appears the moment your customers search for it. Thankfully, Google’s Keyword Planner helps simplify this process by letting you filter keywords and popular search terms for a specific location.
Take a look at the keyword’s monthly searches, and build a list of the relevant keywords you find. From there, you can incorporate those keywords into your website’s URL, copy, and meta content.
It’s worth mentioning that local-specific landmarks can help boost your local SEO rankings. For example, if your business is in Michigan and is near a landmark, you can include phrases like “restaurants at Isle Royale” to appear on the search results.
6. Fix the alt text in your images
One thing that often gets neglected in local SEO is images. Images are a powerful tool for conveying the information found in your content. To optimize your images for local SEO, you need to provide accurate and descriptive alt text. Alt texts (also called alt tags) enable search engines to crawl your website better and rank it accordingly.
For example, if you own a restaurant business and want to show off the variety in your menu, you can write an alt text describing the various meals your restaurant offers. The key here is to be as descriptive as possible so that search engines can direct the right users to your website.
Aside from the alt text, you want to ensure that you’re using the right format for your images. JPEG images are the most common format for websites as they’re lightweight and have decent quality. On the other hand, PNG images offer better quality, albeit at much larger file size. Decide on which format to use depending on how you want your images to appear on your website.
7. Obtain positive reviews from customers
Remember how we said reviews could help build trust with your customers? Not only do reviews boost your brand’s credibility, but they also factor in local SEO rankings! Search engines consider business reviews when calculating your search position. Because Google wants to connect consumers with the right businesses, having positive ratings will increase local visibility.
You can encourage customers to leave a rating after completing a sale or by including feedback cards into your product packaging. In addition, you want to focus on the quality of your products/services and back it up with excellent customer service. It’s only a matter of time before your business receives the reviews it deserves, and from there, you can gain a better position over your competitors in the SERPS.
If your goal is to generate more leads and increase foot traffic to your physical store, you should prioritize local SEO. When implemented correctly, local SEO can help build brand awareness, maintain visibility across your community, and generate consistent revenue with the help of search engine algorithms. Give these tips a try and improve your local SEO today.
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