When you are craving French fries, would it make sense for you to order a full meal especially when you are not too hungry? Similarly, why invest in national SEO when your business operates local? For instance: Suppose you are a baker in Montreal; sending a cake all the way to Toronto may not be feasible. In such a case, your SEO efforts should be directed towards ‘Bakers in Montreal’ not ‘Bakers in Canada’. As the term suggests, ‘national SEO’ focuses more on nationwide SERP ranking while ‘local SEO’ focuses on SERP limited to a particular geographic area like a city, town, or province.
Don’t you ‘Google it’ when you want to find some product or service in your area, or to reach a particular location? Gone are the days when someone looking for a product or service would look up on Yellow Pages or ask someone for the route while trying to locate a place.
Local SEO is crucial for businesses that operate only on a regional level since it markets brands, products, and services to local leads and potential customers. Irrespective of whether they are looking for restaurants, salon, or gadget repair services, internet users today reach out to Google to find what suits their need best. That’s why geographic location is one of the more important factors that influence a website’s ranking in SERPs. If local SEO is done right, people who are looking for businesses like yours may land on your website and could potentially become a sale for you.
In today’s blog, let us talk about how to boost your local SEO and get your business website more visibility on search engines, thereby potentially yielding more online sales.
Tips To Boost Local SEO
1. Set up Google My Business
Creating your business profile on Google My Business is an easy and effective way to get an identity for your business on the internet. It not only establishes your business’ presence on the giant search engine but also shows it in search results when someone is searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search or Maps. As Google says, “You can stand out, and bring customers in” with the help of Google My Business.
2. Verify your business on Google
You must have often seen a tick mark next to a popular brand or celebrity’s name on social media like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. These accounts are said to be ‘verified’. Having a ‘verified account’ is one of the most reliable ways today to ensure that the account is legit. You can get your business verified on Google Places to avoid confusion or impersonators. Create a custom listing for your business so that it appears in Google and Google Maps search results. The listing can display your service area, hours of operation, photos, and more. Users twice more often consider verified businesses more reputable than the ones that are not verified. Once your business is verified, your website will reflect on the right side of a desktop screen whenever someone searches for it.
3. Encourage Google reviews from customers
Google takes into account the number of reviews your business has got in its ‘Review’ section. No doubt this would help your business website’s ranking on Google’s SERP, but more than that it also influences users’ take on your business. The more positive reviews you have there, higher are the chances that people who are searching for your business or businesses like yours will trust you more. This, in turn, will lead more people to your website and potentially convert into business. So, every time you know you have delighted a customer, encourage them to review you on Google.
4. Be Voice-search ready
With Alexa and Google Home gaining popularity these days, and also, many people using Google Voice Search (the mic icon seen on Google search bar in phones), not optimizing your website for voice search could affect your business’ online performance. Optimizing for voice means that the emphasis is on how people would ask questions into their device and not on how they would type a search. This further means that your focus needs to be on long-tail keywords.
In our next blog, we’ll talk in detail about optimizing a website for voice search.
5. Include relevant local news or events on your website
As ironic as it may sound, at times, it’s better not to focus solely on business and sales, on a business website; you need to offer your visitors interesting content revolving around the realm of your business. Say, for instance, if you have a pet grooming store, you can have a page on your website that keeps visitors abuzz about the latest pet-related happenings or upcoming pet events in your city or town. This will not only improve the average time spent on your website but may also bring in people looking for such news or events on search engines.
6. Include location-specific information strategically
Search engines can track the location details of a user and accordingly throw results before them when they search for something that needs to be local. For example, if a user searches for ‘Orthopaedic Doctor near me’ or ‘Thai massage in Manhattan’ on Google, they will see relevant results including the address, the distance from their location, timings, location on Google map, etc. However, for these results to pop up in a relevant search, local SEO must be in place effectively. Seamlessly including your business’s location details on Home Page and About Us helps boost SEO, especially local SEO. Further, updating your website’s Contact Us page with the store’s working hours, email address, phone number, Google coordinates, etc. will not only furnish website visitors with information that they may require but also aid local SEO. In case you have multiple stores across town, make sure separate details are provided for each one of them.
7. Capitalize on online business directories and social media
Online business directories like Yelp, YellowPages, etc. have already invested a lot of time and effort into establishing an effective SEO. Given this scenario, having your business registered on such online directories can help a big deal. Similarly, social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. have a strong presence on search engines. Whenever there’s a relevant search on search engines, the chances of your business popping up as a part of these platforms are higher. Besides getting your business more exposure, it could also lead visitors to your website.
8. Build credible links
You cannot thrive alone in the world wide web realm; as ironic as it may sound, you need other websites to boost your own SERP ranking. You need to link certain portions of your website to other credible sites and get other credible websites on the internet to include a backlink (i.e. link to another webpage) to your website. Quality link signals (i.e. backlinks pointing to your site) are extremely crucial factors in Google’s ranking algorithm. So, to get your website to perform well on Google’s SERP, get quality backlinks on your site as well as include information that other websites will find useful and would include a backlink to. You can also guest write on popular blogging sites or bookmarking sites, and include link signals to your website. Finally, interlink different pages of your website as it helps in SEO; but make sure you do not overdo it, else Google may blacklist it.
9. Make your website responsive
With more and more people browsing the internet on their smartphones and tabs, it goes without saying that it’s crucial for your website to be responsive (mobile-friendly). As an internet user yourself, you may be able to understand how annoying it is to zoom in on a webpage to see its content clearly; this usually happens when a webpage/website has not been updated since long. Google, in its endeavour to serve its users with quality websites, has made it mandatory for websites to be responsive. If this is not adhered to, the website might just not make it to Google’s SERP results. That’s why it is necessary that your website is responsive.
10. Keep your identity uniform across all platforms
Zero in on an identity for your business — including elements like logo, name, contact details, etc. Once your identity is locked, make sure each of its elements remains constant across platforms like website, external blogs, social media, online business directories, etc. This would help visitors, as well as search engines, recognize your business at a glance, no matter where they stumble upon it.
SEO is not a quick fix to the search engine aspirations one may have for their website; it is a long and continuous process that requires adherence to protocols or algorithm of popular search engines. There could be tens or hundreds or even thousands of businesses vying for the same spot on search engine result pages. While they could try every trick in the book to bag the coveted spots, no one/nothing can predict for sure the SERP results or rankings. Climbing up or slipping down the SEO ladder is bound to happen. So, continue your SEO efforts irrespective of whether you have bagged your desired position or not.
Now that you know how to boost local SEO, start implementing the learnings so that you can get your business ranked higher on search engine results. All the best!