Are you looking to increase your business’s visibility and improve inbound traffic to your website? Enhancing local search engine optimization (local SEO) is a proven strategy for helping your online business thrive.
A whopping 60% of consumers search for local businesses at least once a week. This is web traffic you can capitalize on when you use local SEO. But knowing that local SEO is important is different from knowing how to achieve an optimized website.
With so much information on the web, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. In this guide, we’ll outline 11 proven strategies for improving local SEO. Read on to learn what local SEO is, why it’s important, and how to improve your website with 11 local SEO solutions.
Local SEO and Why it Matters
You already know the importance of using basic search engine optimization (SEO) to increase organic traffic. Local SEO is similar, but it specifically focuses on improving your local visibility. For example, Google “local SEO near me,” and see how the addition of the words “near me” ensures that your results will be drastically different from those of someone a few states over.
This matters for community-facing businesses, which can include any businesses with a physical presence — such as stores or medical facilities — or any businesses that provide services within a certain geographical circle — such as plumbing businesses or construction facilities.
46% of all Google searches are local. And 50% of smartphone users who Google a local business will visit that business within a day. This means that by improving your local SEO, you can increase both your online and in-person traffic.
11 Best Local SEO Solutions
To improve your local SEO, you need a variety of local SEO solutions.
Although it can take time to perfect each of these solutions, when you do, you’ll benefit from a boost in local traffic, increased brand recognition, and even increased foot traffic into your business. Here are 11 local SEO solutions you need to know.
1. Set Up Your Google Business Profile
The very first thing you should do when trying to improve your local SEO is to set up your Google Business Profile. Doing so gives you control over the information that comes up when people search for your business locally.
The Google Business Profile is a free-to-use local SEO management tool. This tool allows you to set up a company profile for your business which includes information like:
- Your address
- Your phone number
- Your operating hours
- The type of business you run
- Customer reviews
For example, when people search for “Mexican restaurants near me,” Google will feature three results based specifically on their Google Business Profiles. Filling out your profile is the first step to ensuring that your business is featured when people search for local listings within your industry. Not only that, but your featured results should provide everything your customers need to quickly decide whether they will select your business over the other featured businesses.
A Google Business Profile also allows you to connect your social media accounts and permits customers to both leave reviews and direct message (DM) your company with minimal hassle. The more you can interact with your customers through your Google Business Profile account, the more likely they are to view your business as one that’s dedicated to providing excellent customer service.
To set up your account, all you have to do is go to the Google Business Profile website and click “Manage now.” The site will walk you through everything you need to get established and continue managing your presence.
2. Ensure Your Listings Are Consistent
Whether a customer finds out about your company on your website, your social media profile, or your Google Business Profile, you want to ensure they receive the most up-to-date information.
Having consistent listings across all profiles is key to ensuring your customers never walk away with the wrong business hours or phone number, as doing so can be a frustrating experience and may prevent them from choosing to do business with you.
One of the best ways to keep your listings consistent is to have a spreadsheet tracking every account that has your information. On the spreadsheet, track not only the name of the website, but also the business information it records (whether it just has your name, address, and phone number, or whether it also includes information like your business hours or your logo).
Next to each listing, include instructions — or links to instructions — about how to update the profile when necessary. This keeps things easy for you. Any time your information changes, you can go to your spreadsheet, follow the instructions, and update listings quickly and easily.
Having everything you need at your fingertips prevents you from forgetting a listing or deciding it’s too much hassle to update it and putting it off until later.
3. Use Local Keywords
If you want search engines — and your customers — to know where your business is located and what areas it services, you need to tell them. Local keywords allow you to do just that.
Local keywords can be both specific and broad. For example, your address would be an extremely specific local keyword, while the name of your country would be very broad. A mixture of both broad and specific keywords is best for improving your local SEO.
That being said, your local keywords should be exact. Don’t use towns near yours unless your business actually provides services to those towns. Instead, provide your exact town or county name.
4. Review Local Ratings and Reviews
Did you know that 90% of customers will read online reviews before visiting a business? Not only that, but businesses that receive “excellent” reviews can expect customers to spend 31% more than businesses that receive less stellar reviews. This is because, for the most part, customers trust online reviews as much as they would trust that same information coming from a friend or family member.
As a result of the high level of trust your customers put in ratings and reviews, you should be monitoring them.
Of course, your goal as a business should be to attain as many high-quality reviews as possible. You can do this by providing a product or service worth bragging about, keeping a clean establishment, and prioritizing customer service.
But knowing how to handle negative reviews is just as important. Although customers are unlikely to visit a store if its overall reviews are less than four stars, a few bad reviews won’t break your business — as long as you respond to them.
5. Optimize Local Landing Pages
Local landing pages are web pages specifically designed with your local market in mind. For example, a local menu or a map of your location could act as local landing pages for your company.
Local landing pages are especially important if your brand has multiple locations. For example, if you own a chain of restaurants, you’d want landing pages for each of the restaurant’s primary locations.
Other businesses might use local landing pages to promote upcoming local events or to position themselves as an authority on a subject that’s locally important.
As with any landing page, keyword research can help you drive more traffic to the right page. The difference with local landing pages is that you want to use specific local keywords — as well as general keywords — to attain the right traffic.
6. Use Local Citations and Links
The term “local citation” refers to any time you refer to a local place, business, or brand within your website. Local citations — and links to local businesses or events — do several things to improve your local SEO.
Using local citations can help your business thrive because, when you cite a local business, it may encourage that business to cite you as well. This can improve your local backlinks, ensuring that search engines know that you’re not just an option in the area, but that you’re an option that other people find worthwhile enough to share.
Mentioning local businesses or events on your site can also show your customers that you are in touch with your community as a whole. Since 57% of shoppers like to spend their money locally, and 38% of shoppers find it important to support their community, citing local businesses helps indicate that your values align with those of your customers.
One easy way to tie local citations into your website is to mention some businesses near yours in your instructions. For example, on the map page, you might write something like, “We’re across the street from Dave’s Cinema, and share a parking lot with the Five and Dime.” This information is good because it provides value to your customers and helps them find your store while also increasing your local citations.
Another option is to provide event information on your website or to support local events in some way. For example, you might offer a discount to graduating seniors in May or mention that your restaurant makes for the perfect pre-concert dinner stop while linking to a local performance.
7. Have an Updated and Healthy Website
Your website is often the first interaction people have with your brand. This is true even if your business is largely brick-and-mortar. Regardless of where final purchases occur, 63% of shopping experiences begin online. This means that your website is key to promoting the type of brand you are.
So, it makes sense that you want your customers to have a positive experience using your website.
Keep your website healthy by monitoring it regularly and addressing issues as they crop up, whether that means reducing image sizes to cut down on load times or fixing broken links as they are brought to your attention.
It’s also important to keep all information on your website up-to-date. This, of course, includes your address, hours of operation, and phone numbers. But it also means having an up-to-date blog, only promoting sales that are still active, and only mentioning events that have not already occurred.
8. Submit Your Information to Local Directories
Online directories collect contact information for numerous businesses and keep the information in one easy-to-search location. Local directories can improve your search engine optimization because they naturally provide backlinks to your website. Additionally, they increase the places where customers can come across your information.
The key to using local directories is to submit the exact same information to every directory. This means spelling your business name the same way, linking to the same spot on your website, and describing your business using the same words. This consistency across directories will help both customers and search engines understand your brand’s message in a consistent way.
Additionally, remember to add any directories to your list of locations with your contact information. If your contact information ever changes, you don’t want directories to be listing the wrong details. Instead, be sure when you sign up for directories that you know how to update your information in a flash to prevent customer confusion.
9. Maintain a Strong Social Media Presence
Your social media accounts offer another opportunity for your business to improve its local SEO. Not only can they provide backlinks to your website, but they can also increase the chances of local customers finding your business and help you build a community for your brand. In fact, search engines use data from social media accounts to influence rankings.
Start by ensuring that your social media accounts all have accurate business information, from the name of your business to your contact information. Then, link your social media accounts to your business’s main website. This helps customers find more information if they come across your social media account before your main website.
Next, use your social media accounts regularly to interact with your customers and showcase your brand’s values. Even small businesses can benefit from engaging with customers via social media.
10. Take Advantage of Mobile Optimization
More than half of customers interact with websites from mobile devices rather than desktops. This is especially true for customers who may be searching for things like “restaurants near me” while walking to their car or “plumbers near my location” when they realize their toilet won’t flush. In fact, studies show that more than half of all retail sales started with a mobile search.
Optimizing your website to perform well on mobile devices ensures your customers have a seamless interaction with your brand, regardless of how they visit your site.
Start optimizing your website by having responsive web pages that change based on the size of the device accessing it. But don’t stop there!
Mobile optimization includes breaking up walls of text so your content is easy to scan on mobile devices, limiting pop-up information, and ensuring menus are easy to access with thumbs and don’t require scrolling.
11. Use Geofencing Advertising
Geofencing advertising — or geofencing marketing — essentially places a boundary around your business by using different advertisements for different customers based on whether they’re inside or outside of that boundary.
For example, someone who is in your town using their smartphone might see an ad for a local coffee shop, rather than a generic coffee shop.
This form of paid advertising can be a great way to improve local search results and brand recognition. Unlike other methods for boosting local SEO, geofencing marketing can be expensive. However, if it increases your traffic — and brings in new reviews, recommendations, and inbound links — geofencing advertising can have a positive impact on your business even after your marketing campaign is complete.
Improve Your Local SEO Today
Having a generalized SEO strategy is a great way to generate organic traffic. But it doesn’t replace the need for a focused local SEO solution.
Focusing on local SEO allows you to improve brand recognition within your community, increase foot traffic, and improve overall profits for your brand. While this strategy may not be important for eCommerce websites that operate exclusively online, if your business has any sort of community impact, local SEO solutions are a must-have for your long-term business success.
Get started today by following the 11 strategies outlined above. Then, establish the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure so you can continue monitoring your local SEO success moving forward.
The most successful businesses aren’t satisfied with just checking local SEO off their list; they know that search engine optimization requires continual effort and dedication.