Local search engine optimization (SEO) is essential.
It is a powerful strategy that small and medium-sized businesses can take advantage of.
You may have encountered it already. Local SEO uses specific keywords to target particular locations. This can include things like:
- “Fitness gym in Chicago”
- “Coffee shop in Owensboro”
- “Plumber in Bloomington”
These are all keyword phrases that can help you rank your website on search engines. But what if you want to grow your business outside your primary city? How can you target multiple cities to help you reach a broader audience?
Growing Your Website With Local SEO
Today, many people search for businesses online before buying products or services. If your business doesn’t rank for local searches within your area, you may be missing out on potential clients and higher revenues.
After all, about 46% of all Google searches are local. This implies that someone around your city may be looking for the products or services you offer.
SEO is a fantastic tool that can drive organic traffic to your website. Targeting people in various localities can significantly increase traffic and conversions. However, many businesses find it hard to rank in multiple cities or towns. Most business owners don’t know how to appear in several location searches using the same domain. They find the process of local SEO to be time-consuming. But is it worth it?
With 76% of people who perform local searches on their phones visiting the physical location within 24 hours and 28% of those local searches resulting in a purchase, it’s a worthwhile investment.
If your local city’s SEO is poor, local searchers will probably never find your business.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of increasing your brand’s online visibility from relevant local searches. This optimization occurs on Google and other search engines, like Bing, Yelp, and Apple Maps.
Local SEO is similar to organic SEO but with a geographical element. It helps websites to rank within specific local areas.
For example, if you have a restaurant in Atlanta, you’ll want people searching for restaurants within the city to find your establishment. There is no point for people in New York or Dubai to discover your restaurant in their local searches. This is especially important for businesses dependent on local traffic.
However, local SEO is critical for any business with an online presence. You can increase your local organic traffic simply by ranking for specific keywords that your local audience searches for online.
What's the Difference Between Local SEO and SEO?
SEO is an umbrella term describing strategies that help businesses rank for specific keywords and phrases. Local city SEO is a sub-discipline of SEO.
SEO generally focuses on ranking web pages on the first page of Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs). This optimization lacks a local component to it.
For example, a software as a service (SaaS) company may adopt general SEO strategies to rank high on worldwide SERPs. They may aim to increase their organic traffic using relevant keywords that anyone across the globe may search for. Such a company may not focus on local SEO since they hope to sell their software products worldwide.
On the other hand, local SEO offers local solutions for searches close-by users perform. When a searcher types a query with a tag like “… near X city” or “… near me,” Google understands the query and tries to provide the best answers for such local searches. Local city SEO helps to suggest products and services to a local audience.
However, businesses should be wary not to harm their local city SEO efforts when targeting multiple cities.
How Does Local SEO Work?
Optimizing your website for local searches lets search engines like Google know that your business is located in a particular area. When targeting multiple cities, Google can identify that your business is located in various locations. This helps customers find relevant pages related to their specific locations.
When it comes to local city SEO, Google uses different ranking factors to provide the best results for user queries compared to the standard Google search. Google My Business elements, reviews, and user proximity are the top-ranking elements for local SEO.
Who Needs Local SEO?
The main goal of any business is to turn sales and revenue into profits. Business owners strive to increase their profit margins and make their brands sustainable. With local city SEO, business owners can realize this goal and expand into new markets or regions.
Some business models that may require local SEO marketing include:
- Businesses that operate in a specific geographical area, like restaurants offering delivery services
- Service-area businesses that travel to their clients, like HVAC contractors, cleaning companies, and locksmiths
- Businesses with physical locations that clients visit, like malls, bars, and grocery stores
How Local SEO Can Boost Business
When these businesses implement local city SEO strategies, they can:
- Provide a better user experience
- Understand customers and their behaviors better
- Build trust and loyalty
- Reduce advertising costs through organic traffic
- Improve customer return rate
- Challenge local competitors by appearing on page one of SERPs
- Attract foot traffic and engagements
How Do I Optimize Local City SEO for Multiple Locations?
You already know the importance of city pages for your business — but what can you do to optimize such pages without hurting your website’s SEO? Whether you are in legal services, carpet cleaning, or dog grooming, optimizing your website for all your locations is critical to increasing web and foot traffic.
Here’s how to go about local city SEO for your business in multiple locations.
Set Up a Google My Business Profile
The main goal of Google and any other search engine is to provide the best solutions to user queries. Google strives to avail the most accurate information to its users.
To redirect more local searches to your website, you will need to claim your Google My Business profile. When you sign up and create a profile, you can develop listings for all your business locations. This free tool by Google allows you to advertise your business on the search engine.
How Google Can Increase Traffic
If Google verifies your business, you may see an increase in traffic. Your Google Business Profile allows you to appear on searches within your area. With Google My Business, you can manually add different business locations to your profile.
Google My Business can also help you appear in Google’s top three map pack. These are typically the local search results that show up on the first page of Google before organic results. If your listing isn’t optimized to appear in the top three featured businesses within the Google Maps section, you may be losing thousands of dollars in revenue every month.
Don’t forget to also claim and optimize listings on Apple Maps and Bing Places. Remember, the market share for Apple smartphones in Q3 of 2021 was 47%, followed by Samsung at 34%. This implies that millions of iOS users use its default maps application — Apple Maps — to conduct searches.
Create Location-Specific Pages
If you have more than one location for your business, you need location pages. Having service pages on your website is an effective way to implement local city SEO for various branches of your business. Ensure these individual web pages are customized as much as possible.
Individual location pages allow you to curate content specific to that city or region. You can optimize on-page elements like H1 tags, website content, and page titles to match relevant keywords and phrases for every city or town you are targeting.
If your business has three branches in different cities, you can create three service pages for those cities. For example, a law firm primarily located in City A can structure its website in this way:
- For City A: www.lawfirm.com/city-a-keyword
- For City B: www.lawfirm.com/city-b-keyword
- For City C: www.lawfirm.com/city-c-keyword
Businesses should, however, refrain from black-hat SEO practices when creating location-specific pages. Google will penalize websites that use the same content on different pages and only change city and state names. The search engine flags such content as duplicate content.
For this reason, content on all your pages for all your business locations should be unique and helpful.
Keep Citations Consistent
NAP (Name, Address, Phone) citations are online mentions of your business. These citations are places on the internet where your business name, address, and phone number are listed. They are super important since they act like backlinks.
Your website is where you should first list your NAP citations. This information is often found at the bottom of a site’s homepage.
Google often looks at how your citations appear online. It uses this data to examine your business ranking on the web. Citations can impact your Google My Business ranking on online data aggregators like:
- Yahoo Local
- Yellow Pages
It’s important to make sure the information you’re citing remains consistent for all your business locations. Discrepancies like wrong phone numbers, abbreviations, and misspellings can cost you valuable leads. What’s more, if Google can’t figure out if your business information is correct, it may not display your business in its SERPs. Directories like Yelp and TripAdvisor may not feature your business if you provide incorrect information.
To build more citations, you may focus on relevant industry-specific sources, such as Expedia for hotels or Enjuris for lawyers. You may also optimize your citations by joining a local Chamber of Commerce, community hubs, or local business associations.
Manage Local Reviews
Google reviews for your business can help you build an online presence. Reviews for each location are an indication to Google that customers are interacting with your business. The more trust your brand builds on Google My Business, the higher chance it has of getting to the top three results of Google Maps.
Reviews and testimonials from the cities that you are operating in or targeting can help boost local SEO traffic in those cities. When users leave comments with location-specific keywords, Google can help other users with similar interests find such reviews.
Remember, nine out of 10 customers read online reviews before buying products. For this reason, you should encourage your customers to leave reviews about their experiences after using your products or services.
But how do you get them to do so? Some ways to encourage consumers to leave reviews include:
- Send short email surveys to your customers, asking them about your products or services.
- Ask them to provide feedback before they leave your store. You may offer a tablet to make this process easier.
- Print links or QR codes on customer receipts that they can use to leave reviews.
- Offer incentives and rewards like loyalty points.
- Use social media platforms for feedback.
To get more local traffic for your business, you can include local reviews from different cities on your local web pages. Video testimonials can also add unique content to your service pages.
Develop a Mobile-Friendly Site
Over half of website traffic worldwide comes from mobile accounts. Interestingly, 61% of mobile searchers will likely reach out to a local brand if their site is mobile-friendly. This is why businesses need to optimize their websites for mobile devices.
All your city navigation pages should be mobile-friendly. They should render content quickly to reduce bounce rates. Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly can help retain visitors once they get to your local city page.
To make your website mobile-friendly, here are several things you should consider:
- Install a mobile-responsive template or theme.
- Do away with pop-ups.
- Optimize image size.
- Avoid flash.
- Consider geolocation.
- Use large and readable fonts.
- Make loading speed a priority.
- Space out links.
- Test regularly.
Focus on Link Building
For local SEO to be effective, you should consider having links that send signals to search engines and help you rank in local searches.
External Link Building
The quality and number of backlinks you have can boost your brand’s web authority. Reaching out to bloggers within your city to share your content can help you build quality backlinks.
You may also embark on scholarships, sponsorships, or partnerships to earn inbound links. Forming relationships with influencers or prominent people like journalists around your region can help with media coverage and social media growth. This can lead to more local search results and an increase in foot traffic.
Internal Link Building
External links aren’t all you should be concerned about. Improving your internal linking structure can also boost your local SEO rankings in multiple locations. This makes your business more visible to users who perform local searches.
Internal linking matters since it:
- Supports website navigation
- Distributes ranking power and page authority among web pages
- Boosts website hierarchy and architecture
Add Local Schema
Schema markup is an additional code that helps search engines understand and rank your website. It creates a common language for Google, Yahoo, and Bing to understand what your website is all about.
Schema markup for local businesses lets Google know that you are a local brand, helping to boost your local rankings. When you integrate Schema with your brand’s website, search engines can decipher location-based information. This allows your website to appear on relevant search topics.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Jam-packing your web pages with keywords may land you in trouble. Google will penalize you if the search engine picks up that you are stuffing keywords. They can demote your website from local rankings or worse — do away with it completely.
Always ensure you keep your site’s keyword density below 2% for best local SEO practices. Alternatively, you may add secondary keywords and long-tail variations to the main body copy to avoid stuffing the main keyword.
Ready To Use Local City SEO Best Practices to Target Multiple Cities?
You cannot ignore local city SEO.
Local city SEO is an integral part of an effective SEO strategy. Business owners, developers, and marketers should concentrate on local SEO planning and implementation to ensure their websites get to the first page of Google.
Boosting your local search engine presence is essential to increasing revenue. Implement the most effective local SEO strategies to rank high on search engines. The higher your ranking in different cities, the higher the likelihood that your business will do well in those areas.
Get Started With SEO Today
SEO audits and keyword research are strategies you can implement to stay ahead of your competition in a location. You can also look into what they are doing to assess your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. This allows you to gain actionable insights into areas you need to improve.
A comprehensive local SEO audit that includes a Google My Business audit, citation audit, on-page SEO audit, and website audit will show where your website stands and what local SEO strategies should be implemented to achieve your goals. Once this is done, you’ll start to enjoy more organic traffic from all the different cities you operate in.
The web team at Redstitch is ready to help you realize your website’s potential. Start your local SEO journey today to target multiple cities and regions using the same domain. You can start getting more traffic and conversions for your local businesses today.