Imagine ‘local SEO’ as setting up signposts in your neighborhood to guide people to nearby business. While it might sound straightforward, fine-tuning your website for local searches is like ensuring those signposts not only point the way but are also placed in areas where there’s a higher volume of traffic, ensuring more people see it.
96% of customers (basically everyone) use the internet to read local business reviews and learn about a business. Experienced online business owners stress the need to use search engine optimization (SEO) to be noticeable and connect with people.
But what if you’re not trying to reach everyone on the internet? What if you just want to reach people in your local area?
In that case, SEO experts suggest that to grow your business and attract more local customers online, you should use local SEO strategies to show up prominently in your specific area.
Local Search Engine Optimization: Clarifications and Introduction
In the US, millions of searches on Google happen every day. 78% of those people search for local businesses more than once a week. This means that there are tons of potential customers searching for local businesses in your specific area, every day, week, and month of the year.
Local SEO is a strategy designed to leverage mobile searches to boost the visibility of your business within specific geographic areas. When executed successfully, local SEO can enhance your website’s search rankings, making it more prominent to nearby consumers.
When a user enters a search query on a search engine like Google, various algorithms come into play to rank and display results. Traditionally, search algorithms heavily relied on keywords or search terms to identify relevant websites. However, in recent years, these algorithms have incorporated patterns from local SEO into their ranking methods.
Previously, to find local services like electricians, users often had to include “near me” in their search queries. Nowadays, a simple search for “electricians” or any other service automatically generates results for nearby business directories. Explore for yourself below!
Google’s search results for “electricians” vs “electricians near me” are basically the exact same, minus the search ads.
What are the Key Elements Influencing Local SEO Rankings?
Google takes various ranking signals into account when determining which businesses to display to users. Generally, the most critical factors include:
Relevance – This involves how closely a specific business type aligns with the user’s query. For instance, if you search for “organic grocery,” Google will prioritize results for health food stores, not electronics retailers or clothing stores.
Proximity – How close is the business to the user’s physical location? Simply put, the geographic distance of your business from the user affects its ranking. If someone searches for a coffee shop, the results will focus on nearby cafes, not ones located in a different city.
Prominence – Also known as reputability, this factor considers how established and credible your business is. Google assesses local search results by considering name recognition and overall credibility. More well-known businesses with positive reviews, like popular donut shops, cafes, and bars tend to rank higher. Your business doesn’t have to be widely known; online reviews and ratings also contribute to enhanced local SEO.
What Makes Local SEO Significant?
There was a time when everyone relied on phonebooks, newspaper ads, and commercials for local business information. People would flip through newspapers or phonebooks to decide on the best local businesses.
Back then, if you wanted your business to thrive, you had to ensure it made an impact in newspaper ads or a local listing in the phonebook.
Today, things have changed. Phone books are nearly obsolete, and numerous studies indicate that most people now turn to online searches to discover local businesses.
In fact, 98% of consumers use the Internet to find information about a local business. In essence, the success or failure of your business hinges on your ability to establish a strong online presence.
Local SEO plays a crucial role in achieving this. Effective local SEO ensures your business rises to the top of search results, making your business listing the first thing people notice when searching for a relevant product or service.
The 5 Most Effective Strategies for Local SEO Marketing
SEO is far from an exact science, especially considering the continuous changes and refinements to algorithms by Google and other search engines. However, this doesn’t diminish its value.
Below are 10 tested and proved ways to help boost your businesses SEO strategies.
- Get Signed Up and Started with Google My Business
Making a Google My Business (GMB) profile to enhance your business visibility should be a top priority.
This profile serves as the information hub that displays whenever someone looks up your business on Google.
While Google isn’t the only search engine, it is undeniably the most popular one. Therefore, dedicating time and effort to optimize your GMB profile is highly valuable—it becomes the initial impression users get when searching for your business.
If there isn’t already a profile for your business, you have the option to establish your own GMB account.
Pay careful attention to the following details:
Business Name: Ensure that Google displays the correct business name without any duplicate entries.
Address: For brick-and-mortar businesses, verify that Google shows the correct address. If your business operates from your home but delivers goods or services, indicate by checking the option “I deliver goods and services to my customers” and either leave the address section blank or choose “Hide my address (it’s not a store).” If your business doesn’t fit these options, it might not align with GMB.
Service Area: Specify the exact regions you serve if you’re a “Service Area Business” delivering goods and services.
Choose Business Category: Your category influences how your business appears in Google searches. Some GMB features are category-specific; for example, hotels display amenities. While you can change your business category, re-verification is required each time.
Contact Information: Enter essential details like your phone number, email, and website URL. Verify the accuracy of this information to avoid customer frustration.
Verify: After providing all information, verify your business by entering a verification code. Google offers three options:
Postcard: The most common method involves a verification postcard sent to your provided address.
Phone: Eligible businesses can receive a verification code via an automated message.
Email: Available for eligible businesses, with the verification code sent via email.
Once your GMB account is set up, create a business profile, and enhance it with visual elements like in-store photos and social profiles. Leverage SEO tools such as Google Analytics, GMB Insights, and GMB Q&A to understand your audience and boost online exposure.
Crucially, use GMB to monitor customer reviews. Your review count significantly impacts organic rankings in Google’s search results. Respond to reviews, whether positive or negative, to engage with customers, build your brand, and gather valuable feedback and testimonials.
- Consider Both On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO
GMB is exclusive to Google, but your website has a broader reach. In simpler terms, it’s crucial to have a robust website where potential customers can easily find information about your business.
This underscores the importance of having an SEO-friendly website, and achieving this involves employing both on-page and off-page SEO tactics. In case these terms are unfamiliar:
On-page SEO involves direct actions on your website to enhance its online visibility. This includes strategically using keywords in your content, creating compelling meta titles and descriptions, and designing your site for a seamless user experience.
Off-page SEO encompasses activities conducted externally to boost your site’s search performance. Remember the SEO ranking factor of prominence? Essentially, off-page business SEO services focus on improving your site’s reputation, making it more prominent. Common tactics include publishing guest posts and ensuring your site is listed in relevant directories.
To enhance your site’s local SEO performance, it’s advisable to utilize both on-page and off-page SEO tactics. Start by:
- Making your website easily indexable.
- Incorporating images and visuals into your content.
- Ensuring your website is readable and user-friendly.
- Add social share buttons to your site.
- Engaging in online forums related to your business’s product or industry.
- Connecting with influencers in your industry, seeking feedback or quotes.
- Getting your business listed in pertinent directories or roundup articles.
3. Create High-Quality Content
What defines ‘quality’ content?
A significant aspect of on-page SEO marketing involves the creation of high-quality content. This holds importance not only for SEO in general but also for local SEO.
Think about the websites you frequently visit or enjoy exploring. What keeps you engaged on these sites rather than hitting the back button?
It’s likely the presence of interesting or captivating content that you find useful or entertaining—the kind of content often shared on social media. Generate meaningful content that your audience will perceive as valuable. After all, content plays a crucial role in establishing your business services as a trustworthy and reliable provider.
Avoid crafting misleading information or copying content from other sites.
4. Tailor Your Content for Local Audiences
In addition to producing high-quality content, it’s essential to localize it. This means crafting content that specifically pertains to your target area and resonates with the local community.
Why does this matter? Like any effective marketing strategy, you have a specific audience you aim to engage. In the realm of local SEO, the geographical location is a defining element of this target audience.
Therefore, it’s beneficial to concentrate on generating content that is exclusively tailored to the local context. If your objective is to optimize your site for local customers, there’s no need to appeal to visitors from another city or country. You can achieve this by:
- Offering region-specific tutorials, local customer success stories, and regional case studies.
- Collaborating with local businesses.
- Participating in local events.
- Utilizing social media tools to connect with potential customers.
This results in local SEO that is targeted to anyone searching for things to do in the Springfield area.
5. Offer Details Regarding Your Business’s Location
This is straightforward: Boost your site’s SEO rankings by prominently showcasing your business’s location on the website. In addition to sharing the address, you can embed Google Maps or a Google map pack directly onto the page.
See how Hurt’s Donut’s does this below.
It also aids in defining the regions you cater to, offering details about your business hours and any special promotions.
In the case of multiple branches, furnish business information specific to each physical location. However, avoid duplicating content across pages. Ensure that each branch or office has its own unique and descriptive ‘Who We Are’ page to add a more personal touch.
The landscape of technology is ever evolving, shaping consumer behavior, and transforming how businesses engage with them. Whether you manage a small independent store or a franchise, a robust local SEO strategy is essential to connect with the local community.
Certainly, traditional approaches like word-of-mouth referrals and modern techniques such as social media marketing play crucial roles in expanding a business’s presence.
Nevertheless, an increasing number of individuals turn to the internet to find products and services that cater to their needs. In a competitive arena with numerous companies and startups, adopting local SEO becomes imperative to keep your business current and distinguish it from the competition.
Contact an Expert at AcuTech Design
In conclusion, AcuTech Design stands ready to transform your small business’s digital landscape in Springfield. With expertise in web design and marketing, we specialize in creating customized websites and optimizing SEO strategies to enhance your online visibility.
Your success is our priority, and we invite you to take the next step in revitalizing your online presence. Contact AcuTech Design today, and let’s embark on a journey to help your small business prosper.