Six Local SEO Strategies To Help You Show Up In Searches

“Find your target market.” This is one of the most enduring principles in business, and one of the most elusive, too. Today, thanks to new technologies and the ubiquity of mobile devices, finding your target market has become a lot more nuanced.

For many organizations, it has become “find your target geographic market.” Why? Because people are often very “local” in their search behaviors. When you live in Chicago and want a slice of pizza, for example, you don’t want search results for pizza joints located in New York.

What Is Local SEO?

There are many strategies that companies can now leverage to tap into this local search behavior — to drive traffic to their physical (and virtual) locations. This is known broadly as local SEO.

Essentially, local SEO is any number of strategies and tactics designed to optimize a company’s digital footprint to attract local audiences — through online search traffic — to a physical or virtual location. Usually, it centers around a company’s “map pack,” a collection of business data that can be optimized to rank highly for certain search terms.

For instance, if you want pizza-hungry Chicagoans searching for a slice to find your shop, you can optimize your Google listings, ads and website content to improve your chances of being seen in search results.

Why Your Local SEO Strategy Is So Important

Pick up your mobile phone, open Google Maps and search for “pizza near me.” Instantly, you’ll have a list of places nearby, including pictures and reviews. If you’re a local pizza joint, you want to show up in searches like that, and you want to make sure your listing is optimized.

Local SEO can drive a significant volume of leads, foot traffic, conversions, and revenue. People are relying on things like Google Maps to verify details like address, contact information and business hours — often shortly before they show up at that location. As reported by Social Media Today, “72% of consumers who search for local businesses end up visiting stores within five miles.” And nearly 80% of local mobile searches lead to an in-store purchase. If the survival of your business depends on lead and revenue generation, you cannot afford to miss out on local SEO traffic.

 

 

Six Core Local SEO Strategies

Maybe your company has basic local SEO in place and wants to take it to the next level. Maybe you’re starting from scratch. Here are six local SEO strategies that we used to help our clients make the most impact.

1. Shore Up Your Location Pages

Location pages include your business’s name, address, phone number, photos, operating hours and links. How you write and optimize your location page can help your business show up in targeted areas. Usually setting up and optimizing your Google My Business page is a good place to start. This includes providing accurate details about your business, such as phone number, address and hours. You can add images of your venue or products, services, and other items you sell. Finally, you can optimize your business description, as well as other metadata, for search terms that your ideal customer might use to find you.

2. Make The Most Of Multiple Locations

Leverage location pages to optimize for different locations. Using the Chicago example above, searches in the South Loop will generate different results than Lincoln Park. If you have locations in both of those parts of Chicago, you’ll want to optimize separate location pages to target those specific locations.

What are the details specific to each location that you can include on each location page? This goes beyond just including the location (“South Loop pizza restaurant” versus “Lincoln Park pizza restaurant”). Are the menus and contact information the same? What about photos? All of this should be unique for each location page.

3. Build A Local Backlink Portfolio

The more credible, authoritative websites linking back to your own, the better for your SEO. In terms of local SEO, the key is to generate links from other local sites and businesses. This might include associations, chambers of commerce and local media. A strong local backlink portfolio signals to Google that your business is one worth elevating in search results.

4. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Reviews

Reading reviews is now part and parcel of local search behaviors. In fact, “86% of all consumers read reviews for local businesses at least occasionally,” according to Search Engine Journal.

Reviews matter to Google, too. They help determine a business’s credibility, in part, based on engagement with its location pages. So try to get more location-specific reviews.

5. Optimize Website Content For Local Keywords

Keyword research will reveal the volume of and competition for local keywords. Think “pizza restaurant in the South Loop” rather than “Chicago pizza restaurant.” Once you have a list of local keywords you’d like to target, work them into title tags, meta descriptions and other SEO elements on your website to boost visibility.

6. Don’t Forget Voice Search

More and more people are using voice search to find things locally. One company’s research indicates that 75% of smart speaker owners use them to search for local businesses weekly. This makes sense when you think about it: You’re at home talking with your spouse and need some information on where to have dinner tomorrow night. It’s much more convenient to ask your Google Home or Amazon Echo smart speaker for the answer than to grab your phone or open the laptop.

This rise in voice search underscores the need to optimize your local content and local listings so that they show up in these types of searches, too. Think about the natural language that a person might use to perform a voice search for a local business like yours. Then, test some local voice searches yourself to get a feel for how voice assistants serve up results.

Local SEO is just one part of a broader SEO strategy, but it’s an essential one for certain types of businesses.

 

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Source: Forbes

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