With so many businesses tying to claim their own piece of customer attention real estate nowadays, mounting an effective local search engine optimization strategy has become a must-do for both brick-and-mortar businesses and ecommerce enterprises alike.
In the past, it was common for businesses to shell out a considerable amount of resources and to devote a lot of manpower hours just to promote their business in the communities where they operated. Today, business owners can leverage the power of the Internet in order to cultivate relationships with current and potential customers. People rely heavily on the Internet to look for services and products online. According to the 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by BrightLocal, 57% of consumers search online more than 6 times a year for local businesses.
Consumers’ dependence on Internet searches is likely to intensify in the next few years, what with more and more people purchasing mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
To get started on your local SEO strategy, we suggest that you consider the following tips.
Create a Google My Business profile
Setting up a Google My Business page is a great way to have accurate information about your business show up in various Google properties like Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Earth. Your business will also get a Google+ page, which you can use to build a loyal fan base and to have your customers rate you and write reviews about your products or services.
Create localized content
When creating content for your website, create pages that are specifically targeted to your local audience. Optimize your content with relevant keywords, like the city and state in which your business is located, as well as the specific niche your business serves. When writing blog articles, you can also think of topics that are interesting, useful, and relevant to your local market.
List your business in local directories
Make a list of local directories or business listings where you can include your company’s most important details, like its name, address, and phone number. Websites run by your town or city government, your local chamber of commerce, and trade organizations are good choices. You can also try local online directories like Yellow Pages and Yelp.
Optimize your site using schema markups
A schema markup is a type of structured data that can be used by website publishers to emphasize the content on their websites, making it easier for search engines to determine exactly what certain words on your web pages mean. This allows search engines to serve more relevant results to potential visitors of your site. Schema markups are helpful, for instance, when you want to make sure that your business location and contact details can be accurately seen by search engines.
Do proper keyword research
Identify strong keywords that are likely to give you the conversions you need. You can use your web analytics data to discover search terms that are leading people to your website, or you can also use keyword research tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner to discover search terms that are strong in your location.
Capitalize on reviews and testimonials
Encourage your employees and customers to write reviews and testimonials about your company. Create a dedicated page in your website for these reviews, and also monitor the comments that your customers leave in your social media sites, business listings, and merchant sites. Make sure to respond promptly and respectfully, and be apologetic to customers who have had a negative experience with your business. Make a genuine commitment to address the problem or to correct the mistake if you made any.
Discover opportunities for local link building
Lastly, you can also boost your ranking signals for local searches by doing localized link building. You have to build relationships with your community’s local authorities and organizations to increase the likelihood that they will host content that links back to your website. Nurture your connections with relevant local government units, enterprises, charities, media outlets, educational institutions, service providers, event organizers, and other groups. You can volunteer to write content for these organizations’ websites, or you can also try to find out a way to get covered in the local news. Furthermore, make sure to participate in local trade shows, talks, and community activities to build your network.