Do you have a local business looking to draw customers in from a specific region? If yes, then local search engine optimization (SEO) may be the best type of SEO for you to focus on. Yoast describes local SEO as the practice of optimizing your website for a specific local area, and if you have a local business, it’s imperative your web pages rank for certain search queries performed by your local audience.
Why is Local SEO Important?
Primarily because gaining visibility on popular search engines can help potential customers find your business. When adopting local SEO strategies, your business’s website can achieve higher rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) and therefore earn greater online visibility for your products and/or services.
Read on to learn some fundamental tips to get started with local SEO.
How Do I Incorporate Local SEO Into My Marketing Strategy?
Similar to other types of SEO, getting started with local SEO can be fairly simple. If you’re a beginner, check out this YouTube video to help you cover the basics.
As for SEO tools, the most popular SEO software platforms are Moz and SEMRush. Although their software subscriptions may seem like they have an expensive price tag at first, our SEO team uses them both religiously. However, there are other local SEO tools that are free of charge. Among these free local SEO tools are Google Search Console, Google Trends, Answer the Public, and Moz’s Free Tools.
While this blog post isn’t a comprehensive guide, NisonCo Marketing’s SEO team recommends these three major local SEO tips to incorporate into your local SEO strategy if you haven’t already. New to SEO? Check out NisonCo’s Beginner Cannabis SEO Keyword and Search Phrase Research guide here.
Step 1: Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Building and maintaining a Google My Business (GMB) profile is often referred to as low-hanging fruit in the SEO world because it’s fairly simple to set up. However, doing the SEO basics can have a significant impact on your website’s rankings with Google and other major search engines. MailChimp suggests doing the following to optimize your GMB profile:
- Use your actual business name
- Add a local phone number
- Ensure your hours of operation are correct
- Write a compelling description
- Upload lots of high-resolution photos
- Upload videos, if you have them
It’s imperative to update your GMB listing whenever your name, address, and phone number (NAP) data changes. Not only can having outdated information misdirect your potential customers to incorrect information — it can also hurt your rankings on SERPs.
Step 2: Build SEO Authority by Listing in Local Directories
Similar to GMB, listing your website and relevant NAP data on relevant local directories can help boost your authority with Google. These citations can have a major impact on reputation, rankings, and ultimately revenue by impacting your position on SERPs.
Often, directories vary on your location. For instance, if you manage a cannabis dispensary in Portland, you’ll want to look for directories related to the cannabis industry within Oregon. Additionally, there are some widely known directories to consider like the White Pages and other “yellow pages”-like directories to list your NAP data.
Though they aren’t necessarily directories, it’s also important to maintain relevant social media presences on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms to make your NAP data more accessible and widely available.
Step 3: Consider the Local SEO Benefits of Customer Reviews
Customer review ratings can help with local SEO strategy. Moz says online reviews make up an estimated 10% of all criteria for how Google shows search results. While not every review is positive, even negative review ratings can be used to your brand’s advantage.
To incorporate reviews into your SEO strategy, Search Engine Watch recommends:
- Collecting reviews en masse strategically: Search engines reward businesses with lots of reviews encompassing customer opinions about their product and/or service. Make an effort to encourage customers to leave positive reviews by offering an incentive if they do so, such as a discount code.
- Responding politely to reviews: Most prospective customers read reviews before purchasing a product and/or service, so responding to both positive and negative reviews can leave a lasting impression, especially if it’s an attempt at remedying a poor customer experience. Plus, responding to reviews can also boost SEO rankings.
- Selecting review platforms wisely: Not all platforms are equal from Google’s perspective. Focus your energy on a handful of the most impactful to your SEO ranking.
- Allowing review to guide your customer experience: Because search engines look for and reward honest feedback, focus on providing exceptional customer service.
How Do I Know if My Local SEO Strategy is Working?
There are additional local SEO tools to help you determine whether your initial strategy is working or not, such as Google Analytics and Ahrefs. However, it’s also helpful to run a manual SEO audit for your website. We recommend conducting an SEO audit every three to six months.
If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for, we also recommend reaching out to an SEO team to conduct an audit and build an SEO competitive analysis for your website.
If you’re looking for professional advice on your local SEO strategy, our team of tailored SEO experts can help you reach your SEO strategy goals and so much more! Contact us today for a free SEO audit.