Getting found in the search engines is one of the most important factors for businesses these days. When someone wants the products or services you sell, you can bet that they will head straight to Google or another search engine to begin their research.
You want your business to show up near the top of the results, and good ranking can generate a steady supply of business so new customers come to you without you having to find them.
An important area of SEO is local SEO. If you have a local business that serves local customers, you will almost certainly want to boost your local SEO. But what does this mean, and how do you go about it?
Here’s a guide to get you started.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is essentially the same thing as standard SEO (search engine optimization), but it has a focus on local businesses.
These days, many people carry out searches for local businesses using the town or city they are located in as keywords. If you are located in a town or city, you want your business website to appear near the top of the search results so more customers find you.
It’s therefore a good idea to implement a strategy that helps you to improve your ranking in the search engines so that you get found more often.
Local SEO, just like standard SEO, is always changing as Google updates its algorithms. The latest of these was the Google Possum update, which made some big changes to the local SEO landscape.
So if you decide to optimize for local search, you will need to keep track of the updates, which you can do by following updates on authority SEO sites like Moz.
Key Benefits of Local SEO
There are a number of important benefits you can enjoy from SEO. These include:
- Get found by people who are looking for you at the moment as they are interested in your products and services.
- It’s typically less competitive than standard SEO because you are only competing against your local competition.
- You can appear in the 3-Pack right at the top of the search results along with your details, a map, and more.
- It’s not hard to get started. Many of your competitors won’t even have the basics in place, and you can get an instant head start over them.
How to Boost Your Visibility
There are many things that you can do to improve your local SEO. You can do these on your own, or you may want to use a local brand management platform like Chatmeter to help you.
Firstly, make sure you claim your Google listing at Google My Business. Fill out your profile and make sure it is complete, and add photos, videos, even a tour of your premises.
You should also add your company to local business listing sites. Some of these may provide links, but some won’t. What’s most important are the citations, which include your business name, address, phone number (NAP).
Citations are still important because they tell Google that you are who you say you are, and that you are a genuine local business. Search Engine Watch has some well-advanced tips in this area.
Use local keywords in your content, but don’t just stuff your content full of references to your town or city. Use references where it makes sense. One way to do this is to talk about local issues and local attractions that are relevant to your customers.
You could also publish blog posts about local news and other non-competing local businesses. This ensures you are providing relevant content at the same time as using the right keywords.
Be social as well. Social signals are important for SEO, and again you can use your social platforms to discuss local issues. Join local groups, comment on events, and become a resource for local people. This increases trust in your brand at the same time as boosting engagement and improving your local SEO.
Link building is an important part of SEO, and this is also true of local SEO. Make sure you build links from local sites, search for local bloggers and connect with them, write guest posts, and always be on the lookout for local link building opportunities.
Work on Your SEO and See the Benefits
Local SEO is changing all the time, but one thing remains the same: It is crucial for any local business that wants to get in front of new customers regularly.
If you have not yet started to optimize for local search, now is the time. People are increasingly going straight to the search engines to find what they are looking for, and you want to ensure that your business is the first one they find.
So use the techniques outlined above to improve your ranking, and seek help from a specialist if you want a helping hand.
Collin Holmes, founded Chatmeter, Inc in 2009 and serves as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Holmes is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside and graduated with an MBA from San Diego State University. Prior to Chatmeter, Mr. Holmes served as Vice President of Product Management and Director of Product Marketing for xAD, Inc. (LocalAdXchange) (also known as V-enable). Mr. Holmes comes with a couple decades of overseeing and developing product roadmaps, business development and managing the process of driving applications to market.