For most businesses, a local SEO strategy is critical. According to Google, about 73 percent of all online activity is related to local searches. People use local search to find out about businesses in their own neighborhoods and cities.
What is local SEO?
Some businesses target the whole country or the entire world because they have customers everywhere. But for most businesses, targeting their local areas is critical. If you have a local business, you need local SEO.
For example, if you are a web designer and want customers in the San Diego, CA area, you need to optimize your website for that specific area. Local SEO is about making sure that local customers can find your business online.
The great thing about SEO is that it is relatively easy. In other words, it is much easier to optimize your website to rank well for “San Diego web designer” than just “web designer.” With local SEO, you are competing in a small world. You are not competing with all the web designers, plumbers, or restaurants in the world. The completion is local; therefore, all you need is local SEO.
Local SEO Strategy
If you have any competition, you should have a local SEO strategy. Local businesses without a solid SEO strategy miss out on high-quality leads. With the right SEO strategy, local businesses can secure high ranking positions in their particular location.
It would be best if you also kept in mind that the nature of SEO is dynamic; it keeps on changing. Local SEO is ongoing work with actionable and effective ways to secure high rankings and strengthen your local SEO.
With the correct approach, local SEO will help you generate high-quality traffic, leads, and conversions. Surprisingly, when done correctly, a local SEO strategy can also help you compete with big brands.
Local SEO matters for the following reasons:
- Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo consider location when ranking websites.
- People include the location (city, state, or street) when searching for businesses online.
- Many people prefer to hire local businesses. They trust local businesses more than larger brands.
Create a list of target search keywords
Local search terms a normally your target keyword + your geo-target area.
Local SEO Keyword Optimization
Every web page on your website should be optimized with keywords relevant to your local customers. If it helps, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner to find relevant local keywords. The tool will help you with local SEO optimization, helping you find the most relevant and popular local keywords. It would be best if you targeted these keywords on your website. You can create a separate page for each keyword you want to rank for.
Local SEO Web Page Optimization Tip
You should include your target keywords in your website content, URLs, and titles. Some keywords are more competitive than others. It won’t be easy to rank for highly competitive keywords, especially for new websites or websites with few incoming links.
Before you optimize a page for a specific keyword, examine the competitiveness of the keyword. For this, you can use paid keyword tools. Keywords tools are designed to help you understand if your competitors are also using these keywords. If the same keywords work for your competitors’ local SEO efforts, they might work for your website too.
A word of caution about keywords: don’t over-optimize your website with keywords. Over optimized web pages might make your website content seem too spammy. For best results, evenly distribute your keywords throughout the site, including keywords to naturally fit the content.
For instance, if you are a web designer in San Diego, use your clients’ location as you describe how you have helped them with the businesses. You can include keywords like “website designed for San Diego “name of business” wherever possible.
For example, if you are a web designer and want to do business in San Diego, you want to focus on the following keyword combinations:
- San Diego web designer
- Web designer in San Diego
- The best San Diego web designer
- Website designer in San Diego
- San Diego website designer
You don’t need multiple websites for multiple locations. If you want your website to rank for 5 neighboring cities, you are fine with one website. It is important to create location-specific pages.
Target each location
If you are a web designer and you are targeting the five largest cities in San Diego County, CA, you need the following pages:
- San Diego Web Designer
- Chula Vista Web Designer
- Escondido Web Designer
- Oceanside Web Designer
- Carlsbad Web Designer
Create a web page for each market
The next step is to create a page for each of your target market areas. Nothing will happen unless you create content that is optimized for each geo-target area.
Optimize each web page
Each web page should be optimized in the following way:
- The URL of the page should be domain.com/san-diego-web-designer.
- Your page title should be (example, 1) “San Diego Web Designer.”
- Start your meta description with “San Diego Web Designer.”
- Your H1, H2, or H3 header should include “San Diego Web Designer.”
- The first paragraph of your content should include “San Diego Web Designer.”
- Your page content should also include “San Diego Web Designer” 3-5 times.
- Your images should have the alt tag “San Diego Web Designer.”
- There should be at least one link with an anchor text of “San Diego Web Designer.”
What are the most important local SEO factors?
The most important local SEO factor is your “Google My Business” profile. Your profile has to be accurate and complete to take full advantage of Google My Business. Make sure that you fill every data point in your profile.
Don’t let bad reviews hurt your local search rankings. Ask satisfied customers for a Google review. If you get any negative reviews, contact the customer, and ask if there is anything you can do to change their mind about your business. If you see a bad review about your business, don’t get angry. Work with the customer to resolve the situation, make it right. Negative reviews can negatively impact your Google rankings.
Respond to every review, even bad ones. Show your appreciation.
Keep all the details on Google My Business consistent. Your profile information should match the business details of your website. Google needs to see consistent information about your business on your website and on third party websites such as Yelp, etc. If your business information matches on all platforms, Google will consider your business legit.
If you have one address on your website and another address on Google My Business, that is a huge red flag, which could hurt your SEO. If your business has a new address because you changed locations, make sure that you update it everywhere.
Here are some of the most important local SEO ranking factors:
- Google My Business
- Keywords in the business title
- Keywords in the business description, services, messaging, and products
- On-Page Signals
- Keywords in titles
- Inbound Link Signals
- Anchor text
- Link domain authority
- Linking domain quantity
- Behavioral Signals
- How well do people interact with your website?
- Review Signals
- Google reviews
- The number of Google reviews with text.
- Positive sentiment in the review text
- Reviews on other platforms are also valuable, such as Yelp, etc.
- Citation Signals
- Business listings such as Yellow Pages
- Directory listings
- YP, Yelp, Citysearch, Foursquare
- Social Signals
- Social signals are of diminishing importance today.
- Browsing history
Tips for Local SEO
Optimize Your “Google My Business” Page
One of the easiest yet the most impactful tactics to boost your local SEO strategy is to optimize your Google My Business page. When you list your business with Google My Business, people will discover your business more easily. After you have listed your business, your company will show up on Google Maps when customers search for businesses such as yours.
Taking care of your Google My Business page will also help your website rank better in search engine results. Once Google verified your business as a legitimate company, it can also appear on the sidebar of Google search results pages.
If you want to optimize your Google My Business page and strengthen your local SEO, you should consider the following tips:
- Enter the details about your business, such as a physical address, phone number, etc.
- Make sure that you provide only true and accurate information about your business.
- Verify your location.
- Complete your business information by adding your business’ logo, payment methods, relevant images, exact location, the products or services you offer, and hours of operation.
- Encourage your customers to add their reviews. Never ignore customer reviews. Always respond quickly to your customer reviews to resolve issues fast.
These tips will help you boost your local SEO, get the most out of your Google My Business page, and hopefully generate high-quality leads for your business.
Avoid keyword stuffing
The most important local SEO tip about keywords is to avoid overdoing it. You can get your site penalized by keyword stuffing. There is such a thing as an over-optimized web page. If you have a 500-word article, don’t include your target keyword 10 times.
Local SEO Keyword Tip
The best keyword tip is to worry more about the quality of the content than keywords. If you do a good job covering a topic, you will organically include the most important keywords. Many businesses worry too much about keywords, and they ignore the importance of writing outstanding content. A web page with 500-words of content with the right keywords will always underperform a 2000-word exceptional article.
Local SEO is much more about great content than stuffing your keywords all over your website. Google is a lot smarter than that, and it will not help you rank for your target keywords.
Social media is a critical part of local SEO for small businesses. Create at least a couple of social media accounts. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great places to connect with people who might link to your site. The key to social media marketing is to stay active. It is not enough to create an account. You have to stay active.
Local SEO Social Media Tip
The most critical local SEO tip about social media is that you have to stay active. There is nothing more depressing than a Twitter feed with the last tweet in 2018. Stay active on social media. You don’t have to be on all platforms. If you only have time for one social media platform, that is fine. It is better for local SEO to have one active social media account than four inactive accounts.
Include a “Contact” page
Your contact page should have your main physical address. Include your complete address. Also, include Google Maps with your address. Also, include driving directions.
Get local links
Are you networking with local businesses? If you are not, you should be. Ask them to link to your website from their websites.
Comment on local blogs
When you comment on a blog, you might get a link back to your own site. Search for blogs in “your target city + blog.”
Submit to directories
List your website in local directories. Your description should include the cities you are serving. Add photos if you can. Make sure the photos include the right tags.
Search for local directories using keywords such as “your target city + directory.”
Mobile Optimize Your Website
Your customers are searching for you on their mobile devices. Your website must be mobile optimized for the best local SEO results.
Create multiple physical locations
If you want to improve your local SEO rankings, get a real address. Your headquarters might be in San Diego, CA, but you could get several more UPS boxes in additional cities. List each address on each corresponding web page.
You can have a Google local listing for each address. Google allows you to have a listing for each physical location. Once you have multiple physical locations, you can outrank your competition.
Use a sitemap
Use Google Webmaster Tools to submit a sitemap.