Implementing a local SEO campaign is crucial for businesses with brick-and-mortar stores or those who provide services in a certain locality. A slick local SEO strategy is a sure-fire way to beat the neighborhood competition.
With so many changes in search algorithms and local SEO ranking factors, developing an effective local SEO strategy is a big challenge. The growing number of local SEO campaigns has also raised the bar among business owners and digital marketers.
What is Local SEO and Why is it Important?
An effective local SEO strategy helps businesses maximize their website’s visibility in local search results.
Interesting Local SEO Statistics as of 2020
⇾ 95 percent of mobile users perform local searches
⇾ 59 percent of consumers who perform location-based searches visit the store right away
⇾ 61 percent of local searches lead to phone inquiries
⇾ 2 percent of consumers who perform a local search go to the store within miles of their current location
⇾ Nearly 80 percent of local mobile searches lead to an in-store purchase
⇾ More than 60 percent of mobile searches look for the store’s location
⇾ 90 percent of consumers check online reviews before visiting the physical store
⇾ More than 86 percent of consumers refer to Google Maps
⇾ 18 percent of local mobile searches lead to sales within 24 hours
These figures show the pivotal impact of local SEO on your business. Optimizing for local search is one of the most effective ways to generate qualified leads to your business.
Here are some local SEO tips to help boost your Google rankings in local search engines results pages (SERPs):
Tip #1: Perform an In-depth Keyword Research
Using the right keywords is the first and one of the most crucial strategies in local SEO campaigns. The objective is to find the most relevant keywords with the highest search volume. In local SEO keyword research, you need more geo-targeted keywords. You can also divide them into primary and secondary key phrases with city location and/or specific region or area.
Check out this example below:
Industry: digital marketing company
Services offered: digital marketing services
Location: Dallas, Texas
Sample Keyword Structure 1
[Primary keywords]: Texas digital marketing company
[Secondary keywords]: Texas digital marketing services, digital marketing company texas, digital marketing services texas, texas digital marketing agency
Sample Keyword Structure 2
[Primary keywords]: Houston digital marketing company
[Secondary keywords]: Houston digital marketing agency, Houston digital marketing services, digital marketing services Houston, digital marketing company Houston
For the local keyword strategy, you can expand your network reach by targeting both the main city and the business’ specific region. Using variations also helps maximize your target reach. Just make sure all your keywords are relevant to your business. Locations should also be accurate to your physical store/office.
⊲ For the primary keywords, always select the main business keywords. You can simply follow this scheme: Main service or product + location (digital marketing Texas).
⊲ Think like your customers or prospects. Avoid using jargon or terms they’re not familiar with.
⊲ Don’t forget to add the keywords with location to your meta title and description.
⊲ Take advantage of Google Autocomplete. This keyword generation tool can help you find the best keywords for your campaigns.
⊲ Study your competitors’ keyword strategy.
TIP #2: Take Advantage of Google My Business (GMB)
Having an optimized Google My Business account makes it easier for you to establish brand authority on Google and get more customers. This platform allows you to provide useful information for your customers, such as contact details, location and store hours. Customers can also leave reviews on your GMB account. Additionally, if Google can validate your business as authentic – you can get your business listing featured in Google’s local search.
Not only can GMB vastly improve your Google rankings, but also makes it easier for customers to find your physical store. In addition, people who perform local searches are usually ready to make a purchase.
Setting up a GMB account isn’t rocket science. It’s easy-to-navigate and offers many useful features. You can post statuses, upload images, share content, or set up a map location. It’s also free so there’s no reason not to use it at all!
Optimizing your Google My Business
One of the objectives of GMB is to empower your brand and credibility. Start with using clean, crisp photos. According to Google, business listings with high-quality images receive 42 percent more requests for driving directions and also generate 35 percent more clicks than businesses without photos.
Another way to improve your GMB is to encourage reviews. As mentioned earlier, 95 percent of consumers check online reviews before going to the physical store. Brightlocal, a marketing company based in London, discovered 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
On top of that, businesses with the most positive reviews can also ramp up their Google rankings. Read this article for more details on how to get more positive reviews.
Tip #3: Empower Your Content Marketing Strategy
Just like other digital marketing campaigns, you need a focused content marketing strategy. For your local SEO campaigns, create a content plan that involves your city or local area. Keep in mind that updating your web content or blog is not optional – it’s now mandatory!
Here’s a sample content idea for local SEO:
⋆ Blog topics about local news, events and activities
⋆ Promotional content in a specific region/area
⋆ Produce videos or write a featured article about charity events your business supports
⋆ For multi-location businesses, create city-specific service pages
⋆ Every page requires informative and relevant content
⋆ Apply keywords to your headers and body copy to optimize your content
⋆ Using headers with a changed city name is not enough, choose quality keywords
Make sure your content strategy is up-to-date. For now, Google and other major search engines recommend at least a thousand words of quality content. Find ways to spread out the city’s name you’re trying to rank throughout the content, but be careful of keyword stuffing. In addition, keyword usage shouldn’t compromise the quality of content so don’t overdo it.
Tip #4: Use Citations Effectively
Just like keywords, citations are one of the pillars of a successful local SEO campaign. It should be part of an on-going location optimization strategy. If used effectively, it can boost your visibility on Google’s local pack. Citations serve as your customers’ easy access to your business information. It mentions your business name, address and phone number (NAP). They can be found in almost every digital platform, including online directories, social media, and even apps.
While most platforms only allow you to include the basic information (NAP), some online directories have added features. You can provide descriptions, business hours, methods of payment, reviews, images and location.
Quality local citations can help or hinder your Google rankings. They can also maximize your lead potentials and establish customer trust.
In a study conducted by Moz, it appears that citations are the fourth most important ranking factor at the local SERP – just right behind GMB. This is why it is important to check your business listings and ensure your details are accurate. Start with Google’s trusted online directory sites, such as Yelp, Thumbtack, Chamber of Commerce, and Yellow Pages and Manta.
Again, it’s always quality over quantity. Make sure to build citations on the most relevant websites. Update your business information regularly or Google won’t be able to verify your business as authentic and can greatly affect your local search rankings.
Identifying the various search ranking factors is just the first step. The local SEO is a battlefield – whatever niche your business. As a business owner, it is imperative to monitor and adapt to these dynamics. Use the right local SEO tools to help you improve your strategy. Consult a local SEO professional for expert advice.