Local SEO Hacks That Spark Business Growth
What is Local SEO?
When thinking about search engine optimization, or SEO, people tend to just think it is the process of how websites or videos can be optimized to appear more prominently within search engines. While this is still a significant part of SEO, businesses with a physical location also need to focus on their local SEO rank to drive increased visibility. Of particular interest, local SEO provides prime visibility when users search for a locally relevant term, which triggers a local search pack that displays 3 nearby businesses immediately under a map. Local search engine rankings are mainly driven by creating citations within business directories to support the visibility of your business. These searches give customers the option to call your local business directly, read recent reviews, or get directions to your location. Businesses that service their customers in-person can boost their visibility online by making sure their business shows up in search results when users need to find them.
Google Local Search Pack Displayed When Searching “Plumber Boston.”
Hacks to Set Up Local SEO
Before setting up your local business listing, you’ll first want to check your eligibility to create a listing within Google My Business (GMB). Online-only businesses, artists, and organizations are not eligible for a Google My Business listing. Check each platform’s guidelines on what determines eligibility.
Check for an existing listing.
When you have determined that you are eligible to list on specific platforms, you would want to check if a listing already exists for the business. Sometimes there may discover that you have a profile when you are not aware one is present, though it may be severely basic and incomplete. Having complete and correct information within your business listing improves your ranking when users search for terms relevant to the business category.
Claim your listing.
To claim your listing, you’ll want to review the information that may have already been provided to ensure accurate information, especially since consistency is key. Each platform is different, but the basic information that helps search engines geolocate your business includes business name, address, and phone number, which is often referred to as NAP. Including a business description and links to social media accounts often enhances it further. Some even allow you to upload other media such as menus and pictures of your business. Once you’ve updated or corrected the information, you may have to proceed through an email, phone, or mail verification process as required by each platform.
Content Planning for SEO
When you have verified your business listings and have established a profile on the greatest amount of business directories, traditional SEO comes into play to further improve your local SEO ranking. This starts with keyword research to use for your content, which will improve your SEO ranking. Begin by researching what your customers search for. Then, plan content around those topics to improve your ranking in a platform’s search results.
Researching keywords produce better content.
If you are a local custom furniture shop, you could write a blog about repurposing an old chair or distressed furniture. Long-tail keywords for these topics are likely to be “how to repurpose a chair” or “how to restore distressed furniture.” The short-tail keywords would more likely be “repurpose chair” and “restore furniture.” Researching keywords that best fit your business gives you the best chance to produce useful content around what your customers are searching for. In researching keywords, you could even create content based on search trends that are relevant to the services you offer.
Content planning hacks to enhance local SEO:
- Focus more on short-tail keywords. Typically when focusing on search engine marketing, or SEM, long-tail keywords are the way to go because a customer is closer to finding the solution to their need. Long-tail keywords are always useful, however with local SEO, you’ll want to pay attention to short-tail keywords because of the volume of searches, plus it may trigger local SEO. There is no bidding with local SEO, but since short-tail keywords are more likely to be competitive, planning your content to achieve high local search ranking becomes even more important. Try experimenting by entering different searches to see which keywords trigger the local search pack for your area. In the screenshot below, the search term “emergency plumbing,” triggered local SEO even without the words “near me” or the name of the city in the search.
Google Local Search Pack for “Emergency Plumbing.”
- When researching keywords, you could start by using Google Trends. If you’re new to the local SEO game, Google Trends offers a free tool for you to research keywords that are popular in your area. This is extremely helpful data that shows the pulse of relevant consumer trends in your area.
- Optimize your blog titles. Ensure that you use relevant keywords to your business and article within your title. Nothing is more satisfying when you search and find content that is completely relevant to what you searched. On the flip side, nothing is more irritating than finding a blog with the title “plus size dress cheap black” and it takes you to a random assortment of dresses. Don’t try to fit every keyword into the title as too many of them could look spammy to Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
- Create Links that reference your content within your website. Throughout this blog, you may have noticed that we linked back to previous blogs that covered similar topics. You may also notice that we recommend blogs that may be of interest in the sidebar as well. This helps increase the visibility of your content and provides your potential customers with more content related to their search.
- Look for opportunities to create backlinks. Backlinks are formed when another site contains a link to one of your webpages. If you write a LinkedIn article as an industry thought leader containing a link to your webpage, this would be considered a backlink. A backlink could also come in the form of a writer referencing your blog in their online content. This establishes your content as a source of authority and improves your local search engine ranking.
- Post high-quality photos. High-quality pictures within local business directories will further engage people who search for your business.
- Create posts within Google My Business. Periodically post to Google My Business profile to improve local SEO. Include hashtags that are similar to your high volume keywords, and Google will highlight them within search results to help your business further stand out.
Don’t Forget About Yelp
Especially that mobile search volume is increasing and now comprises of 54% of total search volume, it is crucial to improve your mobile search rank by optimizing your Yelp listing. Their database services Apple Maps, Bing Local, and Google Maps app.
Reputation Management Tips for Local SEO
Once you’ve got your listings set up, it’s crucial to continually monitor and update information on each citation as changes happen. If you open a new location or offer new products and services, update information promptly. Manage the reviews you’re receiving to ensure that your ranking does not tank because of negative experiences.
Here are a few tips on managing your reputation with local SEO:
DO respond to the reviews for your business in a genuine and courteous manner. In the photo examples above, the businesses each have a star rating and the number of customer-submitted reviews. This is a chance for you to interact with your customers and gain insight into how they’re experiencing your business. Keep in mind that potential customers may be taking notes on how you deal with a complaint. Ensure your responses are kind, prompt, and professional.
In the photo example below, you can see a great example of how to respond to a negative review. DON’T appear defensive or shame the customer for what they had to say.
Negative Yelp review answered within one business day.
DON’T try to boost your ratings dishonestly by giving gifts, discounts, or other items in return for a positive review. This could violate the guidelines of a platform and more importantly, make your business look a bit dishonest.
DO consider using an automation tool that can help you set up and monitor your listings in a single location. This will enable you to focus on other tasks, such as responding to your reviews.
Start improving your local SEO results now by having a qualified marketing consulting agency such as Prime Marketing Experts help you profitably increase traffic to your business. Reach out to us now by filling out this form or by calling us at 617-651-1457.