Increasing Local Search Engine Optimization
Having an online presence is almost a must-have for today’s business world. The internet has been a game changer in the world of marketing since most people have access to smartphones, and the internet presence is enormous. For your business to stay afloat in the competitive open market structure, you need to establish an online presence via the creation of a unique website.
You may still be wondering how a website will help you expand your business. You should know that over 3.2 billion people in the world have access to the internet. Three-quarter of this number, visit the world wide web on a daily basis. Having a functional website that is well ranked in the search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo will help increase traffic to your site letting potential customers know about your products or services.
So, how do you make sure that your website gets enough traffic? Getting a premium domain name will help. However, search engine optimization (SEO) is the easiest and most cost-effective way of ranking your website on the big search platforms and get noticed by customers.
SEO is made up of different strategies to ensure a website can be found in search engines. The search engines will rank websites utilizing several factors such as content, keywords, metadata, and the information they assume to be relevant to the user.
The process may seem simple however, there is more to SEO than you might think. Especially if you have a business that targets customer in a certain locality or region. Of course, you cannot go competing with global multi-international corporations that offer the same service. In such a scenario, local SEO comes in handy. In the article, we will provide useful insights on Local SEO and its importance in the advertising world.
What is Local SEO?
As we have mentioned earlier if you have a business that targets a certain locality or region, you should try to focus on increasing your website’s local search ranking. For instance, if you have an auto repair shop in Southlake, Texas you don’t want to waste your effort attracting customers in Indiana. Additionally, you cannot compete with national automotive giants for organic search position. You will have to make sure that your website is relevant to the people living in Southlake and its surrounding areas. Local SEO primarily focuses on the ranking of specific businesses in a certain geographical area.
For instance, Mr. Jones wanted to take his car to an auto repair establishment in Southlake, but he has no idea which dealership is close to where he lives. Of course, with the era of “Google It”, he will search for the shop from the internet. When he does so, the search engine will rank the search with the auto repair shops near his home region being on top of the list. From there he will be able to choose from a variety of dealership depending on how well the business has optimized its website, the services offered, and the proximity of the business to his home.
Over the last decade, Local SEO has grown with the increase in smartphone usage and better internet connectivity.
Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to virtually visit stores on a daily bases. Out of this number 61% end up in purchases. Local search traffic can be driven via paid or organic search. The organic search involves using several terms such as a single string of texts on a search engine. The search engine will filter some search results such as advertisements and the results appear as listed snippets. In paid searches, the search engine does not filter advertisements because they use pay per click for every advertisement. Therefore, local SEO will always ensure that an organization or business will get a high ranking in relevant results for a given location.
How does Local SEO Work?
Arguably, local SEO is a key part of marketing for any local or regional business. As we mentioned earlier 50% of searches on mobile devices will land on local results and 61% of this visits will result to purchase. This begs the question, how does local SEO work for me?
Let’s look at an example of a person searching for “Auto Repair” and another searching for “Auto Repair Southlake, TX.” In the first case, the user may just be looking for general information or a local shop. However, search engines can’t tell the difference, so the results will vary. On Google, the results will be a mix of results (articles, videos, etc.) and may or may not have local businesses listed.
Today, when a person is looking for a local business, service, or product they will add a location or “near me” to the search as in the second example. Most search engines now have a map near the top of the results page that has local businesses. These listings are based on location, review, relevance, etc. There are only three businesses listed and it is important to be on this list.
So, what can you do as a business owner to increase your local rankings?
Step One: Website Audit and Competition Research
Before implementing any SEO strategy, you should perform a complete audit by conducting a full web analysis and examine the factors such as coding and page optimization options when the search engine is indexing a page. If you have an older web design, you should consider redesigning it to meet the latest search standards. Competition research helps you to see what your competitors are doing for optimization and what keywords they are focusing on. Pay close attention to the websites that rank highest in searches. What are they doing differently that lets them stand out.
Step Two: Local Keyword Research
This a crucial step where you need to examine specific phrases that customers will use when searching for a product or service from the internet. Good keywords will increase your chances of ranking higher in the overall local search. You should conduct an extensive research on keywords specific to a certain locality or demographic region. Using good research tools such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush will make this research easier and provide insight into additional keywords you may not have considered.
Step Three: Quality Content Creation and Optimization
After identifying your keywords, you need to create quality content around these keywords or phrases. This does not mean that you need to write articles crammed with a bunch of keywords. Search engines today are smarter than that. You want to have good keywords, but write the content for the reader, not the search engine.
The content needs to be original, but not necessarily new content. You will likely not be the first person to write about how to properly choose a new wallpaper pattern for your home. Write the content in a tone that reflects the information. If you’re a writing an information article (like this one), it should be informative to the reader. If you are writing about birthday parties for kittens (Google it) than the article may be more lighthearted.
The next thing to consider is how long the article should be. It has become common to say that content around 500 words is fine for search engines, however, if your high-ranking competition is writing 1300 word articles, you may want to do the same. Check out our article on content writing tips to learn more.
Step Four: Build Local Links
Building links to your website can be a huge boost to search rankings. Links always act as votes recommending people to visit your websites. They can be indicators from your friend’s blog, your social media pages, and other quality websites related to your industry.
For people with limited knowledge of SEO, finding the right local links to facilitate your business can be a very difficult undertaking. The most important local links that you can employ include finding related local blogs, utilizing services such as Moz Local, and joining the town chamber of commerce and other local directories just to mention a few.
Why do I Need Local SEO?
The sole purpose of integrating local SEO in an establishment is to increase the visibility of business that is in direct contact with the communities such as a dental clinic, grocery store, or local gym. Embracing this technique ensures that even a one-word search will give a local business good ranking in the search. The main benefits of Local SEO include
- High ROI – Optimizing your website for local search costs little to no money when compared to a paid advertising campaign.
- Increase targeted traffic – As we mentioned earlier, you may have many visitors to your website who are not relevant. Local SEO will help you reach potential local customers.
- Increase your Customers– Statically 61% of the 50% of the customers redirected to a website end up becoming customers. Therefore, Local SEO is great when it comes to increasing customer base.
How to Implement Local SEO
If you know SEO and followed the trends, then you will probably know that it keeps changing. Therefore, to enable search engine indexing and ranking you should update your website from time to time. Optimization will also help you stay afloat in the otherwise competitive market. Below we will look at a few techniques to implement Local SEO.
1. Localization of Web Pages
Of course, when we talk about web page localization we refer to a broad process of adopting a certain page to a certain demographic region, culture, and language to reach targeted clients or potential customers. Localization includes providing a full address in your web pages and phone numbers. To reach potential customers, you have to include the names of all the locations that of you targeting in all the pages. For every page, you should integrate a contact page and phone numbers. Ensure the phone numbers are “clickable” so that it is easier for customers to contact you when searching on mobile devices.
When creating the body of the web page try to distribute keywords throughout the content and mention the city and state in the body text. Make sure that the URL contains the name of the location of the business if possible. Localization of web pages will have a direct correlation with better local ranking.
2. Claim Your Business in Directories
Claiming a listing helps to verify you are the legitimate owner of the business and you have the authority to maintain an online presence.
When claiming a website, the first thing that occurs is that the search engine will verify whether your name exists in the index. You will be surprised even if you have never created a listing, the business will have some sort of presence. From there you should verify your website information and fix all the errors that might exist. The search engine will give you a chance to verify your information once more before final confirmation. Some of the national directories include Bing places (https://bingplaces.com), Yelp (https://biz.yelp.com), and Google my Business (https://business.google.com).
As we discussed earlier when creating links for your websites, finding the right link is a crucial process. The best place to start when seeking to create local links should be in regional directories such as local chambers of commerce directories. To determine the most appropriate local directories you can look for them online. For instance, if you are in Dallas you can visit (http://where2godallas.com) or Metroplex Directory (https://www.metroplexdirectory.com), which is a great place to create a local citation.
3. Social Media
Of course, you know that the world of social media has created a very good platform for advertising products or services. To make sure your business stays at the top or to increase a client base you need to create a social media account relevant to your business. The social media platforms you can use include:
You should always post regularly on the social platforms about any new development in your business and encourage reviews on the social sites, especially Facebook.
4. Encouraging Readers to Contact you
Your web pages, articles, social media posts, and any other online activity needs to have a call to action (CTA) that encourages readers to contact you. A CTA can be as simple as a “Contact Us” button, a newsletter sign-up, or a phone number and address asking customers to visit your location.
SEO is the new era of marketing. Over the last decade, internet usage has tremendously increased due to more access and the rapid change in the world of mobile phones. Currently, there are over 3.2 billion internet users around the world. Therefore, to stay afloat in the competitive open market structure you need to establish an online presence. Of course, for small or regional businesses you need to focus on your location to reach potential customers. Local SEO helps to target potential customers and improve business listings. Localization helps customers to find a business easily in search engines because it increases local ranking for searches. If you have a business that you want to target customers from a given locality, you should embrace this strategy.
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