Top Ways to Increase Your Local SEO

If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably heard of SEO or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) and thereby increase your visibility online. While SEO is important for all businesses, it’s especially crucial for small businesses — according to BrightLocal’s 2018 Small Business Survey, “77% of consumers have used the internet to find a local business in the past 12 months” (Brightlocal, 2018).

In other words, if you want your small business to be found online, you need to optimize your website for search engines. But what does that entail? Keep reading to find out.

1. Do Your Research

The first step in any good SEO campaign is research — you must understand your industry and audience. Once you’ve done your research, you can start planning your SEO strategy. When planning your strategy, it’s essential to keep your audience in mind — after all, the whole point of SEO is to reach more people interested in what you do. With that said, there are a few key things you should keep in mind when optimizing your website for local SEO:

-Make sure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) is consistent across all platforms (e.g., Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook).

-Generate user-friendly content that answers common questions related to your industry/field (e.g., “What are the best carpet cleaning tips?”)

-Research and include relevant keywords throughout your website and blog posts (e.g., if you own a pet store, some relevant keywords could be “pet supplies”, “pet food”, “pet toys”, etc.).

2. Claim Your Listings

A crucial part of local SEO is claiming (and maintaining) accurate business listings on popular directories and review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp!, and Angie’s List. When claiming or creating listings on these platforms, including all pertinent information about your business, such as hours of operation, type of business/services offered, etc., is crucial. Inaccurate or incomplete listings can hurt your ranking on search results pages, so it is essential to take the time to ensure that all your listings are accurate and up-to-date. 

3. Build Citations

Citations are mentions of your business on other websites — even if there isn’t a link back to your website. Citations help search engines verify the accuracy of your business listing information (such as name/address/phone number) and can also potentially help improve your ranking on search results pages. You can build citations by submitting your business information to online directories such as Yext or Moz Local, by claiming listings on popular review sites, or by simply ensuring that all mentions of your online businesses include accurate name/address/phone number information.

4. Generate Reviews

According to BrightLocal, “84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations”, so it should be no surprise that reviews are an essential part of local SEO. Not only can positive reviews help improve click-through rates from SERPs, but they can also contribute to building trust with potential customers. To encourage customers to leave reviews—whether those be Google Reviews, Yelp! Reviews, Facebook Recommendations, etc.—post review links in customer receipts/emails. It may also be beneficial to pair up with another local business and offer customers discounts or promotions in exchange for leaving reviews for one or both businesses.

5. Get involved in your local community.

One thing that sets local businesses apart from large national or international businesses is their connection to the community in which they operate. For example, getting involved in local events or sponsoring local sports teams can help improve brand recognition and show potential customers that you are invested in making your community better. These activities can also lead to press coverage from local news outlets, further improving brand awareness and significantly boosting traffic to your website.

6. Focus on generating quality content rather than quantity.

When it comes to content marketing—creating blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.—it’s essential to focus on quality over quantity. This means creating original, well-researched, well-written, informative, and engaging content rather than churning out low-quality content to have something new on your site regularly. Focusing on quality over quantity makes for happier customers who are more likely to return to your site in the future; it also helps improve click-through rates from SERPS because searchers can tell when content has been rushed and cobbled together than being carefully thought out and executed.

Conclusion

Local SEO is an excellent way for businesses serving a specific geographical area to improve their visibility online and attract more customers through organic search methods rather than paid advertising campaigns. By following the tips outlined above, you can put yourself ahead of the competition and start seeing actual results from your SEO efforts.