Increase your ranking on Google maps and local search with these effective and easy to implement tips.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of increasing search engine visibility for local searches aimed at local businesses with an actual physical location.
Local SEO helps you to increase traffic, leads and brand awareness from local searches.
Local people will always prioritize local businesses
Local SEO allows businesses to improve organic traffic from searches performed by clients in nearby areas.
Local SEO prioritizes specific locations to attract local leads and clients.
Why is local SEO important?
Local SEO increases your visibility on Google Maps and Google Search. Local SEO is bringing more leads, conversions and clients to your business.
Searches include keywords like near me or an actual location.
76% of consumers search for local services or products on their phones.
What ranking signals are important for local SEO?
- Location proximity
- NAP citations in online business directories
- Optimized GMB listing
- GMB categories
- GMB photos
- Bing Places
- Listings on reviews sites
- Keywords in GMB profile
- The character of online reviews
- Reviews with keywords and location
- Reviews with responses
- Check-ins at specific locations
- Shares on social media
- Google My Business rating
- Localized content
- On-page location and keyword optimization
- Optimized title and meta description on your web pages
- Social media accounts
- Citations that provide relevant local results
- Mobile responsiveness of your website
- Structured data
Perform a local SEO audit
- How does your GMB profile appear on SERP (Search Engine Results Page)?
- Is all GMB info accurate?
- Perform Google Search Console audit.
- Is your site crawlable?
- Any errors that need fixing?
- Audit On-page SEO elements that help with ranking.
- Citation audit.
- Competitor analysis.
- Website audit.
- How well is your web performing?
How to optimize your business for local SEO?
Google my Business (GMB)
Set up and optimize your Google My Business profile to attract your local audience.
Read my other blog on how to optimize your Google My Business profile, here.
Online business directories and social media/NAP citations
What is N.A.P?
N.A.P. stands for Name, Address and Phone number. These are the basic information about a business that Google looks at across the internet.
Why is N.A.P. important?
The more places you appear online, the more authority and relevance you’ll receive from Google, which directly influences your ranking.
If Google sees consistent N.A.P. information across the internet (website, Google My Business, other business listings, social networks), it evaluates your business as active and trustworthy which in turn will positively influence your SEO ranking. The need to achieve detailed consistent information about your business is an absolute must.
Besides the name, address and phone, don’t forget to mention your email, website URL and other crucial business info. Every mention makes your business more trustworthy.
How to do N.A.P. citations?
Create business listings on all the relevant business listings websites. Prioritize listings with your business segment and location.
Be consistent with N.A.P, email and website URL. Provide as much relevant info about your business as possible. Don’t misspell or abbreviate. Remove duplicate listings.
Encourage your clients to leave you reviews on relevant business listings.
Optimize for voice search
What is voice search?
Voice search is when you Google information using any voice assistant like Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa.
Why is voice search optimization important?
Why is it important to optimize specifically for voice on top of standard optimization?
People search differently when using voice compared to typing on a cellphone or a laptop.
People use different search terms and phrases when using voice search compared to traditional typing. People talk to voice assistants in a natural way that is similar to a standard human conversation. They use longer phrases and natural language flow.
They need specific information and they ask specific questions. Imagine you are baking and you need the exact amount of flour used. You will ask an exact question. EG: How much flour goes into banana bread? If you were typing, you’d probably type something like “banana bread flour amount”.
How to optimize for voice search?
Fit your content to more traditional questions starter as WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW.
Understand how your clients are asking questions when they want to find services like yours. Use a more conversational tone to tap into their questions and answer them. Understand your clients and understand their intent.
What are they searching for? What stage of buyers journey are they at? What are their problems? If you know where they want to go and what are their problems, you can easily answer them.
Optimize your website, Google My Business (GMB) info and business listings for local keywords
What are location-specific keywords?
Location-specific keywords are region-specific names and terms, famous landmarks, events, places, restaurants and everything that has a location significance.
Why are location-specific keywords important?
Location keywords have a significant boost for the local/map pack. People search for terms like sushi close to Stanley Park or bar next to Canucks arena.
How to find good location-specific keywords?
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Search suggestions
- Yelp search suggestions
Where to use location-specific keywords
Use keywords in the title tag, Meta description, H tags, content, URL and standard On-page SEO elements. Search for your keywords and have a look at the Google ads section to see how top websites use location keywords.
Use power words to grab attention and persuade the reader to engage with your content.
Create city location pages on your website to reach multiple locations
You can verify your Google my Business listing only at the place where you have a physical location. But what if you want to expand to surrounding markets?
Create different city pages for every location where you want to expand. Create high-quality content for these pages.
Integrate location signals to your city/location pages. Location signals can be city and country names, important well know landmarks, events, places or restaurants that have significant location value and are generally recognized. Link directly to web pages of these locations.
What to include in your location pages?
Create high-quality content for city pages. Include NAP, Individualized descriptions, store hours, promotions, embed Google Maps and list all the important info that gives your visitors all the necessary information to have a positive experience from visiting your establishment.
Get high-quality backlinks
What are backlinks?
Links that are pointing to your web pages from other web pages, preferably with high authority.
Why are backlinks important?
Backlinks give your web pages authority which is a major SEO ranking signal.
Where to build backlinks?
- Local newspaper and media outlets
- Bloggers that create local content
- Local events pages like tourism sites
- Local charities that you could sponsor or volunteer at
- Your distributors, supplier, reseller, contractor or any related business that is open for partnership and cooperation
How to build backlinks?
Create content that you can offer to other companies to release on their web pages in exchange for a backlink.
You need to create high-quality content that people will actually want to release on their own media outlets. You need to have a good outreach strategy to persuade people that releasing your content will benefit them.
Create content based on local stories, news and events
Speak or relate directly to a local issue to grab the attention of locals. Write blogs around local news stories, activities or events. Create videos about local charities. Are there news events in other parts of town in regards to your business/niche? Produce content around it.
- Create a dedicated web page for each service or product that you offer.
- Optimize your website’s internal structure. Create interlinked clusters based on topics.
- Link to GMB from your website.
- Embed your GMB profile on specific web pages.
- Link to related businesses and relevant articles.
- Embed Google Maps on your website if the location is important.
- Have a Frequently Asked Questions page. Give detailed and direct answers to common questions your audience might have. FAQ can help you score a good ranking in featured snippets.
- Participate in your local community. You will get a great digital PR and attract attention to your brand and business.
- Offer personalized specials for local residents.
- Host, sponsor or partner with local events. Share these on social networks, business listings and your website.
- Have a regular blog and create high-quality content.
- Stay connected during covid19. Offer health and safety information to your visitors.
It is hard to compete with national and large, established brands. Focus on local SEO gives your business a chance to succeed with a local audience. Local SEO should be the focus of your business.