When implemented correctly, local SEO can generate tons of new leads and search traffic simply from existing ones.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website, web content, and third-party listings so that your business ranks well in local search engine results. For example, a chiropractor located in Nashville, TN may use a local SEO strategy to appear in search engine results related to phrases such as “best chiropractor in Nashville” or “best chiropractor in my area.”
And it works too. Since local SEO searches typically have high purchase intent, about 80% of them convert to web visits, according to WebFX. Additionally, it is estimated that 50% of users visit a store within a day of performing a local search, and 28% of local searches result in a purchase.
Read on to learn how to build a successful local SEO strategy in a few easy steps.
Open the doors of your business after adjusting your local SEO.
Local SEO Strategy
A local SEO strategy can be incredibly beneficial for businesses that serve a specific geographic region. Here are three reasons why:
In decades past, people found local businesses through the Yellow Pages. Do you remember that? Today, 86% of people rely on the internet to help them find local businesses and the only time you’ll see a Yellow Pages directory is in a classic 80’s or 90’s movie.
In other words, customer habits have changed. When we need a plumber to fix our leaks, we Google the professional with the best reviews. When our kids need new soccer cleats, we Bing for the nearest sports store.
But the bottom line is that your business will only appear in search engine results and gain new customers if you have a strong local SEO strategy. Otherwise, your competitors will show up first and take your business away.
Website traffic, by itself, does not create revenue. What you want is quality website traffic, that is, traffic from visitors who really care about the products and/or services you sell and who will consider buying them now or in the future.
A local SEO strategy can help you drive this type of traffic by making your business visible to potential customers who are already searching online for the things you offer.
Think about it: If a user searches for “best CPA in Sacramento,” they are probably looking for a qualified accountant in the Sacramento area who can do their taxes or advise them on other financial matters. By appearing in search engine results for this query, a CPA can easily connect with potential clients who are ready to invest in their services, and local SEO drives this type of quality traffic for free.
Lastly, it is much easier to rank in local searches than global ones, which means your local business has a chance to compete with mega-brands and win. Just because there’s a Walmart or Best Buy in your town doesn’t mean you can’t compete with them.
Believe it or not, only 56% of local businesses have claimed their Google My Business listing, a key aspect of local SEO that we’ll cover more in a moment. Because of this, a local SEO strategy will also give you an edge over other SMBs in your area that cater to a similar audience.
How To Optimize For SEO
Local SEO often seems wild and mysterious. Is it really possible to tame the great beast of Google? Taming is a strong word (in this context), but there are definitely proven ways to bend the mighty search engine to your will and outperform your competitors, which we’ll explore below.
Tip # 1: Set Up Your Google Business Profile Page
Google is the biggest and most important search engine in the world, and it’s not even close. (Sorry Bing! – Even though you should SEO to rank on Bing too). That’s why we recommend using ALL the tools at your disposal to make sure your business appears in Google search results.
Google Business Profile is a free tool/listing that allows local businesses to be included on Google Maps, display photos of their stores and products; and easily connect with a wide range of potential buyers within a specific geographic location.
To set up your Google Business Profile, just follow the instructions provided by Google, which will take you pretty far. But also keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure your name, address and phone number (i.e your “NAP”) are accurate and exactly the same in all of your online listings.
- Choose three to five categories that focus on the services you offer rather than the results you help your clients achieve.
- Keep your description to 100-200 words – long enough to share important company details, but short enough to cater to minuscule attention spans.
Tip # 2: Choose Your Keywords
The next step is to choose (and use!) strategic keywords. A keyword is a specific word or phrase that an Internet user will type into a search engine. For example, when searching for ice cream parlors in Boise, ID, someone might type “best ice cream parlor in my town” into Google.
Your job as a local business owner and/or manager is to discover the keywords your unique customers are using and then optimize for them.
There are many ways to discover relevant keywords. First, brainstorm all the words and phrases your customers could use to describe your business. If you sell pet supplies, keywords like “dog food” and “pet store” and “Desert Iguana” might apply.
After you’ve done a big keyword dump, it’s time to bring in the big guns: keyword software. Google Keyword Planner is a free option to get started. If you want a more powerful tool, try something like SEMrush.
These solutions will reveal important keywords you may not have thought of, as well as give you volume and competition data relative to your phrase list.
The last piece of the first step is choosing the actual keywords you will optimize for. We suggest choosing keywords that get a decent amount of traffic (70+ searches a month) but aren’t so competitive that it takes a miracle to rank for them.
Tip # 3: Safe Citations And Links
Now that you have your keywords locked down, it’s time to secure citations and links back to your site.
So, we’re on the same page, a citation is earned when your business’s NAP details are added to an online directory. Sites like Houzz, Yelp, and AngiesList, as well as your local chamber of commerce, are good examples of online directories.
When securing citations, make sure your NAP is identical across all directories.
A link is earned every time an external website links to yours. Links can be acquired through online directories, blog posts, web pages, etc.
When building your site’s link profile, contact other businesses in your area, their vendors, and business partners to try to create legitimate link exchanges. Next, use a tool like Moz Link Explorer or Ahrefs to find out where your competitors are earning links. Lastly, contact these same websites with a compelling reason for them to link to your site as well (or instead).
Tip # 4: Create Great Content
Your local SEO strategy is really cooking! Now is the time to create great content so you can rank well in search engine results, drive traffic to your site, and convert casual visitors into paying customers who trust your brand. This is easier said than done, but we have a few tips for you:
- Optimize your content with keywords: Remember all those keywords you came up with in step one? You’re not done with them! Create content – blogs, YouTube videos, podcast episodes, etc. – using these themes and phrases.
- Build for humans, not bots: Keywords are important, but they’re not the end, they’re everything. In fact, keyword stuffing will actually hurt your local SEO strategy. Instead, create content that’s easy to consume, and then sprinkle it with keywords where appropriate.
- Target internal and external links: By linking to relevant content both on other websites and on your own, you will indicate to search engines that your site is trustworthy. Just make sure your anchor text is relevant to whatever you’re linking to.
- Share your content: Once your blog, video, or podcast is created, share it with your email list, social media followers, your mom… Just get as many eyes on it as possible. That way you can prove to search engines that your material is legitimate.
All the local SEO tricks in the world won’t help you if your content sucks. Spend time creating great pieces and you will be rewarded with better search engine rankings.
Tip # 5: Encourage Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are very important when it comes to your local SEO strategy for two reasons:
- They prove to search engines that your business really exists.
- They help potential customers trust your company enough to do business with it.
The question is, how do you actually get reviews? And how do you make sure those reviews are good? And which platform should I try to get reviews on? Sorry, there were three questions… We will address each of them in the order in which they were asked:
First, how do you get reviews? The easiest way is to simply ask your customers for them. Then, make it as easy as possible for them to move on by sending a direct link to the platform you’d like them to review your business on.
Are you afraid of bad reviews? If you treat your customers well and strive to create amazing experiences for them, you shouldn’t have it. To make sure your reviews are stellar, do more than that for your customers, so they don’t have anything else to say about you.
Finally, which review platform is the best? It depends on your goals, but if we had to choose, it would be Google. Why? It’s simple, Google is the largest search engine by far, accounting for 86.86% of the global search market.
Tip # 6: Optimize Your Focus
The final step to an effective local SEO strategy is to monitor and analyze your approach. Are your efforts moving the needle? But because?
When you understand what isn’t working, you can make the necessary adjustments. Conversely, when you know what works, you can double down on winning tactics. The only way to find out what works and what doesn’t is to dig into the data.
We also suggest keeping an eye on your competitors so you can learn from their mistakes and successes and how you can positively differentiate your brand.
Reach your local audience
A local SEO optimized strategy will help you reach more customers in your area, while lowering your marketing costs. I win! But to realize the benefits of SEO, you have to follow the six-step system that we have outlined in this article:
- Set up the Google Business Profile listing
- Choose your keywords
- Secure citations and links
- Create great content
- Encourage customer feedback
- Optimize your approach
97% of consumers research the presence of a company on the Internet before visiting it. By following these local SEO tips, you can improve your company’s online profile, connect with more potential customers, and grow your business. Good luck!