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Statistics show that 46% of Google searches seek information within their vicinity. If your business isn’t well optimised online, you could be missing out on potential clients who want to patronise the business.
Local SEO is essential, especially if you aim for longevity in your business. Since it’s essential, it is important to know how to apply the techniques to see desired results.
If you don’t know how to optimise your business using local SEO or simply need more tips to improve your existing SEO strategy, we have curated some vital tips to guide you in doing this. This guide will help you better understand how to optimise your business to reach your potential clients interested in your products.
WHAT IS LOCAL SEO, AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Local SEO simply means improving the search engine visibility and optimising the online presence of your business to get organic customers within your locality.
Doing this helps you become more visible to your potential customers when they make relevant searches.
Search engines mostly use business information like social media pages, links, local content, etc., to provide accurate results to the users when they input related keywords. They (the search engines) also use users’ geolocation by tracking their IP addresses. Doing all these things ensures that the best and most relevant results are provided when users make their search.
For example, if a user searches for a product/service and location, e.g. “doughnuts in Birmingham”, the search engine results will show relevant doughnut shops in the Birmingham area.
However, suppose you just search for just the product without including the location, e.g. “doughnuts”. The search results will assume that the search is for local purposes and still show relevant doughnut shops in your particular location by tracking your IP address and geolocation to get your specific location.
Local SEO is very beneficial for your business. Studies show that the tendency to search for a product online before buying has increased. About 4 in 5 consumers search locally for a product online, and this information sends about 70% of consumers to a physical store.
With these results, you can see that local SEO is essential, as it improves your business visibility and serves as a cost-effective marketing solution. Asides from this, it generates huge traffic for your business through searches, and you tend to reach customers within your location that are ready to buy your product. When your products are within reach of its consumers, chances of buying are high.
An additional advantage is that you don’t have to waste your time with customers far away from your location and have a low chance of patronising you.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEO AND LOCAL SEO
SEO generally means optimising your online presence to be easily visible on search engines. However, local SEO specialises in making you relevant to searchers within your locality.
In simpler terms, organic or traditional SEO ensures that your site is visible globally and doesn’t have any business with your location. In contrast, local SEO uses your location to connect you to searchers within your area.
As much as they have differences, they also complement each other in several ways, and both can have positive impacts on the other.
For instance, when you upload your business details on Google My Business or other local listing directories, you’re helping local search engines determine where you are. Simultaneously, you’re also adding a link back to your website, thus adding to your site’s backlink count. Search engines take this backlink count and rank your website higher on search results.
Another way local and organic SEO complement each other is when you upload locally-focused blog content. Doing this helps you rank higher on SERPs while also increasing your potential to reach locally-based searchers.
If these optimisations are not done correctly, they can hurt your marketing efforts, so paying close attention to them is essential to get the best results.
Additionally, adding accurate information like location, opening/closing hours, services provided, etc., make it easier for searchers and increases your chances of getting more customers.
TIPS FOR OPTIMISING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS USING LOCAL SEO
- Set up/optimise your Google My Business account
Google My Business has undeniably become a vital tool for business owners, as it provides necessary information about your business that searchers need. To set up your Google My Business, do this;
– Create and verify your Google My Business page
– Use Google Posts in your account
– Ask for customer reviews on the page
– Respond to customers’ reviews politely
Doing this is essential because Google can authenticate your business as legit and give you the honour of having a sidebar space on Google local search, highly coveted by businesses.
Aside from updating your information for SEO purposes, it also helps in giving potential customers a deeper insight into what your business is all about and can boost chances of patronage.
- Link your social media to Google My Business
Google values shared social media content, so after setting up your My Business profile, make sure to interlink your My Business page and social media profiles to each other. Doing this helps to improve visibility both on SEO and social media.
- Keep your business information consistent and updated
Business information like names, phone numbers(with area codes) and addresses should be consistent and written out in HTML text to make it crawlable by search engines.
Also, having accurate updates makes your business visible. Even as little as a typo error or wrong address/number could be problematic. Google will not display these details in the search results if they cannot verify that you’re authentic.
- Run a local SEO audit
SEO is a continuous process, and as tempting as it is to stop once you start seeing results, you shouldn’t. Instead of stopping or changing strategies, it is important to run an audit to see how your website performs and what changes you should make to achieve your goals.
Here’s a guide for local SEO audits:
– Google My Business — to know how your business appears in SERPs and how accurate the information displayed is.
– Google Search Console— to know how crawlable your site is and if any errors make indexing ineffective.
– On-page SEO— to know if your site has all the features that enable higher ranking.
– Citation— to ensure the correctness of all information displayed.
– Competitor analysis— to know how you match your fellow competitors and note the necessary holes to fill if you don’t.
– Website— to check the overall function of the website.
- Upgrade your internal linking strategy
External links are quite ideal; however, internal links help rank and navigate your site better. It is important to have an internal linking strategy to rank higher and ensure maximum visibility of all content on your page.
- Optimise content, URLs, meta descriptions, etc.
Whenever you want to put out content on your website, ensure that the content is optimised for search engines by adding high-volume keywords in the URLs, title, meta description, etc. Doing this gives you a higher opportunity of being found on the SERPs.
- Include location pages on your website
If you have one or more physical locations, you need to do this. Location pages contain all the essential information needed for your business in a particular geographical location. Information like addresses, phone numbers, opening/closing hours, reviews, etc., are included on the location page.
Avoid copying content across different location pages to avoid confusion. For a business with one location, it is ideal for creating an “About Us” page that is locally descriptive. You also gain a bonus if you add Google Maps on your location page, as it’ll help potential customers find you more easily.
- Create more localised content
Writing about general content might be more beneficial regarding traffic generation, but creating specific content for your particular region is also important. It helps you be the local authority in your industry, thus attracting more customers.
- Make sure your website is mobile optimised
The searches on mobile devices have increased (about 61%). Having a mobile-friendly website makes it easier for users to find your business and navigate it.
- Obtain relevant inbound links
Inbound links prove your legitimacy and can help you rank higher on local SEO. You can get them by hosting community events, partnering with influencers, guest blogging, providing resources, etc., helping you gain more traffic through inbound links, social media growth and reposts on social media.
- Being an active participant in your local community
Participating in local community events is a sure-fire way of getting more buzz around your business. Partnering with NGOs for charity outreaches, hosting events, scholarships within your industry, etc., are great ways of participating in your local community events. More people get to know about you when you do this, and you feel good too!
Local SEO is vital for your business, and it works together with organic SEO to ensure that your website stays high in ranking and continues getting traffic. Asides from that, it is essential to prove your business’s legitimacy and attract more customers to you.
When creating a local SEO strategy, it is vital to pay attention, as it may be fatal to your business when done wrongly. The tips provided are sure to help improve your local SEO, and also make sure to carry out periodic local SEO audits to ensure that you’re on the right track.