When small businesses expand their online marketing, it becomes imperative to gain the trust of local prospective customers to stay ahead of the competition.
Fortunately, the internet is there to make everyone happy; it is a powerful equaliser for all business. Any business can implement a local SEO strategy to help attract new customers to its physical location. But it isn’t that simple, and a shoddy local SEO strategy won’t cut it.
To effectively rank high on search engines and snag local customers, a business has to build a great local SEO campaign that is built on proven and tested tactics. A top SEO company can help put in place an effective SEO strategy that is right for your business.
But why do you need local SEO? Well, partly because your competitors are implementing local SEO strategies, but mainly because studies show that 46% of all searches on the leading search engine Google, are local. This means, if your business doesnít have a local SEO campaign in place, you will not only get outranked by your competitors, but you will also lose your best opportunity to gain paying customers.
So, regardless of your industry, you need to know what search engines such as Google and Bing value when it comes to ranking local businesses. Search engines have hundreds of criteria that they use for ranking business. While it is essential to know what’s what regarding these criteria, there are a few weighting factors to help with your local SEO. They include:
1. Google My Business, Bing Places & Apple Maps Listing
All search engines provide businesses with several features that can help companies to rank high on local searches. With such features, you can put your business on Google Maps, Apple Maps and even Bing Places and ultimately boost your business’s visibility online. Unfortunately, many companies don’t realise the potential of such features, and when they make use of them, they don’t stick to the guidelines.
Surprised? Don’t be.
In fact, only 44% of local businesses have a Google My Business listing, and 18% have claimed a business listing on Bing. This means that there is a staggering percentage of local retailers who are missing out on free Local SEO marketing tactics that can help them gain more customers.
Help search engines help you!
To get started, follow the simple process the search engines lead you through and make sure that you all your businessís information, i.e. name, address, working hours, website, contact info etc. After youíve ensured that your citations are accurate, optimise your listing. If you opt for a DIY option, the search engine will guide you, or you can hire a reputable SEO company to help you. Hereís a look at the benefits of GMB, Bing Places and Apple maps listing:
- Info consistency: You get to confirm all your business’s info online and make sure there isn’t any misrepresentation.
- Powerful first impressions: Helps you paint a clear picture of what your business is about.
- Analytics: You have access to back-end info that shows you exactly how your listing is performing. You can see when and how customers are finding you and where they aren’t. Moreover, you can compare your listing performance with your competitor’s performance. Insights help you tweak your local SEO campaign to boost your local visibility further.
- Visibility throughout the internet: Once you are listed your business becomes more visible to local customers who use that search engine.
2. Website Optimisation
For a business, the website is its clothing. How is your business dressed? Is it dressed like a person walking the walk-of-shame? Or is it dressed like someone on Paternoster Square? Consumers often use your website to assess your business. But in addition to having an impressive site, it needs to be optimised.
For local SEO you need on-page signals, optimise for mobile users and add reviews and testimonials. Local search statistics show that in 2018, mobile devices account for 52.2% of all online traffic generated worldwide. So itís imperative that your website is optimised for mobile users. Here are on-page SEO tips to help you climb the SERPs:
- Secure your website
- Make sure your site is fast by search engine standards
- Use local main keyword in the title tag
- Use internal links
- Relevant content
3. Local Content, Reviews & Links
Content is one of the building blocks of both global and local SEO. When creating content, make sure you mention the neighbourhood, city, country or even friendly terms that locals may use whenever possible. You can also incorporate current local news in your content which will help you connect with the audience and support your local SEO campaign.
Another thing to add to your content is local quality links. The typical way of doing this is to build personal relationships with the local community and local distribution partners. You can even consider giving speeches and scholarships in local universities. Building local relationships is an effective way to attract quality local links.
Want to boost your local SEO efforts? Get reviews. According to research, 88% of local consumers trust reviews. Online reputation is essential for local SEO since reviews appeal to both prospective clients and search engines. So, youíll want to provide quality products and services to have great local reviews.
So, is local SEO worth the effort? Considering the consequences of not implementing local SEO strategies and the benefits you stand to gain, the answer is undoubtedly YES! Local SEO is worth it. Itís suitable for all businesses so make sure to get started with your local SEO campaign. SEO can sometimes seem overwhelming. If you need help, then consider hiring a professional SEO company to make sure your business isnít left behind.