SEO plays a major role in the success of your business’s website and how it’s ranked within search engine results. While many business owners have at least heard of SEO, very few know that it requires regular improvements and updates in order to remain effective. As a local business owner, you might also not know that there’s a difference between regular and local SEO. Let’s look at how you can improve your local SEO strategy to increase your business’ visibility.
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Benefits of Local Search Engine Optimization
Local SEO targets those geographically nearby, whether they live in the area or are just passing through. In a nutshell, it focuses on local search results. Many people make the mistake of assuming local SEO is similar to regular SEO, though, and miss out on many of the added benefits of good local SEO.
To get the most out of your local SEO efforts, you must ensure that it’s showing up in relevant search results. Using effective local SEO tactics will offer your brand better online visibility, increase foot traffic to your physical location, improve credibility, and build trust. It will also attract a more targeted audience, which can lead to more conversions.
Local SEO ensures that your business is presented near the top of the page, specifically in Google’s Local Pack results. When a user searches for something near them or in a certain location, a list of local businesses and a map will appear above all the other organic results. If you aren’t in this list, fewer people will encounter your business.
As long as your local SEO is up to date, your business will benefit from it. If you don’t work to improve it, though, or just leave it as is, you’ll quickly see that you start to lose its benefits of it. This is because search engine algorithms do change over time; they’re always being updated and improved, which means that your local SEO tactics should also keep up.
How to Improve Local SEO
Not every business needs local SEO, but if you have a physical location, it’s safe to say that you should. So long as you rely on foot traffic or locals interacting with your business, you need local SEO, which means you should always be working to improve it.
Improving your local SEO isn’t always straightforward. Other businesses will often try to improve their local SEO strategy, but if you know what to look for, then you can be confident that you’re moving in the right direction.
1. Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Your Google My Business Profile is an invaluable tool for your business. As a free marketing tool, your Google My Business profile highlights everything about your business and displays it in Google Local Pack results, on Google Maps, and on the top right when users search for your business. It features information such as a link to your website, physical address, operating hours, and even reviews.
Google does take into account your Google My Business when ranking your website in organic search results, which is all the more reason to claim your Profile.
When it comes to optimizing your Google My Business profile, there are certain things you must do once it’s verified. Some include uploading images of your business, providing business hours, including any phone numbers to contact your business, and adding the relevant business category.
To keep your Google My Business profile updated, be sure to respond to reviews and add fresh content that highlights special promotions, updated holiday or seasonal hours, and information about any upcoming events you have planned.
2. Don’t Forget About Mobile
Your website should always be optimized for mobile devices, whether you rely primarily on local SEO or not. As most local searches are done on mobile, it’s especially important that the link to your website and any other information on your Google My Business are mobile-friendly.
Search engines put a heavy emphasis on mobile optimization and mobile search, so not taking the time to create mobile friendly website will have a negative impact on your ranking in search results.
When it comes to your GMB, make sure your call to action button is clear and easy to find for mobile devices and laptops. This will increase the number of users that contact you by making it easier for them to reach you directly from the search results.
3. Work on Local Link Building
Putting in the effort to gain links is an important way to build up your SEO rankings, but they work a little differently for local SEO. While regular SEO isn’t too concerned about where your domain links are coming from, local SEO is centered around linking your domain to your target location.
When you’re improving your local SEO, make sure that your domain has plenty of links from other local directories, businesses, organizations in your location. Partnerships, scholarships, and guest posts are all great ways to do this. By working with others in your local community, you can improve your website’s local and regular SEO at once.
4. Conduct Keyword Research
Just like regular SEO, you need to conduct keyword research to know what target keywords will most benefit your local SEO campaign. By viewing the target keywords that your competitors use and using keyword research tools, you can determine which keywords will help your local SEO. Sometimes, they may not be what you expect.
Keywords and search queries change drastically over time, and what was once a very common search may become outdated. When you regularly review and research keywords, you’ll be able to adjust your campaign so that it’s always relevant and able to stand up to the competition.
5. Ensure Consistency
You can’t only focus on your Google rankings. Many users rely on Bing and Yahoo and others always check Yelp.
Across all platforms, make sure your local business information is consistent. Always provide a name, address, and phone number and make sure that it is all the same. If you change your phone number or move locations, don’t forget to update all of your online platforms. Inconsistent information will count against you in search results.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is typing errors and duplicate listings. The last thing you want to do is accidentally create two local business pages: one complete and incomplete page. Even minor discrepancies and an uncompleted duplicate page will be taken into account when a search engine is determining where to place you within the organic results.
6. Collect Reviews
An overwhelming majority of users rely on positive reviews when deciding which local businesses to support. By making it easy for local customers to leave reviews, you’ll see your business rise through the ranks and gain more organic traffic. For many potential customers, they want to make sure a business is worth their time if they’re going to visit.
Local SEO is an important tool for increasing your local customer base and increasing foot traffic. For many physical business locations, foot traffic is where most, if not all, of your business comes from. By working to improve and update your local SEO, your business will continue to benefit from it. Contact us today to see how we can help you enhance your local SEO efforts.
Stephan Boehringer is the CEO of Get The Clicks, a web marketing company. Stephan has over 20 years of experience in the field of web marketing, and has been a speaker and consultant for many years. Stephan is passionate about web marketing and helping their clients be the best they can be.
Stephan Boehringer graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services.