Local SEO: 10 simple but effective tips to dominate local search
Driving more customers to the doorstep is the most important thing for the brick and mortar businesses. If your business is not on top of the search engine result page in your locality, you could lose your customers to your competitors.
In the ever-evolving digital era, Local SEO can’t be ignored by small businesses which has a physical location.
Let's first understand what is local SEO? Local SEO is the optimization of your online properties to attract more relevant local searches. Local SEO increases your online exposure and it helps in branding your business as well.
Are you looking for the best ways to improve your local search rankings? Don’t worry, you are not alone here.
In this blog post, we are going to talk about How to improve your local search rankings?
Why Local SEO is important for local businesses?
Before diving into the topic, let’s have a look at why Local SEO is important for local businesses
- 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information (Source: Think with Google)
- 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results (Source: SEO expert)
- 97% of people learn more about a local company via the internet (Source: SEOtribunal)
- 88% of searches for local businesses on mobile devices, either call or go to that business within 24 hours (Source: Nectafy)
- In the past two years, 900% growth in mobile searches for “Near me today/tonight” searches (Source: Think with Google)
Recommended post: Why citations are important for local SEO?
Tips to improve Local search rankings
Here we have listed, 10 simple tips to dominate local search.
- Register your business with Google my business
- Get listed in other online directories
- Keep your business listing consistent
- On-page optimization
- Get relevant, high-quality backlinks
- Offer a Google Virtual Tour
- Use local structured data markup
- Encourage your customers to leave reviews
- Respond to your customer reviews
- Be active on social media
Register your Business with Google my business
Are you wondering why local SEO is more important for businesses? 88% of searches for local businesses on mobile devices, either call or go to that business within 24 hours.
Register your Business with Google my business
It is very essential for every local business to claim their Google My Business page to increase their exposure and it is free as well. A local business listing is an online profile that contains your business name, address, phone number, and some other details.
To claim your Google My Business page, all you need to do is go to the Google My Business page and log in using your Google account. Enter your business name and address. If your business is already there on the list you will need to claim its ownership. If it doesn’t show up in the list you have to create a new listing.
Now you need to confirm the ownership of the business and you can also choose the method of verification. Most of the local businesses usually verify their listings by postcard option. Only a few businesses select the other verification options like email, phone, or search console.
If you select the postcard option Google sends a PIN verification code by postcard within 14 days. Once you received your verification code, login to your GMB profile, enter the 5 digit verification code, and click the “submit” button. Now your business information is eligible to appear across Google.
After the verification process, you need to optimize your Google My Business listing. Write a unique description of your business, choose appropriate categories, upload your logo and photos of your business, and set up opening and closing hours and days.
You can also claim your Bing places for a business page.
Get listed in other online directories
Register your business with other local directories or review websites is very important to boost your local SEO. If you register your business with more directories, then your business has more chance to reach a wider audience of local searches.
There are tons of local directories are out there. Here are the some most important directories that you need to consider,
- Apple Maps
You can also use WhiteSpark to create your citation listings and manage your listings. With the help of WhiteSpark, you can also track your search engine ranking and compare your citation with your top-ranked competitors.
And you should remove the duplicate listings because it may hurt your SEO rankings. With the help of Moz's local tool, you can find the duplicate listings, then contact Google and remove those duplicate listings as soon as possible.
Keep your business listing consistent
Keep your business listing consistent across all places on the web and it is considered as the most important thing than everything.
Your business name, address, phone number, description, opening and closing hours, website URL, and images should be accurate & consistent on your site, on each and every local directory or review website, and on your social media profiles.
Don’t forget to check all the details before publishing. If there is any mismatch or inconsistency like misspellings, wrong phone numbers, or mismatched operating hours in your listings, then Google may confuse. So Google can’t decide which information is correct and which is not. As a result, it may display incorrect information and it can hurt your search rankings.
So make sure that your business listing information is 100% accurate across all places.
With the help of Moz Local, you can check all your citations automatically and it also fixes the inconsistent citations for you.
On-page optimization plays a key role in local SEO. If you want to dominate local search, you should optimize your on-page elements like title tag, meta description, content, contact, and about us page.
Target the right keywords – find out how the audience will search your business. Don’t forget to add your target location in your target keyword and always include your location in your short and long-tail keywords.
For example - an Italian restaurant in Chennai.
Optimize Title tags and Meta description with local keywords – Title tags and Meta descriptions are appear in search engine result pages. Include your target keywords with your target location in your title tags and meta descriptions.
Your title tag and meta description should reflect your content and it entices your audience to click the content. Keep your title tag between 50- 60 characters and keep your meta description between 150-160 characters for a better user experience.
Optimize your content with local keywords - Create high-quality content with local keywords is one of the effective ways to reach a wider range of audience. Include photos of your product helps you to grab your audience's attention.
If your business is in multiple locations, you should create separate landing pages for each location and you should create unique, relevant content for each location.
Optimize for voice search – you need to optimize your website for voice search because in coming years voice search will grow rapidly. In fact, according to Bright local, 58% of consumers have used voice searches to find a local business in the past year.
In voice search, people use many long-tail keywords then the text-based queries so use long-tail keywords in your contents. Create FAQ pages because, in voice search, people usually ask “WH” questions. People also use words like “Near me” in voice search so optimize your content according to that.
Optimize your website for mobile – Nowadays mobile-friendliness is very important for Google ranking. Use Google's mobile-friendly test to check your website is mobile-friendly or not.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, you should optimize your website for mobile to stay ahead of the game.
Optimize your contact us page - Embed a Google map of your business location in the contact page of your website that will help you to increase the local SEO value of your website.
To embed a Google map, just go to Google Maps, enter your business address, click share or embed a map from the top left menu.
Make sure that your contact page has your name, address, and phone number. Don’t forget to add a name, address, and phone number in the footer of your website’s home page and the other pages of your website.
Get relevant, high-quality backlinks
High-quality, relevant links to your website is extremely important for local search engine rankings. Create and publish unique, high-quality content on your website so other websites would like to link to your content.
And Get listed in local directories is one of the most effective ways to get high-quality backlinks. Apart from the quality content and local directories, I have listed some effective tips to get high- quality backlinks.
- Be a guest blogger to local websites
- Create content about local events related to your niche
- Sponsor local events which are relevant to your niche and ask backlinks to your website
- Use local online news publications to showcase your business
- Get in touch with local influencers and ask them to link back to you
- Offer scholarships and get links from local universities and schools
Offer a Google Virtual Tour
Local businesses always looking for the best way to improve their Local SEO. Offer a Google virtual tour is one of the best and effective ways to improve your Local SEO.
Google virtual tour allows you to incorporate a 3-d image tour of your business that will appear in searches on Google maps and it will positively impact your local SEO rankings.
It helps you to increase the visibility on Google maps and local searches and it is a great way to stand out from your competitors. 360° virtual tour increases audience interest in your business listing.
The virtual tour makes your business and your website trustworthy. It makes your customers feel more familiar and connected to your business.
To offer Google virtual tour, hire a Google trusted photographer in your area, take 3d photos of your business, and add them to your Google profile.
Use local structured data markup
Structured data markup is also known as schema markup. Add schema markup in your website’s code will help search engines to understand the information of your web pages effectively.
Schema markup creates rich snippets in search results and people are more likely to click rich snippet results. If you use structured data markup effectively, you have more opportunities to get rank more than your competitors. So you can get more traffic to your website and more customers to your local business easily.
You can also use Google’s structured data markup tool to check your markups. It also allows you to know the errors in your schema markups so you can fix the errors immediately.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews
Online reviews have the ability to impact your local SEO.
Reviews are more important for businesses especially for local businesses because reviews build credibility for your business. According to Bright Local, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
If you want high ranks in Local search engine result pages, it is necessary to get good reviews and if you want to increase click-throughs or more customers to your doorsteps, you need good reviews.
All you can do is kindly ask your customers to leave reviews on your Google my business page, Yelp, or other directories.
To make it easy for your customers you can send an email along with a link to the review page and ask genuinely to leave reviews for you.
But remember that, don’t make your customers feel it is a compulsion to leave reviews, and most importantly don’t fake your reviews. Don’t ask your friends and staffs to leave good reviews because, if customers and search engines will find that reviews are fake, it will affect your reputation.
Respond to your customer reviews
Respond to your customer reviews not only build trust among your customers but it builds trust with search engines as well. It also helps to build a personal bond with your customers.
Respond to all your customer reviews whether it is positive or negative, thank them for positive reviews, and reply politely to the negative reviews.
If the mistake is on your side, don’t hesitate to accept that mistake, apologize for the unsatisfactory experience and assure your customers that will never happen in the future. And remember it, never blame your customers and don’t argue with them.
I hope you have probably heard this phrase “The customer is always right”. Remember this phrase before reply to your customers.
Of course, no one like to receive negative reviews. Isn't it?
But Don’t think that negative reviews will affect your reputation. If you respond to your negative reviews, your customers will think that you are caring for them. So automatically it creates positive results.
Be active on social media
Social media signal can improve your local search engine ranking. So it is important to be active on social media to dominate local search.
Social media can create more exposure to your business and you can use social media to advertise your brand. It will help to get more quality backlinks as well.
Recommended post: Ways to increase website traffic through social media
As I mentioned above, staying top of the search engine result page is extremely important for every business, especially for local businesses. With the right tactics, you can achieve your goal.
Now you know very well where to start and how to do your local SEO. I hope these tips will help you to dominate your local search.
Content writer and Marketer
An enthusiastic SEO expert, passion for digital marketing with two years of expertise in writing Digital Marketing and SEO content. She is a Master of Business Administration graduate from a reputed university in south India. Her passion for SEO and online marketing helps her to stay up to date with the trends and strategies. Follow her on social media sites, to stay up to date with SEO, and Digital Marketing, Updates. To contact Raji, visit the contact page.