For many local businesses, local search optimization is the most effective way to drive more traffic to your website, more leads through calls, and ultimately more conversions and sales. You have most likely used local search yourself, even if you didn’t realize it. Have you ever seen a list of businesses in Google search associated with a map or star-rating? That’s local search! Potential customers are constantly searching for services in your local area - so how can you take advantage of this and optimize your website for local search?
1: Create a Google Business Profile
If your business has a physical location, setting up a Google Business Profile is an effective way to get noticed in search results. A listing will help users quickly find information about your business, including your address, contact details, and website. Your business will also appear in Google Maps results, opening the door for more web users to find you.
If you do not have a physical location for your business, or you if don’t want your business address to be public, Google will let you set an account up as a “service area business.” This gives you a few limitations you wouldn’t have otherwise, but nothing substantial.
2: Get Better Google Reviews
Keeping a steady stream of reviews can improve your local SEO by bringing visibility to your listing and improving your click-through rate. Make sure you respond to all reviews - even the negative ones - as this will show potential customers and Google that you are dedicated to improving your customer experience.
If you are lucky, you may find it hard to keep on top of all your reviews! More likely, you will need creative methods to convince your best customers to review you. This is a process that you can do on your own, but it takes commitment. Some of our clients use our software to make requesting and responding to online reviews simpler, others need us to run the software for them as part of a broader marketing strategy.
3: Make Use of Question & Answer
Searchers will have the opportunity to ask questions about your services on a Google Business Profile. It’s vital that you make the most of this; Google Q&A uses this to provide information to your customers and answer any questions they may have. You can even ask and answer your own questions to cover frequently asked questions that you may receive.
4: Make Google Business Profile Posts
Google Business Posts can be a great way to connect with your customers and show off any updates or promotions you may be running. These posts are temporary and will stay on your profile for a week, so you must keep posting to engage with your customers.
Google Profile Posts are a great way to share photos, videos, incentivization, changes to your hours, or any other details about how your business is operating.
5: Establish Yourself on Other Local Directories
Google sees the web a bit like you might imagine a spiderweb. If you want Google users to find you, you need Google to see your part of that web, meaning you need to be connected to, and from.
You can improve your local SEO by posting your company on trusted local directories, such as Yelp, Bing, and many more. Google needs to be sure that your business is authentic, so having verified details on many of these sites can improve Google’s trust in your company. Some directories even provide you with a backlink, which can be used to increase your domain authority.
6: Keep Contact Details Consistent Across the Internet
It’s essential to keep your contact information consistent across your website, your Google Business Profile, and all local directories, as inconsistencies can lead Google to reduce your local ranking and search rankings overall.
Most likely, you will want more than a few references from local directories. Also, you want to make sure that when something changes like an address, phone number or even your business name, it gets updated everywhere. And you want to protect your listing against updates from malicious actors. Just like with online reviews, some of our clients use our DIY business solutions tools to manage directory backlinks. If you are interested, get in touch and we may be able to help you out too.
7: Create Targeted Location Pages
When you create a targeted page for a particular location, you can drive organic traffic to your site from those searching for your services in their local area. If you have a physical location, you promote this individually, whereas if you’re just targeting a location your business serves, you can drive more traffic from that area. By taking advantage of local keywords, including location names in your title tags, H1 headings, and meta descriptions, you can compete within a local area. It’s essential to avoid duplicate content when creating these pages, as you see a negative effect on your rankings - so ensure all content is unique for each page.
8: Build Backlinks from Authoritative Websites
Building authentic backlinks from trusted sources is a great way to improve your overall SEO. This can help you build up your domain authority, so your business appears more trustworthy to Google. Avoid black-hat SEO techniques, where your domain name is uploaded to a site with a huge list of URLs, as this can bring down your domain authority.
Getting those backlinks can be a challenge though. Just like with Google Reviews and directory listings, it’s hard to know where to start, how to outreach, or if your efforts are improving your keyword rankings without tools to craft and measure your success. We offer DIY SEO and managed SEO packages for businesses of all sizes, and all our plans come with the tools you need to do backlink outreach, technical optimization, generate content ideas, see what your competitors are doing and report on your results.
9. Create Local-Based Content
By creating content that focuses on your local community, you can attract users from this community to your site. Local, industry-specific content can help you promote your services and keep users coming back for more.
10 Optimize for Voice Search
Voice assistants have seen a massive increase in popularity in recent years, and many homes have one. People tend to use more long-tail keywords when using voice search, so it’s important to adapt your SEO strategy to complement this. If your blog posts are more conversational in nature and target keywords that are phrased as questions, you may see an increase in traffic.
The Importance of Local SEO
All of these techniques can be implemented to help you see improvements in your website's overall search rankings and will drive more traffic to your site. If you don’t have the time to work on this yourself, Twothirty Media’s Pittsburgh SEO agency can help you improve your local rankings and drive organic traffic to your website.