If you own a business, it’s essential to use all the tools at your disposal to attract potential customers to your website. Evidence shows that effective use of local SEO has a massive impact on the traffic a page for a local business receives. But, to fully appreciate the importance of local SEO, you’ll need a basic understanding of what local SEO is and some steps you can take to use it to your business’s advantage.
What is Local SEO?
Put simply, local SEO is SEO based on geography. Using local SEO makes it so that your site is more likely to pop up as a search result when people are searching in your area. This function is especially useful for businesses with physical locations that they want customers to visit, like stores or restaurants.
8 Steps to Improve Local SEO
1. Optimize/Claim Your Google My Business Account
If you have not already set up a Google My Business account, visit the homepage to get started. If your business has been around for a while, an account might already exist, and all you need to do is claim it. When creating or altering your account, be sure to use the character limit for your description effectively and include plenty of keywords. Include accurate hours of operation and, if applicable, compile a list of your company’s services so that your customers will know precisely what you have to offer. Then, add some photos to make your listing more eye-catching.
2. Promote Positive User Reviews
Make the layout of your site user-friendly with an easy-to-find link that customers can click to leave reviews quickly. After you’ve finished providing a customer with the service they requested, send a follow-up email encouraging them to visit this page and leave a review. You may wish to offer rewards like discounts, store credit, or entries into sweepstakes as incentives.
Be sure to respond to all the reviews you receive, even if they are negative. Customers considering your business will appreciate that you value their opinions and feel more comfortable spending their money on your products or services.
3. Ensure Consistent NAP
Making sure that your business’s Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) are listed exactly the same way on various pages, such as Yelp! or Trip Advisor, is crucial for effective local SEO. To check on your NAP consistency, try searching your business’s name and the city in which it operates, and check to see if there are any discrepancies among the results. If there are, you will need to edit any sites with misinformation.
4. Enhance Your Knowledge Graph
When you search for your business, just above your Google Knowledge Graph, you should see an option to suggest edits to fix incorrect information. However, because you cannot make changes to your Knowledge Graph without Google’s approval, it is often best to get down to the source and edit your business’s pages on the sites Google uses as a basis for the information on Knowledge Graphs, like Wikipedia and Wikidata.
5. Create Fresh Content
Frequently adding fresh content to parts of your site such as your resource section, FAQs, and blog not only encourages users to visit often in anticipation of your latest updates; it also improves your site’s SEO and puts it higher up in search results. To optimize local SEO, your fresh content should include information about the surrounding area.
6. Make Sure your Site is Secure (HTTPS)
To promote trust amongst users, Google places value on security and will rank a site higher the more secure it is. Google now lists all sites with HTTP addresses as insecure, so it is important to switch over to HTTPS if you haven’t already.
7. Get Inbound Links
An inbound link, or backlink, is a link from a relevant, reputable website (i.e., a site with a Domain Authority over 30). This sends equity to your page and, in high quantities, can significantly influence your ranking. While Google’s Webmaster guidelines state that you cannot purchase backlinks, you can still put forth backlinking strategies that can help you gain authentic backlinks. Here are some methods you can try:
- Find a local blog that allows guest posts and has visitors you think may be interested in your business. Include a backlink to your site in a guest post.
- Use Ahrefs to find broken backlinks to your site. You can then either ask the owner of the website hosting the backlink to fix it or redirect the broken link to a new, functional page.
- If you see a broken backlink to a competitor’s page, contact the owner of the site to let them know the link doesn’t work and encourage them to replace it with a link to a relevant page on your website.
8. Enhance Mobile Pagespeed
Google indexes websites the way they appear on mobile devices, so your site must have good mobile pagespeed. You can determine issues with mobile pagespeed by using Google Pagespeed insights to diagnose what’s wrong, but this will offer more technical fixes best handled by a developer. If you’re looking for a simpler mix, consider CDN implementation (We recommend CloudFlare) or image compression.
Take advantage of these 8 tips to improve your local SEO and help grow your business.