Local SEO for businesses is one of the most effective marketing tools for businesses seeking clients in their local business radius. You may use these steps to rank higher, bring in more traffic, and increase leads. Some of the traffic arriving at your website’s footsteps may not buy your products or services right there and then. But if they are relevant to your business, they are always good for creating local buzz and awareness amongst the prospects. And on a good day, you might get business from them, directly or indirectly.
No matter where your business is located or how it serves a specific region, you need to use a localized SEO strategy to target localized search and users. It is this strategy that will help you to rank higher in Google search, compete in the market and to attract more customers.
These steps will help you create a local SEO strategy so that your business can generate more traffic from local search results.
Why your business needs Local SEO?
Local SEO is not necessary for every business. Local search is only crucial for businesses that serve the needs of specific geographic locations (or several). When determining how to rank a website, Google takes into account many different local search ranking signals. It’s essential to be strategic when it comes to local SEO – covering all your bases and giving your business an edge in the market.
Businesses usually requiring Local SEO
Typical businesses requiring local SEO may range from Restaurants, Eateries, Food joints, Plumbers, Agencies, Medical shops, Hospitals, Grocery shops, Boutiques, Salons, Real Estate Sites, Manufacturers, Consultants, Auto dealers, Professionals like Artists, Photographers, Lawyers, Chartered Accountants or any business unit wishing to be discovered on search results.
The chances of you being found on search engines, not just gives you direct leads but also ascertains your authority in the service. In an age where a significant percentage of your prospects are couch potatoes, your business featuring in search result determines your popularity and expertise. They may not necessarily ask around for your reputation from their peers, instead they rely what the search engines tell them.
The following are some of the benefits of Local SEO
A local SEO strategy offers several benefits. There are numerous benefits to increasing your traffic, but there are many more that can make your business grow.
Organic traffic – Traffic without the impetus of advertising on any platform push on digital media. Search is based on the product or services searched by end users on search engines. Mostly on Google.
Relevant Traffic – Websites or landing pages get a lot of undesired traffic due to matching business names or searches with different intents. A good local SEO strategy ensures more of filtered and genuine traffic looking for particular aspects around products or services to get routed to the webpages intended for. This doesn’t not always reduce unwanted queries, but if the sea-saw is more inclined towards relevancy, the increased volume of queries is mostly welcome.
Optimized advertising costs – While many businesses may not require any form of advertising due to limited local competition or their capacity of serving large numbers of clients. Many may look at aggressive advertising strategy to accelerate business acquisition.
A good local SEO strategy works in parallel with inorganic traffic sources to reduce advertising costs and optimizes targeted aspects of the business requiring inorganic impetus. Essentially, one spends less on advertising if the local SEO strategy is sound.
Customer reviews – A healthy sign of a good business on digital media is the number of reviews it garners on digital media whether on search engines or on social media. This helps potential customers approach the business with an acquired and shared perception and breaks the ice between the two parties, very easily.
Please note: A significant number of realistic reviews from real customers help more than a series of bogus reviews accumulated from near and dear ones.
Brand Awareness in local geography – Local SEO helps make people aware in the geography about the business presence as it keeps popping up in search feeds. This also gives the brand a competitive edge over others.
Listing and lead generation without visiting website – Local SEO enables interaction without going through the website or social media. Your business details get recorded and disseminated through multiple avenues on the digital space and you may establish contact through them directly as well. However, we always suggest using your website as the convergence point to develop a steady flow of leads.
How to create a Local SEO Strategy
Mobile optimization is essential to your website since every nine in ten person searching on mobile, are more likely to contact a local business if their site is mobile friendly.
Check this using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Ensure that your website does not appear to be a complete mess. No matter how high you rank, if your website is ugly, nobody will contact you.
After you determine that your website needs optimization with context to local SEO, you should formulate a plan to help you increase your local rankings and eventually website traffic.
Try the following processes to get into it
1. Examine inwards into your business
Identify the keywords your business should rank for. It will be based mainly on the services or products you offer.
If you have a salon, your services may include “Hair styling,” “Manicure,” “Hair Spa,” etc. In case you are a Photographer, you might put your “services” under the umbrella of “still photography,” “outdoor shoot,” “portfolio,” etc. The purpose is to find out what you offer and what search terms people might use to find you online. List these terms to get your keyword research started.
Then you will use local SEO tools to search for these terms, identify geo-specific keywords, determine search volume, and ultimately decide which keywords to target on your website.
The idea is to create content around these keywords. Content in the form of description of services, articles / blog posts, images / infographics or video content. The content then becomes signal indicators to Search Engines for relevancy. This in turn directs traffic to your website.
2. Relook at your website
Before optimizing your site, you need to identify if anything needs to be updated and whether or not the basics are in place.
You can identify any technical or on-page SEO issues that could hinder the success of your website with an SEO audit. In order to build backlinks and create new SEO content, these issues should be addressed first.
You can generate a report of all your site’s issues using SEO tools such as Ahref / Moz / Semrush. If you are still uncertain, you can hire a professional SEO company to audit your website and provide recommendations for improvement.
While you are at it please make sure you optimize aspects like Site speed, Page titles, Meta descriptions, Broken links, Duplicate content, Sitemap, SSL certificates, Redirection of deleted pages and posts. These actions are not just good for local SEO, they also ensure a great user experience and hence more engagement and therefore more queries – more leads – more business.
3. Check on page aspects of SEO
The goal of on-page SEO is to optimize your website for the localized keywords you identified prior to this. To ensure your site is optimized for local search, you should follow on-page SEO best practices.
These may involve the following checks
Keyword Optimization: Your target keywords should be mapped to each of the pages on your website. Each page should have a target keyword that is relevant to its content. In addition to this, the content on the main paragraph and on the rest of the page should be optimized in relation to the keyword.
Title and Meta Description: Use your target keywords throughout your website’s page titles and Meta descriptions. A unique title and description should appear on every page. Meta Titles and Descriptions is like business card details for your pages. They are introductions and give the search engines an idea about what to expect from the page.
Content: Covering your company’s background and providing an explanation of the services and products you offer, with informative content. Consider your target audience when writing, but make sure your target keywords are incorporated in such a way that they feature multiple times. However, it should not appear as keyword stuffing and the content should be reader friendly.
Linking internally: Make sure all pages of your site are linked to each other. Your users will be able to find the information they are looking for and access your important pages more easily with these. Please do not overdo this as too many local links on every page may result in Google penalizing your rank on crawling.
Optimize images: Use eye-catching images with optimized alt tags preferably using the keywords used on page. Ensure that your images are smaller so that your website loads faster. Using new image formats like WebP to speed up loading from the server end.
Page and post URL Structure: Ensure that your pages and posts have crisp and concise URLs. It is ideal to include the target keyword in each URL. You also need to make sure there are no broken links on your site.
Use a fast hosting service: Please ensure your chosen hosting service (shared or VPS) performs well in your local area. Since most of the servers are located in US or Europe, they fail to deliver fast in places like South East Asia. Speed is now an aspect for SEO as it determines customer experience and interaction.
4. Find keywords used locally
Let’s say you own a Punjabi restaurant in South Extension, New Delhi, India.
A summary of your company’s products and services have been identified, and you have looked up your competitor’s keywords to determine what keywords they target.
You can then use SEO tools to look for the search volume for these terms and the level of competition using them. When you search for keywords, you can also specify your location to find geo-specific search terms.
An example – keyword search for “Punjabi food Delhi” returned an extended list of keywords variations, such as “best punjabi food delhi”, “punjabi food south extension”, and “tasty punjabi food delhi”.
As you conduct keyword searches like this, you will eventually have a list of all of the relevant, localized keywords that you can find.
5. Look at your immediate competition
It is one of the objectives of local SEO to not only rank high in local search results, but to also outrank your local competition. If you want to find out which keywords, they are ranking for, you need to know how they are ranking.
Semrush, Moz, and Ahrefs are SEO tools that may help you conduct a competitive analysis to determine what keywords your competitors rank for, where their backlinks come from, and many other dynamics. It is also possible to see what keywords are already ranking for your site.
Using your SEO tool, you can find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for organically just by searching their domain.
If your business located in a small town, the number of actual searches may not be enough to display an accurate search volume. So here’s an alternative for optimizing local SEO. Swap out your location modifier (e.g., “Pimpri”) for a larger, nearby city (e.g., Pune).
To find out whether the keywords you are considering for your site have a high search volume and a low competition level, you can view search volume and competition metrics. Your keyword needs to be one that relates to the service or product you offer, what your company is about as a whole, what potential customers are looking for, and where you want to target. The idea is to generate localized, relevant traffic to your business.
6. Localized content on Pages
A page with localized content is created specifically to appear in organic local search results. Your target audience should see informational content on these pages that’s optimized with the Geo-specific keywords you identified. This is critical for Local SEO.
Create pages that include optimized H1, H2, and H3 headings, write keyword-optimized body content, add images, and optimize for mobile search. In addition to organic traffic, these landing pages can also be used to drive paid traffic when done correctly. If you wish to entice users to contact you, make sure you include compelling call-to-actions.
7. An optimized GMB Listing
You can use to drive more traffic, generate customer reviews, and share updates on GMB (Google My Business). A fully optimized listing is essential for your business to rank better in search results.
Create a listing, or claim your business, by creating an account. In addition to your business address and phone number, you can include your website URL, images, hours, and more so users can learn more about you.
Local marketers consider Google My Business the most valuable service for local SEO. Optimize your GMB listing to increase your local SEO for years to come by fully optimizing it.
It is believed that true customer ratings on your GMB listing is the most valuable indicator determining the volume of quality leads from your local business area.
8. Business Directory Listings
Apart from GMB, there are other online directories where your business profile can be published. There are several reputable directories available, including Just Dial (free), YellowPages, Bing Places, Indiamart and others.
Adding your information to local and authoritative directories will increase traffic, earn links, and enhance your local SEO. A consistent business name, address, telephone number, and website URL are important.
Find directories related to your industry and submit your business to them if possible. However, avoid spammy websites and paying for directories to earn links; not all directories are created equal. Some suggested directories in India are Trade India, Indiamart, Sulekha, Just Dial, Exporters India, India Biz Club, etc. Additionally it also makes sense to list in some the International sites as well like Foursquare, Trust pilot, Manta, etc.
9. Local Link Building
Creating links has always been an important part of SEO, but it can look a bit different when applied locally. It is also crucial that the sites linking to your website are physically located.
Encourage link-building with businesses in your region. To generate the best results, create localized content and request localized anchor text. However, it is not critical to build links with local businesses if the DA (Domain authority of local businesses are very poor. That may in turn hamper your chances at scoring high on Local SEO.
10. Customer Reviews
The number of positive reviews your website has on GMB, Facebook business page and directory listings like Just Dial, Trustpilot etc., are a significant ranking factor for local SEO. As a local business owner, you should aim to generate as many positive reviews as you can. This is ideal across all your online listings.
We know good professionals get it done from satisfied customers at the time of billing or after delivery of good and services.
It really helps forge your path to reputation building for attracting new customers.
In addition to responding to positive reviews, you must also respond to negative reviews. It helps to respond in a professional and kind manner. Even though no one likes negative reviews, how you handle them can speak volumes.
Now go ahead and shine locally…
Get these things in place and you will be all set to begin your journey in expediting local leads for business.
If all these things sounds too technical…
In case these things seem too technical, don’t worry get some help. Get a professional help.