How to optimize your local SEO

If you’re a small business owner operating online or in a brick and mortar location, staying on top of your local SEO strategy is going to be KEY in building your business back up these days. Local SEO (or search engine optimization) is an incredibly effective way to market your local business online. It helps businesses promote their products and services to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for them online. Optimizing your local SEO means more traffic to your website or sales page, hot leads, and customers that are ready to convert since this strategy is targetted to your base of local customers.

According to Google, forty-six percent of searches, now have a local search intent. What local businesses need most to improve traffic to their websites or through their doors, is visibility on what’s known as the Three Pack. This is the block of three business listings that appear below the map in the results displayed after a google search with local intent.

Here’s a local three-pack that results from the search ‘yoga studio near me’. You’ll notice plenty here that’s different from the standard organic results, such as opening times, review ratings, and even photos.

Local three pack in Google

Although, Google is getting clever enough to pull this information directly from your website, that’s not where these elements come from. Everything that’s displayed in the local 3 pack comes from the businesses Google My Business Profile, a critical part of local SEO, that’s becoming more important as Google tries to satisfy more search queries directly in the search engine results page.

If you’re saying to yourself “Do I even have a Google My Business profile?” chances are, you do because Google automatically builds one for you based on information on your website. But that may not be a good thing if your contact information, business hours, or location has changed recently, especially due to the new COVID-19 world we live in.

So, here’s what to do. Head over to www.google.com/business, and add your business listing in Google Local or click the Manage button to take over the editing and adding to the profile if Google set one up for you already.

Google My Business is also an excellent way to see how your audience connects with your business profile. You can actually see stats on how many people called you or clicked on your website link right from your business account. The best part about this is that it’s totally free. Your business profile is also going to be your Mecca for reviews.

So, now that you’ve set up or updated your Google My Business account, you can implement these strategies to begin growing your local following.

Have your business address listed in all pages, in the header or footer of your website. It’s useful for the site visitors and for the crawling agents of search engines, to have the address of your business easily accessible. If you have your address displayed on the top section of your website, search engines will find it easier to list in local search results. You can also write other contact details like phone numbers and emails.

Ask existing clients to write reviews and rate your business. When so many people have listed their company in the local search results, slightly more effort is required to stay on top. Reviewing and rating make a lot of difference in this situation. So, if you have a good client base and they’re happy to write a glowing review, ask them to do so. You may be surprised at how many clients say yes.

Ensure your site features on citation sites and online business directories like Yelp, Bing, and Angie’s List. Not only will this help customers find your business, but featuring your company’s name, address, phone number, and website URL on citation sites and adding extra information to business directories, will help improve your search rankings.

Generate backlinks from well- regarded websites, which tends to be a little bit more difficult than the first few strategies. This is to help search engines recognize your site as a trusted source of information, which boosts the prominence aspect of the local search algorithm. Backlinks, which are also called inbound links or incoming links, are created when one website links to another. Links from local newspapers or local bloggers and business associations, as well as citations, can help improve your search visibility. You can begin the strategy by reaching out to other local businesses and teaming up for a fun campaign or both publishing a blog post about it, with links to each other’s websites.

Use Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords for your blog or website pages. The keyword planner lets you filter keyword searches based on location so you can see what popular search terms your target audience is searching for. This lets you create a strong list of locally relevant keywords to use in your online marketing. For more on this, read our post about 7 Ways To Improve Your SEO and Increase Your Website Traffic in 2020.

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