If you’re serious about gaining visitors and traffic to your website, it’s time for local businesses to start thinking local.
I’m talking about local SEO.
One of the biggest mistakes I see business owners making, is thinking that ranking for search terms nationally or internationally, requires the same tactics as local SEO.
There’s some key changes to be made in our approach.
This is extremely important to know for businesses that rely on working in certain geographic areas.
A Quick SEO Refresher
Let’s take a quick step back from local SEO and cover our bases before we get into anything too outrageous.
I’m guessing that if you’ve read this far that you are someone who is already familiar with SEO and how it can change and improve your business so I will quickly go over this part.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
What this means, is that when people search for your product or service on Google, the top results will be those websites and pages that have the best SEO.
This is important due to the fact that most people never scroll past the first page of the Google search results, and over 67% of visitors click on one of the top 5 results.
So our goal is to be one of those top 5 results in whatever main keyword is relevant to our business.
So the first thing to do when planning our SEO strategy, is to break down what keywords are the most important to our business.
Key Differences With Local SEO
Local SEO does require a few specific changes to rank in Google Maps and for local queries.
One of the main reasons that local SEO differs, is because the ranking factors that Google thinks are region specific change the results it will show.
You’ve noticed that whenever you look up a gas station while in Boston, that you aren’t shown gas stations in New Mexico. Google takes these things into consideration before showing you a search result, which helps give you a more relevant answer from them.
Local SEO Tips
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing the website for local business to allow them to rank for keywords that will drive more clients to their business.
A lot of the things that you normally do with your SEO best practices will still be important here.
We still want to be focusing on great content.
We want to be answering our customers questions.
We still need to get backlinks! (You were hoping they wouldn’t be important for local SEO, weren’t you? Sorry to disappoint.)
But, there are a few things that we need to do differently to rank for those city, state, county-specific keywords that all your competitors seem to be showing up at the top of Google for.
Not only that, but local SERPs are often fairly uncompetitive, and that can mean that a local business willing to invest in SEO can see huge returns on their investment.
1. Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
This is the same across all walks of SEO, not just local, as we know that reviews are a huge ranking factor to Google.
This is especially true inside of Google Maps. Regardless of your goal, whether it be more traffic or a better conversion rate, you must have customer reviews high up on your to-do list.
Encourage them to leave reviews any (ethical) way possible. You could offer future deals, or insider information.
You can use the same tactics that you use to grow your email list.
This can be something like exclusive content access in exchange for a review.
Or you can tweak your process where after a customer completes a desired action you automatically bring them to some sort of page that encourages them to leave feedback on your product, website, or service.
Make sure to be polite and say please!
However, you’ll often find that a lot of the time you just have to ask, especially with customers that you’ve worked with multiple times.
Many people forget that they can leave a review but will gladly do it if you explain that it will help your company.
2. Work With Local Newspapers
Create a relationship with your local newspaper if possible. Not only should they have a solid website that you want to have an open door to, but you should try to provide THEM with as much value as possible.
Think about all the relevant things going on around town. Why don’t you be the one to share some stories?
Give them stuff to use so often that whenever time comes where you’d like a favor from them it’s no big deal. Always be providing value first, and one day it’ll all come back to you.
3. Work With Local Business Leaders
You want to build relationships with other business owners in your city or town. This is one of the best ways to spread your business.
Help out other business owners with something and maybe you can ask them for something in return. Maybe you can guest post on their website and help their readers but also get your name out there.
Maybe you want to create some big promotion where you need companies from multiple different industries to be successful.
It always pays to have more friends than foes. Maybe find some local influencers from Facebook or Instagram to do some sort of giveaway with.
If you have people that a lot of locals look to for fashion advice or where to grab a bite to eat, take advantage! Invite the influencer to your restaurant and encourage them to co-host a meetup with his/her followers with you providing all the food on the house.
Yes you’ll have some upfront costs but imagine a 50 person group come into your restaurant because of this influencer and just 8 come back as repeat customers, I would call that a huge success.
The main thing to take away from all this is that the Results Pages for local search queries are usually non-competitive, so be the website that spends more time and effort on SEO and be the company that reaps the reward!
Improving Your Local SEO Today
There are many other ways to improve your local SEO in order to rank higher in the SERPs for your keywords.
We help business owners to generate more leads and convert them into clients online through the power of content marketing.
If you are interested in learning more about how we may be able to help your business, please reach out to us for a free content marketing consultation, in which we:
- Conduct a content analysis,
- Competitive analysis,
- Keyword analysis,
- Gap analysis,
- Create a content calendar,
- Create a sample piece of content
We produce specific content marketing strategies for each business that work towards their marketing goals. Give us a call today in order to speak with a content marketing expert.