Do you want to optimize your website for the local search? If you’re not sure where you need to start, Ryan Shelley provides you with some interesting tips for beginners.
If you want to sell online (or even offline, locally), firstly you need to know that the search engines are a very good place to start. During the last years, I worked with a big number of different local companies helping them to rise their visits and revenue using SEO. But one of the most important hurdles that we had was the situation when we met with local companies that had problems in the past with so-called “SEO professionals”. They’ve invested real money and didn’t get any actual results. Consequently, a lot of local businesses now believe that SEO is just a scam or simply something that doesn’t work.
So, my principal goal now is to discuss several SEO tips that do really work, and how to use them correctly in order to obtain good business results in the nearest future.
Why local SEO?
Firstly, it is necessary to talk about the basis of this topic and why I recommend you to invest in local SEO precisely. Nowadays people commonly use existing search engines to find local businesses they potentially would buy from. Obviously, this is not only my opinion; Google’s already proved it. Here are some stats:
- Every 4 of 5 consumers prefer to look for local information using search engines.
- 50% of people who used a local search on the smartphone have visited a store during the same day, 34% did the same performing the search on a tablet or computer.
- We know that local searches more often lead to purchases in comparison with non-local searches. 18% of all local searches usually conduct to a purchase during a day in comparison with 7% from the non-local searches.
So, what does all this information mean for your business? It means that when people are searching locally, they usually are ready to purchase immediately!
Furthermore, the process of building a local SEO strategy won’t only help you to boost your website traffic, it will possibly rise your sales as well.
- Locally focused content
If we talk about famous local SEO, we need to know how important are local directories, citations, and maps. Clearly, all of these factors are important; but with the purpose of getting a real impact, it’s important to create high-quality localized content.
And what does it mean? It mostly means website content, based on problems and questions around the local area you’re interested to sell on. A content that is about those specific themes/issues/ that your potential customers worry about. Looking from the other perspective, local businesses are able to obtain a big benefit only sharing thoughts about their local niche and a wide range of things related to it.
Here comes my first recommendation: You need to create a blog with specific local content, that could be interesting for people in your location. Talk about how your products or services correlate with those special needs your community has, try to build a connection.
Obviously, don’t forget to use your location name among the articles in your blog. For example, if you own a bicycle store, located in Glendale, Phoenix, it should be mentioned a notable amount of times (don’t overextend with this technique, your texts should be readable and interesting still).
Also, you need to know that a very good way to find inspiration for your local content is your clients. Talk with them, share different stories about all interactions that you had – possibilities are endless. It’s important to understand that localized content doesn’t only create a connection with clients from the same area. It also gives a good reason to the other local sites to connect with you!
- Directories, maps & citations
For previously named local businesses, it’s also important to be sure that your business is optimized (and simply present) on Google Maps. If potential customers can’t find your physical location, you’re simply losing a sale!
It still surprises me how much businesses still aren’t using those Google Maps advantages, although it is really simple to register yourself on them via Google My Business. This service really helps you to get more exposure and also allows you to control the appearance of your business on Google Maps.
Our final goal is to register our business in many business directories, as Google My Business is only one of them. Also, it is important to assure that your address, phone number and, finally, name are consistent across all web directories you’re registered in.
The biggest map sites and directories that you definitely need to know about are Yelp, Google, Yahoo Business, MapQuest, Facebook, Yellow Pages, Super Pages, and Bing.
Other important note. Once you have a listing inside those directories, probably you will get a lot of automated calls from this sites themselves with suggestions to grow your business. Best solution: ignore them. Ensuring your phone number and address are correct, as well as your social profiles, category, website URL — this should be enough at this point.
If you want to go even stronger, my recommendation is: check out Yext or Moz Local. They’ll help to streamline the process, also alert you in a situation when something urgently needs to be corrected. Logically, they can’t see all the problems, but they can help you with a lot of questions, and be a really good starting point. Also, they can help to control and to maintain all type of listings that you have claimed.
- Also important: Local link building
Link building is one of the most important factors when we start talking about SEO. But I think you know that not all the links are the same, they are not all equal. The previously named directory links are a very good thing, but they don’t have the same value as organic backlinks.
If we compare local backlinking with other link strategies, local one normally starts with good research. Websites about your city or town usually have their own local business directory and this is a good place to start. All you need is to email the admin of such website and politely ask him to add your business to their directory.
Also, you can get local backlinks on local organizations and clubs’ websites. These backlinks are important – they show how engaged are you to the local community.
Your goal is to obtain links from websites that interest you in terms of link context and relevance and remember, you don’t wanna pay for them. In contrary, local link building is more about building connections. When we are talking about SEO, it’s necessary to remind that in this area, relationships play a huge role.
If you follow these simple steps, it should definitely help you to gain more localized visits and sales. It doesn’t matter if you’re new in business or just need some fresh boost, you will gain a lot if you focus on creating qualitative local content, adding yourself to local directories and building good organic links. Good luck!