Local search engine optimization — or local SEO — refers to the digital marketing techniques you can use to ensure that your website becomes more visible in search engine results for a specific geographical area.
If your business has a physical location or specifically serves people in a particular area, then you should definitely be implementing best practices for local SEO if you want to reach your ideal audience.
So, in this article, we are going to take you through six local SEO tips that will be of great use to you in getting more customers for your business.
Claim Your Google My Business Listing And Optimize It
Simply put, Google My Business (GMB) listings are the business profiles of different companies that appear on Google’s search engine result pages. Claiming your own listing can help your business to show up in the results for local searches made by people in your target audience.
They also allow you to include details like your address, phone number, and hours of operation so prospective customers can have access to useful information about your business at a glance. Not only that, but creating a GMB listing makes it easier to receive and respond to reviews, comments, or questions from existing and prospective customers.
To claim your GMB listing, all you need to do is sign into Google My Business and create an account by filling in all the required information such as your business name, address, service areas, phone number(s), and website URL.
Even after creating a Google My Business listing, there will be some ways to optimize it to ensure it’s as effective as possible. For instance, you need to make sure you’ve selected the relevant categories for your business, and you can also populate the listing with quality and accurate photos of your office or business location to make it easier for customers to find you.
Find Out Which Local Keywords Should Be Used In Your Copy
The importance of using local keywords in your copy cannot be overemphasized. If you’re able to include local keywords in your website content, this will increase the visibility of your site on relevant search engine results pages.
But, first, how do you find these local keywords?
One way to do this is by conducting local keyword research. You should start by using a specialist tool like Ubersuggest or Moz’s Keyword Explorer. Then you can begin to think of the words or phrases that are common to your niche and industry or the kinds of words you imagine people would use if they wanted to find the services you offer.
When you identify these words, you can then add the location of your business and plug them into your chosen keyword research tool. So, let’s say you own a bakery in Miami. Most people looking to buy something from you would probably use keywords like cake, bakery, or dessert.
Now, if we add your location (Miami) to each of these words and plug them into your chosen research tool, you’ll be given a list of keywords related to your area and what you do. Consider which service page you’re writing the copy for right now, and pick out the most relevant phrases. You can then start to work on incorporating them as you put the content together.
Also, before you select the keywords you’d like to use, make sure you consider search intent. This is essentially the purpose of an online search and the two main types are informational and commercial intent. Informational intent is when someone is using search engines to research a topic or find the answer to a question. A search with commercial intent will suggest that someone is trying to buy a product or service. When it comes to writing your local service page copy, you’ll want to target commercial keywords.
Another thing you need to consider is the competitiveness of the keywords you target — most keyword research tools will tell you how difficult it’s going to be to rank for the phrases they recommend. You want to find a balance between targeting keywords that are popular, but that isn’t going to be too hard to rank for.
It’s not just a case of finding your keywords, either — you then need to incorporate them into your writing effectively. So you can get a better idea of how this should be done, let’s study an example of a company that already does it well.
The Tinker Law Firm is based in Washington and serves clients in various communities within the surrounding areas. One of the major communities they serve is Seattle and, looking at the homepage of their website, you’ll see that they’ve made a great effort to optimize it for local search.
For instance, they’ve made sure to incorporate the keyword “Seattle” in strategic places like the homepage’s title and footer to improve their visibility in local search results. And their strategies are working because the company’s homepage currently ranks on the first page of Google for relevant queries containing “Seattle” that have a collective monthly search volume of 930. This is a really good result, especially for a niche local business.
One thing you can learn from this example is how important it is to include your business’s location in strategic areas of your webpage. And, if you want to do the same for your site, make sure you get the keywords into key elements like your web page title, headline, and throughout the body copy.
Create Pages For The Different Locations You Serve
If you own a business with multiple locations, you’ll want to dedicate a webpage to each of them. This is a really effective local SEO technique as it gives search engines a better idea of where you’re based, and provides you with more opportunities to rank for relevant queries.
When creating your location pages, again, you need to make sure you incorporate location-specific keywords into the copy. You can include these local keywords in places like the page title, headline, and body copy.
You can also optimize your location pages by including relevant details like your business name, as well as the address and phone number of each location, as this makes it easier for prospective customers to find you.
Another important detail to add to your location page is photos of your office or the area where you are located. This is great for helping people locate your business and, if you use the appropriate alt text to describe the images, they could help improve your visibility on search engines.
Now, to give you some inspiration, let’s take a look at some businesses that have created great location pages for their websites.
iFlooded Restoration focuses on providing restoration services for homes and businesses that have experienced damage due to water, fire, storms, or other circumstances.
If you look at their website, you’ll see that they serve different areas like Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Take a look at their location page for Brooklyn. In order to benefit from local SEO, they’ve optimized the page by making sure to include their location in strategic areas like the URL and page title, while also weaving it into the general page content so that it reads naturally.
They also highlight the cities and towns they serve in Brooklyn and include a map that can direct users to their exact location. All these tactics are very effective for helping this location page to appear in relevant search results for restoration services in Brooklyn. So, if you’re looking to optimize your location pages as well, you should take note of how they use local keywords and other elements so you can attract potential customers in the areas you serve.
My Visa Source also does something similar on their site. They are an immigration law firm based in Toronto and Vancouver, and they have separate location pages dedicated to each of these areas.
Take a look at how they’ve optimized their Toronto location page by highlighting relevant details, such as their office location, phone number, and address. These elements are all great for ensuring search engines know exactly where they’re based and who they can help. They’ve also embedded a Google Map on their location page to help improve their local SEO and assist website visitors in navigating their way to the business’s office.
Something else to note from these examples is that the two companies have decided to display relevant reviews from the customers they’ve served in their different locations. This is a great way to add credibility to their site, and it also shows search engines and potential clients that their company has experience in providing great services to people in this local area.
Create And Publish Content That Has A Local Angle
When you create content with a local angle, you’ll give search engines a better idea of where your business is based. And, not only that, but you’ll also increase the chances of being found by people in your target audience who are using Google to search for information about certain topics in your niche.
For instance, a gym could publish content about the best local walking routes for exercise, or a plumbing company could put together a guide on how best to maintain your home’s drainage system in a specific area.
To give you an idea of what local content can look like, let’s study a great blog post that’s been written with a local angle.
Jeffcott Law LLC is a law firm in Columbus that specializes in different areas like liquor law, business law, and medical marijuana law. On their blog, they have a great example of content that’s been published with a local angle, so check out their post where they provide information for people who want to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Ohio.
The piece talks about the legalization of marijuana in Ohio for medical and recreational purposes and it provides very useful information about the application process, costs, and other factors to be considered by people who want to get a retail dispensary license for marijuana.
This works as a very effective piece of local content because it helps residents of this area by giving them access to valuable and high-quality information. Plus, it also lets search engines know that the company provides services to people in Ohio.
Regardless of whether you have a product-based or service-based business, you can always create content that will help people in the local areas you serve. To do this effectively, you could even go through the comments or questions people send to your customer service team, as those will give you an insight into the types of questions people need answers to.
Give Your Products Or Services Their Own Web Pages
If your business offers a range of products or services, it’s a good idea to dedicate a page to each one and, of course, optimize these pages for local search.
The reason for this is that people might not just be searching for businesses like yours in their local area — they could be looking for the exact products they need instead. For instance, as opposed to searching for “bakeries in Los Angeles”, someone might Google “custom birthday cakes in Los Angeles”. You need to keep this in mind when building your website and target relevant keywords on your service pages accordingly.
So, as well as creating location pages, make sure you also create service or product pages and mention where you’re based. Optimizing these pages with local keywords will help you to reach the right people and increase your sales.
Build High-quality Links On Local Websites
Link building is the process of securing hyperlinks from other websites that will send people to yours. This is a very important SEO tactic because these links signal to search engines that your website is a quality resource, so they will want to rank you well. Also, link building is a great way to help drive more high-quality traffic your way.
If you focus on building links on local sites, it will give search engines a better understanding of where your business is based. One of the ways you can build local links is by registering your company in local business directories that people in your community might go to when looking for a specific product or service.
You could also try reaching out to local bloggers, newspapers, or forums in your niche to see if they will allow you to write a guest post that includes a link back to your own website. To find these sites, you can simply search Google with a query like “[your niche] + blog + [your location]”.
So, let’s say you owned a gardening business in Los Angeles. Your query would look something like this: “gardening + blog + Los Angeles,” and you would get results similar to the ones in the image below.
When you get these results, try to look through each of the target sites to see if they accept guest posts and whether they have any guidelines to follow. Some of the sites might even provide contact information for their editors so you can get in touch. But, before you do so, make sure you establish a connection with them on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Doing this can help you get some information that will help you to personalize your outreach emails and improve your chances of getting a response.
And, if you’re concerned you might not have the time to do all this, you can always outsource the task to a local citation building service like ours that helps build high-quality links for your preferred locations.
In this article, we’ve taken a look at some local SEO tips that you can implement to help your business get more customers. From claiming your Google My Business listing to creating location pages and service pages, these are all very effective tactics that your brand will benefit from.
Author bio & headshot:
Alex Ratynski is a Content Strategist at Loganix, an SEO fulfillment partner that works with agencies and marketers. The company focuses on helping businesses to improve their online visibility, so they can grow and reach their goals. If you enjoyed this article, visit the Loganix blog for more expert advice.
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