Local SEO is a very different beast to standard SEO. While there is a lot of crossover between optimizing your business for local and standard SEO, some things are more important for local businesses.
There are many local SEO strategies that you may want to experiment to boost your presence in the search engine results, and some of these may be more effective for you than others. Here are a few of the best that you can get started with.
Sign Up with Google My Business
The first thing you should do is to get an official presence on Google, which should be considered an essential step for local businesses. This is completely free to do, and it will help you to show up in three of Google’s key services: Search, Maps, and Google+.
Ranking in Google for keywords is hard work. That’s obviously what you are attempting to do with your SEO, but you are given a slight advantage with a local business.
Because when local keywords are used (e.g. “Indian restaurant New York”), Google often displays a few local results at the top of the SERPs. It’s great to get into those three results, known as the “3 Pack,” because you will stand out from the other organic results. These three results will not just display a link to your site, but also reviews, your map location, your address, and more.
Obviously you cannot just sign up and start ranking in the 3 Pack—you have to work on your SEO first. One of the things that you will need to do is ensure all of your details are the same across different sites where you have a presence. This is often referred to as your NAP (name, address, and phone) Google will use this information, so it must be accurate.
Another thing that you should do is start getting reviews from your customers.
Get More Reviews
Reviews are so important to the online experience. No matter what you sell, potential customers will want to find out what other customers think of you before making a decision.
And reviews also have an impact on your local SEO. Google actually displays your average review when your business shows up in the 3 Pack.
So work on building your reviews. Ask customers to review your products or services on third-party sites, and ask them for honest feedback rather than bribing them for positive reviews.
Don’t be scared of negative reviews. Everyone will get a few of these, so just make sure you focus on building your reviews regularly.
Optimize Your On-Page SEO
Another important point is to make sure your on-page SEO is optimized. This is one of the simpler steps you can take, so it should be one of the first things you do.
Make sure you use your city or region as a keyword in your title tags, H1 tags, URL, alt tags, and content. This is one of the basic SEO practices that businesses have been using for many years, and the only difference is that you need to put more of a focus on local keywords. It’s an easy way to improve your SEO and it won’t take long to do.
Publish Content with a Local Focus
Content is the backbone of SEO, so make sure you are publishing content regularly. Start a blog if you haven’t already done so, and publish content that has a focus on your most important local keywords. These are typically easier to rank for because they are more specific. Using the above example, only Indian restaurants in New York will be competing with you.
Build content around these keywords. Don’t just talk about what you do, but go further and talk about topics of interest to local residents. This could include events, attractions, what’s going on at the weekend, and more. Try to become a resource for local people, then make sure you share that content across your social media platforms with people who are in your local area.
Don’t forget to track your results. Use a local brand management platform like www.chatmeter.com and get access to detailed analytics that you can use to optimize your campaign.
Build Links from Local Sites
Links from authority sites are always good, but you should put a special focus on links from local sites, which is one of the tips recommended by Search Engine Land. How can you do this?
Publish content related to their topics. Sponsor local events. Publish a useful guide for local organizations that they can link to. These are all possible options, so get creative and try to build links on a regular basis.
Boost Your Local Search Presence
These strategies provide you with a good starting point if you want to maximize your local SEO, so start experimenting with some of them. However, they are really just the start, and there are many other strategies you can use to improve your search results. Just make sure you are consistent in your efforts, and over time you should start to see some good results.