Local SEO Tips to Elevate Your Business to the Next Level
All businesses across the globe struggle with a common and unavoidable problem – competitors. Your business needs stellar marketing processes as well as unmatched offers to stay ahead of the competition.
This goal is easier set than achieved through, but you can hit the bull’s eye with proper local SEO strategies. Today, we look at ten SEO tips that you can use to get more local clients.
Leverage Business Listings
For years now, customers have been relying on business listings to find service providers within their vicinity. Search engines such as Google also pull business information from the listing sites such as Yelp.
Make sure that the business information in each of them is accurate to avoid confusing potential customers. Duplicate listings can also make it difficult for willing customers to find you. Luckily, tools such as Moz Local can help you jump this hurdle. This simple tool will list down all the duplicate listings with a name similar to yours.
Here is a list of the top seven business listing platforms you should focus on when doing local SEO.
- About Us
- Best of the Web
- Bing Places
- Angie’s List
Understand how each of them operates and the guidelines that the members should comply with to get listed.
Create Location-Based Pages for your Website
Search engine bots look for content that best matches the searcher’s intent. Having specific landing pages for each location that you service or operate will give you an upper hand as the search engines will easily locate your listing and display it to the right searcher.
Make sure that the information in the pages, such as location, operating hours, and services, are well articulated to increase the conversion rate. If you change location or start offering a new service, make sure that is reflected in the pages.
Enhance NAP Consistency
One of the mistakes businesses make is having inconsistent NAP. Customers find it difficult to locate your premises if the details in multiple listings are inconsistent. For you to win more local clients, you need to be consistent.
Having the correct name and address indicated in the listings is great, but you need to be pickier and include the LLC, Inc, or Co. Pay attention to how the street, road, avenue, and suite numbers are written to achieve the recommended consistency.
More importantly, make sure the location information on your website is the same as the one in the listings. Please start with the Google My Business listing before proceeding to the other listing sites such as Yelp.
Strive to Get Many Customers Reviews
Reviews are of paramount importance to any business. Customers use them to gauge the quality of a product or service during the decision process.
Reports indicate that reviews are also a local pack ranking factor that will enable your listing to stand out from the crowd of competitors. Request satisfied customers to write a Google review describing their experience doing business with you.
Negative reviews should also not be left out. Professionally respond to them and offer a solution to the disgruntled customers instead of going on the offense.
Social proof is another ideal way of gaining reviews from local customers. Rest assured that the five-star reviews will get your business ahead of the curve as the lowly ranked websites struggle to convince customers. This is one of the most recommended conversion rate optimisation tactics for any business that wants to escalate its growth rate.
Localise your Content
You already know that content is king in digital marketing and SEO, right? Start creating content that services the local customers and not just any random prospect. This calls for regular and well-planned market research to understand the customers’ needs and expectations.
Feel free to hire a copywriter to help create this content. A team of writers who understand your business should be viewed as an investment, not an extra cost. It will also free up your schedule as you won’t have to spend hours researching topics and writing the content yourself.
Update your Google My Business Listing
Internet is the primary source of information for local online customers. In your quest to ace local SEO and grow your business, you should ensure that the information in your Google My Business listing is accurate and updated.
Be different from the competitors who offer a general description of their brands by making yours informative. Spice it up with several target keywords and a link to the official website. Your logo will also help it appeal to customers, so consider hiring one of the many pro-rated logo designers.
Pictures of past projects will also make the listing more attractive to the customers. At all costs, avoid blurry images or the loyalty-free images available online. They will make you look unprofessional to the local customers.
Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to Find Local Keywords
Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a free tool from Google that will come in handy when creating a local SEO strategy. Use it to find the right keywords for each of the location-based landing or service pages.
If you cannot find them, include the location name at the end of the keywords you are already targeting. Your focus should be on words with a high search volume and low competition. Use Google Ads to get the top spots in the search engine results pages.
Get Backlinks from Existing Sponsorships and Partners
Sponsorships and partners you are already working with will improve your backlinking profile. Remember, a backlink is one of Google’s website ranking signals, so strive to get as many as possible without applying blackhat tactics.
The sponsorship events can be anything from a community event you participated in fundraising or any other charitable occasion popular in the area. Contact the organisers and request to be part of the sponsors and include your business name and website link in the description before and after the event.
Since most of them have websites that post information about past and upcoming events, this is a low-hanging fruit that you can leverage to get ahead of the competition. The more the links, the better for your brand’s local SEO.
The success of the event is a plus for your business as you will win customers offline. It is also an excellent opportunity for interacting with the locals to learn more about their specific needs and expectations from brands like yours.
Do Local Link Building
Link building is still one of the most powerful local SEO strategies not only here in Singapore but also in other parts of the world. Find businesses in your industry and network with them to establish legitimate links. This move will not only boost your SEO but also establish formidable relations with industry leaders and target customers. Note that search engines perceive links as votes of confidence, thus, the more links pointing to your website, the higher the chances of your site ranking high on search engines and being recognized as an authority.
Be More Proactive on Social Media
Facebook is the largest and most popular social media platform in the world. Use it to popularise your business by creating localised pages and content. It’s not a secret anymore that Google crawls and pulls content from social media platforms. Therefore, pay close attention to the post’s engagement level and the reviews posted on the page about your product and services.
Consistency is key when doing social media marketing. Ensure that the logo, page design, and details are the same across all the social media platforms you decide to use. Keep an eye on fake pages created by competitors to ruin your reputation.
As mentioned earlier, customers read reviews before buying products, so they request customers to leave one after purchase or service delivery. The negative reviews are also low-hanging fruits that you can use to paint your brand’s positive and professional image.
Don’t just respond to the positive reviews. Read and comment on the negative once also. The trick here is to show that you are focused on providing the best experiences to the customers. For example, if a customer complains about the quality of the product they received, offer a 100% refund or ship a new product.
Spend More on Mobile Advertising
By now, you know that Google and other search engines favor websites that can be accessed across mobile devices. The increase in the number of searches that are conducted using these devices is one of the primary factors that informed the decision to rank mobile friendly sites higher than their counterparts.
Based on this fact, you need to make sure that your site is mobile friendly. Go an extra mile and spend more money on mobile advertising to target the increasing number of mobile users. Be sure to test different styles of landing pages to find one that delivers the most conversions.
Optimise your Website for Mobile
30% of all mobile searches across the globe are location-based. This percentage may seem small but has significant relevance to local businesses. You are losing thousands of dollars every year if your website is not optimised for mobile.
Check how the pages display on different mobile devices and lookout for any navigation issues. Focus on providing the best experience to all your customers to crank up your ratings and image. If the pages take ages to load, trust me, they will not hesitate to move on to your competitor’s website.
Carry out A/B tests to understand how the customers interact with your website’s different pages and elements. Anything that seems off should be rectified promptly to avoid losing more customers.
Optimize Ads for Local Searchers
If you already have a SEM (search engine marketing) campaign, consider coming up with specific ads for the local searchers. That is, come up with ads and customized landing pages that are optimized for the different regions that you operate in to get more clients. Continuously monitor their performance to avoid spending money on ads that do not deliver substantial results.
Finally, share local reviews with potential customers to gain their trust and confidence. For example, if you have reviews that mention your Clementi clothing store for example, publish that review on a directory or review page for Clementi to get more clients from this area. This simple step will make the target customers feel that they are part of the local customer base that loves your products and services.
Optimise the Content for Voice Search
Voice search is quickly gaining momentum across all industries. 300% of all mobile voice searches are more local intent than text searches. One sure way of doing this local SEO process is by adding question-based keywords to the content. Google SERP’s page has a People Also Ask section that you start with to learn the market.
Create Inbound Links
One mistake businesses make perceiving backlinks as the only plug-and-play SEO strategy that guarantees fast results. Inbound links are proven ranking factors with a significant impact on the website rankings.
Contact people in your niche that you do business with, such as suppliers, contractors, distributors, wholesalers, partners, nearby businesses. List them down, then search their websites for pages where you could insert a contextual link. Then, contact the websites directly and offer to provide free content in return for the contextual link.
Do Competitor Analysis
It’s time you stopped taking shots in the dark if you want to win more local customers without spending a fortune on marketing. Carry out a competitor analysis to determine what other businesses are doing better than you, then improve.
Does the main competitor have better landing pages? Are they actively relying on search engine marketing? What is their social media marketing campaign like? All this information will help better your processes and generate more revenue from local sales.
Choose the Right Business Categories on GMB
Google My Business creation page has more than 3000 different categories. However, you can only select and use a maximum of 10 secondary and one primary category to describe your brand.
The primary category has the hugest impact on search results, so make sure you find one that best resonates with your business. The secondary categories should support the primary category. However, if you choose too many, you will dilute the impact the latter creates.
Google recommends using as few categories as possible to avoid confusing customers. Personally, I would recommend you have one primary category and a maximum of three secondary categories. Use an innovative tool such as GMB Spy to identify categories that a majority of your competitors selected. The information will enable you to find categories with the least competition.
Find Time to Optimise Questions & Answers Feature
The questions & Answers feature is one of the most overlooked parts of Google Maps business listing. In this section, potential customers who are almost ready to convert ask direct questions such as “Are you open on weekends?”
Unfortunately, Google does not allow users to reply to the questions in GMB. The answers should be submitted through your business listing on Google search/Google Maps. If the option was not controlled, anyone would be submitting the answers, thereby confusing the customers.
The reply with bear your GMB logo as the avatar, select the best when creating the account. Strive to reply to the questions fast and make sure it’s accurate. That said if you know what most of your customers ask, why not create your own Q&As?
Upload More Photos
Customers can add a photo to your listing, but as the business owner, it is imperative that you take control of the process. You should determine the kind of photos that you want to be associated with your business.
User-generated content works magic, go ahead and request some satisfied customers to send photos of them using the product. Please include a short description at the bottom to make it even more appealing to others.
The logo, cover, and team photos will make your listing better by giving customers a visual image of yourself and how you work. They will be viewable on Google search results for seven days. Create a plan to post one or more photos every seven days. The cycle will not only give your competitors a run for their money but also keep customers engaged.
Geotag them to make them relevant to the specific locations that you service or ship products. Most smartphones have a GPS coordinates feature that you can use when uploading photos. You can also use websites to achieve the same goal if you intend to upload via a digital camera.
Quality should be high, so make sure that they not only look natural but professional. We recommend taking multiple photos of the product or the team then selecting the best. Check out Google’s guidelines in regards to photo quality to get it right. Ideally, they should be captured in a well-lit environment, in focus, don’t use excess filters and photoshop alterations.
Create GMB Posts Regularly
Engagement is important when doing local SEO because you want the potential customers to remember your brand when they search online. Just like the photos tip discussed in the previous post, we recommend that you post on GMB the same way you do on social media platforms.
Use them to offer new information about your products, services, or the industry. They will boost the authenticity of your profile and show Google and users that you are an authority. Keep the profile fresh by posting once or twice per week, but the frequency depends on your schedule.
Here are some ideas of what you can post.
- What’s new
- Operating hours update
- Best seller’s
- New product
- Added product features
The hours update automatically, though, when you change the operation hours in the profile.
Ensure All Images Have Optimised Alt Text
Alt-text is simply a description of the image but written into HTML. It enables Google to understand what the photo is all about. The visually impaired customers will also understand when using a screen reader to browse your website.
Don’t be afraid to insert a keyword but write naturally and only place it where it fits naturally. WordPress makes it utterly easy for webmasters to add this text through the media gallery.
Include Directions of your Business Location
Google is keen on providing the most relevant results to searchers. They look for websites that have the best relevance signals based on the IP address of the searchers. It would be best to include a Google Maps link to your listing that customers can click on to know where your offices or warehouses are located.
The link also helps Google estimate your brand’s reach and display your listing in the map pack. Here is an online tool that you can use for this purpose. Use a direct anchor text such as “Get Directions” to make it even easier for the target customers to find you.
Add a Local Business Schema Markup
Schema markup helps search engines to learn more about the website. There are different types of schema markup, but for this local SEO article, we will only dwell on the local business schema.
A local business schema is a form of structured data markup code that makes it easy for search engines to know where your business is located and does. The data includes the business name, contact numbers, operating hours, products, services, reviews, images, and more.
Trust me; it’s not as difficult to create as it sounds. Check out this website to create your first schema in seconds. Remember to check its accuracy using Google’s structured data testing tool before posting. It will offer direction and ensure that Google displays your site for local searches and increase your chances of winning a rich snippet.
If your website runs on WordPress, there are plugins such as Schema pro that you can use to achieve the same objective easily.
Phone Numbers Should Be Clickable
We already mentioned that most local customers use mobile to locate local businesses. Make it easier for them to reach you by making the phone numbers clickable. The phone number will act as a CTA since they will not have to type the numbers to make the call. It is a simple local SEO hack that most businesses are not currently using; get ahead of them by implementing it.
Check The Website for Broken Links
Local SEO is about optimising the website to rank highly and offer the best user experience to the targeted customers. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your website doesn’t have any broken links.
Such links are bad for UX and may discourage the target customer from shopping. They also make it difficult for Google to crawl your website and interfere with link juice flow from one page to another. Use this WordPress plugin to scan your website for them.
The ranking of directories varies from one location to another based on popular and Google algorithms. We recommend checking which ones are in the top ten in the areas you want to dominate. Focus on them as they are your best bet of getting a higher cutting edge. Register in all of them and adhere to the recommendations discussed in this article.
Local SEO will help your business to get more customers without spending a fortune. Get in touch with MediaOne Marketing for the best search engine optimisation services and more. We look forward to helping your local business get to the top of SERPs.
Recent studies show that most customers prefer doing business with local businesses that are legitimate. You can gain more customers by implementing the best white hat local SEO strategies on your website as well as on your digital marketing campaigns.
Here are simple local SEO tips that you can use to popularize the business in your locality and win over more clients.