Do you run a local business with one or more locations? Do you want customers that live nearby to find your business on Google easily? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you need a local SEO strategy. With a local SEO strategy, you can connect with people that live close by and are looking for your products or services. These kinds of searches on Google are twice as likely to be motivated customers. Studies have shown that when someone searches for a product in a particular place, they are ready to buy it right away.
NOT JUST SEO, LOCAL SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process that business owners use to make their websites appear organically higher on a Google search result page. Most people that search for products never go to page two on the search results page. This is especially true on searches for local products and services. If you miss the opportunity to be on page one, it's almost like you're not on Google at all.
Local SEO is less competitive than regular SEO. When optimizing your website for a Google search, the competition for keywords (and consequently rankings) involves a lot fewer competitors. And below, there are some things you can do that will positively affect your local Google ranking that are impossible for national companies to achieve.
LOCAL SEO IS MORE URGENT
When people search for products and services that are local to them, they intend to buy. This kind of search is what makes their search more urgent. They are looking for someone that can meet their needs right now. Google knows that if someone is looking for an electrician in Amherst, Massachusetts, it won't do them any good to find electricians somewhere in Colorado. Local SEO allows Google to provide its customers (the search engine users) with the most useful results. And Google wants to make all their customers happy.
If you optimize your website so that Google knows that you are local, you will see more visits of people that are ready to buy. Google's statistics tell us that over three-quarters of the people who perform local mobile searches will visit that business in the next 24 hours. These customers have already gone through all the initial buying stages and are ready to take out their credit cards.
GOOGLE AND LOCAL SEO
Google wants to provide the most relevant searches to its customers. That's why last year, they spent millions of dollars on upgrading their search algorithm. They wanted to include things that indicate that a business is local and that it is well-liked. To make sure this happens, Google considers three things above all other ranking factors. The three "Ranking Factors" are:
Proximity - Is the business near the IP address of the searcher?
Relevancy - Does the company provide the product or service?
Distinction - How popular is the company online and in the local community?
Want to see how your website ranks compared to your competitors? Use our free compare vs competitors tool.
SEO/ORGANIC VS. PAID PLACEMENT
There are only two ways to get to the top of a Google search page. The easiest way (if you have a large budget) is to pay for the privilege of being at the top. This is called paid search results and is very popular with companies that are just starting out and can't get to the top of the first page organically. Let's cover some things you can do to get to the first page of the Google search results without having to pay for the privilege.
But first analysis your website now with our free SEO audit tool to see where you stand.
MOBILE FRIENDLY WEBSITE
More than three-quarters of searches for local products and services are done on cell phones. So the first thing is to make sure that your website works on a cell phone. Get out your phone and go to your site. Is it easy to read and easy to navigate? Now you need to see what Google thinks about it. One way to do that is to use a free tool from Google called Google's Mobile-Friendly Test or use our free mobile friendly analysis tool. This test will scan your website and tell you ways that you can approve it for cell phones. And best of all it's free.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS PAGE
You must list your business on Google My Business (GMB). It's free and a necessary step. If you have multiple locations, list each one individually. Not only will this allow you to rank higher on the search engine pages, but it will enable you to get a pin on the Google Map during search results. Registering on GMB will also provide a place for people to put reviews of your business. Reviews of your business are one of the most reliable tools to get more people in the front door. Once you have your business listed with GMB, keep updating it for Google. Do this by interacting with your webpage by adding pictures, reviews, questions and answers, and other updates to keep it fresh. Google likes fresh content and will rank you higher in local search results because of it.
BUSINESS ADDRESS IS ON YOUR SITE
Remember, the very first ranking factor is proximity. Google needs to know that you are close to the searcher. How Google learns this is by looking at the address that's on your website. So, it's essential to have your physical address on your website. And if you have multiple locations, make sure that each location has its own webpage with its own physical address.
BACKLINKS - OTHER SITES HAVE YOUR BACK
Another powerful tool for helping pages list higher is to have other pages mention your site. These are called backlinks or citations, and they are evidence for Google that your website is popular and authentic. The more popular your site is in Google's eyes, the higher it will rank it on its search results. There are a few ways to get quality backlinks for your website.
First, make sure that you are listed in all the directories that related to your industry. For instance, if you operate a hotel, make sure that you are listed in TripAdvisor. That is easily done by asking one of your guests to leave a good review on TripAdvisor. Also, make sure your website is listed in as many authentic directories as possible. Find regional and local directories that list your type of service and let them know that you exist. And make sure that they contain your website URL.
FIND BACKLINK SITES
There are a few ways to find out where the backlink/citation sites are. One great method is by seeing what sites are linked to your competitors, even if they aren't local competitors. Enter the website URL of a competitor into https://ahrefs.com/backlink-checker. This service will provide you with a list of links that point back to your competitor. While they might not all be appropriate for your business, make sure the ones that are, learn about you.
A WARNING ABOUT BACKLINKS
There's one way that you should not get backlinks. You should never pay for them. And definitely, do not join a backlink service. There are these services that agree to list each other's businesses in the hopes that they will trick Google into thinking they are popular. That used to work years ago, but Google now penalizes this.
OPTIMIZE META TAGS
Meta tags are hidden text descriptions explicitly designed for search engines. They are hidden from regular eyes, but Google's search crawler can see them very well. The meta description is that little piece of text that you see in the search results for your web page. Make sure that they describe your location and your business category. Google loves good meta tags.
Make sure the text on your website has all the local keywords that people might search for. If you are a plumber in Smithfield, include the phrase "local plumber in Smithfield" or "best plumber in Smithfield" or "emergency plumber in Smithfield" on your website. These "long-tail keywords" are effective at bringing in the customers when they are desperate for your products.
Use our keyword rank checker tool to see where your key words rank.
REVIEWS ARE CRITICAL
Reviews are the new currency of the internet. One of the most important parts of local SEO is to have many positive reviews for your company. When you finish with a customer, ask them to leave you a review. Have your employees give them a card with your website on it and ask them to provide you with a personal review. It is very effective on so many levels.
Here at The Click Depot, we can do a comprehensive audit of your website to make sure it performs well for local SEO. We have created thousands of effective SEO websites, and we'll make sure that yours climbs to the top of the Google search results page.
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