Most businesses are familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), an online strategy intended to increase a webpage or website’s visibility on a search engine. Usually, these practices involve writing high-quality content combined with a link-building strategy.
But fewer businesses are familiar with local SEO, a branch of SEO that specifically involves being found by users in a particular geographic area for particular services.
If more businesses were to use a local SEO strategy, not only would they attract a greater local presence, but users may find more services and solutions closer to their home.
We’ll cover the benefits of local SEO and the best practices for improving it for your business.
Benefits of Local SEO
You Can Target and Convert Mobile Users
These days, nearly everyone can be considered a mobile user. According to ComScore, mobile platforms (smartphones and tablets) generate 60% of online traffic. Combine that with Google’s statistic: 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day. No matter the time of day or where you are, you can find mobile users looking up restaurants, exploring nearby events, or getting directions to the closest mechanic. Following their searches, people tend to gravitate to the services ranking at the top of a page.
You Compete with Fewer Competitors
Have you ever tried finding a service or business using only a generic search term? For example, if you were to search “plumbing,” you may receive thousands of results irrelevant to your needs.
But when you add a location to the keyword, like “plumbing in denver” or “chicago plumbing”, the results become more niche and more relevant. The same concept goes for restaurants, stores, entertainment and other services. Broad terms can have even international competition in the results, while local search narrows results down to a few big names in the area.
Develop Local PR and Visibility
Local SEO leads to a great local presence, which in turn leads to more local opportunities. Hosting networking events or attending local trade shows can not only make a brand better locally known but could lead to further business or collaborative partnerships projects. Plus, customers enjoy greater benefits through local business compared to big brands, like supporting the local economy and receiving more personalized service.
Best Practices for Local SEO
1. Claim the business – Businesses need to claim their business listing on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other search engines. On Google, this involves signing up for a Google my Business account (not to be confused with Google+) and filling out your business’s information, including the address, hours of operation, and phone number. Keep an eye out for Google’s postcard in the mail, which will verify your business address.
2. Optimize the business website and social profiles – Using traditional SEO practices (keyword research, meta-descriptions and alt-tags), include some local keywords and content throughout your website, Facebook, and Twitter. Use your city in various titles and long-tail phrases (e.g., “content marketing in chicago”). Include your business address in the footer, or even in an interactive map. Make sure your website runs on mobile-platforms to get a ranking boost from Google.
3. Develop local content
Write blog posts and press releases that mention nearby locations. Develop content that highlights customers from the area, or recent networking events you may have attended. Not only will this give an SEO benefit, but it will attract more customers in the area.
4. Build citations on online directories
Citations, also known as your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP), help both search engines and customers find you more easily. Place these citations throughout the various online directories, such as Yellow Pages, Yext, and your local directories.
5. Collect business reviews
Reviews contribute to SEO, and local reviews contribute to local SEO. Encourage your local customers and clients to leave positive reviews, and address any negative reviews through customer support. These reviews will be read by anybody who searches your site looking for a second opinion, so make sure they represent the quality of your business.
A Local SEO Agency
Don’t be daunted by Local SEO! It just takes more time, effort, and experience than most individuals have the patience for.
That’s where a seasoned SEO agency, like Arcalea, comes in. We analyze and measure every business to determine their needs and goals, and activate all the relevant initiatives required to improve their local SEO. Some businesses only need citation-building, while others require more long-term work.
No matter the industry, Arcalea is always looking to bolster a business’s online presence through proven SEO methods. Contact us for a quote today.
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