SEO

Complete Guide to Acing Local Search Results

50% of the mobile users end up visiting stores (local) within 24 hours thanks to local mobile search.

But why am I telling you that?

Because if you are not targeting these people online then you are missing out huge opportunities.

Google Search has evolved. It doesn’t matter whether you are local, national or all over the galaxy, you can use it to your advantage and serve your target customers’ needs better. This is where SEO enters the picture.

For those who don’t know, here’s a brief definition of SEO:

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a system of boosting the quantity and quality of traffic to a particular website. Traffic isn’t specifically the number of people visiting your website but the term involves the people who arrive at your website.

So, in simpler words, SEO helps you bring more people to your website. SEO usually refers to optimization of a website on a large scale. Local SEO is what you resort to when you want to target a very local and narrow market.

For example, if a software startup wants to pursue clients in the UK, US or other sophisticated markets, it will choose organic SEO/SEO. But if you are running a small business like a bakery shop that relies on local customers, Local SEO can really help you get more customers.

How?

There’s a huge commercial value to Local SEO. It has this unbeatable potential to make you famous and easily visible to people living near you.

You will be on top, on the first page of Google where people will see you more often and since you will be on the first page and top position, people will trust you more and choose your products and services over others.

Local SEO: Ranking on the local map

2 years back, near me searches were all the rage. But now that Google has become extremely sophisticated, it doesn’t need you to add near me after every search. It automatically detects your location and recognizes the intent of your query.

For example, if you search something like best mexican restaurants, Google will show the best local results keeping in mind that the intent is to find the nearest Mexican restaurant that serves amazing food so you can eat there.

You don’t explicitly tell Google your location when you make the search query or even mention near me after this. Google is smart enough to track your location on your phone if you have turned it on. Local SEO plays a huge role in deciding the factors that influence which businesses rank on top of Google and which ones don’t.

Now that the basics are clear and you know the amazing, really powerful profitable possibilities that local SEO can lead to, let take a look at the best tips:

Tell Google about you with Google My Business

You may have a website but if you don’t put your business on the map, people will have a tough time finding it. As a business owner or marketer, your priority should be to make your business as visible as you can.

Google My Business is free of cost and super efficient. Just claim your listing and verify your physical address and bam!

You can download the application for GMB on your iOS or Android phone or just use the service on desktop and claim your listing. The process is quite simple and doesn’t need anything fancy. Just use your Google account to login and fill out the details but make sure that you keep your business name, address and phone number updated and accurate. People often make the mistake of not maintaining consistency when claiming their business listing online. This will confuse your prospective customers so ensure that you keep the name, address, and phone number updated and consistent throughout all of your listings.

Using Google My Business, you can upload the link to your website, directions to your physical address, exact location & address, hours of operation, and contact details. Depending on the category of your listing, you may get the option of adding more information.

Another expert tip is that you research the category of your business well and choose the most relevant one. If you pick the wrong category for your business, it will affect your rankings.

What after you have claimed the listing and added your information?

Make sure that verify your physical address once you have claimed or added your listing.

After verifying, make sure that you start using your GMB features such as Google posts. Frequently make catchy and short posts to promote the ongoing deals and discounts at your business.

Citations

Before I tell you why you need make more citations for your business, you need to understand what they really mean.

A citation is actually an online reference from a directory of businesses to your business. Plenty of directories provide the basic information for local businesses, segmented by category. Often local businesses don’t make a classy or even a basic website but like yellow pages worked in the older times, now citations do.

Local businesses register with these websites like Yelp.com or Angieslist.com, etc and provide their full information namely Name, Phone Number, Address, Category, link to website, etc.

If you remember, I mentioned the same information just a while back when talking about Google My Business listing. So, keep this in mind that you need to follow uniformity in the business information you furnish online. If you use a different phone number, Google will decipher both of your listings as of different businesses. The problem is that if you use inconsistent information, you will have a hard time ranking on top.

So, this is a very crucial and pro local SEO tips that whatever information you furnish to your Google My Business listing and the citations, make sure that you are the same.

Now, focus on building as many healthy and good quality citations you can make. There are plenty of websites and sources offering you complete list of non-spam and authoritative listings. Seek them out with a simple Google search and start building quality citations. You can search for high-authority directories for building citations for your business by the category. Also, make sure that you don’t end up choosing the wrong category. You wouldn’t want your dental practice showing up in a law practice category.

Reviews

This is as straightforward as it gets. People can be gullible and reviews influence them heavily. In fact, more than 80% people read reviews online and the majority of them make their decision to purchase or hire after reading these reviews.

Remember how powerful word of mouth is? Ever thought about why people hire these famous film stars or models to vouch for their brand? Social Proof!

Take a close look at most toothpastes and you will see them making the same pitch, “8 out of 10 people confirmed that XYZ toothpaste whitened their teeth within 60 days”. Ever wonder why toothpastes, children’s food products often use models dressed as doctors and mothers recommending the products?

To earn trust and influence the customer’s decision.

Real reviews from real people fulfil the same purpose. They help you build trust among your prospective customer’s eyes and your reputation as a reliable brand.

The idea is clear: You need more positive reviews from people who love your products and services. You can get these positive reviews on Google Reviews, yelp and major directories that show up on top when people search for local business reviews.

You can always ask your loyal patrons and repeat customers to give you a happy and satisfied rating on Google or any other reviewing platform of their choice. Just remember to be polite and no pushy when asking for reviews.

Encourage quality backlinks

Before I get started with this point, I’d like to clarify that I am assuming you already have a business website for your small, local business. If you don’t, I suggest that you get one immediately.

Now, building a good website is not just a matter of good design. Your website traffic including the local traffic also depends on how well your market your content to your audience. So, one of your biggest necessities is to build a blog and promote it well. One part of promotion involves building stable, high-quality and superior links that signal to Google that your website is indeed an authoritative resource on category you blog about.

Start building high-quality links and don’t settle for spam links unless you want to get penalized. Don’t just build links for the sake of building links but also be part of the ongoing conversation and engage with people. Look forward to catering to your local audience with your blog and quality links the most.

When building links, some people end up mimicking ranking website’s content style and sometimes the entire content altogether. Avoid doing so in every case and follow your unique approach to the subject to establish authority.

Get Social

Even before Google My Business entered the market officially in 2014, restaurants, cafes, and numerous other local businesses were monetizing their social media presence.

Social Media offers you a fantastic platform for sharing your content with local masses and indulging their taste with targeted advertisement. You can even decide and narrow down your audience and only reach out to the ones you want to reach out to.

Facebook, twitter, linkedin, pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, etc have billions of users who look forward to more sophisticated and tailored experiences. Target them through quality content and use context to earn your audience.

You can effectively leverage the visual formats of platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, etc to publish graphic advertisements and promotional content. People are more likely to consume visual content compared to text so you can expect a higher engagement rate too.

Geo-targeting can also help you target your audience better and grow your leads. You can create events, organize meets, promote your in-house deals and use social media to consistently grow and interact with your audience. The core idea is to get as local as you can so keep narrowing down and ensure that you mention the correct business information on your social media pages.

Connect with your followers and find more prospects on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc with a sound, consistently evolving and analytics driven content strategy. Foster a community for your business and grow a culture to invite more customers be a part of it. Cafes and bars often organize culture meets for backpackers, musicians, artists, poets, etc to attract more customers. So, don’t forget to try creative ideas to increase your footfall.

Don’t make the mistake of slowing down your response and engagement and always be highly responsive on these pages to ensure that your audience stays engaged and interested for more.

Summing up

Local SEO is everything for your local practice/business especially if you don’t have a website. Google has billions of people using it everyday so if your business relies on a local market, make sure that you claim or add your Google My Business listing immediately.

To target a very local market full of eligible prospects, you can support your SEO campaign with a social media campaign and use high-engagement and stable platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Networking is integral to local businesses so try and keep your audience updated and collaborate with associated acts to grow your audience.

Use on-site optimization effectively and make sure that you follow a regular content cycle to produce authoritative blogs for link building.

Once you are done setting up the website, GMB listing and your social media accounts, start obtaining reviews in an authentic way. The reviews will influence more prospects and help them make a positive decision.

Finally, start building references to your business from high-authority directory websites. Maximise your citations with accurate and consistent NAP (name, address and phone number).

Add photos and other details of your business to your local listings to encourage more engagement from your target audience.

A post by Kidal D. (3438 Posts)

Kidal D. is author at LeraBlog. The author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views and opinions of LeraBlog staff.
Chief editor and author at LERAblog, writing useful articles and HOW TOs on various topics. Particularly interested in topics such as Internet, advertising, SEO, web development, and business.

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