May 2, 2019
Do you have a local business which is not getting much traffic or leads or not ranking well in search engines? Are you looking for ideas to improve the local search visibility of your business organically? Then, you’re at the right place. Here’s a brief guide to local SEO along with tips for improving your business’s local search ranking.
But, first things first. What is local SEO?
Local SEO refers to the act of optimizing and promoting your offline/online business such that it can be found in local searches performed by your targeted customers online.
The purpose of local search is to gain ranking in popular search engines such as Google for all your business target keywords. Local searches are the ones which include location keywords.
For example, if you have a furniture business in Ontario, Canada, a potential customer looking for your business would perform a search query like this:
- Furniture shops in Ontario
- Furniture supplier in Ontario
- Cheap furniture in Ontario
Now, you might see a lot of paid ads for local search results, especially in Google. After the paid ads, Google shows the “Local 3 Pack” which contains the top 3 Map/location results for that particular search query. After that, you can see other organic results.
So, what does local SEO actually mean for your business?
For any local business, local SEO means the following things:
- Ranking in Local 3 Pack
- Ranking in Organic Search Results
- Ranking in Map Search Results
- Ranking in Mobile Search results
- Ranking in Knowledge Graph
Basically, if you have a local (brick and mortar) business and a somewhat online existence (via Google listing, a website, Facebook page, etc.), then you should definitely try the Local SEO tips and strategies mentioned here.
Before we get started, let’s first get to know the basic factors that influence Local Search Results.
Factors that may affect your local search ranking/results include:
- Google Business Listing: Keyword in Title, Keyword Proximity, business category, etc.
- Inbound links: Link quality, domain authority, anchor text, domain diversity, etc.
- On-page: Keywords in title, meta tags and content, domain authority, Presence of Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) on the page, etc.
- Citation: NAP optimization, citation quantity & quality, etc.
- User Reviews: Number & quality of reviews, review domain diversity, etc.
- User Behaviour: bounce rate, click-through rate, check-ins, etc.
- Social: Social engagement, reviews, etc.
The influence of the above factors may shift depending on what kind of local results you’re targeting. For instance, if you are targeting the Local 3 Pack, Google Business Listing will be of utmost importance, while for organic website ranking, Links will be the most crucial factor.
Let’s get started.
How to Boost Local Business Search Visibility?
Here are some proven techniques that can surely help you improve the organic visibility of your local business in search engines.
Optimize your Google Business Listing
If you don’t already have a business listing on Google (and many other search engines), get it done now. Google uses data from ‘My Business listing’ to show in search results, maps and knowledge graph, so make sure that you’re putting all the right information in your business listing. Here are some tips to optimize the same:
- Use your business email ID rather than a free email (Gmail/yahoo) ID for login.
- Enter the correct and up to date NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information in your listing.
- Choose appropriate, relevant, specific categories for your listing
- Verify your listing account via email/phone/postcard
- Provide all the relevant info about your business, upload photos, etc.
Backlinks continue to remain one of the important factors for Google to determine the popularity and worth of a website. Link building for a local business website is more or less the same as for any other business. Here are a few things you can do here:
- Create and Post information content for your target audience
- Guest post in relevant blogs
- Promote through influencers in your industry
- Build links through relevant local listings
- Network with small businesses and bloggers to promote your business in the local area
One particular thing to keep in mind while link building for local SEO is to build links in locally focused blogs and sites.
On-page optimization is all about optimizing your business website and pages to make them better for search engines as well as target users. This is crucial in order for your website to rank locally for its target keywords.
- Create multiple, target-specific landing pages for ranking
- Optimize page title, meta tags, headers and content
- Display your NAP and business hours on the website (home page & inner pages)
- Add a Location Map to help users find you easily
- Add proper calls-to-action
- Make it easy for visitors to contact you
- Include reviews & testimonials
- Make your website mobile responsive
Citation, in SEO, refers to the act of listing your business NAP on specific listing sites. Citations are a very important factor used by Search Engines for determining your business’s local search ranking. You should try to get your NAP listed on all the relevant directories online. Here are a few things to keep in mind while doing so:
- Place your business in the relevant category
- Keep the business information consistent (similar on all the sites) and up to date
- Audit your citations on a regular basis
- Provide all the relevant information, including your business description, photos, hours, NAP, etc.
Reviews and ratings are the best way to boost the local reputation of your business organically.
- Ask your customers to share a review or rating each time they shop with your site.
- Use social sites for collecting feedback, user response, review, etc., through questions, surveys and other means.
- Make sure to have your business listing on popular review sites, including Yelp, TripAdvisor and Amazon, and keep it up to date.
- Always respond to reviews, both positive and negative, in the most professional way.
- Resolve negative feedback at the earliest.
Having done all the things mentioned here, you can be assured that your business will become more visible in Search Engines than ever before. You’ll soon start seeing results in terms of elevated rankings in Google and increased business sales.
Local SEO Services can help your locally targeted business immensely by promoting it to all the specific regions and target customers. Have a question or suggestion? Feel free to write in the comment section below.
Amit Gupta is the CEO and founder at SAG IPL, an India-based technology firm providing a range of service/software solutions in the web development, design, app development, and SEO industries.