There is no doubt that internet is global in nature, but if you have a brick-and-mortar business, that you run locally, then there is no actual need to concentrate on exposure on a global level. when your customers lives in a neighborhood or in the same city as your local businesses is present, targeting global reach can be a waste of efforts and resources. Instead, local business should concentrate more on the local community.
Studies have shown that about 81% of shoppers research online before making a big purchase. And 3 out of 4 people are more likely to visit local stores after finding that business in search results. This studies are the solid proof that SEO is going to be more important than ever for local businesses in 2016.
The fact is local searches drives far more clicks and calls than any other marketing channel, with higher conversion rate, which makes them the most effective marketing technique for small local business.
If you are a local business then you should implement this 16 steps immediately, to boost your visibility in search engines for local searches and find more customers:
1. Choose your keywords wisely:
The first and foremost step in “local seo” is to find relevant & right keywords that local customers might use to find your local store.
For example, if you own a pizza store in Buffalo, New York, then keywords like “restaurants in Buffalo” & “New York restaurants” & similar keyword phrases will be very vital for your business. Because this key-phrase contains your business and your location and will drive people who are looking for pizza in Buffalo & New York in particular.
Only finding right keywords is not the trick here; the key is to choose those keywords that has a sufficient amount of traffic as well as low-to-moderate competition. Depending on how much competition that keyword has, it may be tough to rank for most important phrase. But it’s normally easier to rank high for “long tail” phrases. So while picking up the keyword for your local seo campaign, it will be a wise move to incorporate both kind of keywords “high competitive terms” as-well-as “low competitive or long tail terms”
2. Use your location in metatags
Meta-tags still matters to search engines and this is the reason you should include your location and important keywords in the meta-tags of the relevant pages of your local business website.
3. Optimizing your Website.
Content is the KING! Doesn’t matters whether you are ranking local business or ranking globally the most valuable thing for optimizing your website is to create a reasonable amount of high quality content. In today’s scenario, content is very crucial for both visitors and search engines.
It is a good practice to include:
— The “name” of your business
— The “address” where your business is located
— Your primary “phone number”
and also keyword in your content, but this keyword placement should be natural and must go with the flow of your main content rather than placing keywords forcefully just to rank higher in search engines.
This technique of keyword stuffing spoils the user experience & also does not entertain leading search engines and it’s not good for your customers either. It may back-fire & can get your site listed as a spam by major search engines like Google & Bing.
4. Take advantage of Google My Business
Google My Business connects your business directly with your potential customers, whether they’re searching for you on Google Search, Google Maps or Google+. This makes sure that your customers have the right information about your local business, such as your address, opening hours, and contact information all the time.
Once you’ve verified your business, you’ll need to confirm that your account’s NAP (name, address, place) information is correct, along with your business hours. This information will be visible in search results, so it’s absolutely crucial to keep this information up-to-date.
so you can be found more easily by your customers.
5. Yahoo Local
Same as Google My Business, Yahoo Local Featured Listings enable your business to be found online at exactly the right time in the buying cycle by consumers looking specifically for the products or services you provide in a chosen location.
6. Get Quality Backlink
Most local websites hardly have any links to speak of. Investing even a tiny bit into building quality white-hat backlinks can go a long way towards pushing your site to the top of the SERPs.
7. Try getting backlinks with location as anchor text
It could be a bit hard to get organic backlinks with your location as anchor text because some keywords with location don’t sound very natural – for example, “pizza store Buffalo” isn’t grammatically correct and you will hardly get an organic link with it but if you manage to get few of those then it certainly boost your ranking for local searches.
8. Create or claim your local listings
Whether they are review websites or local directories, you’ll want to create or claim all listings for your business. Business listing and citations are a very important factor used in the ranking algorithm by search engine giants like Google and Bing.
Keep in mind that Local Listing are not for creating backlinks to your site rather it is used as a citation for your business (whether or not it contains a link) which eventually helps people who are looking for your product or services.
Local listing sites will generally ask you to enter your business name and postal code to find your business. Before submitting your website in particular local listing directories make sure you already don’t have any other listing for the same business in that directory; if yes then check it for proper name, address & phone number and update it if require, rather than submitting a new one. Because submitting the same business again will create a duplicate and may cause the problem with your ranking.
9. Be specific and consistent
Search engine don’t like inconsistent listings of your business online, and inconsistency may have negative impact.
That is why you should be specific when you list your business details — like the exact business name, physical address, and phone number — across all local listing websites.
Make sure you use same details on your site, on your social media profiles, and on local directories or review sites.
10. Ask for genuine reviews and testimonials
Try to get genuine reviews as much as possible. Client reviews and testimonials are a classical business instrument and these are like letters of recommendation for your business. However, as far as local SEO is concerned, they could have another role.
There are review sites, where you can publish such reviews and testimonials (or ask your clients to do it) and this will drive traffic to your business. Some of these reviews sites are Yelp and Merchant Circle.
Don’t try use fake reviews or put positive one for yourself, this will only create problems for you, when search engines or your customers catch on to what you’re doing.
11. Run Local ad campaigns
One of the most efficient ways to drive targeted, local traffic to your site is with the help of locally targeted ad campaigns. PPC ads and classifieds are the two options that work best – at least for most local business.
12. Optimize your social profiles
Social media are new way of driving quality traffic to websites. It is a known fact that social media drives far more traffic to a website than search engines. Create a strong social media profile and you need to make sure that every social profile you have includes your business name, physical location, phone number and your website link.
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ have a great sales potential because you can promote your business for free and reach exactly the people who are searching for your product or services. Remember, to keep NAP (name, address, phone number) information consistent across all social media platforms.
Local groups on social sites are especially valuable because the participants there are mainly from the region you & your business is situated in. Encourage your customers to share and like your page and posts with others, this helps in creating a good social proof.
13. Create separate pages for your different locations
When you have business in several locations, this makes the task a bit more difficult because you can’t possibly optimize for all of them. In this case the solution is to create separate pages for your different locations. If your locations span the globe, you can also create different sites on different, country-specific domains (i.e. uk.co for GB, .de for Germany, etc.) but this is only reasonable to do, if your business is truly multinational. Otherwise, just a separate page for each of your locations will do.
14. Optimize for Mobile phone’s
As search engines are rolling out the mobile algorithms, everyone knows that mobile is the future now. And that is even more true for local business, whose customers are often on the move and looking for your business on their devices.
In case you don’t have a mobile presence yet, you need to get up to speed.
It’s time to start looking into getting your website mobile responsive, so that your customer can have a better experience when they visit your website.
15. Local Outreach
One great way to drive attention to your local business is to get other people in your location to talk about and link to you. And if they haven’t done that yet, you can reach out to them or find a way to make them talk about you. Organizing small social events are very helpful in doing so.
16. Analyze and monitor your results
When you start optimizing your site for local traffic, you need to set up the tools that will help you track and analyze the results. You can start by monitoring the target keywords you selected. Use Google Analytics to analyze the organic traffic and see if it’s improving.
If you are doing it right, you should start seeing the traffic going up within weeks from starting to work on your local SEO optimization campaign.
These simple tips for optimizing your site for local searches are a must, if you rely on the local market. Maybe you are already doing some of them and you know what works for you and what doesn’t. Anyway, if you haven’t tried them all, try them now and see if this will have a positive impact on your rankings (and your business) or not.