This post originally appeared on Searchenginewatch.com
- With Google frequently changing its search engine algorithm in recent times in a bid to reduce the organic reach of most businesses so they can invest more in Ads, what are the options left for your small business in this period?
- According to GoGulf, 46% of all Google searches are of people searching for local information, and 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps.
- If Local SEO is that effective, what is it, and why should your business rely on it?
- In this article, I will examine basic things that still work like adding your business to online directories, building backlinks, developing local content targeted at your local audience, incorporating titles and meta description tags, and the use of targeted keywords.
SEO changes all the time. That’s why you need to update your SEO strategies regularly to remain visible.
According to this article, 72% of consumers visit a store within 5 miles after doing a local search. This shows how powerful local SEO can be. If you can make your business visible such that your business appears in the search results when a potential customer searches for a product and service, there is a 72% chance they’ll drop by your business.
But what is local SEO? Local SEO involves the optimization of your online presence in order to improve your chances of being discovered by people who make local searches. Think of it as your traditional SEO, but with the inclusion of geography in it. In other words, it’s you trying to attract more business from local searches.
In this article, you’ll learn five local SEO tactics that will help you skyrocket your visibility without breaking the bank.
1. Be strategic about your title and meta description tags
When you search for something on Google’s search engine, you’ll see millions of results competing for your attention. The only way you can tell if the search result has what you’re looking for is the title and the description you see immediately after the title.
Many business owners take the title of their blog posts and meta descriptions for granted. You need to start seeing the title and the description as a way you can “sell” your page to a potential visitor of your page.
A useful tool that will help you optimize your title and description is Yoast SEO. It’ll be able to test how good your title and description are.
Deliberately include the location of your business in your blog post titles. For example, let’s assume you sell wine and your potential client is looking for the best New York wine, you’d be doing yourself a great service by including the words “New York” in the title and the description.
Source: Google Search
2. Optimize your Google My Business account
You know how you’ll search for a pizza place on your phone and Google will show you a list of pizza places near you? That’s made possible by using Google My Business. Google My Business (GMB) is a tool used to manage your online presence across Google, including Google Search and Google Maps.
You’ll find it shocking that 56% of local businesses haven’t claimed their Google My Business listings. So don’t sleep on this tip.
If you haven’t claimed your GMB listing then make sure you do so. But don’t just claim your GMB listing and forget all about it. Optimize your GMB by filling in your Google My Business Profile, choosing the relevant category, and including images. This will not only help your potential customer find you, but it will also give them some information about your business and thus influence their decision to stop by your business.
3. Create local content
According to GoGulf, 46% of all Google searches are of people searching for local information. So how do you harness that attention so as to get your target audience to know about your business?
Creating local content that will be of interest to your target audience makes you the local authority for your industry. By local content, I mean the creation of content that is targeted to your local audience. This will require you to be strategic with keywords.
So as a florist, instead of creating content on the best flowers to give your wife, think of the best flowers your customer can give their wife in Florida. That way you’re specifically addressing those in Florida and those who come across your article see you as the go-to florist in Florida.
4. Get inbound links to raise the domain authority
As beneficial as it is to create local content for your own website, Moz revealed that link signals are an important local search ranking factor that will help enhance your visibility as shown in the diagram below.
Link signals include inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, and linking domain quantity. All this helps to raise the domain authority as this helps increase your local search rankings.
To improve your link signals you should also guest post local content on other websites as well. Create valuable local resources that your target audience will love.
As you guest post and refer people to the blog on your business website, you’re acquiring inbound links to raise your domain authority. Those will help you with your SEO and increase your chances of being visible on Google when the people within your geographical location search for things related to your business.
5. Add your business to online directories
Why stop at just adding your business on only one directory when there are so many directories out there. Adding your business to as many online directories (especially local ones) as you can possibly find will increase your chances of being found online. It will be time-consuming but it’s worth it.
Online business directories like Binge Places for Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, and Trip Advisor will make you more visible to those who need your services locally. And to add to that, getting listed on these sites will make you earn backlinks from them which will help build your domain authority and increase your ranking on Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERP), therefore increasing your organic reach.
What you need to take note of is that the information on your business on other directories is the same as that on your GMB. This consistency will help with your rankings.
Ready to maximize local SEO?
Over time Google has tweaked its search engine algorithm to reduce the organic reach of businesses so as to direct their attention to investing in ads. As a small business that has limited resources, investing in ads may seem like a long shot.
If Google’s reducing your ability to organically reach your target audience, then what’s the next available option for you? Local SEO can give you the needed exposure to your target audience organically and at little or no cost.
The good news is that applying the steps above will put you ahead of other local businesses scrambling for their customers’ attention on the most coveted first page of Google search.
Now that you’ve got the tips how did you would you say you’ve fared with your local SEO?