As more and more businesses go online, search engine optimization (SEO) practices increase in value. Even now, the internet is filled with companies struggling to reach the top spot on search engine results pages (SERPs), and SEO is one of the primary tools used to reach this goal. One factor that might be the leverage organizations need over the competition is local SEO.
In short, local SEO is a combination of strategies firms can use to increase their search visibility on the local market. Optimizing these strategies can bring substantial benefits, as it allows the business to attract local customers and gain more positive reviews, which can accelerate the whole process even further.
With that being said, creating the right SEO strategy for the local market requires a few special touches. Here is a list of some of the best local SEO tips that online store owners can use to make their business stand out from the crowd!
Build local citations
It might sound a bit old-fashioned, but this statement holds true even more today than it did in the past — if a site manages to get awesome backlinks, it will rise in SERPs. It is as simple as that! You can find more information on this subject in Husky Hamster’s guide to backlinks.
However, companies need to add a little twist to it to make this practice advantageous for local SEO. Instead of going for online directories from websites scattered around the world, they should focus on gathering high-quality backlinks from the most authoritative businesses in their area. This way, part of this authority will transfer to them.
Local citations allow the business to assert its legitimacy and trustworthiness. Thanks to them, search engines are confident that the company exists and is not a scam. The more other people talk about the organization, the more authoritative and trustworthy it looks.
Other good tactics include guest-blogging on relevant websites or participating in local events. By using these methods, organizations can significantly increase the number of link-building opportunities, making the task of reaching a broad audience much more manageable.
Overall, building relationships with local business groups, newspaper sites, and other local organizations is an excellent way to gain more trust in Google’s eyes. Besides, it boosts brand recognition and site visibility — critical factors in building a solid online presence.
Set up Google My Business
Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine out there. It stands heads and shoulders above its competitors, which is why businesses should do everything in their power to stay on its good side. One of the most effective ways to do just that is by claiming a Google My Business listing.
By using this free tool, organizations get the opportunity to show up in local searches, including Google Maps. All it takes is to visit the Google My Business page and provide information about the business, including its name, address, opening hours, and phone number. After taking this step, the company’s Google search listing will drive organic search traffic to the business’s website.
At the organization’s end, it should ensure the information is accurate and up to date. Additionally, it needs to utilize the information on its site in the same way as in Google’s local listing. Thanks to this, customers will have an easier time finding what they are looking for, resulting in a better user experience and higher conversion rate.
Optimize your website
Speaking of on-site optimization, companies need to make their websites optimized for local queries. If the organization wants to increase its online presence, its site should be not only easy to search and navigate but also contain meaningful and locally relevant content.
The business should do basic keyword research to answer its website visitors’ needs. In the case of local SEO, it usually means finding the right balance between the most popular search terms in general and the most relevant ones for the local market.
By learning which terms are frequently associated with a specific business category, the company can use this knowledge to input keywords into its articles, URLs, page titles, meta descriptions, images, and other elements of its website. These phrases and words, in turn, will make the site look more appealing to Google and more relevant to the organization’s audience.
Nevertheless, companies should be careful, as overloading the site with keywords might have the opposite effect. As a result of keyword stuffing, the site can get heavily penalized and end up at the bottom of search results.
Of course, making the website mobile-friendly is also a critical aspect that businesses should not ignore, especially given the fact that the number of mobile users worldwide is projected to grow in the near future. Creating a dedicated mobile version of the website and using responsive website design are among the most popular solutions regarding this subject.
The bottom line
Nowadays, local SEO is more critical for online stores than ever before. It can positively impact their online presence, increase the number of organic search results, and place them in front of a local audience. However, making use of local SEO tools is not something that can bear fruits overnight.
To ensure that their website will rank higher in SERPs, organizations should build local citations, claim Google My Business listings, and optimize their websites. Following these strategies is a first step on the long road to success, and while their impact might not be felt immediately, they should begin to pay off soon enough!