Local search can be a powerful instrument for businesses looking to improve their SERPs ranking and visibility. After all, 46 percent of people are searching for local information or business solutions close by.
This means that if your business is not optimized for local SEO, you will surely miss out on new customers who are willing to shop in your locality.
Companies have one unavoidable challenge – their competitors. It is a fish-eats-fish world, and everyone wants to be the biggest fish in the market.
Going up against businesses that have been in the SEO game for many years will require patience and an effective SEO strategy.
Furthermore, Google’s always-evolving SEO algorithms make it even more challenging to optimize for local search and stay ahead of your competition.
However, a few simple tips can help you bump up your online visibility for local searches enabling you to get better leads and revenue. Continue reading if you want to learn how.
Target Local Keywords
It would be best if you targeted keywords that are relevant to your local customers’ searches. It makes complete sense, right? Local keywords include long-tail phrases that incorporate geographical information.
Keywords such as ‘best cars in Tampa’ or ‘cars for sale in Tampa’ are two perfect examples of long-tail, locally targeted keywords.
You can use various free keyword research tools to find out low competition, popular local search terms. Just ensure that you maintain keyword relevancy and don’t invest too much in the quantity-over-quality approach.
A single high, quality locally-focused keyword will bring in more traffic than multiple high-competition ones.
Optimize your Google My Business Listing
Creating or claiming your business listing is one of the most effective ways to gain local visibility and improve your SERP rankings. It can be a deal-breaker for any local business.
Google is the most widely used and trusted search engine. Not having your business listed on it can significantly damage your business’s authenticity.
To ensure that your Google My Business listing is up to the mark, you need to follow a few best practices. These include creating a Google my business account, encouraging customers to share online reviews, responding to these reviews authentically, and utilizing Google posts within your Google My Business account.
Once your business becomes verified as authentic, Google will reward it a sidebar space in its local search.
Moreover, there will be instances where you’ll have to claim already existing business listings. Over time, duplicate business listings with the same name as your business will accumulate.
You’ll either have to claim all of them or remove any inaccurate ones to maintain your business’s legitimacy.
Focus on Nap (Name, Address, Phone Number) Consistency
You have to focus on your business’s NAP consistency if you want to improve your SERP rankings for local searches. NAP consistency is about the constant use of your business name, address, and phone number across all your business listings and assets. This includes your website, Google My Business page, and all of your social media profiles.
NAP consistency allows Search engines to rank and recognize your site easily. On the other hand, NAP inconsistencies will confuse search engines and decrease your business’s visibility in local searches.
To check your NAP consistency, you can manually search for all your business listings or sign-up for a citation management service. Even better, be consistent when creating your profiles so that confusion does not arise at a later point.
Optimize your Meta Description and Title Tags For Category and Location
Meta description and title tags are pieces of information or code that you add to your webpage’s content. It allows search engines to understand what your website and business are all about.
To improve local search, you have to optimize meta description and title tags for business category and location. These optimizations include incorporating your region, area, city, and business category on your homepage’s title and meta description and limiting titles and meta description to less than 60 and 300 characters, respectively.
And while you’re at it, you might also want to consider creating more content, such as blogs and articles, keeping localized keywords in mind. It will significantly enhance your SEO efforts for local and near-me search queries.
Get Customer Reviews
Another element to consider when optimizing for local SEO is customer reviews. Google sees the number and the type of reviews your business is receiving and then determines your business’s SERP ranking accordingly.
Your Google My Business Page is the best place to collect these customer reviews. However, it will also be helpful to do it on other citation websites such as Yelp, Facebook, or Angie’s list.
You can ask your existing customers to post favorable reviews by offering them incentives. Good referrals and testimonials help to establish your digital authority and create an image of trustworthiness among potential customers.
Reviews on social media do not directly impact local search rankings, but the positive awareness and association help in brand building, eventually leading to more website traffic and better rankings on SERPS.
Ensure Your Website is Mobile Device-Friendly
A study conducted in 2017 related to mobile vs. desktop trends clearly showed that more people use their mobile devices to perform online searches.
The study stated that mobile-based website visits increased to 63 percent from 57 percent in just one year. At the same time, desktop-based website visits shrunk to 37 percent from 43 percent in one year.
Such trends confirm that you have to ensure that your website is well-optimized for mobile search and viewing. Some website optimization best-practices for mobile devices include faster loading speed, bigger fonts for better readability, light images, and an intuitive interface for a great user experience.
Local SEO helps both multi-location and small businesses get the most of their marketing strategy by connecting with local customers searching for businesses near them. So, you must follow the Local SEO tips mentioned above if you want your brick-and-mortar store or online business to rank in your location.