We’d all love for our websites to rank at the top of the search engines for the biggest search terms in our industry. However, for many local businesses, this isn’t necessarily possible.
What they can do, though, is rank for the big local keywords, and to do this, they need to be making the most of local SEO.
By making some small tweaks to your website, you can improve your local SEO, appearing in more search results, boosting traffic, and converting more leads into customers. Local SEO might not get the same amount of attention as regular SEO, but it can certainly achieve impressive results for local businesses.
Why Local SEO?
Organic SEO seems to get all the attention, but for many businesses, local SEO is just as important. If not more. While global SEO strategies might give you the promise of thousands of clicks from across the world, local SEO is there to get your business in front of the people who are actually going to give you a call or visit your place of business.
Here are just a few of the reasons why it is worth the investment:
46% of Google Searches Show Local Intent
People look for local information all the time. Of the 3.5 billion searches that occur on Google each day, a huge 46% of them have local intent. Whether you’re a multinational company or a mom-and-pop store, that’s a lot of traffic you’re missing out on if you don’t focus on local SEO.
The stats show the power of local SEO. 72% of people who performed a local search visited a store within five miles, and 88% of local mobile searches resulted in the user either calling or visiting the business within 24 hours. These are hugely impressive numbers, and they show how local SEO can boost your visibility.
More Targeted Traffic
If you’re running a celebrity reputation management firm in Los Angeles, then ranking for search terms on a national scale isn’t necessarily beneficial for you. Sure, you’ll get lots of traffic, but you want those local celebs living in Hollywood or cities adjacent who are most likely to use your services.
It’s much more beneficial to get clicks from people in your local area who are most likely to need your services. When you’re doing your local SEO well, it allows you to get your message in front of the people who matter the most.
Less Competitive Keywords
SEO is competitive. The right knowledge and some SEO for dummies guides can help you become more competitive, but when you come up against huge companies with massive budgets, you’re going to find it hard to rank well.
Local SEO allows you to find keywords that are less competitive but still highly valuable. Rather than competing with huge names for national keywords, you’re competing with your local competitors for local keywords, and you’ve got an opportunity to set yourself apart.
8 Ways to Improve Your Local SEO
The principles behind local SEO are very similar to regular SEO. It’s about establishing expertise, authority, and trust in the eyes of the search engines, but, of course, with a more local focus. This next section of our guide will look at the eight ways you can improve your local SEO to boost your visibility.
1 – Google My Business Account
Your Google My Business account is one of the most important parts of your local SEO. It’s like Google’s local directory, and it allows you to enter all the important information about your business. When you see a local pack in the search results, this is where information such as contact details and opening hours are pulled from. This is the first step in showing Google you’re a real-life local business.
Another important benefit of registering your Google My Business account is that it allows you to feature in Google Maps. People make local searches on Google Maps all the time, and this can be a great source of traffic for your business.
2 – Optimize for Mobile
The majority of traffic comes from mobile devices these days. Google and the other search engines know this, so they prioritize those websites that offer a high-quality mobile experience.
If your user experience is poor, then people are simply going to leave your site, and this goes for desktop as well as mobile. However, Google now uses a mobile-first indexing system which means it crawls the mobile version of your website when deciding on rankings.
This means mobile experience has to be an absolute priority. Otherwise, all your hard work with local SEO is going to be held back.
3 – Local Keywords
It’s important to understand how your target audience searches for information. To do this, you need to carry out your local keyword research. The better you can understand how local people are searching for your services, the easier it’s going to be to optimize your site for those keywords.
Dig into your analytics to get an idea of what your target audience looks like and what they are searching for, and even create questionnaires on your site to better understand how you can create content that will appeal to them.
If you’re an online store, then an ecommerce SEO agency will be able to help you get a clear picture of exactly how to reach the right people through your keywords.
4 – Local Content
Good local SEO isn’t just about getting clicks to your website. It’s about getting local people to engage with your business and begin the journey towards becoming a customer. To do this, you’ve got to provide people with the kind of content they’re looking for.
Your blog is an excellent opportunity to build your site and establish your expertise in your industry and your local area. For example, a Chicago local library could write an article about “Ernest Hemingway’s Early Life in Oak Park.”
People love to learn about their local area, and this is a great opportunity for your business.
5 – Local Pages for Your Services
If you provide services in a variety of locations or have a number of different stores, then it’s worth creating a dedicated services page for each locality. Rather than just showing different addresses on your contact page, this allows you to showcase all your offerings, and it shows the search engines you have a dedicated presence in each different area.
The different pages also allow you to focus on more specific keywords. So rather than just focusing on “Southern California roof repair,” you can also focus on “Calabasas roof repair” and “Woodland Hills roof repair.” This means you have more chance of experiencing even more traffic.
6 – High-Quality Links
Whatever kind of SEO you’re doing, backlinks are going to play a part. Backlinks are still one of the most powerful link signals, and this is just as true for local SEO. Backlinks are like an online referral in that Google sees them as another website vouching for the quality of your own site.
The more backlinks you can get from high-quality sites, the more Google is going to believe your site is trustworthy and worthy of ranking. As a local business, you should have plenty of business connections in the local area, so make the most of these to help you build links.
7 – Online Business Directory
In the past, if you wanted to find a local business, you’d probably use a business directory. These are still prominent today, but they’re now online (think Yelp and TripAdvisor), and they can play a part in your local SEO.
If you’re a legitimate business, then Google and the other search engines assume you will be listed in these online directories, so a link back from one of these sites can be helpful for your SEO.
Having your business and its contact details listed on these directories will automatically help your online visibility, but it can also improve your rankings.
8 – Get Customer Reviews
Reviews play a huge part in modern society, and this is true of local SEO as well. This is another way Google measures your trustworthiness, and when you see the local maps pack, you’ll notice the star reviews feature heavily.
Whether it’s as specific as reputation management for doctors or just simply convincing people to buy your product, reviews play a massive part. You’ll often find your customers are more than willing to give you reviews, but the key thing is you’ve got to make it simple for them.
If you just sit and wait for the reviews to come in, then it’s not likely to happen – you’ve got to be proactive and look for ways to increase the number of reviews you get.
Local SEO has so many upsides, and yet, not enough businesses are focusing on it. However, with our digital marketing agency Los Angeles team, you can reach engaged local people who are highly likely to become your customers. The statistics show just how effective showing up for local results can be, and it’s something any business can achieve.
For local bricks and mortar businesses, ranking for big national keywords doesn’t necessarily have a huge upside, but being able to reach local people does. This means that local SEO should play an important part in your digital marketing strategy. With a few tweaks to your strategy, you can start benefiting from the power of local SEO, so take your first steps now.
About Avita Group
Avita Group is a digital marketing firm based in Calabasas, California. We specialize in organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign management, Online Reputation Management (ORM), website creation and conversion optimization. The Avita Group team boasts a collective experience of over 25 years in the industry and has worked with a variety of multi-million dollar companies to help them improve their ROI, build better brand awareness, and mitigate negative online reviews and results.