The reason for doing local SEO marketing is simple: to become visible through search engines to as many prospects as possible in and around your area or to those who perform location-specific searches.
It’s important to note that while there may be a lot of overlaps between organic SEO and local SEO, local SEO is quite different and requires additional strategic effort done consistently over time.
In this article, we’ve outlined the main steps you should make to do that below.
Step 1: Local SEO Keyword Research
Exactly as you would work on identifying keywords for organic SEO, it’s crucial to figure out the right keywords for local SEO too.
Local keywords typically include the name of the area or territory the business is in. So if you own a pizza shop in Manhattan, New York, then a few appropriate keywords could be ‘Pizza Restaurant New York,’ ‘Pizza Shops Manhattan Area,’ ‘Pizzerias in New York,’ and any other variations or combinations of those keywords.
You can do keyword research for local SEO the same way you would do it for organic – using the Google Keyword Planner. The tool will give you many options and insights on which keywords to choose and how they perform.
Another savvy option is to use the ‘autocomplete’ option on Google. This is when the search bar auto-populates itself when users search for local businesses. Other search engines have the same functionality, but since Google is the top option for everyone – with over 90% market share – optimizing for only one search engine is a no-brainer. The functionality is visible in the screenshot below:
Step 2: Know Where You Want to Be Found
The next step in the local SEO journey is to know exactly where you’d like to be found by your customers online. You need to have your marketing goals set before you can start working.
The steps below will help you figure it out:
Know which search engines people use in your area to find your type of business.
Know how these search engines display the results.
Define the displayed goal for your local SEO: where you’d like to appear in search results.
Google has two main display zones showing local businesses to users: organic search results and ‘snack pack’ results up on the top of the search page. The image below shows you clearly the difference between the two:
Snack Pack Display Zone:
Snack pack results usually get noticed immediately due to their high visibility on the top of the search page, compared to organic results. It’s like going into a grocery store and purchasing the products that are displayed on shelves at your eye level, not the ones at the bottom. Visibility counts!
It’s not just organic results where local businesses can be found. There are also places like Google Maps, Bing, and Yahoo search engines. Google Map Pack, in particular, is a term that describes a business’s position in Google Maps search results. Local SEO will take a very inclusive approach to any avenue that users may utilize to find a local business. Try to identify all the ways you can be found and make the most out of the search engine algorithms.
Step 3: Prepare Your Local Business Website
Now, it’s time to prepare your website to become a lead magnet for local searches. Here is what you can do:
- Use local keywords on your website: You must include local search keywords in the most critical places. Include your business address on the website, local keywords on relevant blog articles, and maps with your business location clearly mentioned. Include local keywords in your meta tags and meta descriptions as well. This will ensure you enhance your local presence.
- Update your contact details: You must ensure your website has a Contact Us page with relevant local business details, like your phone number, address, and other information. You should also include your contact details in the footer of your website so it’s visible throughout your whole site while also assisting with local SEO efforts.
- Create locally-themed content for your blog: Your website is a medium to educate, entertain, and attract new prospects. The best way to do this is to create excellent content with a local flavour to it so you attract people from a specific location and demographic. Create location-specific content on your blog for the local audience who will appreciate you for sharing your wisdom.
- Work on local citations: This is integral to local SEO success! Local citations are any mentions of your local business information online. This could be mentioning your business phone number, address, or website information in relevant places online. Consider having a presence on local business directories (like Yellow Pages or Yelp), geo industry-specific platforms, social media, and anywhere else online!
Step 4: Google My Business Page
This is definitely one of the most important pages for the purposes of local SEO. By having a well-optimized Google business profile, you boost your local search engine rankings and show up on Google Maps, Local Finder, and other local business listings.
The first step is to get on Google My Business! Register and publish your unique page as soon as possible by claiming your business listing. Ensure you fill out all relevant details about your business on the page.
Step 5: Get Customer Reviews & Ratings
Reviews are not just limited to your GMB listing. Online reviews can be anywhere on the internet.
Make a list of all possible reviews websites, search engines, and social media pages where people are talking about your business. Once you know where the social action is happening, you can invest time in online reputation management and actively seek reviews in all of these online mediums and platforms.
If you receive a negative review, don’t worry, but ensure you understand why you’ve received it and take the necessary steps to resolve the problem. Turn the customer experience around if you can!
Step 6: Mobile SEO
Most searches are conducted via mobile devices, so optimizing your local business for mobile SEO is an absolute must.
Make your local business phone number clickable: Don’t just type a phone number, but ensure customers can just tap on it to call you.
Create a responsive website: Having a responsive website will ensure it’s accessible on mobile phones, tablets, and other devices your customers may use.
Consider voice search: As many people now talk to their phones using AI technology, you must ensure your business shows up in the local search results if a user gives their mobile device a voice command.
Don’t forget about online maps: Ensure your local business shows up on all maps on all devices as accurately as possible. You don’t want any inconsistencies here!
Step 7: Form Local SEO Partnerships with Other Complementary Businesses
Partnering with a nearby sports attire store could be great if you sell sports equipment. You can form a local SEO partnership by offering them incentives to refer customers online.
This can be achieved through guest blogging on your desired partner’s website and including links that lead to yours. Not only can this be mutually beneficial, but it’s also of value to your customers who want an integrated experience to meet their needs.
Building your business profile on local directories can cover more ground quicker than waiting for local search results to bring you up. Of course, monitoring how well your site does through Google search console, among other SEO tools, is vital to completely understanding your optimization’s effect.
Step 8: Find Out Where Your Competitors Are Going for Local SEO
Check what other local businesses are doing for local SEO to drive traffic to their website. As a local business owner, you’ll want to know what’s happening in your field of work and make any necessary adjustments and additions.
There are plenty of local SEO tools to check how websites attract traffic. For instance, Ahrefs backlink checker will give you the top 100 backlinks to any website, which will help you analyze a competitor’s top traffic sources to aid your local SEO campaign. This information can be invaluable and can help you reach more potential customers and boost your local rankings.
Once you know this, you can search for similar traffic sources for your local business. Or you can decide to choose a different path. The idea is that you empower yourself with the knowledge, tools, and strategies to generate traction for your business in the best possible situation.
Local SEO is a lot of things. From ensuring that you’re visible on many business directories to displaying all the correct information on your website and ensuring that you’ve done solid keyword research beforehand. All that deems local SEO important, primarily if your business is situated in a high tourist area, where there will be thousands of local searches daily.