According to On The Map, most of the searches on Google are targeted at finding local businesses. This means that the majority of people using Google use it to find a place, service, or product in their local area.
In this article, you will learn what local SEO is and how to implement it for your local business.
What is local SEO?
In simple terms, local SEO is about optimizing a website and other web properties like Google My Business, Yelp, etc. in order to obtain a higher rank for local search queries.
Many people think that local SEO is only about optimizing a Google My Business profile, but it’s actually about more than that. Local business owners need to ensure that their websites are optimized to rank for local searches too.
Why is local SEO important for businesses?
Local SEO is important because of several reasons. The most important reason why it’s important is that it results in very targeted traffic, that is easier to convert into customers.
Imagine for a moment, your toilet is leaking, what do you do? The obvious answer is you go to Google and search for “plumbers near me” or something like “plumbers in Austin”.
Because local searches are very targeted (users are looking for a specific solution or service provider in a specific region), they have much higher conversion rates. In fact, 80% of local searches convert into paying customers.
This statistic alone should make you want to implement a local SEO strategy if you haven’t done so already.
Local SEO tips for small businesses
Next, we’re going to share some of the best local SEO tips that you can implement today.
Get your on-page SEO right
Before you even think of optimizing or creating a Google My Business profile, you need to ensure that your website’s on-page SEO is on point.
This entails removing anything that could be slowing down your website, in the case of images and media files, you need to compress them in order to reduce the weight they add to your website size.
Another key aspect of on-page SEO is to use the right keywords on your page and in your content. Local businesses need to create content that targets their specific region.
For instance, a plumber in Austin, Texas can create content about commonly asked questions regarding blocked drains, leaking pipes, etc. Additionally, the plumber might add a keyword or keyphrase such as “plumber in Austin” to the content to ensure that he targets the right region.
There are also various on-page elements that you need to optimize for local SEO. This simply means adding your target keyword (e.g. plumber in Austin) to the following:
- Header tags
- Page Title and H1 Title
- Meta Description
- Image alt tags
But don’t get carried away with this, you don’t want to engage in keyword stuffing. For instance, it’s probably not going to make sense to add this keyword to each heading and subheading on the page. This would just sound unnatural and can perhaps even be classified as spam.
Is your website mobile friendly?
The next local SEO tip is to ensure that your website works and displays properly on mobile devices.
Because most online searches today occur on mobile devices, you need to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile.
This means that the website is responsive, loads quickly, and is easy to engage with on mobile. If unsure, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see if your website makes the cut.
Luckily, most modern Content Management Systems such as WordPress, Wix, etc. have got mobile-responsiveness as a native feature. The main takeaway from this discussion point is that you need to create web pages that load quickly on mobile devices and that are easy to use.
This is where Core Web Vitals come into play. These metrics give your website a score or a grade on how well your website performs in relation to usability and speed.
Optimize your GMB listing
You cannot take local SEO seriously if Google My Business isn’t included in your local search marketing strategy.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool from Google that local businesses can use to increase their online visibility for local search queries.
You can think of GMB as your business’s online profile that includes important information such as opening hours, reviews, contact information, directions, and other useful information.
Optimizing your Google My Business listing is a constant process and isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of activity. Instead, you’ve got to regularly create Google Posts, respond to reviews, add photos of your business, etc. to keep your business profile fresh and up to date.
Luckily, there are many local marketing automation tools available on the market to help you with the process.
So, how do you optimize a GMB profile?
The first thing you need to do is claim your Google My Business profile or create a new profile. Once you’ve done this, you can start with the optimization process.
Whenever you edit the Name, Address, and Phone details on GMB, you need to ensure that the changes are consistent with the other NAP details all over the web. This includes your website and other online directory profiles.
NAP consistency is a big deal in local SEO and is a direct ranking factor. This is because Google thinks that businesses with inconsistent information are unreliable and as a result, you won’t achieve the highest possible rankings.
Secondly, you want to make sure that you completely fill out all the applicable information and fields in your GMB listing. This includes the following:
- The correct business category
- Photos and videos of your physical premises
- Hours of operation
- Products and services
- Service areas
Thirdly, you need to create an effective review generation strategy and plan of action. How will you generate reviews on Google? There are several ways to generate reviews:
- Send customers a review link
- Ask customers to leave a review while in store
- Add a review link in your email signature
- Add a Google review CTA on your website
This concludes our article on how to do local SEO for beginners. Follow the tips and strategies shared in this article to optimize your local SEO.
Ruben is a content manager at SEOptimer. His background is in digital marketing, more specifically eCommerce and lead generation. He has a passion for all things tech-related, including SaaS startups, digital marketing and the Internet of Things.