Editor's Note: Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist who writes for SEO Sandwitch. Today he joins us to discuss Local SEO, and how good techniques can be a tremendous boon to your business in 2018.
Like last year, local businesses will continue to benefit in 2018 from a continuous stream of intent backed, highly relevant, and targeted local prospects. If haven't done much to optimize your website for local SEO, now is a good time to start!
A study by Ad Week shows that 81% of potential customers do research on search engines while looking for your products or services. Moreover, local searches on mobile phones are intent-backed; almost 50% of mobile business searches result in store visits. By following basic, good technique, you can do a lot to capture nearby prospects who haven't heard of you through other forms of advertising.
For those who are on board, read on to learn 6 things you can do to increase your local business' visibility on Google!
1. Follow a Comprehensive Local Keywords Research Strategy
The biggest factor in local searches is location and place. Your keyword strategy will need an overhaul to reflect this if you’re just getting started with local SEO. To begin with, add the name of the city/region where your business operates to your page title tag, H1 tag, landing page URL, landing page content, and landing page image ALT attribute.
For a more comprehensive strategy, follow these steps:
- Conduct a few searches for your valuable keywords + city name
- Copy URLs of the top ranking 5-10 websites
- Go to SEMRush > Organic Positions for these URLs
- Export organic keywords to CSV files
- Sort them by volume, and you will have a good list ready to go
Note: If you’re going to start a new landing page for your local business, try to incorporate a high value keyword in the domain name. Look for a comprehensive domain registration service with customer support to help you out. LCN is a good option, and you can easily find similar domains even if the one you want is taken.
2. Get Visible Citations
A mention of your local business’ NAP (name, address, and phone number) on another website counts as a citation. Whitespark is brilliant tool to check how many citations your competitors have. You can use the insights delivered by Whitespark to:
- Identify web destinations where you have your business citation placed
- Track your citation growth
- Search for desired key-phrases relevant for your industry to find out potentially useful variants to make sure you don’t miss out on citation opportunities
Remember that Google My Business is the first destination where you want to place your NAP. Also, leverage industry specific platforms, such as:
- For travel reviews - TripAdvisor.com
- For medical care professionals - HealthGrades.com
- For attorneys - FindLaw.com
If your business doesn't have many citations yet, consider reaching out to influencers and community members for coverage. It helps to offer free products or trials for review, or have a member of your team write useful content with backlinks to share on other sites.
3. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Complete your Google My Business profile to the best of your abilities. Once done, here’s a method you can rely on:
- Understand which categories your most relevant competitors are ranking for, and choose 2 or 3 such categories.
- Upload plenty of high quality images of the service location, your team, and your facilities.
- Alter the image URLs to include keywords, as well as to make them more descriptive of the images.
- Update your Google My Business profile with highly relevant posts.
4. Focus on Local Link Building
Here are some effective tactics you can use to manage local link building campaigns:
- Check out meetup.com and check your upcoming local events.
- Contact organizers for sponsorship (even a sponsored lunch will get you through to most of them)
- If this works, you get a link from their website (local for you), and a high authority local link at Meetup.com.
- Utilize social media to get in touch with relevant figures and get backlinks on their sites
Tip: Also, consider reaching out to local press for coverage. Here are some amazing sources.
5- Local Reviews
Local reviews are tremendous enablers for local SEO traction.
- Get in touch with your existing user base to seek user reviews on your Google My Business page.
- Make sure you have a page with screenshots, to show your non-techy users how they can quickly leave a review.
- Of course, you could incentivize reviews from your existing customers by floating some limited time coupons.
- A great strategy is to keep a tablet in your store, and request ‘seemingly pleased’ customers to leave a review directly from the device, in return for a discount on their bill.
6. Work On Your Location Pages
Many marketers already have a good grasp of this strategy; make sure you execute this one quickly. Location pages are micro sites that contain optimized information for each of your business locations, connecting back to the parent website.
- Make sure the location specific details are captured in the location-page URLs
- Embed a Google Map on your location page; this helps Google as well as your website visitors
- Make sure your business NAP (name, address, and phone number) is present on all pages
Given the tremendous conversion rates, Local SEO is an integral part of any modern business with a storefront. Consider local SEO as an opportunity to quickly beat less diligent competitors by occupying a place in the top 3 Google SERP results for your target keywords. Successful results will constitute one of the most valuable time investments your company can make.
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