Improving local search ranking for small businesses is one of the most cost-effective ways to get more visible online. Not only is it free, but it will also lead more potential customers to discover your business.
The good thing is that dominating local search ranking requires simple steps that you, yourself, can do.
All you have to do is utilize the local search pack by signing your business up on Google My Business so it will feature prominently as an available local business within the area of the searcher.
Local SEO might prove simple but it’s no less powerful. It should always be included in your marketing arsenal since it levels the playing field if you’re a small to medium business operating locally.
With local SEO, you’ll be able to rank for competitive keywords that might be difficult to impossible to rank for if you’re going head-to-head against a large company for a global keyword.
So where do you start aside from a Google My Business listing? Based on our own experience and expertise, here are all the ways you can do to improve your local search rankings:
- Conduct a Competitor Analysis
- Respond to Google Reviews
- Aim for Relevance
- Request Reviews
- Create Location Pages
- Be Consistent
- Understand Local Customer Intention
- Publish Local-Related Content
Conduct a Competitor Analysis
Conducting a competitor analysis is crucial to find out any opportunity gaps in the market that you can exploit. Looking at what other local businesses in your industry are doing allows you to see what’s working and what’s not
A competitor analysis will also convey valuable demographic research in your field that you can use to serve your customers’ needs as well as what keywords they’re targeting.
Reviews do matter when it comes to local SEO! One of Google’s main priorities is user behavior. And user behavior has shown Google that consumers will seek out and read reviews first before making a purchase.
This is why Google puts a premium on reviews. It will rank you higher if your business has reviews.
This is why it’s so important to ask for reviews of your business. You can do this organically by following up with an invitation to leave your business a review every time a customer thanks you for your product or service.
Respond to Google Reviews
As previously mentioned, Google is heavily user-centric. It wants to provide the best user experience and business reviews are one way to achieve that.
But aside from getting reviews, Google also prefers if you’re actively responding to those reviews—good or bad! Interacting with your customers and responding to reviews doesn’t just show Google that your business is still active but also conveys that you appreciate your customers and their feedback.
Businesses that are trusted by customers will also make Google trust you. So make it a point to respond to reviews to improve your business’s visibility and attract more prospects in the process.
Aim for Relevance
According to Google, they determine local SEO rankings by three factors: relevance, prominence, and distance.
One way to make your Google My Business listing relevant is to have complete and detailed info. This will allow them to better understand what your business is about and then match your business to relevant searches.
The first step to do this is to claim your listing. Once you’ve claimed that, make sure your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are accurate. Add your operating hours, business category, and service or product offerings as well to complete the whole picture.
Making sure that your Google My Business listing is optimized and up to date with your business info will ensure that your business is shown to the right people searching for your products or services locally.
Create Location Pages
Creating location pages is an amazing way to improve your local SEO efforts for your business. To do this, create an individual page for each of your business branches.
Another effective tactic is to add your location to some of your main target keywords. For example, if you’re an aircon cleaning company in Detroit, you might want to focus on keywords such as aircon cleaning services in Detroit.
Put this keyword once in key areas of your page such as the title, meta description, subheading, body content, and URL. Make sure to not overdo it though or Google might see that as keyword stuffing.
Improving your local SEO requires consistency. Sometimes, it’s easy to give up when you don’t see immediate results. However, SEO takes time and as long as you do everything right, you’ll rank at the top of the local search pages in no time.
Understand Local Customer Intention
The key to succeeding in local SEO is to provide your audience with the right details as much as possible—when they need it. A good example of this is if your Google My Business listing can provide the info they’re looking for at the exact time they’re searching for it.
A lot of small businesses don’t update their store hours or address in case of changes. That’s why it’s important to keep your audience in mind because you’ll never know when a potential sale is just around the corner!
Publish Local-Related Content
Publishing local content is another way to increase your relevance in Google’s eyes. Creating local-related posts is all about sharing articles that are related to your locale.
The way to do this is by starting with a realistic keyword strategy. This means choosing a keyword with enough search volume and low to medium competitiveness.
If your site’s domain authority is less than 50, target keywords with at least a monthly search volume of around 1000 that aren’t too competitive.
Once that’s done, write a quality post of 800 to 1000 words with key subheadings that include hyper-localized keywords such as your city, neighborhood, or suburb. This only works if you can provide relevant or timely insights for that specific location.
Whether you’re just looking to learn about local SEO or are planning a strategy for your business, the above tips are crucial to making sure you get started on the right path.
As long as you recognize the need to get your business out there, taking the steps needed to be more visible online becomes a much easier process!