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11 Ways to Improve Local SEO

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

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Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy that helps local businesses achieve greater prominence in local online search results. Local SEO ensures your business is prominently visible to individuals in your location. This targeted visibility is crucial, particularly when potential customers actively seek products or services within their immediate vicinity. Local SEO bridges the gap between online discovery and offline or online engagement.

Statistics show how important local SEO can be. An article by ahrefs stated that "30% of all mobile searches are related to location," and "76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day." (79 SEO Statistics for 2023, citing Think With Google) 

Ranking well in local or "near me" search results is crucial for many small businesses. Securing a prime spot in local search results in a fiercely competitive market provides a distinct competitive advantage. It's the digital equivalent of having a well-placed storefront in a bustling neighborhood — more foot traffic and heightened chances of conversion.

Local SEO is intricately linked with online reviews and recommendations. Positive reviews, especially those mentioning location details, act as digital testimonials, influencing the decision-making process of potential customers.

For businesses deeply rooted in a specific community, local SEO becomes a conduit for community connection. It's not just about being found online but also about resonating with the local audience, building relationships, and becoming a valued part of the community fabric.

Here are some strategies for improving your business's local SEO.

1. Complete and verify your Google Business profile. Add your business name, address, phone number, and category, and set your service area. You can also add store hours, photos, in-store products, special offers, events and FAQs. Implement a plan to obtain customer reviews and strive to earn 5-star reviews through high customer satisfaction. Responding to reviews further boosts local SEO. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews mentioning your location.

Consumer reviews serve as digital testimonials, offering potential customers insights into the experiences of their peers. Positive reviews act as a powerful endorsement, influencing the decision-making process and establishing trust.

2. List your business in other online directories such as Yelp, Facebook, Angie's List, Manta, Yellow Pages (and similar), Business Bing Maps, Apple Maps, and any industry-relevant listings. Ensure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) is accurate and consistent across the web. Listing your business in online directories will provide your website with needed backlinks and help potential customers find your business more efficiently. 

Encourage local businesses or organizations to link to your site and reciprocate. Local backlinks can significantly boost your local SEO.

3. Include your business address on your website–generally in the footer and on the contact page of your website. It is recommended to use structured data markup for the address. (see #9 below)

4. Consider doing SEO research to find keywords relevant to your business and the geographical area (e.g., "best Cedar City plumber"). You may consider various free and paid keyword search tools, including Semrush, Google Search Console, Google Keyword Planner, Diib, and Soovle.

5. Integrate your chosen keywords into your website content and advertising to drive traffic to your site. Place keywords in prominent places on the page, including the page title and main heading. It is also common to place keywords in other descriptive elements of the page, such as alt text and link text.

6. Use social media effectively. Social media can help you connect with potential customers and build brand or business awareness. Most small businesses need more resources to manage accounts on all major social media platforms. Focus your efforts on the social media platforms that are likely to advance the objectives of your particular business most effectively, whether it be Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, or Pinterest. 

Educate yourself on effective ways to promote your business on your chosen platforms and experiment with various approaches. You may consider enabling the Services tab on Facebook. You can also include a location tag on social media posts. 

Consider incorporating interactive content like quizzes, polls, or surveys related to local topics. This not only engages your audience but also provides valuable data that can be used for future content or business decisions.

7. Improve your website's overall SEO. While that topic is beyond the scope of this article, it is important to mention that taking steps to improve the overall SEO for your website also helps with local SEO. For example, visitors may quickly leave if your website is not mobile-friendly or slow, increasing the bounce rate and reducing SEO. Also, ensure your web page meta titles and descriptions are optimized for SEO and crafted to attract potential customers. You can also tag website photos with your location in alt tags and file names.

8. Consider paid ads or guaranteed search engine and social media placements. Paying for local business advertisements through guaranteed search engine placements or social media advertising can be highly beneficial by providing targeted visibility, immediate results, measurable ROI, budget control, a competitive edge, and enhanced local targeting. These advantages make paid advertising a valuable component of a comprehensive marketing strategy for local businesses.

9. Add schema markup, structured data that provides information to search engines to help them better understand your website. Incorporating schema markup into your website provides a structured and detailed way to communicate essential information to search engines. For local businesses, this translates into enhanced search results, improved click-through rates, and better visibility in local search queries, ultimately contributing to a more effective SEO strategy.

10. Consider writing blog posts on local topics, including news stories, charities, or events. Be sure to add meta descriptions and tags to improve the visibility of your blog posts. Utilizing an organized blogging strategy in your marketing efforts is a powerful way to connect with your community, enhance your website's SEO, and establish your business as a valuable resource in the local landscape. Adding meta descriptions and tags further optimizes your content for search engines, contributing to increased visibility and organic traffic over time.

11. Make your site mobile-friendly. Mobile users expect fast-loading, easy-to-navigate websites. A poor mobile experience can drive potential customers away. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in search results. A mobile-optimized site is more likely to rank higher in local searches, boosting visibility. Many mobile searches are location-based. Ensuring mobile optimization increases the chances of appearing in "near me" searches. Users are likelier to leave a site that doesn't display well on their mobile devices, contributing to higher bounce rates. This can negatively impact your SEO.

Implement a responsive web design that adapts to different screen sizes. This ensures a consistent and user-friendly experience across devices. Optimize images and ensure that your content is easily readable on smaller screens. Use concise text and legible fonts; consider collapsible menus to save space. Buttons and links should be adequately sized and spaced to accommodate touch gestures. This prevents users from accidentally clicking on the wrong elements.

If your site includes forms for inquiries or purchases, streamline them for mobile users. Minimize the number of form fields and use dropdown menus for easier input.

Utilize Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool to assess your site's mobile optimization. This tool provides insights and recommendations for improvement. Regularly test your website on various mobile devices and browsers to identify and address compatibility issues.

Remember that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking. Ensure that your mobile and desktop versions have consistent content and metadata.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoyed this article! Subscribe to our newsletter to receive our upcoming articles in your inbox if you would like to discuss how we can help you reach your marketing goals.

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