Do you need some tips for Local SEO? You're in the right place! SEO, or search engine optimization, is a series of techniques used to boost your webpage on a search engine results page (SERP). While some businesses go national, others are extremely local. Local SEO techniques are naturally different than normal SEO techniques, so if you sell locally – you'll need to know the differences.
In this post, we'll cover the difference between standard SEO and local SEO, and focus on ways that your local business can benefit from local searches. Ideally, by the end of these tips and tricks, your local SEO efforts will pay off, you'll be able to do local keyword research, and you'll be able to rank your business in local search results, against other local businesses. Ready? Let's get started!
If you need an SEO refresher, you can visit this blog post for more information. In the meantime, here is a list of words that you might need to know to understand this blog post.
- Local SEO: Search engine optimization for local businesses
- Local keywords: what you put into a search engine to find a local business
- Search volumes: the number of times, usually monthly, that a specific search query is used on Google.
- Keyword research: understanding how keywords are used by potential customers. While not as fancy as scholarly research, keyword research is a great way to see what your customers are searching.
- Local intent: adding a local flair to a search query. E.g., not just “roofers”, but “roofers near me”
Local SEO Tip: Identify your target audience, do local keyword research, and create buyer personas
When it comes to marketing and creating a local SEO strategy, identifying your target audience is crucial. Before diving into targeted advertising or crafting a specific message, you need to have a clear understanding of who exactly your product or service is catering to.
Create a list of local keywords
This matters no matter the SEO challenge, but identifying local keywords via local keyword research is one way to get an edge on other local companies. For example, if you're a roofing company in Greenville, OH, your list of keywords to target might be:
- free roof quote greenville
- greenville oh roofing company
- best roofing service greenville
You may also target other local areas with your local keyword research. For example, the next town over isn't too far, and you could probably use local search to get clients there, too.
After you've creating your list of local keywords, take some time to do local keyword research. Local keyword research is about more than just brainstorming the keywords. Use Google Search, Google Maps, and other local search tools to help you identify what pops up on your local searches. Is it your competitor? Or are other sites pulling the traffic? Is another Greenville showing up? Answering these questions can help you craft your local keywords strategy and develop your audience.
Creating buyer personas can be helpful in this process. A buyer persona is an imaginary buyer with a concrete set of details. These profiles give a detailed outline of your potential customers, including demographic information, goals, pain points, and behavior patterns. By taking the time to flesh out these fictional characters, you can gain a better sense of the market you are trying to reach and how best to connect with them.
However, it's important to note that buyer personas should not be static; continue to revisit and update them as necessary based on changes in the market and feedback from actual customers. In short, having well-developed buyer personas can serve as a valuable tool in shaping your overall marketing strategy and targeting the right audience.
Identify your competitors and do a local business audit
In local SEO, details matter. The local businesses that you're competing against for local keywords are usually easy to find, and consequently, easy to beat. Most businesses are not optimizing for their local search rankings and local search results. They build their website then leave it alone. That means you can use local search to your advantage.
Peruse your competitors' websites and look at the keywords they use, the structure of their pages, and how up to date they are. Some local businesses may be more up to date than others. Watch your local searches, too, and see how they track over time. Understanding your local search results will help you tailor your local SEO keyword research and page building to your area and search volumes.
Local SEO Tip: Research keywords that your audience is likely to use when searching for businesses like yours
When it comes to successfully reaching your target audience, proper keywords can make all the difference. In fact, the right keywords can help potential customers easily find your business while browsing online. So how do you determine which keywords are most relevant to your industry and audience?
One approach is to brainstorm a list of words or phrases related to your business, products, and services. From there, consider variations and synonyms that your audience may use in their search queries. Tools like Google Keyword Planner can also give valuable insights into commonly searched terms within your industry. Don't underestimate the power of keywords – taking the time to carefully select them can lead to a significant increase in online visibility for your business.
Additionally, incorporating these keywords organically throughout your website's content can further enhance search engine optimization. In short, researching and utilizing relevant keywords is a crucial step in attracting potential customers and driving traffic to your website.
Google Maps often has special search results with the “near me” or “near X” search tags. So spend some time investigating the local search rankings on Google Maps. The local search “roofer near me” might yield something totally unexpected that you can capitalize on.
Local SEO Tip: Optimize your website content and on-page SEO elements for those keywords
When it comes to increasing traffic and ranking higher on search engines, the most important factor is choosing the right keywords. But simply including those keywords in your website content and meta tags isn't enough – for optimized SEO, you also need to ensure that your content and on-page elements are aligned with those keywords.
This means carefully selecting titles, headings, and subheadings that include the targeted keywords, as well as strategically inserting them throughout the body of your text. Additionally, make sure to include alt tags for all images and use keyword-rich URLs. By optimizing your content and on-page elements with your chosen keywords, you can increase your search engine visibility and attract more potential customers.
Local SEO Tip: Claim and optimize your business listings on local directories and search engines
As a small business owner, it's important to make sure your company is easy to find online. One way to do this is by claiming and optimizing your business listings on local directories and search engines. This means ensuring that the information listed is accurate and up-to-date, including your address, phone number, hours of operation, and website.
It also involves adding photos, a description of your products or services, and related keywords that potential customers might use in their search. Taking the time to set up and maintain these listings can have a significant impact on visibility and attract new customers. And don't forget to encourage happy clients to leave positive reviews – these can also go a long way in boosting your online presence. In today's digital world, claiming and optimizing these listings is essential for success as a small business.
One major service for this is Google My Business. Google My Business lets you build a business page. This page will show up on Google Maps and local SEO results. Plus, Google My Business is a totally free service for local businesses. It will boost your local SEO with very minimal effort on your part. Even if you have multiple locations, Google My Business is a great way to show of your local business.
Local SEO Tip: Cultivate positive online reviews from customers
In today's digital age, online reviews are one of the leading factors in whether a customer chooses to do business with a company. In fact, 91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust them just as much as a personal recommendation. In light of this, it is important for businesses to actively cultivate positive reviews from their customers.
One way to do this is by offering exceptional service and going above and beyond for each individual client. Additionally, following up with customers after a transaction and politely asking for feedback or a review can often result in a positive review. Of course, not all feedback can be positive – but even taking the time to address negative reviews shows potential customers that you value your clients' opinions and are willing to make improvements. Overall, actively seeking out and responding to online reviews can significantly boost your business's online presence and attract new customers.
Keep in mind that paying for reviews, harassing reviewers, or other interactions are a big no-no for a local business. They can result in reviews being removed from search results altogether, which will definitely impact your local rankings. Don't ask your customers to use local keywords, either. That's just plain weird. Instead, focus on delivering great customer service and soliciting reviews naturally. With a well-maintained online presence, you can build trust with your customers and increase your visibility in your local community.
Engage with customers on social media, especially local social networks
With the rise of social media, customers are able to interact with businesses in ways never before possible. In order to connect with potential clients and strengthen relationships with existing ones, it is important for businesses to have a presence on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
However, it can also be beneficial to join local social networks as well. These platforms often have a tighter-knit community of users who are more likely to interact with nearby businesses. Engaging with these users through posts, promotions, and even simple friend requests can help increase brand visibility within the local community. In addition, joining these networks allows for a more personalized approach in connecting with customers, creating a sense of intimacy and trust that can lead to increased loyalty and repeat business.
Examples of local networks include Nextdoor, and the Ring.com Neighbors feed. Although search volumes on these services are lower, they are made for local businesses. They deliver targeted traffic and can really help your business, even if they don't directly impact search results.
Don't miss out on the valuable networking opportunity that local social networks provide – make sure your business has a vibrant presence in your community's online spheres. Although Facebook is declining, there are still many local business groups on Facebook that provide opportunities to advertise, for free. They basically serve as online business directories, but in real time.
Suggested tools for local search research
If this all sounds really complicated, don't worry. There are tools out there that can help you in your local SEO journey. The most affordable SEO tool out there is actually RankTracker, which tracks your position in various search engine results pages. You can get your Starter plan for RankTracker right here.
If you're looking for a more polished tool and more of a full content solution, look no farther than SurferSEO. Surfer does all of the keyword analysis for you, spitting out guidelines that tell you exactly how long your articles should be, what keywords to use, how many headings, and more. It's a great tool for pushing content out quickly so you can get back to your real job – making and selling art.
By targeting your audience, doing your research, and optimizing your website and online listings, you can start to see success on the search engines. It’s important to remember that SEO and digital marketing is an ever-evolving field; what works today may not work tomorrow. So be sure to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and changes in the search engines industry, and keep tweaking and adjusting your campaigns until you achieve the results you desire.
What are you seeing out there with local rankings and search volumes? Are there any other techniques you’ve used for local SEO or digital marketing that has seen great success? Let us know in the comments below!