Why Focus First on Local SEO?
The Internet is a great medium to reach a huge number of people around the world, but there’s one little problem. You are not the only one using this excellent medium. Search with some of your keywords and you will probably see millions of other businesses dealing with the same products and trying to reach the same customers as you. As a small business, you can’t expect to dominate the search results anytime soonâ€¦unless you’re doing Local SEO. Dig the following stats:
- Local SEO is 75% easier to execute than global SEO.
- Over 69% of search results are impacted by the geo-location.
- More than 20% of users trust local trust results more.
- Around 70% of online searchers use local search to find offline businesses. (Kelsey Group)
- About 3 billion local search queries are reported every month. (comScore)
The Power of Local SEO
Local SEO can put your business ahead of bigger, meaner competitors that don’t have the luxury to be “local”. Your users may identify the big names in your industry as national or global brands. Although big, they might lack the local expertise and personalization that a local business can provide to its customers. Hence, if your business appears side by side with a major national or global business, the odds are in your favour.
The Principles of Local SEO
Local SEO follows pretty much the same optimization principles and best practices as global SEO. However, your business must have a local address verified by Google. Plus, you must have a Google+ page with your verified contact information. That tells Google that you are indeed an authentic Local Business. From here on, you can implement the following on-page and off-page Local SEO tips to get your business to appear on the first page, among Google Local search results.
Local SEO Tips and Best Practices
1. Content is the Emperor
The more engaging your content, the more time the user is likely to spend on your pages, giving Google (or Panda) the impression that you’re hosting something awfully useful on the page. Target your blog posts and social media posts at your local audience.
2. Optimize SERP Elements
Google displays your page title, reviews, address, and short meta-description on its search engine results page (SERP). Make sure you have your keywords included in these elements. The description is also crucial for making your business more attractive to the users and increase click through. Here’s an example of a Local business that has optimized better than others.
3. Use Long Tail Local Keywords
Use location-specific, long-tail keywords such as “restaurant in Melbourne”. You can be even more specific and include the names of smaller neighborhoods in your keywords.
4. Use Separate Pages for Different Locations
If you have a franchise operation, tell all your partners to have a different Local page for each outlet, with their own contact info. It is crucial that you tell your users about all your geographical location. Also, include your addresses and phone numbers on the contact page of your website.
5. Optimize for Mobile
Most of the local searches are made via mobile. Even more importantly, 78% of mobile local searches result in offline purchases (Search Engine Land). If you’re targeting local customers, it is imperative that you optimize your website for mobile. Make it responsive and adaptive to different screen-sizes and make sure you offer a good mobile user experience.
6. Add Your Business to Local Listings
List your business with as many local directories as you can. Your business name and contact info must be identical across multiple listings. These listings will build your credibility with Google and your audience and will be a source of traffic and referrals.
7. Build Local Links
Incoming links can endorse the popularity of your business. However, you must make sure that you only get links from reputable domains. Start by listing your business with the Chamber of Commerce, licensing bureaus, trade bodies, vendor/supplier/manufacturer websites, and other relevant places. Don’t, in any case, go for an aggressive link-building exercise on irrelevant or obscure domains, as Google will mark all phony-looking links as spam.
8. Use Social Media
Your social media posts (particularly on Google+) and reviews also play a major role in getting you a higher local ranking. They generate social links and drive traffic to your site. Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Pinterest create do-follow links that Google spiders can detect and assign you a higher ranking. Make sure you post a lot of things of local interest.
A local business more depends on the local customer. Local SEO gives a new makeover to your conventional and competitive SEO as optimizing the website for Local Suburb/area is much simpler than Global SEO. So, Even though you are Local SME OR large national player, you need to start planning your strategies for Local SEO.