As a local business owner, it’s in your best interest to reach more people in need of your services by harnessing the power of local SEO.
Why focus on search engine optimization?
In truth, potential website visitors are going to look up information about local businesses like your own online. They are going to pull out their smartphone, pop over to Google, and search specific industry related keyword terms.
The great thing about search engine traffic is that when it comes to local businesses; it is usually traffic that is already excited about the products, information and solutions your company has to offer.
They are either researching local companies to discover new products and services they immediately need, or they don’t really care about research as long as they can find the company Google considers an authority in the industry.
Whether you realize it or not, people trust Google and other search engines implicitly at this point. So if they rank a particular business’s website at the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) listings, people are going to trust their recommendation.
Do you see the potential problem?
If you aren’t sitting at the top of Google for the most valuable keyword phrases in your market, potential visitors are instantly going to pass you by because it may appear that you don’t have credibility and authority in your market.
Are you ready to fix the situation?
Local SEO Advantages
You may not realize this, but there are actually separate algorithms for local SEO and national SEO. So if you own a local website but you’ve been treating it like a national company as far as search engine optimization is concerned, you need to modify your strategy immediately because you’re missing out on this tremendous advantage.
In fact, some of the reasons why small businesses are thriving with local SEO are because of the following benefits:
- Greater Traffic and Visibility – by creating content and optimizing your site for the local market, your business website will receive highly relevant traffic from the search engines. This will create greater visibility for your organization and provide an opportunity for potential visitors to click through to your site and learn much more about your brand.
- Less Competition – when you look at SEO on a national level, you’ll discover that there are literally thousands, if not millions, of businesses competing for high search engine rankings on the national stage. In your local market, there’s much less competition, which means you’ll have a much easier time ranking for highly relevant keyword phrases in your industry.
- Authoritative Ranking Strategy – as we’ve already alluded to, the ranking strategy for local websites is much different than if you were to attempt to rank a national site. As you are about to learn below, there are different methods of attack that you can use to boost your levels of authority, visibility, and search engine rankings in the local search results.
- Building Local Backlinks
As you approach local SEO, one of the first things to realize is earning local links is going to be a great way to boost your results in the search engines.
Why are local links so powerful?
For starters, they will help create a stronger domain authority for your website. And by getting links from other sites in your community, it will help increase perceived relevance in the eyes of the search engines and your customer base.
As an example, let’s say you own a restaurant and you’re looking to get backlinks from other members of your community.
You can approach this in a couple of ways.
First, you can contact the local auto repair shop, plumber, and dry cleaners to find out if they’re willing to trade links with you. By doing this, you’ll put a link back to their homepage on your website and they will do the same in return.
If that isn’t going to fly, you could always ask to pay them to put your link on their website. Some local businesses will have no problem giving you a link as long as you’re willing to pay for the privilege.
At the end of the day, come up with creative ways to gather strategic links from local businesses in your community. Your website will become that much stronger and your search engine rankings will improve at the same time.
Or if you prefer to get an even bigger link building advantage, try these link building tools sooner rather than later.
- View Your Search Results the Same Way Your Visitors Do
Your visitors are going to get search results delivered to them in a few different ways, so you have to look at the search listings from the eyes of the reader to make sure your website is ranking at every level.
As an example, while searching some people will be signed into their Google accounts and local listings will automatically be delivered to the top of the search engine rankings. Other potential visitors may search in incognito mode, and if this is the case they may not see your results because they aren’t sharing their location information with Google.
So keep on top of your search rankings by viewing them multiple ways. This way you’ll know if your potential visitors will find your site in the search results in all instances.
- Local Keyword Optimization
If you already have existing content on your website, it’s important to make time to optimize it with local keywords.
As an example, let’s say you own a plumbing company in Saginaw, MI. To rank for the most relevant keyword phrases, you’ll need to add keywords that contain the city, town, or village, and the names of places in the surrounding area.
Example keywords include: Saginaw plumbing, Saginaw plumbers, Bay plumbing, Bay plumbers, Tri-Cities plumbers, Tri-Cities plumbing, Michigan plumbing, Michigan plumbers, etc.
Try not to go too crazy and overstuff your website with keywords. Otherwise it will not look professional and Google will see that you are keyword stuffing and this could possibly create a penalty for your website.
- Third-Party Directory Citations
To achieve high search engine rankings in the local search results, you will need to earn local citations from third-party directories.
What are they? Well, when a website like Yelp adds you to their directory, they will provide their visitors with valuable information about your business.
It’s important to stay on top of local directory listings. Search for them as they begin to show up because the information might not be correct. As you check for accuracy, you can contact the website owner and have them correct your listing.
Your other option is to build local citations on your own. This is a great way to get powerful directory links and also expand your presence online.
- Pay Close Attention to Other Local Businesses in Your Niche
If you’re trying to build your brand online, you should begin keeping an eye on other local companies in your niche. For all you know, they may have discovered a set of keywords delivering massive traffic to their website.
So pick over other local business websites with a fine-toothed comb. Find out what keywords they’re ranking for. And if it seems like they’re ranking for certain keywords that could benefit your company as well, begin optimizing your website for those specific phrases too.
At the end of the day, this is a powerful practice that you can easily use to generate more traffic, better search results, and build a bigger visitor base to really become an authority in your market and expand your reach on the Internet.
- Get Your Customers to Leave Positive Reviews Online
Believe it or not, Google uses the quality and number of reviews about your business as a factor for local search engine rankings.
To put it simply, if you have many positive reviews about your company floating around on the web, they will help your local company get higher search engine rankings.
It’s always best to ask your visitors to review your products and services on the biggest review sites online. By doing this, you will have lots of positive reviews on the Internet saying wonderful things about your business and your rankings will prosper because of them.
- Use the Same Principles of General SEO
Even though there are different algorithms for local and national search engines, many of the same SEO principles still apply.
In fact, to achieve the greatest levels of search engine optimization success, you should always focus on posting high-quality content on your website, performing on-site optimization and off page optimization, syndicating your content, sharing it on social media sites, generating guest post backlinks, and getting high quality, relevant high domain authority links as often as possible.
In conclusion, To truly achieve success online and create more visibility for your local business, you can use the suggestions recommended today to jumpstart the process.
By focusing on local SEO, you’ll gain much greater visibility for your business. This will improve all aspects of your branding, lend a measure of authority, and also bring new visitors into your sphere of influence. Take advantage of this opportunity as soon as possible.
The author of this blog article, Ashley Lipman, is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion in providing creative solutions for building brands online. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches.