By Conor Bright
Local SEO can bring a lot of good to small businesses. People love looking for local information on Google, and if you don’t optimize for local searches, customers from your area may not be able to find you. Even worse, they’ll find one of your competitors, and they’ll go with them. We don’t want that to happen, so we prepared a few strategies to improve your local SEO to help you out.
If you follow the guide and don’t skip any of the steps, you’ll get more traffic, leads, and conversions. Local SEO will make your business more relevant, so it’s one of the SEO trends you shouldn’t ignore in 2022, for sure.
Still, before we dive into the tactics, we want to ensure that we’re all on the same page. So, let’s see what local SEO is exactly.
What is Local SEO?
In short, it’s a process of boosting search engine visibility for local businesses. If you have a brick-and-mortar store you want people to visit, you’ve got to work on your local SEO.
By following all the best practices, you’ll give Google all the info they need about what you do, and they’ll know who they should recommend your company to. You’ll also pop up in Google Maps, so you’ll get much more exposure than you do now.
All that said, there’s a lot to learn about how Google ranks local businesses. They look at your content, social profiles, links leading to and from your website, and citations to ensure you’re legitimate and figure out who they should show your business to. So, there are plenty of things to do, but locals will be rushing to your shop if you get them all right.
And now that you’re familiar with the basics, let’s see how you can take your local SEO to a new level.
Optimize Your Google My Business Account
You can’t hope for a good local SEO score if you don’t have a Google My Business (GMB) account. It’s necessary, but it’s not enough just to have it either. Once you create a listing, you must also verify it to prove to Google that your business is legitimate.
Furthermore, you’ll want to encourage your happy customers to write online reviews for your business. The more honest and authentic reviews you have, the better Google will rank you. But the benefits don’t end there. You’ll also make it easier for your potential customers to get to know your company. They’ll see how you handle problems and how grateful you are for your loyal customers.
Spend as much time as you need optimizing your GMB account and make sure you fill every form and answer every question they ask you. If you provide Google with relevant and up-to-date info, they’ll get the word about your company out. It’s that simple.
Engage on Social Media and Use Google My Business Posts
If you’re looking for strategies to improve your local SEO, you’ll want to up your social media game. Google looks at what you share on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and they care about it. They want to see that there’s always something going on in your profile, and they want to see you engaging with your followers.
On top of that, they give you a chance to use their kind of ”local SEO social media”. Of course, we’re talking about GMB posts. Once you publish them, these will stay live for seven days, and they’re great for promoting your offers and products or telling people what’s new about your business.
Make Sure Your NAP is Consistent
The whole goal of improving local SEO is to make your business easy to find. Now, to do this, you’ll need to make sure your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) info are consistent. You should also include this info as HTML text on your site, so Google’s crawler bots can read it and connect all your business mentions across the web to your site.
A common mistake here is including your NAP info within an image. Bots can’t crawl images, so even though users can read them, it won’t bring you many benefits in terms of ranking. Make sure not to make this error and add your NAP to the header or footer of your website.
Work on Your Online Directories and Citations
Online directories and citations are key for ranking high in local searches. You want your business to be mentioned as many times as possible all around the web. However, you need to ensure that your info is the same across citations.
If you misspell a word or use a different format for your phone number, it’ll cause problems. Google won’t be able to determine which info is correct, so it won’t show your business in the searches at all. Also, make sure to remove any duplicate listings you come across.
Do a Local SEO Audit
When you complete all of the steps above, you’re done with the fundamentals. And although putting your foot on the brake might sound tempting here, it’s the opposite of what you should do. So instead, you should do a local SEO audit.
Here are a few points to focus on:
- Google My Business audit. How does your GMB account show up on the SERPs? Is the info accurate?
- Google Search Console audit. Can crawlers navigate your site? Are there any errors for you to fix?
- On-page SEO audit. Check if your content is optimized and sharable and your meta descriptions are all in place.
- Citation audit. Check the citations in business directories and make sure they’re all correct.
- Competitors analysis. Do your competitors have the edge over you? What are the areas you can work on to match them if they do?
- Website audit. How well is your website performing overall?
SEO rules change constantly, and you have to work on it all the time to stay ahead of the curve. Luckily, these strategies to improve your local SEO that you learned about today will help you on your journey. Use them, do regular audits, read about upcoming trends, and you won’t have any trouble with it.
Conor Bright is a writer and SEO specialist at Digital Dot New York. He loves helping small businesses get their feet off the ground and establish their online presence. When he’s not working, he’s either playing his drum kit or listening to his favorite jazz records.