16 Steps Towards Transforming Into a Local SEO Expert
Local SEO has become a vital part of any good search engine optimization strategy. This is particularly true for businesses that serve a local customer base, which can include restaurants, shops, lawyers, hotels, and many more.
Achieving local SEO success means showing up in local search results, or when people search for a service or product in a specific location. This can make or break a business.
Dominating local search results and getting chosen over your competition can be a tricky task, but if you begin implementing our recommendations for optimizing your local SEO, you can ensure that you’re reaping the benefits of this integral part of any search engine optimization tactic.
LOCAL SEO OPTIMIZATION CHECKLIST
1. Create a Website
Though this step might seem obvious, there are businesses out there that do not have a website. It’s important not to overlook this step, as it’s going to represent the basis of almost all other steps. A simple Facebook page or Youtube channel might not be enough to get you going.
You can register a domain name, pay for hosting, and set up your website by using WordPress without breaking the bank. A website is almost guaranteed to pay off later and give you long-lasting results. It will also increase the public’s awareness of your business and bring you more revenue.
2. Optimize Your Website
Search engines prefer a well-structured site, so optimizing it to the best of your ability is essential. Just having a live website is simply not enough. You don’t have to be an SEO expert to have a decently optimized site. There are tons of online guides and tutorials to help you achieve this.
Some steps to take to optimize your website are to research relevant keywords, optimize its speed, get quality backlinks, and manage on-page SEO aspects.
3. Add Up-To-Date Information
Including your current and updated information on your website is extremely important. Make sure to list your business’s correct physical address, phone number, and anything else your customers might find useful. For example, if you own a restaurant, you can add your menu to your website.
It’s advised to include this information on every page you have on your website. A good place to add this is the footer, as it’s going to be the same on each page. Even though it doesn’t seem obvious, adding this information will actually make it easier for your customers to find your website.
4. Establish A Social Media Presence
If you don’t already, now it’s the perfect time to create social media profiles for your brand. If possible, you should try and use the same username across all social media platforms. The most popular options are Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter.
Depending on your niche, you might want to add your business to websites like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, or even Tumblr. Once you’ve claimed your profiles, you can add photos and any other relevant information you can. Make sure it’s consistent across all platforms.
5. Open or Claim Your Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google my Business, is one of the most important aspects of your local SEO strategy. This listing, which can be located on the right side of google search results, will be the first thing people will see when they search for your business.
This is why it’s crucial to populate the listing with current and up-to-date information, add photos, working hours, or anything else relevant to your business. You can also share news, updates, or any other kind of post to keep your audience engaged and informed.
6. Build Your Citations in Online Directories
Citation building is one of the most important aspects of local SEO. By submitting listings with consistent NAP (name, address, phone number), you can ensure that search engines recognize your business as valid and credible, thus improving your overall rankings and position in SERPs.
In order to do this properly, you can use online SEO tools to help you out. There are a variety of popular citation-building tools, or if you want, you can do it by yourself. Make sure to figure out which online directories make sense for your business depending on your niche.
If you’re a local business, make sure to list your business in directories such as Yahoo!, Bing Places, MapQuest, and even Yelp.
7. Do Keyword Research
Using proper keywords across all of your pages and content in general is a crucial component of any solid SEO strategy. Depending on your products, services, or overall niche, you’ll have a different set of keywords. It’s important to do research and there are a ton of online keyword research tools that can help you do that.
Popular options include Ahrefs, Moz Keyword Explorer, and even Google Keyword Planner. All of these tools can help you identify opportunity keywords of good quality that can help you in your efforts to improve your businesses’ visibility and overall rankings.
You can use these keywords across all of your profiles, listings, and pages to further boost your position in search results. Make sure to analyze and stay on track with how your keywords are performing and make any necessary tweaks according to what you find.
8. Create Optimized Content
Your website won’t be fully optimized without good-quality content. It’s beneficial to add articles or blogs from time to time. Of course, it’s also important to make sure that these articles and blogs are SEO optimized.
This means researching and using the previously mentioned keywords, but not overcrowding your content with them. Focus on using those keywords naturally and strategically. Additionally, you should optimize title tags, images, and meta descriptions to reap the most benefits of local SEO.
9. Manage Your Online Reputation
In the era of online reviews, managing your online reputation has become a must for every business, regardless of its niche. The majority of purchases actually begin with a simple Google search, and many potential clients or customers will first engage in reading online reviews before making their decision.
This is why it’s so significant to not only monitor your online reviews but also respond to them in a timely fashion. Regardless of whether you get negative or positive reviews, posting a response shows your future customers that you have great customer service and that you actually pay attention to feedback, which builds credibility.
If you don’t want to do this yourself or you don’t want to hire a reputation manager, there are also numerous online reputation management apps to assist you with this.
10. Ask For Reviews
In order to boost your online reputation, it’s a clever idea to ask happy customers to leave a review online. Online reviews have been proven to boost not only sales but also SEO. They also help further establish trust among consumers, making it more likely for you to get new customers along the way.
Since reviews represent content that is frequently updated, relevant, and filled with useful information, which is exactly what search engines like, they will significantly boost your SEO and marketing efforts. They also tend to contain longtail keywords related to your niche, which further helps your strategy.
Additionally, online reviews provide rich snippets of content, which could help boost your CTR (click-through rate) from search engine result pages. They also help you rank higher for keywords that include the words “ratings” or “reviews”.
11. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Mobile-friendliness of a website is an important factor for ranking in local search results. In order to make your site mobile-friendly, make sure that you choose a mobile-responsive theme or template and strip back your content. If you’re familiar with coding, make sure that your CSS is as light as possible, and also ensure that your images are not too heavy.
Use a font that’s easily readable and large enough, and avoid using pop-ups or flash on your website to increase its mobile friendliness. This will give all of your users a great experience, regardless of what device they might be using to view your website. Also, it’s a smart idea to test your site from time to time to ensure that everything’s running smoothly.
12. Build Your Domain Authority
Increasing the domain authority (DA) of your website is certainly not an easy task, but it will certainly leave a great impact on your local SEO strategy. Currently, there are three ways in which you can improve your domain authority.
First of all, make sure that you don’t have any spammy links on your website. This does not mean links for low authority websites, but simply links that don’t really have to do anything with your content and niche. Always strive for backlinks from high domain authority websites, and make sure to get as many traffic-driving links as you can.
13. Engage in Linkbuilding
Simply put, link building involves getting links from other websites to yours. These links are crawled by search engines, just like pages and entire websites. Search engines use these links to determine how well a page should rank in local SERPs, which is why this tactic is vital for any local SEO efforts.
These links can also help your website get more traffic from referrals, as well as help further establish and build both your brand and relationships with other businesses in the niche.
14. Analyze Your Competitors
You can learn a lot from your competitors, which is why it’s a clever idea to analyze what they’re doing and see how you can implement the same ideas with your own business. You can use various tools to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for, what their DA is, and what high authority websites are linking back to their website.
You can also lookup the directories they listed themselves in and submit your business information if you don’t have a listing opened there already.
15. Consider Ads
Even though local search engine optimization is a great and inexpensive way to increase your website traffic, leads, and revenue, you can also consider advertising to further boost your efforts. After all, when you advertise with Google Ads, and you do it properly, you are almost guaranteed to rank 1st in local SERPs.
16. Track and Analyze Your Success
Finally, probably the most significant part of your local SEO strategy is to track and analyze your performance and success. Keep in mind that this strategy takes a little bit of time before you can see actual results, as opposed to paid search.
Make sure to use essential industry tools, such as Google Analytics and other website analytics tools, to track your success. You can also use other channels to monitor your KPIs, including social media metrics. Keep note of what’s working for you and make adjustments to further boost your business.
What is Local SEO?
Just like search engine optimization relies on deploying strategies to increase a website’s rankings and traffic, local SEO is all about implementing those tactics on a more local level. You’ve probably heard about the popular search term “near me” that accompanies a variety of searches nowadays.
The main purpose of local SEO strategies is to dominate local search results. This means competing with other local businesses for the attention of potential customers. You’ve likely found yourself in a situation where you wanted to find a nearby restaurant, coffee shop, or pharmacy.
Businesses who take advantage of local SEO get more traffic and more local customers than businesses that don’t. Nowadays, local SEO is considered an essential component of any great SEO strategy.
There are tons of ways you can increase your local SEO efforts, but the four building blocks are NAP listings or citations, backlinks, geotagging, and online reputation management. Each of these tactics must be carefully implemented and monitored for optimal results.
What is NAP and Why Does It Matter?
NAP is an acronym for name, address, and phone. By listing your business in relevant online directories, you’re doing something called citation building. Ensuring that your NAP is consistent across all online directories is essential for this tactic.
Since search engines constantly crawl websites and recognize this data, a consistent NAP across online directories will provide you with better rankings and increased organic traffic. It will increase your chances of having your business show up on the first page of search results.
To begin with, you must ensure that your NAP information is correct on your website. Consider adding a schema for this. You should also search for your business listings across directories and correct any information that might be outdated or just wrong.
Nowadays, there are tons of useful tools you can use for citation building. Popular ones include Brightlocal, Yext, Birdeye, and even Semrush. These tools help you manage your citations, reputation, rankings, and much more.
What are Backlinks?
Another essential component for dominating local SEO is backlinking. Simply put, a backlink is a hyperlink that goes to your website from a different website. For example, if a website posts about shoes that go well with a certain bag they’re making, they might link to a different website for shoe options, which is essentially backlinking.
A backlink can be considered a digital recommendation, as it tells search engines that whatever website it’s linking to is worthwhile. Another important aspect of backlinking is domain authority. One’s website DA can significantly boost the domain authority of a different website.
A good tip is to research competitors and other businesses in your niche and build relationships with them, especially if their website’s domain authority is higher than yours. However, it’s important to note that since people can pay for backlinks, the tactic doesn’t provide results as good as it did before, though it’s still an important aspect of local SEO.
What is Geotagging?
Geotagging evolved from keywords, in a way. But, instead of using keywords only, they began tagging keywords in title tags. Geotagging basically means that instead of using any term as a tag, you use a location term.
So, for example, if you’re providing moving services in Los Angeles, California, you might mention that location at the end of your page’s title tags, which then tells both users and search engines that you’re targeting a specific location.
These geotags can appear on all sorts of pages, including blogs, articles, and more. By implementing this tactic, you can ensure that your business appears in local search results. To geotag, you’ll need to access the backend of your website, where you will find title tags. Here you can add your location to the header and body texts.
What is Online Reputation?
In a market oversaturated with dozens of businesses in the same category, or selling the same products, reputation has become increasingly important. Maintaining a stellar reputation can make or break any business.
The first thing that comes to mind is obviously online reviews. Since the majority of purchases start online, how you’re reviewed and what people are saying about your brand can make all the difference. This is why it’s so crucial that you monitor and manage your online reputation.
According to Qualtrics, 93% of customers will read online reviews before deciding whether or not to make a purchase. Being listed on various review sites can increase your visibility online and also help you make more sales.
Any local SEO expert knows that reputation management is not only about taking care of negative reviews. Thanking your satisfied customers and replying to 5-star reviews shows good customer service and is guaranteed to bring your more business in the long run.
ESTABLISH YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT IN LOCAL SEO
Local SEO has become an essential component of any successful SEO campaign. This is especially true for any business that caters to a local clientele, including shops, hotels, restaurants, and similar establishments.
Showing up in local search results is not easy and it takes a bit of time and work, but it’s of utmost importance when you’re trying to reach local consumers and get them to buy your service or product.
By taking the steps we’ve mentioned above you can make sure that your business dominates the local search results and stands out from the competition. Improving your local SEO strategy will definitely bring you high-quality results in the long run.