A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Local SEO for Businesses

You have probably come across the term local SEO one too many times. How important is it? The truth is it is everything! Optimizing your website for local SEO is an excellent step towards increasing your sales. Look at it this way, people will want to get coffee with friends after work but have limited time to find the perfect spot. Their next option would be to go online and check if they could get hold of something.

Sadly most businesses ignore local SEO and end up missing out on such opportunities. You can imagine how many consumers are looking for laundry services within. That is where local SEO comes in. If you have a physical store, you cannot afford not to optimize your website for local search. The following is a guide on how you can improve your local search rankings.


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  1. Create a Google My Business profile

The first thing you will be required to do for the local SEO journey is to create a Google My Business profile. Your business profile appears the moment someone searches your business or a similar business. What Google My Business does is makes it easy for you to update your profile. With that, it helps your business stand out. Do you know what else Google My Business does? It automatically generates your maps and gets clients right at your doorstep.

The beauty of it is that creating a Google My Business profile is a straightforward task. Once you set up an account, you will provide information regarding your business. That includes hours of operation, contact information, payment options and so on. You are free to give video clips or pictures. Once you are done with that, the final step would be to verify your profile which can be done through your phone and email. With that, you can start enjoying your profits!

  1. Confirm your citations

What is a citation? Well, it is a reference to your business profile. It works just like links only that they do not have to be linked to your website. Why do you need to check your citations? This is to make sure that they are in line with your listings. It is important to note that Google uses citations to rank a site. You can put this to your advantage.

Ensure that there is consistency in your online citations. They play an essential role in helping people find you online hence increase your traffic. You know what comes next, more leads and an improved bottom line. To make your citations work for you, you also need to select a proper format and stick to it.

  1. Optimize your website for local SEO

 

How do you go about that? The first thing should be to optimize your homepage and ensure that it displays where your business is located and what your company is about. Note that Metadata and description still counts. They are the first thing that appears in the search engine results page. You should, therefore, ensure that they have all the information that your customers need. More so, you can include keywords in your Metadata to help the users find you.

You could also put structured data markup into use at this point. This will help the search engine understand what your business does and so on. With that the search engine will be able to index you correctly, connecting you with a quality audience.

  1. Encourage customers’ reviews

What do you do when you find a product online, and you are interested in buying it? Usually, one would check the reviews and see what other people have to say about the product. That tells you that customers trust word of mouth. Encouraging customer reviews will significantly increase your bottom line.

  1. Be active on social media

Did you know that you could use social media to claim profiles? Claiming profiles or having a presence in multiple platforms will help you increase the number of citations that you have. If you can recall, Google uses the citations also to rank you. Besides that, the more the citations, the more the reach. Increasing your traffic will consequently lead to an increase in your revenue.

While choosing the platforms to work with, you need to be sure that your customers are there. It is therefore important for you to do some research on your audience. Understand which platforms they prefer to use, and the time they prefer to engage most. With that, you will be able to create an effective strategy regarding social media. Increasing your social signal means well for your rankings.

  1. Start a blog

If you are looking to make the most out of local SEO, you need to have a blog. Why do you need to have a blog while you already have a website? Well, note that you cannot always engage your audience. Blogs improve the overall performance of your site. How?

For one, you need to understand that having fresh content plays a significant role in building trust. If your site has information that it is outdated, it is likely to create mistrust. If you have current information, users will find you reliable and will be okay with doing business with you. Blogs also help you interact with the users. In the process, you will be able to identify the various issues they are facing and give them solutions.

Link building is vital for your local SEO. The beauty of blogs is that they will help you with that. If you can create quality blogs, other pages will also be compelled back to you. Google will notice that and rank you for it. Quality blogs keep the users coming back for more. You need steady traffic for your site to be successful and for you to increase your sales.

  1. Create unique content

If you are looking to optimize your site for local SEO, you need to create unique and quality content. Avoid duplicating content as your site will get penalized for this. What will quality content do for your SEO? First of all, Google rewards sites that can provide users with quality content. Use the right and relevant keywords and help users find what they are looking for.

You should also note that quality content increases the dwell time and reduces the bounce rate. You do not want the visitors to exit your page shortly after a click. High bounce rate will hurt your SEO. Google will interpret that as not being able to help the users. High dwell time, on the other hand, will imply your site as being able to give the audience value: you will rank for that.

Quality content is key. Your audience is more likely to share content they find useful and exciting. Increased shares will increase the number of links in your site, which is also a plus.

  1. Join directories

Do you want to be found? You should make it easy for the clients. Joining indexes is an effective way of optimizing your local SEO. What are directories? Directories are websites that are there to list the different types of businesses according to their industry. You have the option of either joining directories based on industries or local directories. You could join both of them to benefit more.

Directories based on the industry will list your business according to your niche. Clients will, therefore, found you through that if they are looking for specific services. There is also local directories which, as the name suggests, will list you according to your location.

 With that, if a customer is looking for health services within a particular area, it becomes easy for them to find what they are looking for.

 The beauty of directories is that they give your business exposure and at the same time give your business a sense of identity.

  1. Make your website user-friendly

The number of search queries in search engines originating from mobile devices is more than one’s origination from desktops. It is not news that today, people depend on their phones and tablets for almost everything. People shop online using their smartphones, pay for bills, and use maps on their smartphones and so on. The list is endless.

It is for this reason that you need to make your website mobile friendly. Most people who will be searching for your business will be using their mobile devices, and you would want them to have the best user experience. Since most consumers use mobile, it means that it is where you should be sourcing for them in the first place. A mobile-friendly site will attract more traffic. It is especially beneficial for local SEO. Seventy-four percent of the users who come across a site online will visit the physical store if it is within a few miles.

Optimizing the site by providing maps will make it easy for them to get to you.

  1. Keyword research

 

Yes, you need keyword research for local SEO too. How do you go about it? All you need are keyword research tools to help you with that. Note that SEO uses keywords to rank your site. That means if you can use them well, there is something in for you.

Keyword research will come in handy in letting you know the kind of keywords your competitors are using. With that information, you can come up with even better keywords that most of you won’t be competing for. You will be the only one ranking for those keywords in the local searches.

Keyword research will also inform you of what the consumers use to find your business. With that information, you will be in a position to create keywords that will help the users find you. If you are already using keywords, keyword research will help you know the type of keywords that you are ranking for and the ones that are not working for your local SEO. With all that information, you will make changes if need be.

  1. Optimize images

The use of images for local SEO is often overlooked. What most people do not know is that images can also contribute to ranking and also appear in the search engine results pages. You should, therefore, purpose to create compelling visuals.

To get started, you need first to select images. The images you choose should be of absolute relevance and high quality. Note that the images you choose should be able to support your content. You should also pay attention to the file size. The file size can interfere with your page loading speed which is also a ranking factor. Compressing the size of the image will help in retaining the quality and optimizing it for page loading speed.

The image file name is also something that you should pay attention to. This is another chance to let Google know what your business is about. It is also important to use keywords when creating captions for your image. They will come in handy when users and crawlers try to find your pages.

Images are also useful tools in link building. Note that it is always easier to share images and visuals than text. What does that mean? If your images are sharable, you will get more shares which are also translated to links. Links are significant in ranking.

  1. Perform on-site SEO

Your site architecture is vital in ranking. For one, a good site architecture will make it easy for search engine crawlers to navigate your site. If your site has a good architecture, it means that it is user-friendly. A user-friendly website is less likely to have a high bounce rate which only hurts SEO. Customers are more likely to visit again if they had a good experience.

Local SEO is a great way to reach your target market and local audience. The guide provided will go a long way in making your efforts successful. Local SEO is, however, not limited to that, check  serpbook  for more tips.

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