If you’re a business owner or marketer, you know that one of your major sources for building awareness and growth is search engine optimization (SEO). There are so many SEO tips and tools available to help you start ranking and growing your business in the Google SERPs, but if you’re choosing to serve a local market, the real money-shot is local SEO.
According to Hubspot’s local SEO stats, 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a business within five miles, and “Near me” or “close by” search queries grew by more than 900% between 2017 and 2019. This isn’t just for B2C business.
Some of the B2B clients that we work with find that they get a bunch of leads and customers from taking a local marketing approach.
As a digital marketing agency that offers local SEO services, we know a thing or two about how to build out a winning strategy, and today, we’re going to spill the beans on everything we know so that you can leverage our knowledge for your own business.
What is Local SEO?
When users perform local searches for something or indicate their location to Google, Google will pull local results FIRST, making it an invaluable resource for businesses to get a quick leg up on their competition even if they’re new to local SEO marketing.
Need more convincing? Here are just a few benefits to utilizing local SEO.
- Local SEO brings in more qualified leads because the people seeing your business in the result are obviously local residents and are far more likely to be a qualified prospect.
- Local SEO thins out the competition by listing local businesses before giving priority to those that may have better SEO overall.
- Local SEO gives you better visibility because the top three local businesses will always appear higher in the SERPs than others. This is referred to as the local pack.
- Local SEO works in conjunction with online reviews and local citations to give you “extra credit” opportunities to increase your ranking.
Now you know just how valuable local SEO solutions are for your business. Next, we’re going to share our very best local SEO tips to help you get started building your strategy.
How Your Business Should Approach Local SEO Management
Step 1: Local Keyword Research
Just as we would do for any SEO strategy, the first step in local business SEO is keyword research and mapping to funnel stages. The main goal is to make it easier for customers to find your business through local listings.
The difference here is that instead of just researching keywords for services and products we or our customers are selling, we’re also researching local keywords. Typically we use Google Search Console for this.
The best place to start is to list all of the products and services you offer and add your location to the end. These keywords are what users will search for when looking for local business listings in their service area.
So for example, Wave Technology Solutions Group, a client of ours is a consulting and automation solution located in Laguna Hills, California. When you go to Google and search “automation consulting in Laguna Hills, CA” they are listed on the first page of returned results.
Step 2: Utilize Google My Business (GMB)
The next thing we do when providing local SEO services is to utilize Google My Business to help our clients increase their overall ranking in local Google searches. This helps Google to vet your listing as an authentic local business to serve in results for local queries.
Additionally, the information you include in your GMB profile will appear to customers when they search for services. Let’s take a look again, at our client example, Wave.
It’s very important to give complete, accurate information about your products and services, hours, business description, address, and other contact information. If your business moves, be sure to update your business profile and any other locations where geographic information is posted.
Step 3: Leverage Business Reviews
Another way to increase your search ranking is through online reviews. Building a strong reputation with positive reviews and engaging with your customers (happy or not) shows potential customers that you are reliable and trustworthy.
You can request customers to leave a review or testimonial after they’ve purchased your product or service and had time to assess their satisfaction with it.
Reviews not only help you increase your ranking on Google, but they’re also a great way to ascertain where your business is excelling and where it might need some improvement.
You can start by asking for customers to leave a review on your Google based listing, but there are other sites where you can utilize reviews. Ultimately, the sites you choose depends on the type of business you have, but here are a few we frequently utilize with our B2B clientele.
You can get these additional reviews to show up in search results easily by utilizing a few best practices.
Step 4: Optimize your On-Page SEO
Remember that keyword research we did back in step 1? You can use that work to optimize your website and landing pages so that they help your business to rank better. Here are a few local business SEO best practices you can include to help you with your on-page strategy.
- Include keywords in your URLs
- Utilize keywords in your title tag and headers
- Utilize keywords in your meta-description and image tags
If your business has more than one location, create landing pages for each location.
Step 5: Create Consistent Local Citations (NAP)
There are other places where your business name, address, and phone number- also referred to as NAP- will appear. These local citations can appear in blog posts, social media sites, and press releases.
Consistency is important to increasing your ranking so be sure that any mention of your NAP contains the correct information. Moz offers a tool that you can use to identify inconsistent citations and correct them.
You can also utilize aggregate review sites that will help you to correct inconsistencies in your existing citations and create new citations to help you build your ranking.
Step 6: Build Local Links
Building links from other sites to yours is another crucial part of helping you to build your domain authority, boost your search ranking, and build your business reputation.
Adding your information to directory sites is helpful, but those links are generally no-follow links that have no impact on your ranking in Google SERPs. What you need are do-follow links from other sites with high domain authority.
The best way to go about getting do-follow links is to create valuable content that other sites will want to link to, to add value to their own customers. You can also reach out to relevant, high ranking sites and ask them if they would like to link to your content.
Often creating collaborations where you can help each other is the best way for you to both get do-follow links to help improve each other’s sites.
Step 7: Have a Steady Stream of Unique, Locally Relevant Content
We’re often asked, “Do we really need to create unique content for each of our locations? How much will it actually impact our local SEO performance?”
The answers are yes and A LOT if you want to get the best results.
To get first page results in a Google search, you need to show Google that you have unique, high-quality, locally relevant content for each of your local websites. In fact, it’s one of the most important factors in your local SEO efforts.
Google’s SEO Starter Guide states,
“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any other factor.”
“Create fresh, unique content. New content will not only keep your existing visitor base coming back but also bring in new visitors.”
“Keep your content updated and relevant. Fresh, on-topic information increases the likelihood that your content will be crawled by Googlebot and clicked on by users.”
“Pure affiliate sites consisting of content that appears in many other places on the web are highly unlikely to perform well in Google search results and may be negatively perceived by search engines.”
Helpful Local SEO Solutions
In addition to our other local SEO tips, we also utilize a few local SEO tools that we’re going to share with you.
MarketSnare, which is a partner of ours, is a local marketing platform that helps businesses build their local SEO effectively, regardless of how many locations they have or markets they serve.
MarketSnare helps marketers overcome the challenges inherent to managing local marketing programs – at scale – across tens, hundreds, or even thousands of markets.
To give you a taste of the power of what MarketSnare can do, Pella, one of the largest and best-known window brands in North America, saw its web leads increase over 35% on average, with some markets over 85% after implementing a local marketing program.
Hike is an SEO platform that offers assistance for small businesses, startups, and agencies who need help getting started with their local SEO campaign.
The Hike platform analyzes your website and offers clear suggestions on ways you can optimize your website and pages to appear higher in the Google map results. Read our review of Hike here.
The Wearer, a fashion boutique store based in North London, was able to improve its rank for the query “handmade jewelry london” from 16th position to 1st position on page 1 of Google results after implementing a local SEO program.
The Challenge of Juggling Multiple Local SEO Campaigns
If you’re a marketer, you may already know that managing multiple local SEO campaigns can be challenging. Each market is different, keywords, competitors, and even messaging may be different and may therefore, greatly impact your local SEO strategy for each client as well as your reporting.
If you need help managing multiple local SEO campaigns or building your local SEO marketing initiatives, Interrupt Media can help. We’re a boutique digital marketing agency that provides national and local SEO strategies to businesses.
To learn more about how we can help you get started with a local SEO strategy, reach out today.