Local SEO is a vital part of any successful marketing strategy. If one wants to rank higher in Google searches, then one should start optimizing the site for local keywords.
Google has become a major player in the local search space. In fact, currently, it accounts for over 50% of mobile searches. This means not optimizing the site for local keywords, one is surely missing out on a huge opportunity.
Now, the question arises How to improve local SEO? Here, the key is to focus on building trust and authority within the community. Once established as a trusted resource, one can see the rise in Google rankings. Improving local SEO is a must part of every brand’s digital marketing strategy and the blog covers every aspect of it.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO means Local Search Engine Optimization which refers to the process of optimizing a website or business for local searches. This means that you’re trying to rank higher in Google and other search engines when people are looking for some local solution it may product or service.
The local result is the map pack that Google shows up according to its algorithm when it finds that your intent is local that is you are looking for a local product or service. Google simply aims at delivering searchers that are the best answer to our query. Local SEO is a call from businesses to the customers to visit their place and experience products and services offline.
Unlike Organic SEO where you try to rank in Google’s organic result here, you try to rank in Google’s Three Map Pack (snack pack). Local SEO has gained tremendous importance as a marketing strategy for local businesses whose services are limited to a particular geography. Example Restaurants, Hospitals, Clinics, Education centers, Commercial complexes, and so on.
7 Step Strategy on How to improve Local SEO?
Local SEO is one of the most important factors for any business’s success in this digital world. Implementing and optimizing it in the correct way is more important. Below GMB/ GBP elements listed by Moz indicate exactly what really one needs to work on. Following 7 step strategy on how to improve local SEO is all that you need to make your business visible up there in the Google search results.
Optimize website for Local Search Intent
If you have a website you cant surely miss these points.
Create a Contact Us page:
Create a contact us page in the form of the NAP of your business. NAP means Name, Address, and Phone number. It helps customers know that your business is legitimate. If you have more than one address, add that too. Also, make your phone number clickable. Check that your NAP is consistent across the web. Impletement On-Page SEO.
Add Map for your Location:
The customer is looking to locate you. So what would be better than you straight away providing them a map pointing to your business location.
Schema acts as a common language between different search engines making them understand what data is present on a particular web page. Adding schema for your local business listing helps Google understand better that you are available locally.
Add Reviews & Testimonials:
Testimonials and reviews signal trust. This further makes customers feel that your business is legitimate, and real, triggering a call to action.
Create and Optimize Google Business profile
Google Business Profile, earlier known as Google my Business is a tool developed by Google for businesses and organizations to manage their presence online across the web. It helps customers find relevant products and services locally they are looking for. Creating a Google business profile is mandatory to be visible in local search results and optimizing it is necessary to rank higher there.
Create Your Google Business Profile:
You can create your Google Business Profile here. Be ready with your business NAP which means Name, Address, and Phone number.
Add Complete Information:
Add complete information about your business. Add Business name, Relevant Category, Physical Address, Phone number, Website, Description, and other attributes. Add correct hours of operations along with the products and services that you provide. Get a score of more than 70 at least.
Verify Your profile:
This step is very important. Google requests verification during account creation itself. Getting your profile verified will make it look more authentic, and also help your profile update faster else your updates may go under review every time making you wait for updates to manifest.
Add High-Quality photos:
Adding high-quality photos along with regular posts and events helps increase the authenticity of your profile. On average a Google Business profile has 11 photos.
Get and respond to the reviews promptly:
Reviews and your responses to them help legitimize your business. Your prompt response shows that you value your customers and their feedback. High-quality, positive reviews from the customers help improve your business’s visibility
While adding information you can use keywords having local intent. Researching high-ranking profiles can help you come up with these keywords.
Create and Optimise Local Content
Nothing is better than content that speaks more about your business.
Write blog and articles highly optimized with local intent keywords on your website linking to your contact us page. Creating explanatory videos related to your product and services can do miracles.
Get yourself reviewed by local bloggers, and ask them to share your story. These blogs are normally associated with a particular city or region. Getting backlinks from them can also help.
Adding FAQs surely helps. It assists you in getting the right targeted people. Also, resolve their queries at the initial stage thereby reducing the chances of any negative review in the future.
Submit Business NAP (Citation) To Directory Listings
Citation is any mention of your business NAP (Name, Business, and Phone number) on any third-party platform which may or may not have a backlink to your website. Make sure that your citations are consistent throughout the web and be sure of adding an exact name, address, and phone number everywhere. Adding citations to sites like Indiamart, Yellow pages, Just Dial, and Trade India is quite common. There are also Industry-specific platforms where you can add businesses. For example for the Food business, you can add citations on Dine out, Zomato, Swiggy. Doctors and clinics can add citations on directories like Practo. Local directory listings and citation building are must-needed exercises while implementing local SEO.
Get Customer Reviews
Highly rated positive reviews by customers for your product and services helps build your brand in a big way. Several directory listings provide an option for review. Google Business Profile reviews will help you show up in google’s three map pack. Don’t miss asking your happy customers to leave feedback/reviews.
Also, promptly responding to them is as much necessary. It increases customer engagement and increases trustworthiness, and conversions for your products and services, If you have a negative review, reply back get the problem solved, and ask the customer to edit or leave a positive review. Reviews are openly visible which new customers can go through and make appropriate decisions.
Optimize Social Media Presence
The Facebook business page offers almost the same listing opportunities as Google Business Profile. Similarly one can set up Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin too. All these platforms now search engines by themselves have tons of audiences that you can target as a customer. Getting reviews, feedback, and replying promptly has to be followed here. Having social media strategy has to be part of any marketing strategy in today’s digital era.
Get Your Business in proximity
According to the Moz Local SEO report, “Proximity of searchers to the Business” ranks as a third factor in deciding a business’s visibility in Google’s three pack. This means customers away from your location may not see your business at all as Google would show only the nearest businesses. This would be very important for businesses like cloud kitchen whose entire sales depend on proximity. Herein this case one can choose a location according to the customer base.
Also, it is important to understand Why is Local SEO important? Further, we shall look into its importance in the form of benefits.
Why is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website for search engines in a specific geographic location. Definitely for local businesses without websites Local SEO is surely a blessing. It can help drive healthy and relevant organic traffic to a physical store. Local businesses like Clinics, Schools, Service centers, Retail shops, Hospitals, etc can churn several benefits by implementing it. Why is Local SEO important? can easily be understood by the benefits that it provides.
- Helps get Relevant organic traffic
- It is inexpensive
- Helps improve website authority
- Helps get more customer reviews
- Helps build brand awareness and trust
- Adds legitimacy to the business
The above benefits clearly indicate, Why is Local SEO Important? and it is a must for every local business out there.
How do I Increase my local ranking on Google?
Local results primarily depend on relevancy, proximity, and authority factors. A combination of these helps us find the best match for your search. Google’s algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results. For example, a restaurant that’s far away from your location might have a better chance of being shown before a close one because it is more likely to satisfy your intent or need.
- Relevancy: Here Google checks whether your business profile matches the customer’s intent. Adding complete information about your business helps Google understand and match it to relevant searches
- Proximity: Here Google checks how close is your business to the customer. It is obvious that the customer is looking for a local nearby solution and Google would provide relevant close by businesses in the search results.
- Authority: Here Google checks how well known or famous your business is. For example, Google may rank famous restaurants or parks higher in a particular area over others. Google may consider it as well tried successful solution for your query. Having NAP in directories, article mentions, backlinks, directory listings, and positive reviews also adds to the authority.
Disclosing 2 hacks here. First, having a keyword in your Google page title surely helps. Second, Chose your Primary category wisely. Also, update secondary categories if required. Rest, do stick to the above 7 Step Strategy on How to improve Local SEO and your local ranking shall surely improve.
How do you know if you need local SEO?
If your answer to the following points is Yes, then you surely need a local SEO done for your business.
- Do you have a brick-and-mortar location? (Office, shop, factory)
- Is your customer base restricted to your business location?
- Do your competitors have Google Business Profiles?
- Do your competitors rank higher than you?
- Your business doesn’t show up in “Near me” searches.
- You don’t create content/ Don’t have a website.
- Is there a sudden drop in footfalls?
- Have you just started your business.?
When it comes to implementing Local SEO, creating and claiming Google Business Profile is the most important step to start with. Though very competitive in nature Local SEO provides room for improvement to every business that implements it in the right way. Above, 7 Step Strategy on How to improve Local SEO? will surely help you rank higher in Google’s local searches.