SEO – or search engine optimization – is a strategic process that helps your company rank higher in search engines. There are various facets of SEO, and “local SEO” is a crucial part of the marketing mix for brick-and-mortar businesses and local services that target specific zip codes, such as a cleaning service, plumber, restaurant, lawyer, medical practice or boutique.
What Are the Benefits of Local SEO?
It is becoming more and more difficult to compete in the digital world without a coordinated local SEO strategy. Consider the benefits:
- Increased traffic: When a local consumer searches for a business on a search engine, your website will be in the top three results.
- Increased conversions: When customers find your business on the first page of search results, they are more likely to purchase from or work with you.
- Improved customer retention rates: Businesses with higher rankings have better customer retention rates.
Understanding the Process & Techniques Behind Local SEO
Local SEO is a strategy for optimizing your website to rank higher in search engines for local keywords. The goal is to attract people who are looking for a business near them.
Local SEO combines several techniques and processes, including on-page optimization, off-page optimization and link building, among others.
- On-page SEO includes tasks that optimize the content on key pages like title tags, meta descriptions, internal links and URLs.
- Off-page SEO involves getting links from other credible, high-quality and relevant sites so that more people find your business. Some of the best links can come from local media websites, which is why SEO and public relations can work hand in hand.
Keyword research, content creation, link building and social media marketing are all great jumping-off points for a well-rounded local SEO campaign.
Optimizing Your Content for Local Searches
It’s important to optimize your content for a specific location and not just an expertise, product or industry. For example, if you’re a dentist in Phoenix, you want to make sure that your website and social media profiles are optimized for Phoenicians or people who might be looking for dentists in Phoenix, in addition to showcasing your competitive differentiators, value and culture.
You also need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Google will penalize websites in the search engine rankings if they are not responsive and easy to navigate on a phone and other mobile devices.
A commonly overlooked area of local SEO involves internal links. They need to link back to pages that are relevant for the user’s intent and location. This will help get more targeted traffic from local searches and increase chances of ranking higher in Google.
Maximizing Your Google Business Profile as Part of Your Local SEO Strategy
Google Business Profiles (GBPs), formerly Google My Business, can be leveraged as part of a comprehensive local SEO strategy.
GBPs are a free way to help your local business get found on Google. They allow you to upload photos of your business, link to your website and other social media accounts, display critical information about your business and show up in Google Search results for your local area.
It is extremely important to ensure your GBP details are consistent throughout the web; start with your main website – you’ll want to make sure any business details such as your business name, address, phone number and hours of operation match what is on your GBP. If you have listings (also known as citations) on other sites, you’ll want to make sure your business details on those listings match that of your GBP as well.
Citations tell Google whether key business information is correct and that location is the most relevant for a local searcher’s query.
What are the Challenges of Local SEO?
A presence in the local search results is crucial for local companies that want to grow their customer base.
Local SEO can be challenging because it requires a lot of attention to detail and consistency. It’s a long-term commitment, and success is dependent upon the amount of time and effort a business puts towards it. A company needs to have their name, address and phone number (NAP) details consistent across all platforms, as well as location-specific, high-quality content that is updated regularly. They also need to have an active social media presence to show up on the map of social media searches.
Conclusion: Why Businesses Should Focus on Local SEO
Local SEO is a critical part of the marketing puzzle for businesses that serve defined geographies. It helps companies attract new customers, keep their old ones and rank higher in Google search results.
If you’re ready to capture new business online, Aker Ink’s digital marketing experts can help. Learn more about our inbound marketing and public relations services, and discover an opportunity for your business with local SEO.