Most local businesses face unique challenges when it comes to digital marketing. They have to balance two different audiences: digital and local. On one hand, they have a website that faces the same marketing challenges as any other online. On the other, they still are a brick and mortar business that needs to draw a local crowd.
These separate challenges can complicate marketing efforts, especially for search engine optimization. A good number of websites struggle with local SEO to bring in new local customers. If your business experiences these kinds of challenges, don’t fret.
We’re going to look at 11 strategies to turn you into a local SEO expert. They are easy and effective. Use these strategies to make your website more attractive to local customers.
1. Lay Out Your Goals
The first thing any local SEO expert needs is a concrete idea of what should get done. Since many people use local search to find websites, goals help direct efforts. They will also provide a clear measure of success as you begin to implement the rest of these strategies.
Ask yourself, what do you hope to accomplish? Maybe you want to increase traffic to your site or increase business awareness. Perhaps you hope to build a local social media presence.
Whatever your goals are, be clear and specific. Add a number you can hit (i.e. 200 new Twitter followers) whenever you can. Finally, keep these goals close as you move forward.
2. Develop a Content Strategy
Most search engines are looking for quality websites. High-quality websites typically rank higher than the low-quality competition. To measure quality, most search engines look at content.
Whether it’s running a blog or just updating your website’s text, good content is a must. A local SEO expert knows how to assess the content. The most important thing is that content is accurate and useful to visitors.
A strategy will help you plan out what kind of content you need to create. This strategy will also layout how you intend to deliver this content to new visitors.
3. Have a Locally Focused Blog
A blog is an effective way to get good content out to the world. Blogs allow you to express your personal expertise and offer useful information. They can also lead to higher rankings on search engines.
Having a locally focused blog will keep your content focused on the community. Long posts typically do well since they offer in-depth content. This will let search engines know your site is connected locally. If your competitors lack this kind of connection, your website will stand out.
Focus on local matters and concerns. The more you cover local events or offer useful information, the more people will engage with the blog.
4. Research Local Keywords
A local SEO expert is concerned with the same things as any SEO expert. One of the biggest concerns is finding the most effective keywords to rank on. Local keywords are specific to your community. They are the most common keywords locals use online.
Make a list of keywords related to your business. Try to have as many possibilities as you can think of. Then, go online and research how frequently these keywords are searched for locally. The best keywords will be the ones with a high search frequency but with small competition.
5. Create a Google Business Profile
Google has made it easy to offer useful information to potential customers. A Google business profile allows you to distribute this information any time someone searches locally. For example, if someone searches for local restaurants, businesses with profiles will come up.
These profiles offer an extra avenue for information. They also create a handy backlink that can increase your site’s search engine ranking. They are easy to set up as long as you have the information on hand.
When you set up this profile, make sure to update it as much as necessary if the information becomes outdated.
6. Push Location Information
One important term for a local SEO expert is “NAP.” This stands for Name, Address, Phone, and refers to the basic information people need to learn about your business. This information is vital to have on your website and any other third party sites.
Many businesses bury their local information behind links and pages. This forces visitors to search for the information. In most cases, they are more likely to give up.
Make sure this information is visible on the front page of your site. You can also include this information in SEO descriptions and your meta tags for search engines.
7. Backlink from Review Sites
Backlinks are a powerful weapon for any local SEO expert. These are links on other websites that direct back to your own. Search engines use this kind of link as a way to assess a website’s presence in the digital community. In other words, more backlinks are good.
Review sites are great sources of backlinks. Sites like Yelp allow you to create a page for your business where customers can go and add a review about your business. This builds credibility and can be persuasive to other potential customers.
Most of these sites allow a direct link to the website. This link acts as a backlink search engines include in their internal assessment. The link can also act as a funnel for new web traffic if your reviews are good.
8. Add Local Social Media Communities
Social media is big. However, many local communities exist on sites like Facebook and Twitter that you can participate in. Having a connection with local social media communities is an organic form of marketing. It lets people know about your business.
If you link to these communities, you can also increase your SEO ranking. Just like backlinks, outbound links show a website exists in a greater digital community. Links and social media mentions to these communities help build your site’s overall authority.
Make sure that these local communities are related to your website or business. It can be obvious when a business is participating just to market their products and services. People like authentic engagement. If you can’t offer that authenticity, it’s best not to participate.
9. Remove Duplicate Content
A local SEO expert is concerned with things that can decrease a website’s overall search ranking. One of the biggest issues they face is duplicate content. If you have the same content in multiple spots on the website or elsewhere, search engines will take note.
Usually, duplicate content means a website is reusing the same old text and images. This creates a lack of originality that search engines try to eliminate from their results. There are many tools and services you can use to find and remove these duplicates if necessary.
10. Link and Backlink to Other Local Businesses
A good link and backlink strategy can build a website’s authority naturally. The most important thing is the quality of the link. In other words, search engines want to be sure that the linking website is also high quality.
You should monitor what types of sites you are connected with. Local businesses are a great source of links and backlinks. This creates more connections with the local community that boost your ranking performance.
Be careful with this type of business since it’s easy to link to your competitors. While this isn’t the end of the world, it can work against you if potential customers go to another website.
11. Get Listed in Local Directories
There are many online sources that list local businesses that you should find and join. Local business directories are common on many popular search engines. Besides Google’s business directory, other sites include Yelp and Yahoo.
Once more, these directories are a good source for quality backlinks. The specifics will vary, but most directories will have you fill out a profile that includes a direct link. You don’t need to join all of them to reap the benefits, so focus on the directories that make the most sense.
Business directories also have a practical benefit for potential customers. These directories organize businesses into different categories to help visitors search. This means they are more likely to find your business if it is listed correctly.
Thinking Like a Local SEO Expert
Getting your website to perform well on local search results is an ongoing process. A local SEO expert makes it a full-time mission to achieve success. While it can take some time, it isn’t a difficult thing to do.
If you want to handle your local search performance like a local SEO expert, start by revamping your website’s SEO. Focus on the duplicate content, research your keywords, and more. After that, turn your attention to the backlinks and local community outreach. If you divide the whole process up into steps, it will be more manageable in the long run.
Want someone else to handle your local SEO? The HOTH offers a variety of local SEO services that will jumpstart your local performance. They can research keywords, find duplicate content, and much more.
Let us be your local SEO expert!