5 Tips to Dominate Local SEO

As a small brick-and-mortar business, there’s nothing more important than dominating local SEO. Your traffic is much more targeted than online retailers with national customers. It can’t be stressed enough the importance of focusing your SEO strategy on keywords and phrases that involve the cities you serve. If you’re not convinced that dominating local SEO should be a part of your online marketing strategy, read on.

How about some stats to give you a little perspective:

  • 4 in 5 consumers want ads customized to their city, zip code, or immediate surroundings.
  • More than 60% of consumers have used location information in ads. They say it’s important to have a store address and phone number in ads on a computer/tablet, directions, and the call button in ads on a smartphone.
  • 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same.
  • 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information.
  • Around 3 billion search queries per month consist of local key phrases
  • Local searches lead to more purchases than non-local searches. 18% of local searches on smartphones lead to a purchase within a day vs. 7% of non-local searches.
  • 30% of Google searches are for local info

These stats say a lot about local search, and it should get you excited about taking a piece of this gigantic pie. Now, let’s see the different ways you can do just that.

Optimizing for local search can increase your online and offline traffic tremendously if you play your cards right. Here are the steps to take:

  • Classify Your Business as a Local Business

People won’t know that you’re a local business if you don’t let them know. In search engines that have indexed your business, you want to ensure that these listings get categorized as local businesses. First, you need to claim your Google My Business page and then classify your biz as a local one.

You should then optimize the page by including all the info needed for your profile, don’t forget to include your business description. Also, input your address and local phone number. You’ll have to choose relevant categories related to your business. Avoid spamming your page because Google frowns upon this and won’t hesitate to penalize you.

  • Maintain Consistency with Your Online Presence

If you have various listings around the Web, you want to make sure that they all have the same information. This simple step will make your small business seem more reliable and trustworthy. Check all of your listings to make sure they contain the same phone number, address, and descriptions. If you’ve recently moved locations or switched phone numbers, update these as soon as possible. The feel of your listings should also resemble one another so that it helps to establish you as a brand and you gain recognition for it. Google doesn’t like to showcase businesses’ profiles that are closed or have indications of a changed owner or data discrepancies.

Remember, this is about drawing in traffic, as well as building your online image. The more listings you have pointing back to your Web site, the better your rankings will be — and ultimately, your traffic and conversion rates.

  • Search and Claim All of Your Online Listings

The business listings you create online aren’t going to be the only ones you have to worry about. Other databases will pick up your listings, and you’ll have to find these to make sure that the information contained on those listings is up-to-date. You’ll first have to claim that the business is yours, and then you’ll be able to make adjustments to the listing.

You can get this started by adding your business listing to the top five local directors, including Google My Business, Yelp, Yahoo Local Listing, Bing Places for Business, and Manta. Then list in industry-specific directories. Take time to build up your listings regularly and search for those you have yet to claim. The more extensive your network of listings, the better your search engine ranking will be for related keywords — allowing you to dominate the local market.

  • Use Keywords to Optimize Your Social Listings

The business listings you have on search engines and social media will need an optimization with relevant keywords. Merely having your listings all over the place isn’t going to suffice — not if you want to dominate local SEO for your market. Choosing the right keywords can be confusing but can be done with a bit of research.

If you haven’t already, you should implement Google Analytics, so you can have a bird’s eye view of how your customers are finding your Web site. You will see the search terms they’re using, which you can then use for your listings. You can also try thinking of what people are likely typing into search engines to find your business offers. A bit of brainstorming and A/B testing can go a long way.

Just make sure that the keywords you choose aren’t too competitive. Check out the key phrases you plan to use using Google Keyword Planner before making your decisions. The longer your key phrases are, the less competitive they will be. Those key phrases are why local SEO isn’t too difficult to dominate. Simply add different city names to key terms that are already specific, and you have yourself a longtail keyword.

A great example is “Plumber”, which is too generic compared to “affordable plumber in Brooklyn NYC” or “24-hour plumber in Brooklyn NYC”. It’s much easier to rank in the local seven-pack as compared to regular organic search results. Here is an example:

  • Keep Your Content Fresh

If there’s anything search engines hate, it’s stale content. After you’ve taken the above steps, you will have to keep your local business relevant to search engines and people by updating your content. You don’t have to do this yourself — if your budget allows, you can invest in a copywriter to do this for you.

Your content needs to be high quality and regularly posted. An excellent way to do this is with the use of a blog. The content should also be fresh and engaging so that people will want to read and share it on social media. New blog material keeps up your ranking on search engines and helps to spread the word about your local business. Here are the other benefits of using content to dominate local SEO:

  1. It helps to position you as a thought leader in your local niche.
  2. It tells Google that you’re in a specific niche, so keep your topics niche-specific, and you’ll rank higher for your niche keywords.
  3. High-quality content will get you more organic inbound links, further improving your local position in search engines.

Your Local Business Has a Chance to Compete

If you thought that your small business couldn’t compete with the giants, think again. Local SEO is one of the sure ways you can attempt to become recognized as a leading provider of your service or product in your locale.

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