Are you struggling to generate business from local SEO? Executing an effective local SEO strategy that yields reliable traffic is not complicated when you follow a few simple steps. 97% of people looking for local services go online to search for information. Therefore, if you aren’t appearing on local search results, then customers will not find your business.
Companies worldwide use a proven methodology to climb the rankings and generate customers from local SEO traffic. There is no secret list of hacks or complicated strategies to get results. The steps outlined in this article will get you results as you climb the rankings and beat the competition in your local area.
What Is Local SEO And Why It’s Important
You’ve probably done a few Google searches that generate results where a list of businesses and their location on the map is displayed. An example of this can be seen in the picture below:
Executing a successful local SEO strategy increases your chances of appearing towards the top of these search results. It’s becoming increasingly more important because of how many people are using a smartphone for searches. They are actively looking to visit a local business and don’t have time to scroll through multiple listings. The top results receive the majority of the attention.
As this is such an important step in your business journey, you might want to consider hiring professional help from an expert service near you that would be better informed about your location. So if you’re a business operating in the NYC area, it’s better if you get help from professional SEO services New York-based.
Ranking On Google Maps
Appearing on Google maps is based on 2 factors:
1) Proximity: your likelihood of ranking increases as you get closer to the searcher – it’s not in your control.
2) Relevancy: Google, since its inception, focuses on providing the most relevant results. Relevancy in this context can be improved by updating your business profile, receiving more positive reviews, and increasing the number of local citations.
The 2nd point from above is how you can win in the local SEO game and there are a few key ingredients for the process.
Step Up With A Google My Business Account
Start by creating a Google My Business account to provide the search engine with accurate information. This enables Google to display the correct business information customers use to determine the quality and relevance of your business. Here are the important components:
* Business details. Add an accurate address and phone number so customers can find you. After searching, customers will walk to the specified location or call your business using the provided number.
* Category. The listing enables you to select a category, which you can use to give customers a better idea of what you’re business is about. You can add more than one category, but make sure they are relevant.
* Keywords. Write a business summary that’s concise and has prominent keywords to boost SEO traffic.
Take your time to complete all fields to add as much information possible for Google and customers. Beating the local competition comes down to entering more details - it’s that simple! Finally, you’ll need to verify your business listing. Request a verification postcard that contains a unique PIN.
The Art Of Photo Optimization
A Google My Business account is not complete without hordes of photos that clearly depict the business. We’ve given this topic special attention under a separate heading because of its importance.
Invest in professionally taken photos that allow customers to visualize your physical location. For example, if you run a restaurant, then the photos should give a clear sense of the interior décor and seating options. Photos of menu items will also generate interest.
Don’t forget to optimize the metadata of each photo, which includes the following components:
- Target keywords
- Latitude and longitude
- Physical address
- Location tags such as city and country
- Services related to the photo
You’ll receive photos from customers, which can also increase rankings. More photos is better since it gives customers additional information about your business.
Build Local Citations To Boost Rankings
Adding local citations is an ongoing process that takes a bit more work. The idea is to spread your business information around the internet using your business name, address and phone number (NAP). The NAP must be the same for each entry to avoid confusing the Google algorithm or creating multiple entries that compete with each other. Also, the information entered in your citations must be the same as in the Google My Business listing.
There are 3 types of citations:
1) Industry and location-specific directories. Populate all the relevant directories with your business information. There might be hundreds of possible directories, so it can take a while.
2) Large local business platforms. These include portals such as Google My Business, Acxiom, and Yelp.
3) Other citations. Options include relevant sites, blogs and publications. Similar to a backlink strategy used for on-page SEO.
Website SEO is another subject with a long list of optimization strategies that’s beyond the scope of this article. However, there are specific local SEO optimization steps that you can complete. Start by determining the local keywords customers use to find your business. They will have the location in the search term.
Create website pages and content that targets those keywords. Build a separate page for each location to increase your chances of ranking for each one. Your website must also have the same NAP to provide consistency with listings dotted around the internet.
Local SEO can be powerful when executed correctly. As you see above, the simple steps are not rocket science. Start by registering for a Google My Business account and provide the necessary details. Next, add photos and citations to improve the quality of your listing. Eventually, you’ll conquer the local SEO search traffic and increase the footfall to your physical location.