Are you familiar with local SEO but want to get better performance from this essential marketing tool? Or are you just discovering how important local SEO is when your business depends on customers in your geographic area? No matter where you are in your online marketing journey, prospective customers are always searching for what your business has to offer and there are several things you can do to make sure they find you.
First, a refresher on just how important it is for your prospective customers to find you before they find your competitors: Eighty-eight percent of local business searches turn into a visit or phone call within 24 hours. If you haven’t implemented good local SEO practices, you’re missing out on potential business. Now’s the time to make the time to improve your local SEO practices.
So, how do you do that? Here are 10 SEO optimization tips to help you improve your website traffic, attract better-qualified leads, and convert more site visitors into customers.
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1. Do Keyword Research with a Local Focus
Like every good SEO strategy, SEO for local businesses should begin with good keyword research. For local SEO, though, you'll need to look at keywords with your location in mind. Using a service like KWFinder to start your research, think like a potential customer. What would they search for? What would you type in to find a service like yours in another town?
For example, say you run a local coffee shop in Houston. To find you, someone might search for a term like "Houston coffee shop" or "best coffee near me." You'll want to attach your location to those keywords within your SEO strategy. So, your final list of keywords might include "coffee shop Houston" and "best coffee in Houston". When you have a list of the keywords you want to target, you'll be ready to use them throughout your website.
2. Optimize Meta Tags With Local Keywords
When it comes to improving SEO, one of the best places to put your keyword research to work is within your meta tags. Search engines like Google use meta description information to learn more about what the pages on your website are about. Use those keywords as naturally as possible in both the title tags and meta descriptions for each page of your website. This will help local searchers find your page more easily and, at a glance, see that it's giving them the information they need.
3. Create Location-Specific Web Pages
Add some location-specific pages to your website using your keywords. For example, if you are a plumber, along with your main plumbing website add some pages for each of the cities you serve. Along with city names, you can target counties, neighborhoods, and district names. Be sure that you include your location-specific keywords in the content of each new page, too. This will increase the chances Google delivers it as a page one result.
4. Optimize URLs on New Web Pages
When building those new location-specific pages, make sure you optimize the URLs, too. URLs are often overlooked in local SEO strategies, but they are actually an important factor in how your page ranks in results. URLs are another signal to tell a search engine what the page is about and what its target might be. That helps the search engine deliver more accurate results to the searcher and increases your chance of being on the first page.
5. Optimize Your Site for Mobile Viewing
Local searches are overwhelmingly done on mobile devices, so make sure your website is mobile-friendly. If you fail to make your website user-friendly on a mobile device, you risk losing potential customers to your competitors. HubSpot found that 61% of searchers are more likely to call a business if they have a mobile-friendly website.
6. Create Local Content Strategically
When you are creating content for your blog or social media channels, give it a local focus. Write about local events, feature other local businesses, or talk about the history of your area. Try to generate cross-linking with other local businesses, too, for an added SEO boost.
7. Optimize Your Site for Speed
Long gone are the days of dial-up and painfully slow download times. Customers expect their internet experience to be nearly instantaneous. Your website should be no exception. Websites that are slow and clunky to load (especially on a mobile device) have a much higher bounce rate. So slow-loading pages could be a gift to your competition. Monitor your page speed rates and do what you can to make them as fast as possible. The easiest way to see your page speed score and get optimization tips is to visit Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and add your URL.
8. Create a Strategy and Monitor Your Online Reviews
Online reviews have a big impact on whether a potential customer chooses your business. Make sure you stay on top of online reviews with a strong strategy. Start by soliciting positive reviews from your customers to boot your online rating. If you do get a less-than-stellar review from someone, make sure you respond to it publicly. Potential customers are more likely to forgive a bad review when they know you care enough to address the issue.
9. Create and Claim Your Google My Business Profile
Google uses your Google My Business profile to pull information not only for text searches but for voice searches as well. So if someone asks their Google device "Where is the nearest coffee shop," your information will only pop up if your Google My Business profile is complete. Take time to fill out the information and keep it updated. It only takes a few minutes but can have a significant impact on your web traffic.
10. Keep Monitoring Your Local Results
Slow and steady wins the race here. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for local SEO, so you'll need to find what works best for your business. Making small, incremental adjustments here or there allows you to fine-tune your strategy into something that's really working for both you and your customers. Keep an eye on your metrics or have a digital marketing company do that on your behalf. Your analytics can tell you what keywords are paying off with conversions and what's falling flat.
Looking for More Local SEO Tips?
Improving your local SEO takes time. As a business owner, it may not be time that you have to give. If you need help implementing your local SEO and increasing your traffic, talk to our team. We work with businesses to develop strong local SEO strategies that focus on getting conversions. Contact us for a free consultation and let's talk about how we can help improve your local SEO marketing strategy.
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