Marketers are always looking for opportunities to optimize their businesses. There is nothing wrong with optimizing your brand for the global market; however, only a few marketers focus on targeting the local search engine ranking.
It is a stated fact that to reach the top, one must start from the bottom. The same goes for local SEO strategies. To make a place for your business in the global market, you need to start from the bottom, i.e. local optimization strategies.
That said, not every business wants to target the global market and are satisfied by targeting a specific geographical location. This is true especially when it comes to brick and mortar businesses. The survival of such ventures depends on local customers, thus it is important to maintain a local business profile.
Why is local SEO important for businesses?
Nothing backs a statement better than research and solid facts.
To help you understand why you must optimize your business for local SEO, here are a few things:
* Around 85% of the online traffic specifically search for local businesses.
* Almost 60% of the searches are performed by people looking for local information about any business.
* 78% of people have said that they perform a local search to confirm the location of a store which they want to visit.
There are plenty of other facts that can prove the importance of local SEO. The bottom line is that with the ever-increasing competition, it becomes necessary to optimize your content, keywords, and backlinks with a local focus.
Strategies that can drive traffic
After understanding the importance of what local SEO can do for your business, here are a few strategies that can further benefit your cause.
1. Local Directories
Online directories have become the most desired medium for consumers to look up places. They play a vital role for local companies as these directories contain all the necessary information. From contact information to reviews, to pictures; directories provide easy access to local businesses. Doing this will help you drive maximum traffic to the original website and helps in generating revenue.
That said, there are hundreds of directories which makes it incredibly difficult for businesses to make a choice. After all, it is not possible to create and maintain your business profile consistently across every other platform.
Generally, there are general directories and niche-specific directories. The best way of approaching these categories is by opting for a niche-specific directory. Start by searching the popular directories in your region. Once you are done with that, you can start analyzing each directory to pick out a handful of winners.
You need to do all of this by keeping your business’ needs in mind. If you are looking to highlight your location, pick a directory that lets you do that. If you want to focus on pictures, then choose a suitable directory and vice versa.
2. Consistent NAP across all directories
Making a profile on the online directories is only a job half done. This is because you also need to keep it consistent when it comes to your contact information.
Your business’ name, address, and phone number (NAP) provide consumers with an outlet to get in touch with you. If that information is inconsistent across every other directory, then your potential clients will be confused.
Additionally, if you have more than one phone number, then ensure to list them all. Refrain from providing different numbers on different directories. Also, if you have updated your NAP, be sure to go through the directories and update the information.
The same goes for your business hours. Never skip on including this in your directories as this proves crucial for clients looking to visit your venture.
3. Ask your customers to leave good reviews
Customer reviews are huge right now. This is because potential clients go through them before forming their minds. According to the online consumers’ psyche, if a brand has tons of great reviews, then they are doing something right.
With that said, around 95% of shoppers go through online reviews before making a purchase. This statistic goes on to show how much influential reviews are for any business. The best way to handle this situation is by asking your customers to leave good reviews on any appropriate platform.
This way, when other people locally search your joint, they will be met with great reviews. This can influence their decision-making ability and will drive traffic towards your website.
4. Location-optimized landing pages
This strategy is interesting, but a little bit on the expensive side since you will have to design a separate landing page for every one of your locations. Additionally, location-optimized landing pages allow you to share promotions and time-sensitive offers. This not only drives local traffic but also increases your local search ranking.
Of course, when consumers will discover that you offer unique yet location-optimized opportunities, who would not want to visit your venture.
5. Google My Business (GMB)
GMB is similar to a master key that lets you operate Google Search, Google Maps, Google+, and other similar Google Platforms. This platform enables individuals to connect and manipulate their information from GMB which will be automatically updated on all the connected platforms.
Because it lists your venture across all Google platforms, it provides easy access to local consumers. This not only defines your online presence but also locally optimizes it for better ranking.
To set up your GMB profile; here is what you should do:
* Open Google Business and click on Start Now.
* Sign into your existing Gmail account or create a new one if you do not have one.
* Complete all the required details and apply for verification.
* You will receive a verification number through email or post.
* Enter the verification number in the appropriate field to verify your account.
Once your GMB listing is verified, you will be able to do all the things that we mentioned above. Also, keep in mind that setting up a profile in GMB is not a quick process. It usually requires around 3-4 business days to get a verification number.
6. Build a location-specific community
Generally, backlinks are important when it comes to SEO. It represents that one authoritative domain is vouching for the quality of the other domain to which the links have been provided. This ends up having an impact on the ranking of the latter domain.
If the same concept is applied to the local communities, chances are that businesses can enhance their local SEO, thus improving the traffic flow. To set everything in motion, you need to reach out to local communities and build relationships.
Once you have built a mutually benefiting relationship, you can then advance to the next stage. This is where you ask the other party to provide backlinks to your website. Once you have the required amount of backlinks, your local ranking would increase.
Here is an additional tip: always look for communities that share location-specific content. Also, only reach out to such pages that are operating in your community. Otherwise, it will be a waste of time.
If no such community exists in your area, you can reach out to your local media. This is because any kind of coverage, whether small or on a massive scale, will work in your favor. This is because such opportunities have the potential to boost your traffic.
7. Tackle bad reviews early on
Of course, not everyone will be dazzled by your services. Stuff happens and if you want to blame the bad reviews on an accidental mess-up, it is okay. But what is not okay is your unwillingness to deal with them early one.
Instead of cringing or beating yourself up for a bad review, you need to come up with a few strategies to deal with them. So first things first, start by reading the reviews. It can be a little tough; however, you need to analyze each review to get to the root of the problem.
Generally, the bad reviews usually have a basic issue, and upon identifying it, get in touch with the consumer. You can either leave a comment on their review or personally email them. Once a connection has been established, discuss the issue with them.
From there, handle the problem however you like. If you want to get their loyalty back, you can offer a promo code or you can send them a personal gift once they agree to do business with you again. If you successfully satisfy your client, you can ask them to update, delete or provide a new review altogether.
Anyone starting with local SEO has one question in their mind which is ‘how long before the results show up?’ If you also think the same, then you need to understand that local SEO is not easy. There is no magic word or shortcuts that can bring you the quickest results. It doesn’t even matter if you have the best SEO agency working for you. Just like everything else, local SEO is a step-by-step process. You need to go through every phase to make it to the top.
Remember, the key to success lies in consistency. If you are consistent with your SEO efforts, then you will soon taste the sweet fruit of success!