If you’ve spent any time in the world of search engine optimization (SEO), you know it’s always changing. For geographically bound businesses, building out local SEO is an excellent strategy for capturing additional market share. Local searchers, both on desktop and mobile, often know exactly what they’re looking for, and your business needs to be ready for them. By using local SEO strategies and services to your advantage, you can be at the top of Google results at the right time and place for your customers. Learn how to rank highly in local SEO results and beat out your competitors.
What is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization is all about effectively marketing your business online to customers in a close radius. Using local SEO strategies like building out reviews, using business directories, and creating localized content can help companies to rank highly on search engine results pages, where web users will discover them. 46% of Google searches are local, 50% of local mobile searches are looking for a specific business, and 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase, according to BrightLocal. Mobile search and online shopping are increasing each year rapidly, so developing a strategy to convert mobile buyers is essential for success.
There are many advantages to local SEO, as it has a much higher return on investment (ROI) than other advertising methods. Local search relies on proximity and convenience. Customers native to your area and those visiting rely on search engines to find businesses and reviews, and if they can’t find your information, they won’t purchase from you. A solid overall SEO strategy will help you in local search results, but there are additional steps you can take to boost your rankings and attract more business in your area.
How Can I Boost My Local SEO Rankings?
Succeed in local SEO marketing by engaging with your customers and becoming verified locally. Taking these steps will help your business on its way toward the top of the page for local SEO results:
- Garner Additional Reviews — High-quality reviews with pictures and text on your Google My Business page and other platforms like Yelp and Facebook build up your profile. You can ask customers to write reviews but can’t offer them any compensation.
- Reply to Those Reviews — Answering reviews, both positive and negative, can help boost your position. You’re actively engaging with customers, which shows you care about your business to Google and potential customers.
- Use Google + Local — Link your Google My Business page to a Google + Local page and use the social media platform to post new content and engage with customers
- Utilize Social Media — Depending on your business, use different social media platforms to connect with your customers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Post photos of your business, upload new content and reply to questions and reviews.
- Link to Qualified Data Sources — Many potential customers trust third-party websites like Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau to verify the authenticity and trustworthiness of a business. If these types of organizations link to your site, it can help you show up on Google’s radar.
- Consistency for Structured Citations- It’s vital that your business’s Complete Name, Address, and Phone Number (known as NAP) are correct and consistent across all uses online. A “structured citation” is your business’s listing on an online local business directory. If your company has multiple incorrect phone numbers, different names, and wrong addresses, it will lower your ability to show up in results.
Take these steps, and you’ll be on your way to ranking highly for local search results. Your business type and competition may require additional steps to push your website to the top of the rankings and into Google’s local three-pack (the three local sites near the searcher’s GPS location).
How Can I Differentiate My Website from Competitors?
By following many of the previous steps, you probably already have an advantage over competitors in your local market. Many businesses haven’t claimed their Google My Business listing and are therefore decreasing its usability. Using additional local SEO tactics can help you claim one of the top spots:
- Encourage More Reviews — Getting high-quality reviews will help you beat out the competition. Aim for detailed, five-star reviews.
- Use Specific Google My Business Categories — Google allows you to specify categories for your business website and to be precise and intentional can help you flourish. Don’t overload Google with categories, but do target all areas of your business.
- Research Your Competitors — Employ simple market research. If a competitor is beating you, see what they’re doing and do it better. If you’re an ice cream shop and your competitor is offering a loyalty program, create a more seamless program with better rewards.
- List a Physical Address — Whether you have an actual store for customers to visit, a real address that’s not a P.O. Box or virtual is necessary. Google values individual addresses in the city of search.
If you need additional advice on how to beat out rival businesses, talk to Leverage Marketing about our local SEO services. Our SEO team will implement a strategy based on your goals, growing your organic traffic and helping you get discovered in local search results. Contact us today to see how the Leverage Way can make a difference for your business.