Today, most things are available online. People have been worried for years now about what the rise of the internet and e-commerce will do to local businesses that depend on having physical locations. However, while the internet has had a huge impact on the way businesses operate and what they need to do to survive, many local businesses haven’t learned to adapt. While the prevalence of the internet can complicate things for some local businesses, learning to use it to their advantage can help a business become even more successful.
Local SEO can help a business do this, but what exactly is it and how can you use it to benefit your business? This is essential for any local business today to learn about, and we’re here to help you improve your online presence so that you can reach your goals.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is similar to regular SEO in that it optimizes your website so that it performs better in the search results, but it’s specifically used for businesses with physical locations. When you have a physical local business, you only want traffic coming in from the areas where you provide services. This is different from other businesses that provide services remotely, such as an online store. While you want to bring in as much traffic to your website as possible, if it’s someone across the country who can’t use your business, it isn’t going to help you. While regular SEO tactics will certainly help you boost your site’s rankings, local SEO has specific tactics that help optimize your website to appeal to local searches.
Why is Local SEO Important?
Some businesses might make the mistake of assuming that since their business operates in-person, their website and other internet platforms aren’t as important as they would be for a remote business. Even if you own a local business, your audience is just as online as the audience of a business that doesn’t have a physical location.
Whether you’re a law firm, restaurant, doctor’s office, or any other type of business, people are going to be searching for you online. This is especially important for businesses in a competitive market where your audience has other options with a better online presence.
According to one recent study, 78% of consumers search for information online about local businesses more than once a week. You can be sure that people will be using Google to find out about your business, so you need to be sure the information they want is readily available to them.
How to Optimize for Local SEO
When you’re optimizing your website for local searches, you’ll still want to follow the same best practices that any website should use to improve its SEO. To ensure you’re doing everything you can to rank higher for local searches, there are a few local SEO techniques you’ll need to start implementing.
Localize Your Content
When you create content as a local business, you want to create content that is relevant to a local audience. There are a few different ways you can go about doing this. First, you want to ensure that you’re including localized keywords in your content. If you’re a personal injury lawyer in Wilkes-Barre, and you’re trying to rank for people searching for personal injury lawyers in Wilkes-Barre, this is a keyword you need to include in your content.
You can include references to local events and other details that would appeal to people within your community. Others who find your website might not understand it, but you’re not writing it for them. If you can tie things going on in your area or something your area is well-known for into your content, you can appeal to them more and cement yourself as a business that understands the community it’s in. This can be far more interesting and engaging than content that seems like it was written for everyone.
Optimize Your Google My Business
One of the major distinctions of local SEO from regular SEO is the importance of Google My Business. However, many businesses neglect to utilize Google My Business. One study reports that as many as 57% of local businesses haven’t claimed their listing. This is a huge number of businesses that are missing out on a great opportunity to boost their business online. Of course, if you’re one of the businesses that have taken the time to do this, you’re likely a step ahead of at least some of your competitors.
Not only do you need to claim your Google My Business listing, but you also need to optimize it like you would your website to ensure it’s the best that it can be. You want to ensure that your listing contains as much accurate information as you’re able to include. This doesn’t only include providing information like your address, but also adding photos of your business, updating the hours you’re open, and taking the time to respond to reviews of your business.
Utilize Location Pages
For large local businesses, you may have more than one location. When this is the case, you want to ensure that you have content on your website that targets all the areas you service. If you have offices in two different towns, you should create location pages that include keywords for those specific areas. While you may have one main location, you can’t focus everything around that one location and risk missing out on the business you could bring in from other areas.
Monitor Your Local Citations
Location citations are extremely important for a local business. This is also sometimes referred to as NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone. While this isn’t a confirmed ranking factor, many believe that consistent NAP citations can help improve local SEO. Of course, while NAP citations may be important to provide search engines information about your business, they’re also extremely important for users. If someone sees an incorrect phone number in one place on the internet and calls that number, they might not bother to try again when they realize it’s wrong. Having the wrong information about a business can be extremely frustrating, so for everyone’s sake, you need to ensure this is correct across the board.
This also means that your NAP citations have to be correct everywhere, not only on your website and GMB listing. If you’re referenced in any directories, articles, or other types of content, you need to ensure that all information about your business is correct. This may take some monitoring, but it’s extremely necessary to ensure people know how to get in touch with your business.
Keep It Mobile Friendly
While mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor for websites overall, it’s especially important when it comes to local searches, so it bears repeating. Users on desktops and mobile devices are both going to search for local businesses, but many users are likely going to use their mobile devices to do so.
This is especially true when users need to find an address for a local business. One study shows that as many as 50% of users prefer using their mobile devices when looking up a business’s address or on a map. Using a mobile device is often going to be easier when you’re looking for information on a local business, especially when you’re away from home. You need to ensure that your website is as mobile-friendly as possible so all users have a good experience with your online presence.
Get on Directories and Listings
People might not pay much attention to phone books anymore, but online directories are important for all local businesses. There are likely going to be plenty of directories and listings you can get your business in. Of course, the more places you can get people to see your business, the better. Some users might go to a directory they trust, whether it’s for all types of local businesses or ones specific to your industry before they start going to an individual business’s website, so it’s beneficial to get your name out there.
However, this can also help search engines boost your website’s SEO. Being featured on directories and listings helps make your business more credible in the eyes of search engines. Search engines want to know that you’re trustworthy and a legitimate business, and being included in directories and listings can help. This can also help you get links back to your website, which can also end up helping your SEO.
Let ENX2 Marketing Help with Your Local SEO
Local businesses have a lot of challenges to deal with today, so the last thing you might have on your mind is marketing, which you likely don’t have time in the day for. This is a lot of work to handle, which is why you need ENX2 Marketing. We can take care of everything you need for your website’s SEO and more, while you focus on running your business.