Dominate Local Search – Tips to Boost Your Business in Your Area

Small businesses often overlook the amount of effort necessary to get discovered online. Think about it. There are thousands of websites and millions of pages with more created every day. Even helping local customers find you is a massive undertaking. If you think you can just put together a one-page website on Wix and you’re done, it’s like putting your physical business back near the railroad tracks in the most dangerous part of town. In the digital age, dominating local search is paramount for businesses aiming to survive since most purchases (63%) now begin online.

buzz marketing

Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful tool for enhancing visibility, attracting potential customers, and outshining competitors within your local area. With the strategic implementation and attention to detail, businesses can significantly improve their online presence and attract local clientele. In this comprehensive guide, we unveil effective tips to elevate your local SEO game and propel your business forward in your area.

Simply put, local SEO is an SEO strategy for amplifying your local search visibility, especially on Google… As a competent business owner, you know what that means: whoever gets those top listings gets more online exposure and, ultimately, more leads and sales

Ash Aryal, CEO and Co-founder of Digital Spotlight, commented on the topic. This insight underscores the critical importance of securing top listings in local search results, not just for the sake of online visibility but as a fundamental strategy to drive business growth through increased leads and sales.

Why do you need local search?

Take a look at the image above. This reflects the type of listing you get as a local business when you set up your local search efforts right. This listing appears at the top of the page, just below sponsored content, so you have a great placement. Plus, the listing shows your ratings, hours, location, and other helpful information that attracts clicks to your website or sends traffic to your location.

Optimizing local search also helps local buyers find the products they want when buying from local businesses matters in their decisions.

How to optimize local search

To some extent, you optimize local SEO the same way you do any other SEO efforts. However, there are a few exceptions. That’s our next topic.

Optimize Google My Business (GMB) profile

Google My Business (GMB) is a fundamental element of local SEO. It acts as a virtual storefront for your business, providing essential information to potential customers who are searching for products or services in your area. To maximize the impact of your GMB profile, ensure that all the information requested is complete, accurate, and up-to-date. This includes your business name, address, phone number, website URL, business hours, and pricing. Additionally, incorporate high-quality images that showcase your products, services, and storefront to attract potential customers visually.

Nothing frustrates prospective buyers and negatively impacts your reputation than being closed during the hours or on the days you publicize online, having much higher prices, or having products that don’t match the images you provided. Customers visit your business only to find it closed, the products unaffordable, or of poor quality.

Local keyword research

Conducting thorough keyword research is essential for optimizing your website for any business, but for local businesses, you want to match local search queries. Start by identifying relevant terms and phrases that local customers use when searching for businesses similar to yours. Think of long-tailed keywords (see image below) to reflect the local appeal of your offerings. These keywords should reflect the products, services, and location of your business. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your website content, meta tags, headings, and image alt texts to improve your visibility in local search results. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs can help you identify valuable keywords with high search volume and low competition.

long-tail keywords
Image courtesy of Yoast

Create location-specific content

In today’s competitive digital landscape, creating high-quality, location-specific content is key to standing out in local search results. Develop blog posts, articles, and landing pages that address the unique needs, interests, and concerns of your local audience. Also, consider local idioms and the connection of your offerings to local shoppers. This could include topics such as local events, news, community initiatives, support for local nonprofits, and industry trends. By demonstrating your understanding of the local market and providing valuable insights, you can establish trust and credibility with your target audience, driving more traffic to your website and increasing conversions.

Optimize on-page elements

Optimizing on-page elements such as title tags, meta descriptions, and URL structures is crucial for improving your website’s visibility in local search results. Incorporate local keywords and location modifiers into these elements to make your content more relevant to local search queries. For example, if you’re a plumber based in New York City, you might use keywords like “plumber NYC” or “emergency plumbing services in Manhattan” to attract local customers. On the other hand, if you are based in LA, it would be a smart move to team up with an SEO agency from Los Angeles so they can suggest the right keywords for your business. Keep your titles and descriptions concise, informative, and engaging to encourage users to click through to your website.

local searchMobile optimization

With the increasing use of smartphones and mobile devices, optimizing your website for mobile users is more important than ever. A mobile-friendly website not only provides a better user experience but also helps improve your search engine rankings. Ensure that your website is responsive and loads quickly on all devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. Use mobile-friendly design principles such as large fonts, clear navigation menus, and touch-friendly buttons to make it easy for users to navigate your site on small screens.

Earn local backlinks

Backlinks from reputable websites play a significant role in determining your website’s authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines. In particular, local backlinks from websites and directories within your community can help improve your visibility in local search results. Reach out to local businesses, organizations, and influencers in your area and ask them to link to your website on their own. Develop relationships by networking with local businesses to encourage these backlinks since few will link to your content without such a relationship. Also, consider posting content related to local businesses as a means to encourage local businesses to reciprocate. You can also submit your website to local directories, chambers of commerce, and industry associations to earn valuable backlinks and improve your local SEO efforts.

Encourage customer reviews and ratings

Positive customer reviews and ratings can have a profound impact on your business’s reputation and credibility online, whether you’re a local business or not. They not only influence potential customers’ purchasing decisions but also signal to search engines that your business is trustworthy and reliable. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and ratings on your Google My Business profile, Facebook page, Yelp listing, and other relevant review platforms. Respond promptly to both positive and negative reviews to show that you value customer feedback and are committed to providing excellent service.

Utilize local structured data markup

This one’s a little more technical. It’s great if you can manage it, but unlike the other recommendations, this one takes a little skill.

Structured data markup is a form of code that provides search engines with additional information about your website and its content. By incorporating local structured data markup into your website, you can help search engines understand important details about your business, such as your address, phone number, business hours, and customer reviews. This, in turn, can improve your visibility in local search results and make it easier for potential customers to find and contact you online. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper and are useful tools for implementing structured data markup on your website.

choosing the right graphicsMonitor and analyze local SEO performance

Monitoring and analyzing your local SEO performance is essential for identifying areas for improvement and fine-tuning your strategy over time. Use tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and third-party SEO software to track key metrics such as organic traffic, keyword rankings, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Adding tracking codes to your links can help identify which efforts are most effective. Tracking is easy, even for a novice.

Pay attention to trends and patterns in your data, and look for opportunities to optimize your website, content, and online presence further. By regularly monitoring your local SEO performance, you can ensure that your business remains competitive and visible in local search results.

Final thoughts

Mastering the intricacies of local SEO is essential for businesses, especially small businesses, seeking to thrive in their local communities. By implementing the aforementioned tips and strategies, you can bolster your online presence, attract local customers, and establish your business as a dominant force in your area. Remember, consistency, relevance, and engagement are the cornerstones of effective local SEO – invest time and effort into optimizing your local presence and watch your business flourish in your local market.

By incorporating these SEO strategies, businesses can enhance their visibility and attract local clientele. From optimizing Google My Business profiles to earning local backlinks, each tip plays a crucial role in boosting local search rankings and driving organic traffic to your website. With the strategic implementation and ongoing refinement, businesses can position themselves as local authorities and thrive in their respective communities.

Need marketing help to support business growth?

We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies.  Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get our FREE guide to creating an awesome website, or contact us for more information on hiring us.

Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.