Local SEO Checklist: Best Tips for Effective Results
WHAT IS LOCAL SEO?
Local SEO is a marketing strategy for making local businesses discoverable in search engines. This marketing strategy focuses on different SEO factors such as on-page optimization, content, and link building to improve your website’s search engine ranking. The goal of local SEO is to get websites to the front page of Google for relevant local searches. This allows businesses to target customers in their area who are searching for certain products, services, or solutions. Local SEO that is properly implemented can increase revenue, brand recognition, and customer base!
WHY LOCAL SEO IS SO IMPORTANT?
Local SEO is extremely important because most people turn to the internet when searching for solutions to their problems. This means that traditional marketing efforts like flyers and paid ads are not enough to capture potential customers. In addition, local SEO can help businesses expand their customer base to travelers and expand their reach beyond just local clientele.
Let’s say you are visiting Orlando, Florida and you want to get the best ice cream nearby. You would search ‘Best Ice Cream near me’ and Google would provide you with some options to choose from. If a business doesn’t have a strong Local SEO strategy their ice cream shop will not rank on this list, even if they do have the best ice cream in town! Businesses like this will miss out on many customers. However, when businesses optimize Local SEO they can begin to see explosive growth!
To visualize the importance of Local SEO statistically, consider that 82% of the population is relying primarily on Google to determine where to eat, where to do their shopping, and who to hire when they need specific services! This means that a large number of people are ready to convert to new customers every time they search and you want your website to be the one they find!
Local SEO Checklist!
Follow these easy actionable Local SEO tips and tricks to boost your discoverability and web presence.
1) Create an Optimized “Google My Business” Page
One of the first steps to get your website to the first page of Google for local keywords is to claim your Google My Business page. This is an easy way to let Google know that you are a legitimate business and gives you a way to communicate that to users searching for your products/services. Make sure to write a relevant and thoughtful description of your business and to list the relevant categories that your business falls into.
Make sure your listing is the most impactful for Local SEO by including the following:
As many relevant pictures as possible.
Accurate NAP (name, address and phone number)
Accurate hours of operations
As many genuine customer reviews as possible
Professional and high-resolution cover and profile images.
This is an important first step to make sure that your business is easily searchable!
2) Ensure that You Have a Consistent NAP
Having a consistent NAP (name, address, and phone number) across all of your different channels is a simple but essential factor for ranking highly in your area.
Your NAP must be exactly the same on your Google My Business listing, your website, and your social media accounts in order to satisfy Google’s algorithm. It may seem like a minor detail to have different phone numbers on your Instagram and your Facebook, but these details have a huge effect on local search rankings.
When your NAP is consistent across platforms it helps reinforce your legitimacy to search engines, and the more trustworthy your site is the easier it is to rank highly. So make sure to avoid penalties for inconsistent NAP by carefully checking this information everywhere that you have made it available.
3) Make Reviews Highly Visible
Customer reviews are essential for successful Local SEO and for successful business operations overall because people want to know your business’s reputation before becoming a new customer. Reviews provide useful information to potential customers, they have a direct impact on search rankings and they provide a source of social proof. All of these factors can help make your business a customer’s choice over the competition!
So how can you get genuine customer reviews to start seeing those positive effects on your business? One way you can do this is by reaching out to your existing customer base on email or through social media and incentivizing them to leave a review with an offer like an in-store discount, online coupon, or points in your loyalty system. Make sure to make the review section of your website easy to use and to encourage customers to leave reviews on third-party sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor as well!
4) Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly
Websites need to be accessible from all web browsing devices to maximize their reach, but many businesses lack in this area. Over 40% of small companies do not have a website that is fully optimized for mobile viewing! Meanwhile, Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. Average smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared to the average desktop conversion rates.
It is absolutely essential to successful Local SEO to have a functional mobile-friendly website so that you can capitalize on all potential customers!
5) Create Excellent and Relevant Local Content
Content is a gateway to your website and content marketing is very important for good SEO. If you create content that is relevant, useful, entertaining, or educational it provides value to users and makes them more likely to share that content and to remember your brand. This creates a positive feedback loop of increased traffic and increased conversion. In order to create excellent content conduct research on what your target customers are interested in and then relating those interests to your business and to local trends.
One great way to share content is through Guest Posting! Guest Posting allows you to share your content on other trustworthy websites, and this brings referral traffic and creates backlinks, both of which are great for increasing local SEO.
6) Eliminate Any Duplicate Listings
If there is one thing that Google hates more than anything else, it is duplicate listings. It worsens user experience and wastes Google’s resources which can lead to hefty search engine penalties. Fortunately, this is a very easy problem to address, you just need to use a free search analysis tool like Moz Local to identify if there are any duplicate pages and if there is contact google right away and ask them to be deleted. This will help you avoid penalties and make it more pleasant for users to search for your business.
Focusing on Local SEO is a great way to grow your business and increase your success and it can be achieved in simple and easy steps. If you want to see amazing results then make sure to implement the Local SEO tips discussed in this article!