Did you know that 46% of all Google searches are local? And search queries with “near me” or “close by” amazingly grew by more than 900% over two years. These are the searches that bring customers through the doors of businesses in a specific geographic location.
What this means is that a local search strategy is crucial. ¨åå¨åå¨påönstead of targeting a global audience, it’s all about reaching customers who live in a specific area close to your business.
So in this post, I’ll show you five easy ways to help your website rank in local search and get more customers to find your local stores. That way, you’ll also increase your organic traffic, clicks, conversions and ultimately grow your business.
But before digging in, let’s first explain what local SEO is since that’s the strategy we’re going to use.
What’s Local SEO?
Local SEO is a term for improving your online visibility to reach a location-specific audience. The main difference between “regular” SEO and local SEO is how you target your customers.
For instance, business owners with brick and mortar stores or who offer local services like AC repair use the internet to promote their brands and reach their local target audience. And the customers who are searching for the best products and services nearby expect local answers fast.
That’s why you want your local business listing to show up on Google’s first page so that you can get those customers. Let’s look at five ways you can make this happen.
1. Start by Optimizing for Local On-Page SEO
You should start by optimizing your local on-page SEO, which means optimizing your meta tags: the SEO title and meta description. When optimizing your meta tags, you also need to add the focus keyword or keyphrase you want to rank on Google.
More specifically, you’ll want to target keywords using words that focus on location. For example, if you have a juice bar, you’d want to use a keyphrase like “juice bar plus your local area.”
You can easily optimize your meta tags using a WordPress SEO plugin. These plugins will also help you optimize other on-page SEO elements that can help you rank on Google, such as XML sitemaps, robots.txt files, URL structure, image alt texts, etc.
More importantly, you can add local business schema markup to your website and help it show up in special SERP features like rich snippets and answer boxes. This will help you maximize your organic traffic, click-through rate, and boost rankings in search engines.
2. List Your Local Store on Google My Business
In the next step, I recommend creating a Google My Business profile. Google My Business profiles are specific to businesses that serve customers at a particular location or within a designated service area.
A Google My Business profile helps you be more visible in local search and Google Maps and put customers in front of your local stores. You can add your business’s contact information, photos, and customer reviews, which will show up in search results.
Best of all, this will help more customers find your local stores or services, which means more revenue and sales for your business.
However, don’t forget to enter the correct information. A detailed business profile listing can help customers pick your business instead of a competitor. No one likes to guess your opening hours and what products or services your store offers.
3. Submit Your Site to Local Directories
Next, submitting your site to local directories, such as Yelp and Bing, will put you in front of more customers and help establish your brand online. Yelp is a popular site, especially for customer reviews. People know that they can trust Yelp reviews and use them to discover new businesses. In addition, getting listed on Bing can help you gain more leads for your business.
Also, try to find niche-specific or industry-specific directories so that more prospective customers can find your business in your niche. To find these, you can use the Google giant and search for “your niche or industry, plus business directory.”
Not to forget, local directories also include social media networks. For example, Facebook lets you add your business information and boost your visibility online. Best of all, social media profiles tend to rank high in search results.
Overall, the best thing is to try to identify where your customers are listed and add your business to these directories.
4. Optimize Your Citations
Having consistent citations of your business name, address, and phone number across the internet is crucial for local SEO. Google scans all these listings to collect information about your business. And the data is then indexed (stored in Google’s database) and used when determining SEO rankings.
Consistent citations help Google and other search engines trust your business. On the other hand, conflicting info about a company can negatively impact your trustworthiness and SEO.
So, the first thing is to make sure that your business information is consistent. You are then adding it to your website, where it is easy to find. For example, on your homepage, footer, or the contact us page.
5. Take Advantage of Customer Reviews
An excellent strategy for any business is to take advantage of customer reviews. Testimonials can be seen straight from the search results and work as social proof that other people are happy with your products or services. More importantly, satisfied customers advocating for your products will lead to even more sales.
Customer reviews can also help your website rank higher in search engines. And the star ratings next to your business name will help your business stick out on Google’s Knowledge Graph card or Google Maps.
But how do you get more customer reviews, you may ask?
The simple answer on how to get more customer reviews is to ask your customers for them. If you don’t ask, it will take a lot longer to build up a good amount of reviews. Not many customers will take the initiative to leave your business a review, so asking will speed things up.
Other than that you can also offer them an incentive to write a review, like a 10% discount on their next order or give away something for free even.
If you need more help, Google offers a marketing kit where you can get free stickers, posters, and more to encourage people to leave a review on Google.
Always Respond to Your Reviews and Showcase Them
I need to stress that it’s vital to always respond to your reviews to engage with your customers, even if they’re negative. The way you answer a negative review will decide if customers would still choose your business.
More specifically, replying to reviews can help you build a relationship with your customers and boost engagement.
Don’t forget to showcase your 5-star reviews from your existing customers proudly. You should add them to all platforms to improve your credibility, such as your website, social media profiles, email newsletters, ads, and so forth.
That’s all for this post. Now it’s your turn to use these local SEO strategies to help customers find your local stores, grow your organic search traffic, and increase the revenue of your business.