Google is where customers ask questions before they know your business is the answer.
It's where they find important information like your business's phone number, address, or website, get directions to your business and read reviews from previous customers to decide whether or not they should visit your business or your competitor's. That's why having a solid presence on Google is key to small business success in the digital marketing world.
Just look at these local SEO statistics:
- Nearly a third of consumers search for a local business online every day
- Searches containing "local" and "business" grew more than 80% year-over-year
- Nearly 80% of smartphone searches for local businesses lead to an in-store purchase
- Local searches lead to purchases 28% of the time
If you're new to SEO, the idea of implementing a local SEO strategy can seem daunting and time-consuming. To help, we've outlined four ways to improve SEO so your business shows up for the right searches, outranks competitors on Google, and gains local visibility.
1. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Creating a Google Business profile takes just a few minutes and is one of the easiest things you can do to ensure visibility in local search results. When you set up your profile, you supply your business address to Google. Google then sends a card to your business address containing a PIN you use to verify the address. Once that's done, you should see your business included on the map that Google displays when users in your area enter a search for your type of product or service.
When setting up your profile, it's important to include as much information as possible that Google asks for, such as business category, services, products, and hours of operation. The more info you can supply to Google, the more likely it will list your business in local search results.
2. Reach Out for Reviews
Did you know online reviews make up 16% of local ranking factors and are the second most important factor for getting found in local search?
Online reputation has quickly become a make-or-break variable for those looking for a local business online. Reviews have replaced traditional word-of-mouth recommendations for consumers today, with many of them expecting to see multiple recent reviews before being able to trust your business.
The number of reviews you have, how often new reviews are posted, and the quality of reviews all impact your business's local search visibility. Google Place IDs make it easy for customers to leave feedback for your business by creating a direct link to your page. You can even share the link on social media or paste it into an email to build a steady flow of online reviews.
3. Identify and Incorporate Local Keywords
Keywords are the words or phrases that people use to find information on search engines. By targeting specific keywords that pertain to your business, you can increase your chances of appearing for those searches. Successful keywords are related to your business, your products or services, and your location so you can target searchers in your area.
Once you've identified your keywords, you can follow the actions below to make them work for you.
- Using the keyword in the title of the page
- Using the keyword in the URL
- Using the keyword, and variations throughout the page copy
- Using the keyword in the meta tags, especially the meta description
- Using the keyword in any image file paths and in the images' alt text
- Using the keyword as the anchor text in links back to the page from elsewhere on the site
4. Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Most searches are now carried out on mobile devices, and 61% of mobile searchers say they are more likely to contact a local business if it has a mobile-friendly site. So, if your website is not performing well on a smartphone, then your business might not be getting the traffic it deserves.
Ensuring that your website is responsive (i.e., adapts automatically to display correctly on a smartphone) and loads very quickly on a mobile device are great places to start for local SEO success. Google has a great mobile-friendly testing tool that you can use to see how your website performs on a mobile device.
A successful local SEO strategy enables small businesses to reach more people, drive more conversations, and build their reputation. With nearly half of user searches on Google having a local intent, local search optimization is your chance to get found by consumers near you that are ready and willing to invest in your business.