Attracting the right website traffic is just as important as attracting traffic to your website to begin with. When your website ranks in local search engine results, you have the opportunity to reach qualified potential customers who are located nearby.
Taking measures to dominate local SEO also eliminates a great deal of competition. There may be thousands of businesses offering what yours does, but only a handful serving your area.
Local SEO isn’t just for local brick and mortar stores.
It’s a common misconception that the benefits of local SEO apply only to local, physical locations. Not so!
To understand this, you have to look at Search from the perspective of search engines. They want to provide relevant, credible results to searchers. Scam websites want their true location to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. Because of this, search engines tend to place more of their trust with businesses tied to a physical location.
Proving your business actually exists somewhere sends a strong signal that you are credible and trustworthy.
Here’s what not to do:
Some webmasters create multiple listings and websites for different popular locations in an attempt to rank high locally in each one.
For example, imagine you own a marketing firm without a physical location. Instead, you work with businesses all over the United States. You create twenty separate websites – one for each of the top most populated cities across the U.S.. Each website targets a specific location based keyword and claims to operate in that location.
Search engines are much, much smarter than that. Every time a new, tricky tactic rears it’s head, Google makes a tweak to their algorithm to combat it. Multiple dishonest listings will only result in a headache for the staff member in charge of managing them.
But what if you actually do have multiple locations under the same business?
If your imaginary marketing firm actually does have brick and mortar offices in twenty different locations, don’t worry, you don’t have to ignore local SEO!
Showcase different locations with optimized pages.
If your business has multiple locations, keep your business under one website and create a different page to focus on each location. This means your website navigation should look something like this:
- About Company
- Our Locations
- Las Vegas, NV
- Orlando, FL
- Portland, OR
- Washington, DC
Alternatively, if you have a large number of locations that would be hard to list in a navigation, add a search function to your Our Locations page. However you choose to design the page, it should make finding your different offices/stores easy for users and, of course, search engine crawlers.
Optimize each location’s page in the normal way, with high quality content targeting unique local keywords.
Create a Google My Business listing.
If you haven’t created a Google My Business listing yet, for the love of God, please do it now! It’s easy, free, and is your surest way of ranking at the top of Google search engine results.
Sound too good to be true? In this case, it isn’t. Google My Business lists local businesses at the very top of local search queries, even above where the usual search engine results begin.
Having an updated Google My Business page will indirectly help your website’s local SEO as well. The more consistent signals there are establishing your business in a particular location, the more search engines will trust that you’re actually where you claim to be.
Find the right local keywords.
It isn’t enough to just tack on a city name to one of your business’s top keywords. You need to look at the data. Conduct keyword research to determine which local keywords are popular in search queries without being too popular with other websites.
Keep in mind that even if your city name is in a great keyword, you should double check that searchers are actually looking for your city. If you’re based in Riverside, for example, there is a city named Riverside in 46 out of the 50 United States.
Optimize title tags and meta descriptions.
Since the dawn of SEO, title tags and meta descriptions have mattered. These are one of the rare components of SEO that remain consistent. As they’re crawling your website content, search engine bots take a close look at those titles and metas.
Increasing the click through rate of your search engine result helps you continue to rank and helps with your overall goal of increasing website visits. This is why, as with all content, you should be writing with your audience in mind (not just search engines).
Think of your title tags and meta descriptions like a sign out front of a brick and mortar store. Does your sign invite potential customers in or send them driving on by? Use the same kind of language you would in a call to action.
Title Tag: Billy’s Hot Dog Stand
Meta Description: Family owned and operated. Hot dog stand in Orlando, Florida. Caterer for weddings, parties, and other events.
Title Tag: Billy’s Hot Dog Stand | Orlando, Florida Event & Wedding Caterer
Meta Description: Looking for a casual caterer in Orlando, Florida? Look no further! Billy’s Hot Dog Stand will make your event a one-of-a-kind experience. Get your instant quote here.
Work to earn links from other websites with local roots.
Unlike most backlinks, procuring local links can actually prove quite easy. Joining groups like Buy Local and attending a meet up here and there is all it takes.
Don’t shy away next time an event photographer tries to snap a photo of you networking with other businesses. These kind of local groups typically maintain an active presence across the web and social media, they may tag you in photos or link to your website.
Extra bonus points if you’re able to attract local media coverage. While you may cringe at the idea of giving an interview on television, this would give your business a significant advantage! Local news station and newspaper websites usually have a high domain authority and links from them are valuable.
Build relationships with journalists and newscasters. There’s no shame in submitting a story to them either, they’re always looking for content!
Create a profile on local review websites.
It doesn’t hurt to create a profile for your business on each popular review website. This will increase your credibility in the eyes of potential customers as well as search engines. Take care to keep details like your business’s address, phone number, and website URL consistent.
A few review websites to consider:
- Google My Business (as mentioned above)
- Yellow Pages
Whether you operate a local mom and pop shop or serve customers all over the world, local SEO is for you! Prove to search engines that your website isn’t just another traceless scammer with the tips we’ve shared above.