Everyone knows the importance of SEO. But what about optimizing your website to reach people near you? Shifting your focus to local search results (also known as Local SEO) can help boost website traffic, leads and conversions – tapping into a base of local customers. People near you are also more likely to be interested in your product/service.
But to thrive in local search, you need to do things a little bit differently than generic SEO. The only basic requirement is that you have a name, physical address and phone number (or do not operate solely online). The rest is all about using the right tools.
Start with a “Google My Business” account
For businesses who are just beginning their efforts to improve local SEO, the first place to start is setting up a Google My Business listing. GMB is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. This includes adding your business name, location, and hours; monitoring and replying to customer reviews; adding photos; learning where and how people are searching for you, and more. This is where you can ensure your business information on Google is both correct and optimized.
Emphasize location on your website.
Your website should include the business name, address, and phone number along with store hours and description. The best way to highlight this information for Google to see is by including it on the website footer and creating a location landing page. A location landing page can include a Google Maps snippet, information on parking, current promotions and even testimonials. You can also use your blog to share content about local news, events and activities. This will send a message to Google that your website relates to things going on in the area.
Focus on local keywords
It’s important to figure out what people are searching to find your business in the first place. Think of the different areas that you service and where your customers come from. Be sure to include the names of relevant cities, towns, neighborhoods, etc. in the content on your website and blog posts. For help with finding local keywords, Google’s Keyword Planner provides you with filtered keyword searches based on location – so you get an idea of the popular search terms for a given area. This also lets you create a list of locally relevant keywords to target. Once you know what you’re ranking for, you can optimize your website and blog posts to rank for other related searches.
Create several business listings
Establish credibility by registering with other popular business listing sites for your industry. Examples include Google+, Yelp and Yellow Pages. Each local profile you create will help drive people back to your website and build credibility with Google. The same goes for social media pages we well, so make sure you include your address and phone number in the about section on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Google is able to compare the contact information on your website to information listed on other websites across web.