The Local SEO Guide For Small Businesses In 2021Adam Steele
If your business has a physical location or serves a particular area, you need to focus on local SEO. This will involve targeting local keywords, creating localized content, and more to catch the eye of customers in your area.
By doing this, you can build local brand awareness, attract new customers, and get more foot traffic. In this article, we’re going to guide you through the process so you can optimize your online presence!
Make the most of your Google My Business listings
First things first: claim your Google My Business listing to boost your presence on Google. You can do this by searching for your business through the search engine, clicking “claim my business”, and following the verification process. You can then start to acquire Google Reviews, show up in more local Google searches, attract more traffic to your website, and build trust with your ideal audience.
Once you’ve claimed it, optimizing your listing is key! Complete your profile by adding your contact information, location, opening hours, and website link. Adding recent pictures and keeping them up-to-date will help, too. You should be answering questions and responding to reviews frequently, as well.
Let’s take a look at an optimized listing vs. an unoptimized one, courtesy of Wordstream. Which one would you click on?
Make sure you have location pages on your website
If your small business has multiple locations, dedicate a webpage to each of them. On these pages, include the location’s address, name, phone number, and opening hours. As COVID-19 restrictions change or start to lift, it can also be helpful to include the likes of changing hours and curbside pickup options.
Take a look at how well Bay Property Management Group optimizes their location page for Prince George’s County, Maryland. Their title, headers, and body copy all include the location, which tells the search engine where they are. They also include their Google Maps location in addition to the different areas they serve in the county.
Ensure your NAP is consistent across the board
Make sure that your company name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent on every platform. This helps build customer trust, increases searchability through web and voice, and boosts Google Maps reliability.
When Google sees your NAP, it gives the algorithm more context about your location; this helps ensure that the search engine shows your business to the right people. Make sure it’s written the same way every time, with consistent abbreviations, and suite numbers across every platform. If your details change, update this on every platform as soon as possible. If you don’t, you risk inconveniencing customers and sending them to the wrong location.
Publish plenty of local content on your website
Creating content with a local angle gives search engines more context about your location. For instance, hotels could create a list of the best restaurants in the area, or a pet shop could showcase the best dog-friendly parks.
Airbnb, with locations all over the world, utilizes local content well in their blog. The Local Lens section highlights the best places to eat, drink, and shop in various cities. This content showcases Airbnb’s expertise and tells Google they have locations in Nashville, for example.
Target local keywords with your content
Your business doesn’t need to rank number one nationally but, by targeting local keywords, you can rank for relevant queries in your area! Knowing your audience and showing that you understand their local culture will help get you more customers; targeting keywords is a great way to do this.
You can carry out local keyword research by using a tool like Google Keyword Planner. Consider tagging your keywords with location-based phrases to help target your content. For instance, if you have a restaurant in New York City, you don’t need to rank nationally — you just need to rank well in your area. Instead of targeting “best restaurants,” you might target “best restaurants near 30 Rock” or “best restaurants near the Empire State Building”.
TimeOut, a guide to various cities around the world, targets local keywords perfectly. In their article on where to eat near the Empire State Building, they outline 14 different restaurants with their costs, food options, locations, and more. Notice how in the article they mention the relevant locations (Empire State Building, Midtown, Penn Station, Madison Square Garden) in their title, headers, and copy. By targeting local keywords, they were able to rank on the first page of Google for the phrase, “best restaurants near the Empire State Building.”
Encourage customers to leave reviews (especially on Google)
People often research a business before making a purchase and online reviews can increase transparency and trust. Plus, Google likes to show searchers well-reviewed businesses and tends to rank them higher. To get more reviews, encourage people to discuss a positive experience they have had with your employees, offer them incentives, and link to your review page with a clear call-to-action (CTA).
Google Reviews also offer a great way to learn what your business is doing well and what you need to work on. Be sure to reply to all reviews, good and bad — this will help to show you care about feedback and build trust!
Start building local links
Link building is an extremely important SEO tactic. This is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other quality, authoritative websites. When Google sees this, they take it as a vote of confidence in your authority and will give you a boost on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
To start, make sure local business directories have links to your website. Then, reach out to local businesses to start building a relationship with them. Once you’ve established a rapport, it will be easier for you to start discussing creating content together.
Think about how you could collaborate with other local businesses to build backlinks. For instance, if you’re a local fishing guide, you could draft up a listicle of restaurants in the area that make to-go breakfasts for fishermen. One of the restaurants could, in return, feature you in a post about the best spots along the river for fishing and a picnic. Local bloggers, influencers, or newspapers might be willing to feature you on their website. They might want to cover an event you’re holding at your business, showcase a new product launch, or do a feature story on something your business has done for a local charity, for instance.
By giving your local SEO a boost, you can get more website traffic from people in your area and increase your customer base. With local keyword research, link building, content, and more, you can maximize your efforts.
It can be a lot of work for a growing company, though, so you might want to consider bringing on an SEO expert. If you need help making the decision, check out Smart Hustle’s guide on the subject.