When it comes to promoting your new business locally, local SEO is one of the most crucial marketing tools. Local SEO is the best way to increase rankings, traffic and leads. More than 90% of consumers search on the local search engines for any products or services. So, it is an essential tool for businesses looking to attract potential customers.
It does not matter whether your business has a physical location or it is an online business that serves a specific location, you should have a strong local SEO strategy for targeting localized searches and users in your area. With the right strategy, you rank higher in Google search, outshine your competitors, and attract even more customers.
We have shared below a complete guide to creating a local SEO strategy for any business to bring leads and generate more revenue.
Does Your Business Need a Local SEO Strategy?
Before promoting your business locally, you should know if you need it at all. Remember, not all businesses need local SEO. If your business serves specific location/s, only then, you have to rank your business high in the local search engines. Google considers different local search ranking signals when determining how to rank a website in the MapPack.
That is why it’s imperative to be strategic about your local SEO. To give your business a competitive edge, strategize your local business SEO and promote it efficiently.
Types of Businesses That Need Local SEO
- Bars and restaurants
- Auto dealers
- Colleges and universities
- Medical service providers
- Law offices
- Local contractors
- Real estate companies
- Local marketing agencies
- Stores and boutiques
- Hair salons
- Government agencies
- Local non-profit organizations
- Coffee shops
- Local consultants
- Any other business that wants to be found locally
Why Local SEO is Important:
There are several undeniable benefits of doing local SEO. The first benefit that comes to mind for most people is increased traffic. However, there are many more perks that can drive your business growth with local SEO. To get the most out of it, you should have a professionally made local SEO strategy.
Some of the benefits of local SEO include:
- Reduced ad costs
- More localized backlinks
- Higher website authority
- Increased organic traffic
- More relevant traffic
- Improved social signals
- More customer reviews
- Increased brand awareness and trust
- Better website experience for users
Creating Your Local SEO Strategy
If you find your business needs local SEO Solutions, then you should have an effective strategy for it. To create the most effective local SEO strategy, you can follow a few steps. They are –
1. Take Stock of Your Services and Products
Ranking your business needs a few factors to consider. Determine on what terms you want your business to rank. It will be based on the type of service or products you offer. For example, if you own a local digital marketing agency, your services will include – Facebook marketing, social media marketing, paid advertising and many more. And if you are a restaurant owner in Mexico, you might put your “services” under the umbrella of “Mexican food,” “Mexican restaurant,” “taco place,” etc.
The primary thing is that you have to consider what your business offers and determine the keywords customers might be searching online. Make a list of these terms to implement later. You can use local SEO tools to search for the geo-specific keywords, assess search volume, and ultimately determine which keywords to target on your website.
2. Audit Your Existing Website
Optimization of your site is required to create a perfect local SEO strategy, but before that, you have to audit your existing website to understand the flaws and the strength of your website and your competitor’s sites. An SEO audit can help you recognize if there are any technical or on-page SEO issues that could be an obstacle in the path of your success. These issues should be addressed before you worry about creating new SEO content, building backlinks, etc.
To audit your existing website, you can use Semrush, one of the best SEO tools for the comprehensive site audit. It will help you to generate a report of all your site’s issues. However, to conduct the most effective SEO audit, you can hire an SEO expert who can thoroughly audit your site and come back with a list of items that need to be addressed.
If you are doing it yourself, you can look for the following issues –
- Slow site speed
- Missing page titles
- Missing meta descriptions
- Broken links
- Duplicate content
- No XML sitemap
- No HTTPS security
- Poor indexation
- Poor mobile optimization
3. Conduct Competitor Keyword Research
Improving your website is not sufficient if you want to create the most effective local SEO strategy and rank high on the local search. You have to conduct competitor keyword research to determine what keywords your competitors are ranking, where their backlinks are coming from, and more. For that, you can use SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs. You can also see for what keywords your site is already ranking. Find out the search volume and competition metrics to determine whether these keywords are a good fit for your own site.
Remember, all the keywords of your competitors might not be the perfect fit for you. You have to target keywords wisely and make sure they fit the service or products you offer, what your business is about as a whole, what your potential customers are searching for, and the location(s) you are targeting. Also, don’t forget to create localized, relevant traffic to your site.
4. Identify Geo-Specific Keywords
Using an example would help you understand this point clearly. We can take the previous example of a Mexican food restaurant in Seattle, Washington. The first thing you have to do is to understand what your business offers and what you want from your website. Once you are clear, go for the next step that is researching your competitors and see what keywords they are using. You can use the SEO tools we have mentioned before to find out these terms and examine their search volume and competition level. The next step you need to do is, look for geo-specific keywords by adding your location to the keywords you are searching for.
For example, a Semrush search for “Mexican food Seattle” generated a long list of keyword variations, including:
- best mexican food seattle
- cheap mexican food seattle
- mexican food west seattle
- mexican food capital hill seattle was
Now, you can use one of the above keywords and see what other keyword variations come up.
You can also get the following keywords as keyword variations of one of the above keywords.
- best mexican restaurant seattle
- mexican restaurant west seattle
- mexican restaurants in seattle wa
- mexican restaurant capitol hill seattle
Continue your keyword searches until you create a list of relevant and competitive keywords. Be sure to search for different variations of the services or products you offer and the different areas you serve.
5. Implement On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is all about optimizing your website after auditing it and doing proper keyword research. Here, you will be following on-page SEO best practices to ensure your site is optimized for local search.
For local SEO on-page optimization process, you can do the following –
- Keyword Mapping:
Research and target keywords for individual pages of your website. Make sure you choose the right keywords for each page that are relevant and competitive.
- Title and Meta Description Optimization:
Make a page title and meta description by including your target keywords for all the pages of your website. Make sure each page has a unique title and description.
- Content Creation:
When it comes to on-page optimization, content plays the most crucial role. Make sure your content is informative and keyword-optimized so that it can explain what your business is about and the services/products you offer to your potential audience and the Google bots. You should create content keeping your target audience in mind by implementing the target keywords throughout the site.
- Internal Linking:
Put as many internal links as you can on different pages of your website. These will help users find the information they are looking for and more easily access your important pages. However, make sure there is no keyword stuffing.
- Image Optimization:
Now it’s time to make your website look beautiful. Use images relevant to your business and optimize them by including your target keywords, if possible. Reduce the file size of your images to reduce website load time.
- URL Structure:
Another crucial step is the structure of your URL. Include targeted keywords in your URL so that Google systems can direct your potential audience to the right page if they search for anything relevant to your business.
6. Create Localized Landing Pages
For local SEO Solutions, having localized landing pages are essential. The landing pages should be optimized with the geo-specific keywords that you want to target and informative content that draws your target audience.
An SEO optimised landing page should include the following for the best practices. They are – SEO optimized H1, H2, and H3 headings, writing keyword-optimized body content, including internal links, adding images, and optimizing for mobile search.
7. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business or GMB is a free and perhaps the most effective platform for all local businesses. Optimising your GMB can help you drive more traffic, generate customer reviews, and more. Your business needs to have a fully optimized listing to increase your chances of ranking in search.
Optimising your Google My Business Listing profile is simple. You can create an account and claim your business or create a new listing. Then, you can include your business address, phone number, website URL, images, hours, and more so users can learn more about you. If you can list your business and optimise your GMB professionally, you are going to get the most out of it.
8. Submit Key Business Info to Directory Listings
Apart from GMB, there are several online directories where you can submit your business information to get more views from your potential local customers. Some of the most reputable directories include – Yelp, YellowPages, Bing Places, and BBB, where you can list your business.
To list your business in many business directory listing sites, all you need to do is submit your business information, including your business name, address, phone number, and website URL (NAPW). Putting the right information would help you drive traffic, earn links, and improve your local SEO. It would be even better if you can add your business to the specific industry-related listing site.
9. Establish a Localized Link Building Strategy
Link building is one of the most crucial parts of SEO in general. However, when it comes to localized link building, it is a bit different from the other sites. Here, the physical location of the sites linking to your site is included.
Try to attract links from other businesses in your geographic area. Also, create localized content to drive local links, requesting localized anchor text to generate the best results.
You can follow the below ways to earn backlinks include:
- Directory submissions
- Guest posting
- Creating content assets
10. Generate Positive Customer Reviews
The more positive reviews your website receives on GMB, the better chance you get for significant ranking. Therefore, you should invest your time to generate as many positive reviews as possible. In fact, optimising other directories with positive reviews can help you drive more leads.
You can ask for reviews from your existing clients and previous clients on different sites, including GMB, Yelp, Facebook, etc.
Be professional and kind while responding to negative reviews. No one likes getting a negative review, but how you respond can speak volumes.