Did you know that most online searches have local intent? About 46 percent of all Google searches are from users looking for local information. This means that improving your local visibility gives you the opportunity to partake in this lucrative traffic. Moreover, being highly visible to your local audience online can be a key differentiator for your business as you strive to beat the competition in local searches to covet a better local market position.
Incorporating local search engine optimization (SEO) tactics into your overall SEO strategy helps you rank highly and easily in local searches. What’s more, a business that is highly visible in the local search results attracts more visitors. Even better, searches with local intent convert more quickly, which translates to increased revenue.
So, how does SEO help put your business in front of your local audience? We discuss eight ways below.
Google My Business, now Google Business Profile, is a tool that allows you to list information about your business. This includes your business name, contact information, opening hours, business category and location, among other useful information. This tool is important because it is among the top factors that Google considers when ranking businesses in local search results. Therefore, working on your Google Business profile puts you at the top of search results and on Google Maps, which helps you build visibility.
Once you create your account, ensure that the information provided is engaging, complete, up-to-date and accurate. Additionally, make sure that you verify your Google Business Profile information. This is important because customers will likely perceive you as a reputable business. In addition, optimize your profile by adding your logo and images, posting offers and news about your business and using the Q&A function.
Most consumers try to look at what others say about a business before deciding to purchase. Moreover, online recommendations are equally important as personal recommendations. That is why a greater percentage of local consumers turn to business reviews online and expect to see a higher rating to do business with you. Of course, it goes without saying that the more reviews you get, the more visibility you are likely to get in local searches.
However, to increase visibility, you need to keep in mind that the velocity, diversity and quantity of the reviews are important. You need to ensure that you are regularly accruing new reviews and generating reviews that mention location and a keyword. In addition, expedite responding to reviews, whether positive or negative.
Two things determine how well you rank in local research: your business prominence and relevance. Content marketing and link building help you influence these factors positively. Creating local content that talks about and to your local community help increase your business’s prominence. Moreover, optimizing this content with keywords related to what your local audience is searching for increases your relevance. Additionally, this type of content can earn links back to your site from other businesses, further increasing your relevance.
While you can handle most local SEO tactics, getting help with content marketing is important. Partner with a good SEO agency to benefit from their professional SEO services. These agencies have the expertise required to understand popular searches in the local community. If your business is in several locations, it is essential to create a page for each location and feature local content. An SEO agency can help you generate relevant content that includes the most popular keywords and will likely bring you more links for each location.
Mobile devices have become an integral accessory in our daily lives. Since users carry them everywhere, it is only natural that many local searches are done through these devices. Moreover, 75 percent of local searches on mobile devices visit the business offline or make a call within a day, according to a 2017 study by Acquisio. Therefore, optimizing your website for mobile ensures that your business is likely to be visible to more people and more potential to convert to sales quickly.
Ensure that your mobile device audience can access the same content as those using computers by creating a mobile-responsive design. In addition, improve mobile load speed to increase ranking and reduce the bounce rate.
Ideally, online business citations refer to online mentions of your business – name, physical address and contact. The more your business is mentioned online, the more likely it is to appear to your target audience when users search for a business like yours. Additionally, Google considers the proximity of your business to the user’s location when ranking local businesses. Consistent business citations in various directories make it easier for Google to rank your business correctly in local searches.
You can build your business citations by listing your business in popular directories such as TripAdvisor or Yelp. Additionally, list your business information on popular sites such as Google and Facebook. However, keep in mind that Google values your business name, address, phone number and website.
When consumers turn to the internet to search for goods or services, about 20 percent prefer to do so in their native language. Therefore, if your website or content happens to be in the language of your local audience, you stand a chance to be visible in search engines. Additionally, the number of non-English websites is lower than English language websites. This means that the competition might be lower, which increases your chances of ranking higher. Additionally, the lack of formidable competition helps increase local inbound links from reputable websites that use the local language, such as the press, content creators and the like. The more inbound links to your website, the higher you are likely to rank.
However, your website can only rank higher if you have optimized your translated version with popular keywords in the local language. In this regard, consider working with a professional translation services company. The experts will help you identify the local keywords that are most valuable. They will also help you use these keywords in a way that they align with the local culture. Then, use these keywords to optimize your content to increase visibility when your local audience searches for these keywords.
The number of people using voice assist is growing, with about 40 percent of internet users in the U.S. reporting to use it monthly. This number is projected to go beyond the 200 million mark by 2023. Moreover, as said earlier, most searches have local intent, including those done via voice search. Optimizing your website for voice search allows you to tap into this traffic that relies on smart speakers and smartphones to find local businesses.
However, you must remember that voice searches differ from text searches regarding wording. A person conducting a voice search will likely use more words and be more specific as if asking complete questions. For instance, in a search about a restaurant, a text search might be ‘Restaurant near me,’ whereas a voice search might be ‘What are some of the best restaurants near me?’ For this reason, target long-tail keywords and question keywords. In addition, voice queries tend to be conversational. So, aim to add a conversational tone to your content with a less formal writing style to make it more relevant.
Social media might not directly influence how your business ranks on local search results. However, with social media use increasing daily, it can be an invaluable tool for connecting with your local audience and intensifying your content.
Focus on creating viral posts that cater to your local audience. This increases the likelihood of your posts landing in the hands of influential bloggers or journalists in the locality. If they happen to write about your business, that translates to increased quality mentions throughout the web. Moreover, this has the potential to influence your ranking positively. Another area to focus on is social landing pages or ‘link in bio’ pages on Instagram. Utilizing these pages can help boost your local SEO in two ways. One, they allow you to create links to your content and web pages. Two, you can use your social landing page to direct your followers to external content you are promoting on your social posts. Again, this can translate to increased traffic to your site.
Getting your business seen by your local audience is an affordable way of advertising your business. It ensures that your business is visible to the right people at the right time, which increases leads and sales. Moreover, this can be done through local SEO. Taking steps such as increasing your online citations, mobile optimization, content marketing, reputation management, localization translation, voice search optimization, being active on social media and listing your business on GBP can help increase local visibility for your business.