Earlier this month we talked about how targeting the wrong keywords can hurt your SEO efforts. Today, we’ll shift our focus to geographic concerns and the importance of local SEO. Just like keywords, targeting the wrong location (or no location at all) can render your search engine optimization ineffective.
For many businesses, investing money in ranking for customers halfway across the country is a waste of resources. People in Potlatch, ID are highly unlikely to visit your boutique in Birmingham, AL. Yet, many businesses blindly pursue optimization without regard to geographic limitations.
Local SEO allows businesses to focus their resources on the most important geographic areas – and on the customers that matter most to your bottom line. Focusing on local SEO isn’t right for every business, but if you have brick-and-mortar locations then read on.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website to reach a localized audience. In the past, this meant listing every city or area that your business served and calling it a day. Today, the situation is more complex. But you can still optimize for local without a large investment in technical SEO.
Modern local SEO is primarily built around address/map optimization and content – we’ll walk through both in the course of this blog post (along with some other local SEO tips).
Benefits of Local SEO
The benefits of traditional SEO have been covered countless times over the last twenty years. But local SEO offers its own unique slate of benefits apart from other approaches to search engine optimization. These benefits include:
- More Targeted: Your resources go farther when they are focused on the people that are most likely to convert. If traditional SEO is like a billboard, then local SEO is a personalized mailer. Both will get you attention, but local SEO allows you to focus on the best audience for your business.
- Less Competitive: With local SEO, you can target keywords that you would never rank for in traditional SEO. While there are thousands of businesses trying to rank for any given keyword nationally, there is only a fraction of that in your local area.
- Faster: Traditional SEO can take months before you start seeing results. Local SEO can be a much faster game. Depending on how much competition you face in your local area, local SEO can start returning results in weeks rather than months (or longer).
Boosting Your Local SEO
So, what can you do to boost your local SEO? We’ll cover the four best ways to ensure that you’re getting the maximum exposure in your local area.
Name, Address, Phone Number
The first step is a relatively simple one: get your name, address, and phone number (referred to as NAP in the SEO world) consistent across the internet. If you’re starting a new business, you should be submitting your business (with scrupulous attention to your correct NAP) to Google My Business and business directories.
If you have an existing business, you should conduct a complete audit of your NAP across the internet. This includes social media accounts, your website, review sites like Yelp, and business directories. This can be a daunting task, but it is critical to improving your local SEO.
Once you have your NAP sorted, it is time to shift to content optimization. In the old days of SEO, you could simply stuff your targeted locations into five or six spots on your website and call it a day. Today’s SEO requires a more nuanced approach.
Just like any content optimization, local SEO content should be organic and focused on the user experience first. So, the challenge is finding natural ways to include your target areas in your content. Try to include geographic markers in your website copy when appropriate and consider writing some local-interest blog posts.
Reviews and Testimonials
Trust signals are an important part of modern search engine optimization. And with local SEO, so much of your success depends on ranking in Google’s local pack – where reviews have a big impact. There is no magic bullet for getting reviews but do what you can to increase the quality and quantity of your online reviews.
Encouraging customers to leave online reviews is a big topic all on its own, but do what you can to win reviews. This starts with an excellent product or service and extends through customer service and follow-up. And at the end of the day, sometimes you just have to ask.
There is a close relationship between local and traditional SEO. And improving one will improve the other. That is why our final piece of advice is to get your page in line with traditional SEO best practices. Getting your on-page SEO all squared away will move you up the rankings, whether they are local or national.
Reaching the People Who Matter
Local SEO is one of the best ways to reach the people who matter most to your business. Local SEO also has the benefit, for many businesses, of being faster and easier than traditional search engine optimization.
Fusion Group USA can help you build your local SEO through everything from citation submission and management to social media marketing and technical SEO. Contact us today to learn more about what we can for your business!