Here’s how to craft a great local SEO strategy:
1. Focus on Local Keyword Optimization
The keywords you choose to optimize your website for will directly impact how you appear in local search results. Content is King. Instead of targeting an array of broad keywords, dial in on more specific, location-specific keywords (your service + your town). Including these keywords in your on-page optimization strategy, including written content, headings, image alt tags, blog content, and the rest of the media and content on your site will help you reach local customers who are looking for the services or products you offer.
2. Stand Out on Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a free platform hosted by Google that can help small businesses appear more prominently in local search results. Within this tool, Google provides several features, such as the ability to place your location and contact information, products, services, photos, and hours of operation. Within the Google My Business profile you can even share business updates, create blog posts, and respond to online messages and reviews from customers. Claiming, and then regularly updating your GMB listing makes it far more likely that your small business will show up high in local search results (SERPs).
Appearing in the Google Maps 3-pack (the panel that comes up within search results with 3-4 businesses and a map) can also give your business more visibility and can significantly increase the likelihood of clicks on your listing, and this conversions on your website. When updating Google My Business, make sure that your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is consistent across GMB, your website, and other local listing directories and services.
3. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Your entire website should support your SEO strategy, and an important aspect of that is responsive design. Responsive designs adjust to the size of your viewer’s device, whether they’re on a mobile phone or a desktop PC. When your site is difficult to use on a certain device type, the SEO efforts in on-site optimization, reviews, and local listings will do nothing to help convert browsers into customers.
As of 2020, more people use smartphones than traditional PCs to browse websites and perform online searches. A website that is non-responsive, or not optimized for mobile, will cost you traffic. In mobile design, aim for a clean and simple navigation structure, easy to read content, and very clear calls to action to drive conversions. Remember – unneeded pop-up banners can slow site speed, and even deter users from completing their journey through your website.
4. Encourage Reviews, and Respond
Online reviews are essential these days for any size business that operates in today’s increasingly digital world. People are looking for ‘social proof,’ and good online reviews can carry far more weight than personal recommendations from a friend or relative; customers want to hear from people who have used your business before, without bias. In fact, people would rather see a couple of negative reviews, along with some great ones, as opposed to a company profile with no reviews whatsoever. Remember, a negative review does not always equate to bad business.
We strongly recommend reviewing and responding to reviews on Facebook, Yelp, GMB, and other online platforms that are relevant to your business. With social proof, customers are looking for depth, variety, and proof that a company is legitimate, and does their work well. To get more reviews, reach out to former customers and ask if they are willing to leave you some honest feedback online. Many people will be happy to leave some honest feedback! When asking for reviews, try to choose customers who might speak favorably about your business.
Additionally, it is important to respond to as many reviews as possible. If you receive a review that is negative, reply in a way that highlights your dedication to customer service, empathy, and brand values. We very strongly advise against arguing with a reviewer, ignoring bad reviews, or even attempting to remove what a reviewer has written. In the end, prospective customers will care more about your reaction than the actual negative review.
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