Local SEO is the practice of optimizing the website for a local business to allow them to rank for keywords that will drive more clients to their business.
You’ll often find that although you can use many of the same tactics with international SEO, local SEO does require a few specific changes to rank in Google Maps and for local queries.
More and more local businesses realize the importance of SEO and how drastically it can change their business. Just do a search for a local SEO case study, and you’ll find plenty of examples of companies that have gone from local obscurity to national powerhouses.
SEO has the potential to drive thousands of new people to your website each month, likely more than you’ve ever received in the lifetime of your company.
Why is Local SEO Different?
The main reason why local SEO is different is that Google uses slightly different factors to rank websites for queries that it believes are region specific.
If you want to go to a restaurant, there is no need for you to see the best restaurants in NYC if you’re in LA. Fortunately, Google is fantastic at noticing these differences in searcher intent, and with Google Maps listings it’s only getting better.
Local businesses also have a few advantages in that they can work with local influencers and use business citations to build links. Not only that, but local SERPs are often fairly uncompetitive, and that can mean that a local business willing to invest in SEO can see huge returns on their investment.
Work with Local Influencers
Unless you live in a tiny village, there are probably far more influences in your locale than you would ever realize. These influencers could be other business owners, Instagram celebrities or just the popular kid at the local high school who runs a blog.
Each of these people has significant influence over what other people choose to purchase. In the same way that many local businesses leave business cards in each others companies, you can work together online to promote each other’s businesses.
Similarly, if you find somebody in your area who has a following on Instagram or Facebook, then you could consider offering them some free product or money to promote your business.
This will generate social shares for your business, and if they have a website or blog, it could even create do-follow links back to your website, perfect for rankings.
Many of these local influencers can be bought incredibly cheaply because their following is small and they rarely get approached by companies.
Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
We know that one of the most important ranking factors especially in Google Maps is the quantity and quality of reviews. If you’re looking to boost your rankings and also your conversion rate, your should focus on encouraging your customers to leave reviews.
This can be done with almost no effort, just make sure that you ask nicely at the end of every transaction. But if you want to take it up to the next level then you could bribe people with free products on top of their regular order if they leave a positive review.
However, you’ll often find that a lot of the time you just have to ask, especially with customers that you’ve worked with multiple times. Many people forget that they can leave a review but will gladly do it if you explain that it will help your company.
Work with Local Newspapers
Just like you can work with local influencers, you should try and make the most of local papers and publications. These will often be the most authoritative websites in your area and can have a significant impact on your rankings.
If you’re living in a smaller town, then you might even be able to take the reporter out for a beer and discuss how you could create some awesome content. It’s best to avoid trying to bribe them, but if you let them know you have a cool idea for some content they can probably tell you if they’d feature it or not.
This can give you publicity which will drive customers but can also earn you backlinks to influence your rankings.
Use Business Directories and Create Citations
Finally, one of the easiest forms of backlinks is to build local citations in business directories, both local and industry specific. These are easy to find and will drive customers as well as a do-follow link to your website.
Avoid going over the top with these because they can leave a footprint, but eight to ten should boost your authority and might be enough to rank, depending on the competitiveness of your keywords.
Local SEO isn’t always easy, but it’s not particularly complicated. In many cases, it’s time-consuming but can have an enormous impact on the revenue of the business.
Get in contact with us today and find out how we can work together to improve your rankings and drive more targeted traffic to your business.