Launching your local business online is one thing; making sure it ranks higher than your competitors is another. In today’s changing digital landscape, your brand must stand out and own the top spot on local search ranking results.
Local search is especially powerful for small businesses. After all, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. If your business or website isn’t optimised for local search, you could be missing out on 80% of potential customers. In short, it’s crucial to know local SEO tips if you want your brand to stay relevant.
To help you optimise your business’s website for local searches, we’ve created a comprehensive local SEO guide, which covers local SEO hacks that will help you reach potential customers.
What is Local SEO?
As its name implies, local SEO focuses on optimising a website to be found in local search ranking results. Local search encompasses nifty search terms such as: ‘doctors near me’ and ‘salon near me.’ It’s basically a strategic process that focuses on enhancing the optimisation efforts of local businesses with brick-and-mortar stores.
According to statistics from Think With Google, 50% of people who performed local searches on their phones went to a physical store on the same day. One in three searches on a smartphone was also conducted just before arriving at a physical store. These stats prove how important local search is for small businesses, especially those who need a stronger online presence.
When it comes to optimising for local search ranking, it isn’t all that different from organic SEO: keyword research, quality links, content, on-page technical SEO, and web design. It just has a local focus so that people performing searches in the immediate area easily find information about your business.
Top 15 Local SEO Tips and Hacks to Rank on Google’s First Page
Optimising for local SEO means more website traffic, leads, and conversions that are more relevant to your local customer base. Get your business ranking on Google with these Local SEO hacks.
1. Claim Your Spot
First thing on our list of local SEO tips: claim your Google My Business (GMB) page. This allows you to establish your online presence and manage your business information across the web. By setting up or claiming their Google My Business pages, many local businesses enjoy the benefits of an online presence that is optimised for the local market. You must do the same in order to increase your visibility and ranking in local search results.
Make sure your page has a long, unique description that includes links. Choose the right categories for your business and add a local phone number and address that are identical with those on your website. A high-resolution profile image and cover photo are of utmost importance. Don’t forget to include your business/store hours and show real reviews from customers.
2. Let Google Know Your Business – Better
The purpose of marketing is to convince potential customers that your business is the one they need. This is possible by providing enough information about your brand, products or services. Google search is the fastest and most reliable source of that information. It is, therefore, important that Google knows your business very well.
Consistency is key when it comes to establishing your local web presence. Your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) must be consistent across all platforms and online listings. Using schema markup is a good way to provide Google everything they need to display your business details correctly.
Other than claiming your GMB page, you need to optimise your on-page and off-page content so that Google will understand that your business is relevant to the customers’ queries.
3. Hone in on Local Keywords
It won’t be a local SEO guide if we don’t talk about the importance of keyword research. And in local SEO, your keywords should be relevant to local customers. It only makes sense, right?
With Google’s own Keyword Planner, you can filter keyword searches based on location so you have a comprehensive view of the popular search terms in your region. This lets you curate a list of target keywords that are locally relevant. Once you have them, sprinkle them all over your website’s content, meta data, and URLs.
4. Create Location Pages or a Location-Specific ‘About Us’ Page
If you have more than one brick-and-mortar location, it’s high-time to create individual pages for each location. This is a very effective local SEO tip as location pages provide users with your name, address, contact details, business hours, parking information, unique store descriptions, promotions, and satisfied reviews from happy customers. However, it’s important that you don’t duplicate content across your location pages. It’s also good practice to add a Google Map on each location page so it’s more descriptive and helpful to users.
If you only have one location for your physical store, create an ‘About Us’ page that focuses on local, relevant information about your business. For instance, if you own a florist shop, your ‘About Us’ page is the perfect space to talk about your shop’s involvement in supplying the blooms for parades in your town or community parks in the city.
5. Manage Your Links
A recent study showed that links and website signals are among the most important local SEO ranking factors today. In fact, these links and signals set high-ranking Google My Business pages apart from the rest. Businesses with websites and physical locations must prioritise these things to ensure a successful local search engine optimisation strategy.
Link building is one of the local SEO tips that is never easy, but there are effective ways to do it. Online and offline marketing are two of the most reliable sources of backlinks. In a Moz blog post, the author lists some of the most effective strategies in getting links for a local business. These include getting in the news, creating a case study, hosting community events and getting awards from local and international award-giving bodies.
Experts likewise recommend getting .edu links from local colleges and universities through offline marketing. Supporting local charities and joining a Chamber of Commerce will be of great help, as well.
6. Keep an Eye on Your Online Reputation
In today’s complex and demanding market, your business’s online reputation is more important than ever. It is among your most valuable assets; and if you manage it properly, it will keep your business on top of the competition.
You need to monitor how people mention your business across the web and lay a solid plan on how to resolve problems, such as bad reviews. This isn’t just an effective local SEO hack – it’s a necessity. You know what will happen if customers see those negative comments when they search for products or services that you are offering. Finding the right solution should be a priority, and an experienced local SEO services provider can help you with this. You may use an online reputation management tool to protect your business against bad reviews, as well.
7. Acquire Local Reviews
Every successful local business owner would agree that acquiring local reviews has a direct positive impact on local search rankings. While getting Google reviews should be your priority, you can also get positive feedback on your Yelp page and on local directory sites.
There’s no local SEO hack that will help you acquire good local reviews. The best way to get positive reviews is to make your customers happy and encourage them to submit a review online. If you are resourceful enough, you can find other effective ways to acquire good reviews that build business.
8. Optimise Your Web Pages for Local Search
Google must be able to recognise the location of your business when it crawls your website. Experienced SEO specialists with their own local SEO guide recommend creating individual pages for each location that you serve. Make sure the content on each of these location pages is unique, as duplicate copy can seriously harm your online reputation and ranking. It would likewise be beneficial to add embedded Google Maps and Schema markup on the address (NAP) section of each page.
9. Optimise for Voice Search
Voice search is set to rise rapidly in the coming years. Therefore, a good local SEO tip is to optimise for how people ask questions when they speak into devices compared to how they normally type out search queries.
When doing voice searches, customers typically use more long-tail keywords as opposed to regular search. You will then have to adjust the SEO of your content to fit the conversational tone of a person speaking. When optimising for voice, it’s also important to consider user intent, as these searches are often performed when the user is looking for a specific piece of information. For instance, if they’re cooking and ask Siri to ask for the definition of ‘julienned,’ they’re expecting a quick and useful answer. So if a potential customer uses voice search to ask for your business hours, these details should be readily available.
10. Optimise for mobile
According to a study on mobile vs desktop trends, the shift of consumers from desktop to mobile is occurring at a faster rate than expected. Another study found that 75% of total mobile searches that showcase local intent actually produce offline, in-store visits within 24 hours.
That’s why mobile optimisation is in our list of local SEO hacks. Here are some tips to achieve this:
- Use bigger, easy-to-read fonts
- Ensure your website loads quickly (under three seconds)
- Use copy and images sparingly by conveying the most important information (there’s no room for filler content on mobile screens)
- Ensure intuitive UI for excellent user experience
11. Make It to the Local 3-Pack
Last year, Google reduced the famous local pack from seven listings to just three, hence the Local 3-Pack.This makes the competition for the coveted spots above the fold of SERPs even tighter. You might be asking how you can stay competitive in local search now that Google only displays three brands on top of the results page. You’ll have to make some adjustments to your local SEO strategy.
While the local 3-pack is dependent on the user’s location, you can still have a better chance of showing up on it by increasing your brand’s popularity in the locations you are serving.
12. Unleash the Power of Local Content
Local content plays a big role in making your brand more visible on Google search results. It must contain the best performing keywords in your niche and should be 100% original. Providing unique landing pages is a proven effective method for maintaining relevancy and authority. For local SEO tips, you may likewise create pages for customer stories and FAQs, or include testimonials and directions in every location page.
13. Get Active on Social Media
On their support page, Google states that it determines local listings based on distance, relevance, and prominence. Of these three factors, prominence is the most multi-faceted. Google says that it rates prominence by taking note of how many links a business has, the number of its directory listings, how many articles it’s mentioned in, and so forth.
Getting active on social media is an effective local SEO hack as it encourages online users to talk about you, engage with you, mention you, and link to you. Essentially, you want to create buzz to help establish prominence in your area.
14. Integrate Local SEO Into Your Overall Digital Marketing Strategy
Local business SEO is an integral part of your overall marketing plan. When used in combination with other SEO strategies, such as PPC advertising and social media marketing, it could take your business to new heights.
15. Maintain Compliance with Google’s Guidelines
Google has set guidelines on how businesses should present themselves online. Make sure you are playing by their rules to avoid any problems. A pending Google penalty will keep your website from ranking, and if you do not act quickly to resolve it, your site may never show up on search results.
Get More Local SEO Tips from SEO Services Australia
You’ve reached the end of our local SEO guide but your journey to getting higher local search ranking results is just beginning.
Staying competitive on local search involves implementing strategies that will boost your local web presence, and drive more traffic to your site or to your physical store.