You’ve heard of search engine optimization (SEO), but what about local SEO? If you’re unfamiliar with the term, local SEO is the technique of improving search visibility for local businesses and driving more traffic to brick-and-mortar locations.
In other words, it makes it more likely for your business to appear in the search results of people who live close to your location. If you own a business with a physical location or a specific service area, then this could be a powerful tool to grow your customer base.
Don’t just take our word for it – according to Mailchimp, “any business that has a physical location or serves a geographic area can benefit from local SEO.”
Some common local SEO strategies include:
- Optimizing your Google Business Profile (also known as a Google My Business profile)
- Targeting service-based and location keywords
- Sharing community-relevant content on social media channels
- Building out local listing profiles
- Having a mobile-friendly website
Map Pack and Google Business Profile
When you Google something like “marketing companies near me” you may notice that Google generates a list of businesses and map locations. This is known as a map pack, or a local pack. Check out the screenshot below for an example:
You can deploy several strategies to rank higher in this map pack, but you should start with your Google Business Profile. According to a 2023 report from Whitespark, a Google Business Profile is the most important factor for ranking in the map pack, making up 32% of the top ranking factors.
According to Google, to raise your rank, you should “ensure that your business information in your Business Profile is accurate, complete, and engaging.” This can look like filling out your profile completely, keeping your hours accurate (including holiday hours), including location photos, interacting with reviews, and regularly adding updates with relevant keywords.
Local Citations and SEO
Local citations are another way to boost your search engine visibility inside your community. Citations are mentions of your business’s information, such as the name, phone number, street address, and website URL on third-party websites like listing profiles and business directories.
By building profiles on listing sites like Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Angi (formerly known as Angie’s List), and Thumbtack, you can educate potential customers on where to find your business, allow Google to verify that same information, and give your website a backlink boost. You can even list your business on industry-specific directories — for example, the site Avvo only lists legal professionals.
The sites you want to list your business will be different depending on your business’s niche and overall marketing strategy. While some of them are free, others will charge you a fee to register. It’s best to research each site and determine a local listing budget before venturing too deep into this strategy.
Local SEO strategies are closely connected to mobile search. Think about it — how often do you use your phone to search for restaurants or stores in your area? What about to find the phone number of a business so you can give them a call? According to data from Google, 30% of all mobile searches are related to location.
Updating your Google Business Profile with accurate contact and address information is the best way to ensure customers can reach you through a mobile search, but you should also invest in a mobile-friendly website in case they want to perform more research on your company.
Some features that make a website mobile-optimized include responsive themes (which scales the website layout to each user’s device), compressing images, improving your website’s load speed, and decluttering your layout. Plugging your URL into Google’s free mobile-friendly test is a great place to start.
Service-Based and Location Keywords
When it comes to targeting keywords for your marketing strategy, you should also consider the different approaches searchers will take to find your business. Some customers will add “near me” to the end of their search, while others may use the specific name of their city. They might also search for something more specific, like “content marketing company” instead of “marketing company”. Anticipating these keywords can give you a leg up in SEO.
To increase your searchability, begin by brainstorming and creating a list of the services your company offers.
For example, if you’re a marketing company like us, your list of services might look like this:
- Content marketing
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Graphic design
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
By including these keywords in your website copy, social media content, and local listings profiles, you can increase your chances of local searchers finding your company when they have a specific need.
Another keyword strategy you can try is adding a “service locations” page to your website. On this page, you can list all of your business locations as well as the neighboring cities and counties where you provide services. These keywords will make it easier for people in your operational area to find you.
Want to optimize your Google Business Profile, website, and more to build your business and attract more local customers? Contact Big Deal Marketing today to request your FREE audit.