It’s been about a year since our last local SEO blog post, but 2022 is in full swing and we figured it’s time for an update.
Local search is your most powerful tool if you are a small business. Nearly 46 percent of all Google searches seek local information like navigating to a store or finding a product or service. If your business isn’t optimizing for local searches, you could miss out on potential customers.
Here’s Rooted Web’s guide for fully optimizing local search for your business.
What is local SEO?
We’ve written plenty of blogs on SEO, but what is local SEO?
Local SEO optimizes a business’ web presence for increased visibility in local organic search engines. Think of it this way: you’re walking around downtown Cape Girardeau. Suddenly, you’re craving coffee or maybe even boba tea. You pull up your phone and google “Boba Tea Near Me” and poof, two search results pop up.
With local SEO, businesses can use this strategy to position their products and services to customers searching for them.
Local SEO Tips
Optimize your Google My Business
To start optimizing your Google My Business page, you’ll have to create and verify your My Business page. Creating (or updating) your Google My Business page will verify your business’s online presence and encourage customers to engage in online reviews. To make sure your Google My Business is optimized, you’ll have to:
- Create and verify your Google My Business listing
- Complete all the relevant info fields
- Use Google Posts
- Encourage customers to share reviews
- Respond to reviews authentically
If you want to rank high on Google search results, share your pages on social media and align your content with social searches.
Google ranks content shared on social media now more than ever before. Adding posts to your Google My Business account gives your account more visibility, which in turn garners you more reviews and engagement. When Google sees high engagement, they’re more likely to rank you higher in the SERPs.
Perform an Audit
SEO is an intuitive process—it’s constantly changing and evolving. Performing an audit allows you to check in on your goals and see if any changes are needed. An audit may include the following:
- Competitor Audit – How does your website match up with your competitors? How do you compare in terms of inbound likes, traffic, content, design and positioning?
- Google My Business Audit – How does your page appear in the SERP (search engine results page)? Is all the information up-to-date?
- Google Search Console – Is your website crawlable? Does it have any errors or orphan pages that would stop indexing?
- On-Page SEO Audit – Does your website accommodate all the on-page SEO requirements that help with the ranking?
- Website Audit – How well is your site performing? How much traffic are you getting? How many page views? Are your leads spending a lot of time on your site?
Improve Internal Linking Structure
Like external links, internal links are just as crucial for boosting your SEO ranking. Internal links often support website navigation, assist with information architecture and website hierarchy, and distribute page authority and ranking among internal pages.
Optimize URL, headers, meta titles, meta description and content
Every time you write a piece of content like a blog or landing page, you need to optimize your content for the search engines by using high-volume keywords in your URLs, meta descriptions and meta titles.
Be sure to choose words that are geo-targeted to the location of your business. Have trouble choosing a keyword? Consider reading case studies, looking at Google Keywords or checking out Ahrefs.
Add Location Pages to Your Site
Have more than one brick-and-mortar location? Create location pages to provide your readers and customers with updated information such as unique store descriptions, parking/transit information, promotions, and customer testimonials.
Create Local Content
Remember to write for your users, not just the search engines. Rather than focusing on a general topic, consider focusing on your local or industry news. Cape Girardeau is home to many industries, such as education and healthcare. Consider honing in on a specific subject, promoting local gatherings and educational content on your landing pages or blogs, and becoming a local authority.
Becoming a local authority will show authenticity and reliability in your brand, products and services.
Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Local searches and mobile searches go hand in hand and 61 percent of all Google searches are performed on a mobile device. Loading speed and the overall appearance of your site on a mobile device are just two factors that affect how potential users will use your site and services.
Potential customers generally look at the mobile version of your site to find directions and contact information or check out your products or services. If your website is not mobile-friendly, potential customers will turn away from your business and seek out your competitors.
Inbound links (also known as backlinks) are powerful tools to boost your local SEO. Think of it as a digital citation verifying your authenticity. An inbound link tells Google you are a legitimate website and raises your domain authority. A few ways to get high-quality inbound links are:
- Sponsorships, collaborations or partnerships
- Guest blogs
- Mentions in online news
- Establishing scholarships
You can always start with your networks, such as the Chamber of Commerce, licensing bureaus, trade associations, manufacturers and other affiliates. From there, consider hosting a webinar or community event as you build relationships with prominent people and organizations. Any buzz around you and your business creates inbound links, traffic, social media growth, brand awareness and media coverage.
Be Active in Your Local Community
Participating in your local community is a surefire way to gain more digital PR. Partnering with a nonprofit organization on a campaign, volunteering or sponsoring an event as an authority in your industry or field are great ways to earn brand recognition and press.
As a small business, you should aim to spread the word about your business, whether it’s through word-of-mouth or social media. Participating in the above events will guarantee inbound links and show Google that you should be ranking in SERPs.
Rooted Web is your marketing team when it comes to understanding all the benefits local SEO has to offer. If you can’t do it alone, reach out and start a conversation with us. We have several SEO packages available to the incredible small businesses of Southeast Missouri and beyond.
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