If you have a brick-and-mortar business that is open to the public and at street level, local search engine optimization (SEO) is going to be one of the best methods to attract new clients.
Imagine that you need to find a mechanical workshop in your city and you don’t know where to look. You might ask some friends for recommendations, or look around the area you live in – but the first thing you do will likely be to turn to the search engine that knows it all: Google.
When you enter a query like “computer maintenance in Islamabad,” a list of potential businesses you can go to appears. Google pins them all on a map and, if there is a physical place, it informs you of their hours, contact details, website and even customer reviews.
That should be more than enough information for you to choose a workshop, right? And what if I told you that all the businesses appearing here have worked hard on their local SEO to get here?
Having a presence on this list is one of the best ways to attract new customers because it gives visibility to your business and provides all the necessary information at a glance.
Both the visibility in your city and the data that is offered (so that the user not only knows you exist but can come to you) are essential to winning new customers.
Would you like to know how local SEO works and how you can implement it in your business? In this article, I’m going to help you define local SEO and explain how to rank your local business.
What Is Local SEO?
The internet everything changed – so much so that today, we barely take a step forward without first consulting our friend Google. Whether it’s to choose a movie at the cinema, find the best restaurants in the area or to locate just about anything, from a baby nursery to a bookstore, most people turn to Google for the answers.
This has caused a huge paradigm shift. For those who have always been serving their customers face-to-face, this has had an even greater impact. Now, they are not only competing with the other store around the corner – they are competing with the whole world.
Local SEO, worked strategically, is a great solution for both traditional physical businesses and those looking to position themselves at their exact location, thus drastically reducing the degree of competition. But what exactly is local SEO? Although you already have an idea, let’s get a little more in-depth.
Local SEO can be defined as a positioning and visibility strategy at a geographical level.
What does this mean? Well, basically, if you have a business, have created a website and are selling products in a physical establishment – or provide services in a specific geographic area – local SEO techniques will help you appear in the search results of users of that same area.
Of course, even if you implement local SEO, you can still position yourself globally if you wish. In addition to local SEO, you can work on a search engine positioning strategy to appear in the search results of any user, regardless of where they are.
In essence, you decide how far to go. It will depend on your overall business strategy, interests, needs and market. I won’t delve too deeply into this, but it’s good to know that both types of SEO can be used.
Now that you’ve got to grips with local SEO, let’s discuss why you should implement it for your own business.
Benefits of Local SEO
Why should you have a strategy for local SEO? Because it can bring you these valuable benefits:
- Geolocated clients: It is probable that, through local SEO, people from the same city and area find you for the first time and end up becoming repeat customers.
- Increase in leads: These are potential customers who come to your establishment interested in your offer. Even if they do not buy from you on the first visit, you will already be on their mind. Now, they can return or recommend you at any time.
- Local positioning with less competition: You will only be competing with other businesses in the area, which will be fewer than those you can find in your country or even globally.
- Google My Business (GMB) reviews: Something very powerful that helps the customer is to read comments or opinions about your product or services. These days, good online reviews are one of the elements that drive the most sales.
- No need for a website: Although it is always recommended, it will not be the most relevant when implementing local SEO. If you don’t have one, the search engine will show other information of interest to the user.
- Better image and reputation. Appearing well-positioned on Google will always help your potential customers see you as a good brand. After all, if Google puts you on a pedestal, you must be good for something!
- Visibility on Google Maps. One other major attraction for potential customers to your business is the precise location that Google Maps shows.
Basics of Local SEO
We have already seen that the most-used search terms to find local businesses are generally based on “name of the product/service offered” + “city or town,” as I have shown in the example above.
But how do businesses get the top position? Even if you are someone who prefers to delegate and hire a local SEO expert, it’s always good to know how it works to better understand what the professionals are doing.
Some Fundamentals Used in Local SEO:
- Research the right local keywords. The foundation of a successful local ranking is choosing the right keywords. As one of your first steps, thorough keyword research including the local component is necessary.
- If you have a website, optimize it for the primary keyword you want to rank for. For example, “shoe store in Multan;” “garments shop in London.”
- Add name, address and phone (NAP) data on your landing page. This is the most important information your customers use to find your service or product.
- Register for Google My Business. This is important for boosting local SEO and earning more reviews on Google.
- Add your business to the local and international business directories. Visibility on platforms like Yelp and Urbanspoon can do wonders.
- Create a presence on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Remember to keep your contact information updated and work on engagement.
Application of Local SEO For Companies
Before we finish, I’d like to give you some specific tips on local SEO for businesses. Whether you are going to delegate it to someone on your team or hire an external expert, you’ll have the information to start managing your project.
Manage your Google Reviews
Those who are interested in your business will initially see your reviews on Google. The prospect searching for your product or service will likely go to the highest-rated provider.
One of the criteria that make you choose one option over another is customer comments. I recommend you simply ask for a review. Kindly ask your clients to review your business or offer them something in return for a rating.
Once you have reviews, you should also be sure to respond to the comments they leave you – whether they are positive or negative. Your prospects will view the responses you leave each customer as an indication of your level of professionalism and commitment to their satisfaction.
So, if your reviews are positive, appreciate the feedback. If they are negative, apologize and make a plan to fix your weak points.
Create Local Content
The second tip for local SEO is to write related content. How? By researching and identifying what your local audience searches for most on Google.
Perhaps it is simply “bicycle shop in new york,” or maybe they go further and are searching for terms like:
- “repair bike in new york city”
- “where to fix my cheap bike in new york”
- “bicycle workshops in new york”
- “best spare parts store for bike in new york”
There are countless terms that your potential clients could be looking for. You just have to find out what they are and optimize for them.
Let’s talk a little bit more about how to create optimized content for your business.
Select Top Business Directories
On the internet, there are websites that act as directories and are visited by a considerable number of users who want to inquire about local businesses.
An example of this is TripAdvisor. You’ve almost certainly consulted TripAdvisor when traveling to a new city and wanted to find out more about the attractions and restaurants.
But there are many other directories for business. Here are a few of them:
- Yellow Pages
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Places
To choose where to register, I recommend that you check a couple of things: a) if it is specialized in any sector and b) its authority it according to Google. The higher this is, the more value it will bring for you.
Use the Same Information on All Directories
When including your NAP or contact information for your company or local business, keep it consistent across all sites. For example, your address should always follow the same order of information – on your website, GMB, social networks and directories – and you should write your telephone number out the same way (using hyphens or spaces, etc.).
Research and Analyze
The tips for local SEO that I have provided here are key to a basic strategy, but every business is different. Each has its own particularities and needs, and through detailed research and analysis of results, you can detect possible points of improvement that will make a difference for you.
Just as a doctor does not give a prescription to a patient without first learning what is ailing them, don’t start working on a local SEO without any strategy research.
You have all the information about your business, and as you implement new techniques, you can get even more.
The key to getting the best results is to optimize.
I hope the information I’ve provided will be useful for you. If you take anything away from this article, let it be that a good local SEO strategy can help you bring more customers to your business. It can have a lasting positive impact on your revenue going forward.
After all, visibility is something to work on both offline and online. And since the latter is a medium with such a spectacular growth trend, it is key for your business’ success.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments, and I will do my best to answer them.