Local SEO is an area of digital marketing that helps small businesses with physical locations to reach their ideal customers through search engines like Google. When people in your area are looking for the products or services you offer, you’ll want your business to pop up in the search results, and having a local SEO strategy will help you to ensure that.
There are millions of people typing search queries into Google every day and, according to statistics from Loganix, 46% of those queries are local searches. This means that there is a huge opportunity for you to optimize your website in a way that will help you to gain more customers within your local area.
Here are my top tips for doing that.
Create content with a local angle
When creating content for your website, try to give it a local angle, as this provides search engines with a better idea of where your business is based.
Content marketing is a tried and tested method for improving your website’s search rankings, so local content can boost your local SEO.
For example, a hotel that is located in Houston could put together a round-up of the best restaurants to visit in the local area, including a review of their own restaurant in the post. Or a pet shop in Winnipeg could put together a list of local dog-walking routes nearby.
Let’s take a look at some real examples of local content for inspiration.
For instance, Canada Plumbing, a company based in Ottawa, Canada, has created a blog post that discusses whether people in the area should call a plumber if their basement floods. Because this is an Ottawa-specific guide, and not just a general piece of content on flooded basements, it gives search engines a lot more context about where the company is based. So, the next time someone nearby is looking for a plumber, this website will be more likely to show up in the search results.
Another example comes from Garden Services in Florida.
Again, the site could have created a generic guide to looking after your landscaping — the best approach isn’t really affected by where you live, after all. But, by offering this guide to caring for your Florida landscaping at a local angle, the company has made it very clear where they’re based and who they serve.
This helps to show both search engines and customers that the business operates in Florida.
Consider how you could imitate this for your small business and start giving your content more of a local angle.
Dedicate a web page to each of your locations
Local SEO is not just for businesses with one location. And, if you own stores in multiple locations, you should dedicate a webpage to each of them.
This will provide search engines with more opportunities to promote your business to the people that you serve.
When creating a webpage for each of your locations, here are some things that you want to make sure are included:
- The name, address, and phone number of each location
- A Google map showing the exact location
- Content that is specifically related to that location
You should also optimize the title tags for your web pages by including information relating to the different locations. Title tags show up in the tabs of your internet browser but, more importantly, they’re the first thing people will see when they come across your site using a search engine.
For instance, if you owned bakeries in multiple states and were to have a specific webpage for your store in Arizona, then your title tag for that page could be “Best Bakery in Arizona”.
Here, I’ll show you some good examples of location pages and explain why they work. This should give you some inspiration when it comes to creating yours.
Bay Property Management Group helps people to rent out their properties in a number of different states, and they have a page for each of the locations they serve.
All of their location pages are completely different, so search engines know which ones to rank in certain areas. The page for the company’s Northern Virginia office includes specific information about which services they offer here, images of the surrounding area, a map to show exactly where the office is based, and copy that includes several mentions of the county and area.
You need to make sure your location pages aren’t just carbon copies of each other, with a few minor details changed. For search engines to pay real attention to your location pages, you need to put the work in to make them unique.
Premier Roofing Company is another business with several locations (and location pages).
Again, as you can see, this location page has been optimized for the area that it serves. It provides details of the services available to people in the area, there’s a photo of the workplace in question, and visitors are provided with all of the details they need, such as the address and phone number of the location in Colorado Springs.
Follow the lead of these businesses when creating your location pages, and ensure they’re unique, informative, and optimized for local search.
Optimize your site for voice search
Seeing as 46% of people make use of smart speakers and virtual assistants when looking for information about local businesses, it’s important that you get with the times and optimize your website for voice search.
Research has shown that more users have been making “near me” queries in recent years. Many people now have Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled on their phones and this allows search engines like Google to recommend relevant search results based on their locations.
One way to optimize your online presence for voice search is by making sure that you verify your Google My Business listing. You should include all the relevant information about where you are located so that smart speakers can provide their users with all of the necessary details about your store or business when they make relevant “near me” voice searches.
Make sure your website works well on mobile
People are browsing the web on their phones more than ever before, so you’ll be missing out on a lot of traffic and business if your website doesn’t work well on mobile devices. This is why many businesses have made sure to create a mobile-friendly version for their sites. Asides from that, research from Acquisio has shown that a lot of local mobile searches result in an in-person visit to a store. So you would be leaving money on the table if you decide not to optimize your website to be mobile-friendly.
Your SEO could also be affected if you have not optimized your website to be responsive on mobile — especially because Google makes use of mobile-first indexing.
Mobile-first indexing essentially means that Google will prioritize indexing the mobile version of your website before the desktop version. So, if your website doesn’t work well on mobile browsers, mobile-friendly versions could gain more traffic and be ranked higher than yours.
To make sure that your website performs well on mobile, here are some tips:
- Make sure your website is fast and responsive. No one wants to be stuck on a website that takes ages to load.
- Don’t overwhelm your visitors. It’s okay to keep things simple and make sure that people can clearly see what your offerings are.
- Use large font sizes for your mobile-friendly site so visitors will be able to read everything easily.
- Periodically test the mobile version of your website, so you’ll know if and when there are any changes that need to be made.
Ensure your NAP is consistent
As a business owner, your name, address, and phone number (NAP) must be kept the same across all platforms. It may seem like a minor thing, but it can have a huge impact on your SEO.
Search engines believe that companies with consistent NAPs are providing accurate information and reward them with a higher ranking. This means your company’s NAP should be written in the same way every time, whether that’s on a company’s website, in a directory, or on social media.
Here are some tips that will help you ensure your NAP is always consistent:
- Triple-check your NAP information before submitting it to any directory
- When there is a change in the information, such as a new number or office address, make sure you update the information everywhere
- Make sure the information on your social media profiles matches what is on your website
Create pages for each of your products or services
If you offer different types of products or services, it’s a good idea to create a page for each, and then optimize them for local search.
This is because people won’t just look for certain types of businesses in the area, like “bakery near me”, but they’ll also look for the types of products they want to get, like“birthday cakes in [location]”.
For example, take a look at this service page from the law firm Florin|Roebig. It highlights that the company specializes in helping Florida residents with any legal troubles they might have following a truck accident.
One this page, the firm outlines the different types of truck accidents that often occur in Florida, common causes of these accidents, and what you should do if you’re involved in one. It basically covers everything you might want to know after being involved in this type of situation, specifically if you’re in the Florida area.
You can replicate this by creating product or service pages that correspond to all of your offerings, and make it clear on each one where you’re based. Then, when someone nearby searches for a business like yours, you’ll be far more likely to pop up in the results.
Another example comes from Canada’s Gardenland, which provides landscaping services in Toronto.
Not only does the company include information about the specific service described on this page, but it also details the steps involved in this service, as well as the reasons why customers might need it.
Each of the company’s web pages contains high-quality keywords relating to the specific service so that people can easily find the company using queries like “landscaping services Toronto” or “interlocking stone in Canada.”
Optimize your images
One area of SEO that a lot of companies neglect is the opportunity to optimize their images and it’s a shame because this can be a particularly good tactic for local SEO — especially if you have photos of the local area on your website.
You should make sure that your image alt text is as descriptive as possible. This will help search engines to better understand what your images show and who might be interested in finding them. For example, if you own a garden landscaping business and want to show off a garden you’ve recently worked on, you’ll want to include all of the relevant details in your alt text, such as where you’re based and what kinds of techniques you used.
You should also ensure that your images won’t slow down the loading of your website. You want to make sure that you’re using optimal image sizes without reducing the quality. Shutterstock has a great guide that can help you with this.
Finally, you need to ensure you’re using the right image formats. There are several options, but PNG and JPEG files are most commonly used. PNGs will give you a better image quality, but the files tend to be larger, while JPEGs tend to be small but aren’t as crisp. It’s best to decide what’s going to work on a case-by-case basis, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
Local SEO is vital for small businesses with at least one physical location. If done well, it is a technique that can help you to scale your business and make you more visible to customers within your local area.
But do it carefully. There’s no need to rush. Just make sure you understand the actions you are taking so you don’t mess up your site’s SEO. And, if you need to, work with people who have experience in providing results through the search engine optimization of websites.