It’s no secret that SEO is important to ensure your business gains traction with customers via organic traffic. What is less well understood is that there are multiple types of SEO, and each of them are vital to help your brand reach the customers who are looking for your specific products and services. In other words, if increasing revenue is a goal for your business in 2020, then it’s highly likely that improving your local SEO matters.
Local SEO is most important to businesses that serve a specific geographic area. This set of practices aims to improve business performance on local search results, connecting them to searchers who are nearby.
So, Why Does Local SEO Matter?
Local SEO is one of the most important digital marketing tactics — especially for small- to medium-sized businesses with one or more locations in a specific geographic area. The intent behind an overwhelming majority of business-related searches is local, including a “near me” variant which has increased by over 500% in just two years.
When people search using the “near me” phrase as part of their query, Google can use their location to find stores and businesses that meet the qualifications they specified as the first results, typically on a Google map.
Most people use the “near me” tag not only to find places, but to find specific products and services in their area. Rather than “mall near me,” people are searching for “where to buy shoes near me” or “marketing agencies near me.” If your business doesn’t appear in these results, you’re missing out on this local traffic and an extremely qualified lead.
Local SEO Strategy
There are a few core tactics that are essential to any local SEO strategy that you begin working on. First and foremost is claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing.
To claim your listing, log in to google.com/business with your Google account and follow the prompts to claim your business listing. Make sure that your address and service area information are accurate, as these are the critical pieces of information that Google will use to position your business geographically when users search. You’ll also need to provide your contact information, including website and phone number. Google will provide this information to searchers along with your business name and location.
You will also need to verify your business through one of the options provided: typically, a postcard, but your business may be eligible for phone or email verification. Don’t delay on the verification process, as without it your business can’t begin local SEO efforts or appear in local results.
The next step in your local SEO strategy should be to verify listings in other directories and review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and others in your area. These sites offer both reviews and citations, or places where your business name, address, phone number and website URL, appear together. Reviews and citations are both critical elements for local search equity.
How Can I Improve My Local SEO?
There are three important factors to rank in local search:
- Proximity: Is your business located near the searcher?
- Relevance: Are your products and services relevant to the search query?
- Prominence: Are your products and services well-reviewed by consumers?
Your proximity isn’t something you have a ton of control over, unless you are able to open additional locations in your area. If your business doesn’t have a physical location, you should consider a sustainable growth rate to expand your area of service and keep up-to-date information on your GMB listing.
Your relevance is also largely dependent on your products and services. In order to establish leadership in your industry and confirmation of your expertise, you should seek out backlink opportunities to industry publications, local publications, and other businesses that offer complementary products or services.
Managing your local reputation is a key part of your local SEO strategy. In order to improve your local SEO prominence, reviews are the most important factor. Using a marketing automation tool, you can reach out to your current and recent customers in order to solicit reviews. In addition to soliciting positive reviews, you should also regularly monitor your reputation and flag any reviews you believe to be spam or false.
While your local SEO strategy is important, it’s only one factor in your overall brand reputation and organic reach. In order to ensure the best possible results for your business, you shouldn’t put all of your marketing eggs in one basket, so to speak. You need to effectively spread your efforts through a balanced mix of digital channels to ensure that your business reaches customers, wherever they may be looking for you.
SharpSpring can help you to maximize your web traffic by using marketing automation to analyze the effectiveness of your SEO terms. With the results, we make appropriate recommendations to enhance it. For example, behavioral-based automation is when marketing automation is used to track a prospect’s online activity. This can include clicking on an email that kicks off an automated email campaign, visiting a website that puts that prospect on a list, or filling out a form in order to receive certain content.
In the final analysis, it will help your marketers in choosing the right SEO terms to reach the highest volume of potential customers.