Local SEO 101

We all know the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s how we get Google to rank our websites and businesses at the top of the search results page. Now that you’ve done that, you’re hearing you need something called Local SEO, and you’re probably wondering, what is local SEO?

National SEO focuses on Google searches happening across the country, while local SEO focuses on a specific area.

Local SEO is essential to businesses that operate regionally, not nationally. A company like Amazon doesn’t need Local SEO because Amazon is everywhere. However, a local mom-and-pop bookstore or car dealership that serves their customers face-to-face needs local SEO. Any brick-and-mortar business that operates in a specific city will benefit from maximizing its local SEO efforts.

Which, of course, begs the question, how do you maximize your local SEO? Here are four quick tips on how you can optimize your local SEO.

Doing so will bring more traffic to your website and help you convert search traffic to sales.

     1. Create a Google My Business Account

A Google My Business (GMB) page is a great tool to boost your local SEO. When you create a GMB, you must complete all the fields on the form with accurate information. Answering every question is essential and will ensure that your customers can find you and prevent anyone from updating your page with inaccurate information.

Standard fields include business name, address, phone number, email address, and operating hours.

A GMB page will appear in Google search results and help bring awareness to your website. An added benefit is Google will automatically create a Google Maps location for your business, immediately boosting your local SEO efforts. If Google knows how to find you, it can help your customers find you, which is the name of the game.

You should also include pictures and videos of your business and upload new content weekly. By continually updating your GMB page and curating it, you will engage with your customers and make them feel like they already know their way around your store before they step through your doors.

     2. Request Reviews From Your Customers

Before Arrowhead and Sparkletts came along, humans drank from watering holes. But how do you know if the water’s safe to drink? You watch your friends drink first. If other people are drinking from the waterhole, you assume it’s safe.

The idea of social proof and peer affirmation is still in our DNA today. People buy from who they know and trust. Referrals are a great way to generate business, but if someone stumbles upon your website through a Google search, they’ll likely want to see what other people have to say about you. They’ll also want to know how you handle both positive and negative reviews.

By getting reviews from your shoppers, you begin to build a watering hole that’s familiar to locals. But it’s not enough to only request reviews. You also have to respond. At first, when you’re only receiving a few reviews, it’s important to respond to all of them. If you start to receive more than 25 reviews-per-day, you can be more selective.

By engaging with the people who leave reviews, you can help your search results because more people interact with your page. Your answers are also a strategic opportunity for you to include SEO keywords.

Reviews help your business stand out and make your GMB take up more real estate on the Google Search Results Page. A positive review can help you rank higher than almost any other SEO best practice.

     3. Optimize Your Website For Mobile Devices

More people search the internet on their phones than on their computers. If your page doesn’t load correctly and quickly on a mobile device, people won’t look at your page. They’ll hit the back button and go onto the next page. It’s as simple as that.

If you have an iPhone, Google your page. Does it load quickly? Is the formatting correct? Now borrow somebody’s Android and do the same thing. If your website isn’t loading for you, it’s not loading for your customers.

The first thing you need to do is compress all photos and videos on your website. Big file sizes slow down the loading speed of your website.

Optimizing your website for mobile use is critical to Local SEO because people will find your website when they’re out and about. People will be out shopping, realize they need the thing you sell, Google it, and your business will appear. Then they’ll click on it to call you or see if you have the item listed on your website. When your website loads quickly, people will find your business, walk through your doors, and you’ll get more in-store traffic.

     4. Incorporate Local Attractions

Think about popular searches in your area. Do any popular attractions or landmarks immediately come to mind? If so, incorporate them into your meta, URL slug lines, and content. If you own a restaurant in Anaheim, California, include references to “restaurant near Disneyland” or “happy hour near Disneyland.”

You have a local business, and you want Local SEO for it. Including local attractions will ingratiate you as a local.

By creating an accurate GMB, engaging with your customers online, optimizing your website, and incorporating local destinations, you’ll boost your Local SEO rankings and increase your sales.

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