Local SEO Tactics and Strategies to Increase Traffic and Rankings
by Mike Khorev
You may still bristle when hearing the acronym SEO, despite using the process in different ways for years in your online marketing. Yet, how many years have you focused your SEO on reaching leads nationally or internationally? While it’s always important to bring a worldwide presence on places like Google, this becomes less important if you want more in-store visitations.
Focusing on local SEO is the solution you need to find valuable customers in your local area. Once found by prospective clients in your home city, you could find enough loyal customers to keep you profitable for years to come.
All of this might sound simple to accomplish, despite requiring a revision to your digital marketing campaign. Local SEO is a different approach that’s going to require some work and tweaks to content you already have out there.
If you’ve already mastered the basics of SEO, take time to learn this new technique to assure Google success. Google takes local SEO seriously, and it’s something your own business needs to do. Don’t think local SEO doesn’t matter, because it’s essential if you are a small business looking to corner your local market.
The results you’ll see from doing local SEO right are also exponential. Here’s some examples of why it’s important, plus how you can go about making it work so you increase your visibility on all SERPs.
Examples of Why Local SEO is Important
To understand the importance behind local SEO, you have to look at real-world cases. You’ll find three key things that local SEO expert can help you with to drive more businesses:
- You can increase your call rates by ten times when people know how to find you faster online. Contact information is a vital part of local SEO that often gets ignored. By prominently displaying something as simple as your phone number, you’re going to increase calls when someone finds your business during a digital search.
- Website visits are going to increase ten times as well thanks to prospective leads finding your site at the top of search engines. When you’re on the first page of local listings on Google, you won’t get lost in the dust of nearby competitors trying to steal away your customers.
- Relying strictly on organic SEO might not be enough, requiring some special local SEO tricks to rank higher. Adding Google Maps is known for helping businesses get found faster during quick mobile searches. Adding a Google map works well with Google’s algorithm so you rise to the top in local search placement.
- Improving your online reviews gives you up to a 30% increase in business. If you haven’t honed in on what people say about you online, it’s time to take a look. You might discover a lot of negative reviews initially, but you have ways to improve these using local SEO tactics.
Now that you see what local SEO does for you, how do you go about implementing the things mentioned above? Let’s take a look at the technical steps needed to take on what might seem initially impossible to fix.
Using a Local Phone Number
One of the first necessary steps to take for effective local SEO is to create a local phone number. The most important element to this is consistency as Search Engine Land noted a couple of years ago.
Nothing’s changed in two years. Keeping one local number consistent through all your online citations is guaranteed to help search engine rankings. Plus, make sure your local number goes on your site’s location page. Without this, search engines may not find the number and ruin chances to make any significant local SEO impact.
It’s also worth reminding you need to create separate local numbers for each location of your business. Keeping one number for all can create confusion when people search for your business on their smartphones or tablets.
Keeping a Consistent NAP Across the Web
A NAP isn’t a nap in capital letters, as much as we might want it to be. NAP is really an acronym for “Name, Address, and Phone Number.” Keeping this consistent across all digital channels is a major factor in whether you do local SEO well.
It’s unfortunate that some businesses forget to place basic contact information on their website and social channels. A lot of people looking you up online simply want to know where you are and how they can reach you by phone.
Maybe you’ve added NAP on your website, though what about all your social media accounts and other online sources? Is there a consistency, or do you only have specific information in diffuse places?
Google cross-references this information across a variety of places. They do this to confirm you’re a legitimate business to develop instant customer trust.
Other than your website and social channels, where should you place your NAP to widen your exposure? A good idea is to go to online directories and place it there. Sites like InfoUSA, Yelp, and Foursquare are good examples so Google can pick this information up during crawls.
Verifying Google Maps
If you’re new to using Google Maps, you shouldn’t worry about it being complex to use. When you set one up on your website, you’re going to immediately increase your chances of being found.
It’s more than just capitulating to a Google product. Different factors in your Google Map determine how well you adhere to Google’s algorithm. In turn, it gives a more visual way for people to find you, especially on a mobile device while out driving around.
Take a look at some things you can add to your Google Map to increase your search rank:
- Be sure the address and contact info you have on your map lines up with what’s on your website. Otherwise, it’s going to lead to online confusion again, including Google punishment.
- Consider using Google My Business since anything you add there automatically goes on your Google Map, hence increasing your local SEO strength.
- Online reviews are now embedded into Google Maps, even if you need to attend to this separately as part of your local SEO strategy.
- A lot of new features are available on Google Maps that allow you to place additional information for people to find you faster. Some of these features include traffic information, plus the often-used Street View function.
- Embed your map on your website, including making your phone number clickable. Ideally, you should place your address in the footer of all your webpages.
Fixing Bad Online Reviews
Have you taken the time to see what people are really saying about you online? No doubt it’s daunting when you don’t want to see any negative reviews about the business you’ve worked hard to develop.
It’s essential you take time to see what online reviewers say. Even if you have more negative reviews than you thought you had, you can do some things to amend the problem.
Local SEO is affected deeply by online reviews, so you need to take action. No matter if you find years of negative reviews, a lot of that can become washed over on search engines with the proper techniques.
First, make an effort to create more positive reviews, which may involve some ingenuity. Since you can’t outright ask for positive reviews without punishment from places like Yelp, you can take more sideline actions.
Inc. notes you should link all positive online reviews to your website to create more local SEO juice. Also, include direct links to your profile on review sites to encourage people to write a review. In emails, you can include a direct link to Yelp.
Some other steps you can take to dilute negative reviews:
- Try responding directly to a negative reviewer and offer to correct a problem they called out. They may write a positive review later, or edit their previous negative comments.
- Look out for other review sites other than Yelp, because they could still affect your local SEO negatively. A lot of review sites are out there, and focusing on them to get more positive reviews helps your SERPs.
- Steer all responses to negative reviews with the idea you’ll amend things for any customer thinking they received bad service. This is going to mean not using canned responses and being genuine. Starting conversations creates better clarity and helps determine what the initial problem was.
How Long Will Results from Local SEO Take?
Expect about three to five months to see results from the above actions. Always remember that overall SEO of your site is equally important. Focusing on global SEO and local SEO helps you establish solid placement on Google and brings customers in from all corners.
You want customers for your online and offline store to maintain their loyalty for years to come. Finding them on a local basis helps sustain this so you don’t have to solely compete on a national or even international level.
April 6, 2020