What is Local SEO? The Dummies Version For Business Owners

For small, brick-and-mortar businesses, local SEO is an important ranking tactic that can spell the difference between success and failure. In today’s web-based world, customers are looking for companies online and local SEO is one of the best ways to ensure that your company can be found.

If you learn to do local SEO correctly, the potential for reward is huge. If you get it wrong, though, it’s likely that your company will be lost in a virtual sea of small businesses all competing for the same few local search engine results page (SERP) listings.

Fortunately, local SEO isn’t a challenging endeavor. Read on to learn more about what it is, exactly, and how you can make it work for you.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a type of SEO that focuses on allowing local businesses to appear in local search listings. For example, if a person in Bozeman, Montana were to search for the best steak restaurants in the area, Google would provide a list of results that were nearest to that person.

Local SEO is important because over 40% of Google searches are initiated with local intent.  Additionally, of those searchers, two in three of them resulted in direct engagement with a company and one in three resulted in a purchase.

That said, it’s obvious why companies would want to optimize their local SEO in order to ensure that they’re showing up prominently in the local search listings.

How to Optimize Your Business’s Local SEO: 4 Simple Tips

Google has recently made some large changes to local SEO with the Pigeon algorithm update. These changes have affected the way that companies interact with local SEO. In light of those changes, however, there are still many ways to ensure that your company shows up in local SEO listings. Focus on these 4 tips to boost your local SEO and give your company a leg up in the SERPs:

Establish a Google Places for Business Page:

One of the most powerful tools in your local SEO arsenal is going to be a Google Places for Business page. This page will allow you to feature your contact information, address and operating hours prominently in local search results. Additionally, companies who use this Google service have the option of providing category information about a site in order to help Google better classify your company and, thus, feature it more prominently and accurately in local SERPs and maps. 

Optimize Your Site Information for Local SEO:

Once you’ve established your Google Places for Business page, it’s time to work on your own website. Your website is your most important asset when it comes to ranking for local queries and, when you properly optimize your site’s information, you’re more likely to feature prominently in local SERPs. To do this, the first step is to ensure that your domain name reflects your business location and type. For example, if you ran a bagel shop in NYC, your domain name might be “bobsbaglesnyc.com.”

Additionally, ensure that you’ve added relevant keywords (“NYC bagels”, “bagels in NYC”, etc.) to your page headers and content as accurate keywords make it easier for search engines to locate your site and align it with local queries. Finally, ensure that you’ve incorporated your company’s name, address, and phone numbers (NAP) onto each page of the site. This makes it easier for search engines to locate your page and list in local query results.

Encourage Customer Reviews:

Potential customers rely heavily on past customer reviews when it comes time to make a purchasing decision. In fact, 80% of customers trust online reviews as much as they would personal word-of-mouth from a close friend. With that in mind, it’s obvious that companies can’t afford to bypass reviews when building their local SEO. In order to make the most of customer reviews, encourage customers to leave ratings and reviews for your company after they make a purchase.

This is especially important in light of the recent Pigeon algorithm updates, which caused customer reviews to feature prominently in local SERPs.  To increase the heft of your reviews, offer a variety of platforms where customers can leave reviews, such as Yelp and Facebook.  Once you’ve begun to garner reviews, ensure that you’re being proactive about responding to all of them – good and bad. This shows potential customers that you’re engaged and concerned about customer experience.

Engage With Customers Via Social Media:

When it comes to ranking in local searches, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram are your best friend. Social media platforms are a simple, cheap and effective way to engage with followers and boost your search rankings. Engaging with followers means everything from updating customers on new products, offering promotions, giveaways and incentives, posting stories about satisfied users and offering customer rewards via a social media platform. Once you’ve established your social media account of choice, be sure to respond quickly to customers who reach out regarding reviews, questions or concerns about your products or service.

The Case For Local SEO

At the end of the day, local SEO is an effective, important and efficient tool for spreading the word about your company and getting found in your physical location. Because today’s consumer market is so web-based, it’s obvious that local SEO is not something small brick-and-mortar companies can afford to overlook.

Fortunately, stepping into the world of local SEO is surprisingly simple and can be achieved by listing your business with Google Places, optimizing your site’s content and information, encouraging customer reviews and ensuring that you’re engaging with eager followers via a selection of social media platforms. With the help of these easy tips, your company can easily become competitive in local SERPs in no time.

To learn more about how you can market your company effectively, visit Bigfoot Media today.

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