Getting discovered in local searches is something businesses need to consider very seriously. At present, the penetration of smart devices, especially smartphones, have made the concept even more demanding. Research by Google has shown that almost 88% of the near me searches are conducted on mobile devices. It’s something to bear in mind that ranking your business on the top in a local search is not an easy job. Local SEO is very competitive and when we talk about SEO strategy, one should understand that it changes frequently and that frequency will only get accelerated.
How to Create a Local SEO Strategy
There are numerous factors when you want to list your business locally, but, we are going to discuss the top 8 factors that can boost up your local searches.
1) Prioritize Meta titles and description
Both the titles and descriptions are customizable. Meta tags usually explain to the users about the products and services of a website. Always remember most of the users go through the search result very quickly, so your titles and description should be short and comprehensive.
Some important facts about title tags:
- The typical title length should be within 50 to 60 characters
- Meta descriptions are better if kept between 160 and 200 characters
- Each word needs to be formed strategically to fulfill the need of the audience.
WordPress users can easily preview and analyze the description of their web pages through the Yoast SEO Plugin.
If you want to be found on local searches, be sure to put the name of your city or actual geographic location that you want to target and always place your keyword at the beginning of your title.
Writing Meta title and description is expertise where every element counts.
2) Use online directories and citations
Businesses now can access innumerable high-traffic online directories, including:
- Angie’s List
Listing your business on these directories will give you an edge over your competitors by constantly improving your local rankings. The following is the basic information you require to register.
- Business name
- Phone number
- Website URL
- Hours in operation
- Services offered
Make sure that you update this information regularly and accurately in all the directories. And always take care of the fact that any misinformation or differentiation can lead to a negative impact on your business.
3) Google My Business: Claim and optimize
Other than the above directories, businesses must log into Google my business platform and list their businesses which will push their business highly in terms of local search and expose them further on Google 3 pack.
The verification method is quite easy. You will receive a pin to verify your business, consecutively, you will need to log in and enter the pin. That will tell Google that your business is legitimate. After verification, you can frequently optimize your description and all the required information to assist customers to learn more about your business.
4) Actively pursue online reviews
Nowadays everyone is aware of the significance of online reviews; In fact, research has found that 84% of consumers follow them, just like we do in the personal recommendation.
Google take reviews seriously and put that into their ranking algorithm. Hence, getting positive reviews should be on your priority list. You must also take care of the following facts:
- Set your goals. How many reviews do you want per month?
- Set your KPIs.
- Identify effective ways to follow up with customers for reviews.
- Learn how employees/customer service will factor in.
- Have an attitude to optimize consistently.
Software solutions like Vendasta, Trustpilot, and Get Five Stars are highly trustworthy for gaining and managing online reviews.
Social media and Google are the vital mediums people look through for searching and reading reviews.
Facebook and Google my business pages are the two areas where you should focus on improvement-as reviews are very powerful in earning your business both negative and positive images.
5) Produce local content
If you want to rank in the local search you must publish high-quality content that relates to your geography of operation. That you can achieve through blog posts, online Q&As, or any other pages related to your local area. Always maintain the content length within 800-1000 words.
When writing content, take care of the following factors.
- Understand your target audience
- Know when and where they read content
- Align with the buyer’s journey
- Consistently maintain your messaging
- Publish at a steady pace
- Promote across all the platforms
If you have more than one location then it’s recommended to set up landing pages for each location
Creating and publishing high-quality content is one of the best ways to stand aside from the crowd. With whatever you publish, always make sure that you are keeping your message informative, relevant, and to the point.
6) Use local structured data markup
Structured data markup, or ‘schema markup’, is a code linked to your website which in turn gives search bots the required information regarding your business. This can be in connection to the products or services you reviews, offer, or what your content is all about, for example.
As nearly 30% of the businesses practice this, linking specific markup is one of the best ways to make a local business successful. Google offers a user-friendly testing tool that helps you to check markup and unsure whether it’s implemented accurately or not. Google’s Data Highlighter also makes this process even simpler and flexible.
Local SEO is mainly responsible for improving user experience. And similar concept follows in the case of the search engine crawlers.
7) Be socially active
At present, social media optimization is very important for almost each and every business. They are dominating a sizable portion of the internet in spreading awareness. With nearly 1/3rd of the global population active in at least one or more social media platforms, businesses must increase their social media footprint to stay active, specifically around their local market. Following things can be done in this regard
- Post about local topics
- Consistently publish engaging content
- Share content
- Get content shared
- Interact with locals
- Keep followers in the loop.
Search engine bots will usually notice how consistent you are in telling the world about your existence. As a result, they will definitely reward you with better and higher search engine visibility. Therefore, if you are lagging behind in optimizing your social media networks then you may be out of the competition.
8) Show community spirit
Prior to the boom of the internet, relying too much on the local community used to be a great way to build relationships, gain exposure, and to portray the main purpose of your business. This idea even works today; the only difference is that the tools and landscapes to do so are different.
There are various types of activities that you can pursue to procure a place in the community. Sponsoring events frequently can earn you mention in local content/news. Clarifying that you have a genuine interest in serving the area can be a game-changing factor in increasing your rankings.
The above steps are not the final ones to optimize your local search rankings since the SEO algorithm changes constantly and at a faster rate. Therefore, our suggestion would be to keep updated and implement the newer strategies as per their availability and impact on your rankings.