Local Business SEO Tips – How To Get Found In Local Searches
by Jim Frost
Smartphone users are billions now. When most of them are looking for a service or a product in their immediate vicinity, hardly anyone looks it up in one of the business directories that used to be common, such as the Yellow Pages or the telephone book.
Instead, keywords or search terms are entered into a search engine on a smartphone, tablet, or PC. Most people use the most well-known and at the same time largest search engine “Google”. All companies operating in the market should see and use these developments as an opportunity. So do local businesses.
Regardless of whether you are a hardware business with a small branch on the edge of the industrial area, a specialist, a lawyer, or a regional entrepreneur, you must have a strong online setup to stay on top of search results.
Make sure that you can be found and are present online for existing customers, but especially for potential new customers. For that to be the case, simply having a website showcasing your business is no longer enough. The competition doesn’t sleep and especially when it comes to placement in search results, it quickly becomes clear that you won’t easily be listed in one of the top ranks on Google.
Accordingly, you should exhaust all measures in the course of local business SEO on your website to increase the ranking in the search engines (on-page optimization).
With local SEO you can be found by your customers on the internet. Your website and your Google My Business (Maps) entry are displayed to the search engine user based on the local algorithm.
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Especially as a local entrepreneur whose day-to-day business takes place in a shop, it would be advantageous to know and familiarize yourself with the various marketing tricks in the field of local search engine optimization (local Business SEO). This is how you ensure that your customers of tomorrow will not only find you online but also physically. Here you can find out how best to do this and what tips and tricks you need to consider.
Whether in the start-up phase or as an established local company – be sure to plan a budget for an appealing design of your website and search engine marketing. Even with a small marketing budget for this segment, you can often optimize your visibility for your customers enormously in the long term. As a result, your customer base will grow steadily, which in turn will generate higher sales.
What exactly is local SEO and how does it benefit you as a local business?
You will know it yourself from your everyday life. You are travelling to another city with your partner for the weekend and are looking for a nice “Italian restaurant”. Presumably, you enter exactly these two words and maybe the place on Google, but maybe just “Italian restaurant” without a specific location. This is exactly where local business SEO comes into play because Google only lists relevant search results based on your location.
Now slip back into the entrepreneurial role and you will see the significant advantages this marketing measure has when it comes to customer acquisition and online visibility. The probability that potential customers will find their way to you and not stray from the competition increases many times over.
When it comes to the hits or results displayed, Google, like most other search engine providers, orients itself on the relevance of the results for the user, the location of the user, and the level of awareness of the entries. Relevant local results are marked on a map and listed accordingly, referred to as a “Google Local Pack”.
Google uses the location of the user as the most important factor and initially only lists the hits that are in the immediate vicinity. A positive side effect is that your company is easier to find in other, smaller search engines.
When should you, as an entrepreneur, use this strategy?
It’s relatively easy to try out whether local SEO makes sense for your company or your industry or not. Just type the relevant keywords into Google without the location and see if a map pops up. If this is the case, you can be sure that Google will list the relevant search results for your business sector.
Local SEO makes stationary trade and all other local service providers more visible, increases the likelihood of generating sales, and sets the course for winning potential customers for the future through initial personal contact. If you operate several branches in different cities, you can include them accordingly, link them and create a local connection with various tricks.
Learn more about the Benefits of SEO Content Marketing For Your Business
What role does the content of your website play in SEO?
All measures that can be used as part of search engine optimization are only as good as the content of your website. Make sure that you specify in the settings that the Google algorithm is allowed to search your website and that your content is findable for the search engine. This is a standard setting in most Content Management systems. To be on the safe side, you should still check them.
The keywords that you should include in your texts are particularly important concerning content-related measures in SEO. As a rule, each homepage/website deals with a special topic. For Google to rank you or your business, you should focus on at least one keyword that you repeatedly include in your texts and homepage content. Even better are several “focus keywords”.
Your content must be nevertheless informative and meaningful. Because Google is now able to distinguish between good and bad texts and to recognize whether the content makes sense for the users and meets their wishes. You should therefore prevent the exclusive processing of as many keywords as possible irrelevant keywords or keyword stuffing, because this only costs time, but does not lead to any improvement or optimization.
The user would be supported in his search by the content and would be informed as comprehensively as possible about a topic. Note: Only filling your website with texts and content with “focus keywords” will not bring you any added value. Make sure your content contains relevant keywords while being informative and engaging.
It is helpful that you define and analyze your target group precisely. Questions such as which age group is predominantly represented? What level of education does my target group have? What wishes and requirements do they have of me and my products or services etc.?
Learn more about How Your Content Is Found On The Web
Copywriting not your thing? Don’t worry; you can get support here too. Even if you don’t have the budget to hire a professional copywriter, asking doesn’t cost anything in the first place. Every tip can bring you a little closer to your goal. This can save you time and ensure that your texts are formulated in a way that is easy to understand and address your target group.
It can also be helpful to seek suggestions and ideas from competitors’ websites. Be careful not to copy any content. This not only seems a little creative but also extremely unprofessional, should someone catch on to you.
What is also possible with little effort is the sensible determination of a good URL, which should contain your most important keyword. Determine your URL and enter it manually, otherwise, you would simply be assigned a combination of letters and numbers that would not bring you any added value.
Which technical aspects play a role in Local SEO?
For your website to be easier to find, you should have a competent SEO content specialist at your side. Ideally, an IT specialist with experience and expertise in developing websites or a marketing expert who specializes in search engine optimization.
In addition to the correct server settings, the technically relevant aspects also include crawling (search engine bots have permission to access your site). Also, your web developer should make sure that your source code is properly maintained.
As mentioned at the beginning, more and more people are using smartphones. Almost all large companies and brands act according to the “mobile-first strategy”. With a responsive website design, you should ensure that the display of your website works without restrictions on mobile devices is easy to use for the customer, and is clear.
Your website should also be clear. It won’t help you if you have good content but the layout of your site is pure chaos. Make your pages clear, build them up logically, and pay attention to an attractive design to create the best possible UX (user experience).
What else you should know about SEO – tips and basics:
Although you cannot influence or optimize the most important ranking factor, namely the location of your shop or company, you should take more care to fulfil the other factors and criteria as best as possible. We show you ranking factors for local search engine optimization, which can give you competitive advantages if used in a targeted manner.
Google My Business
You should use and record actively. Not only because you get an overview of how often your store or yours was searched for, but also because your company is displayed on Google Maps and the local listings. This way you can draw the attention of potential customers to you much faster, especially since the local Listings appear above the organic search results.
You must maintain your account carefully, ensure that the information is complete and use Google My Business signals, which means that you use special keywords in the title or different categories in a well-considered manner.
The NAP criterion also plays an important role. The abbreviation stands for “Name, Address & Phone Number”. Make sure that the contact details given are complete and consistent everywhere.
In addition to your Google My Business account, your NAP information should also appear on all active social media profiles, on your website, on various review sites related to your industry, and in all popular business directories. The NAP citations, which are known as local citations, help your company to be found better online and, in the best case, ensure that your shop, restaurant, or similar is ranked higher for local search queries.
Learn more about How To Reach More Customers with SEO & Content Marketing
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that it is very important to always have a comprehensive view of your company’s appearance. By this, we mean a uniform and attractive appearance (corporate design) – online as well as offline! This not only looks inviting to potential customers but above all professional. If possible, bring in professionals to create and design your website. Isn’t that in your budget?
Then use our tips and inform yourself in detail about the most important aspects of the web, so that you can set the course with the design and the content. Be sure to think of a responsive web design that adapts to the different display sizes of mobile devices.
The slightly increased development effort will be of great use to you in the long term concerning local search engine optimization, as it increases the user experience. The user-friendly presentation automatically increases the length of time users stay on your website. The bottom line is that this in turn leads to a better ranking. In principle, however, you should seek advice from a specialist as soon as possible to get the most out of it.
On your Google My Business profile, you have the opportunity to introduce your company with a short text (around 110-130 words). The more personable and professional you can present yourself and the clearer the added value of your product or service becomes apparent to the customer, the better. Your company presentation and/or special offers should be accompanied by pictures or videos. Put your logo and your product or service in the limelight.
Depending on your needs, it can make sense to get professional support here as well, if you do not have the appropriate expertise within the team. Some photographers specialize in product photography. A graphic designer, for example, can then skillfully stage the photographs and videos as well as the related content.
Another option to optimize your local search results is to link your account to your homepage and email address and use call-to-action buttons. With these buttons, you can lead users directly to your website, your online shop, or one of your landing pages. Typical call-to-action buttons are, for example, “further information”, “register now”, “buy now”, “contact us”, etc.
Also, make sure that your opening hours and days off are always correctly stated and directly visible. Nothing is more annoying for a customer than unexpectedly standing in front of closed doors.
If you offer your service or product range outside of your shop, then be sure to include the catchment area. This is the case, for example, if you offer a delivery service or have other branches in the vicinity. Google recognizes this additional information. They are reflected in the result in the better ranking of the local search. The Internet and search engine giant ultimately only ranks companies and brands with the appropriate relevance in the local search results, you should also make use of Google Ads and place regular advertising. If your budget allows it, then supplement your marketing concept with paid and/or social media adverts.
In principle, this procedure can be used in all well-known search engines that offer similar features to Google. At Bing, the counterpart to Google my Business is called “Bing places for business”.
Reviews and ratings
It also influences the local search (local search) and thus also the local ranking. Potential customers in particular use recommendations and ratings as a guide when searching locally. So be sure to use this ranking factor to your advantage. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind here.
If your shop or your service is consistently rated positively, this usually also has a positive effect on the number of clicks in the search engines. The so-called review signals, i.e. reviews and ratings, play an important role as they act as a kind of online advertisement for your store.
For local business SEO, it makes sense to ask regular customers in particular to leave a good review on Google. In the local search, if your ratings are positive, they will be provided with recommendation stars, which not only have an optimizing effect on your ranking but also make your company’s results display much more appealing thanks to the stars that are displayed. We know it from ourselves – if search results on Google are provided with recommendation stars, these are usually the results that we access first.
You won’t be able to please every one of your customers, which is perfectly normal. So if you ever get less than good feedback on Google, then react professionally and friendly. See constructive criticism as an incentive and don’t get discouraged. In most cases, the potential for improvement or further development lies dormant in constructive criticism. Nevertheless, you should make sure that negative reviews don’t get out of hand.
Backlinks are divided into internal and external and if used carefully, make a valuable contribution to local business SEO. Internal links help users find their way around your website. In the case of internal links, the links remain in the same domain. If internal links are used in a structured and meaningful way, this has the positive effect that Google-Bot understands this and you can indirectly influence how your page performs in the ranking.
If you use external links, then make sure that the pages to which the link is linked complement the subject area in question in a meaningful way. With this optimization measure, you give the impression that you are familiar with and deal with your and related topics holistically and in-depth. In the case of external links, the value of the further pages also plays an important role.
Make sure you are redirecting to reputable sites. Links to dubious sites would harm your ranking on one hand and give your potential customers an unprofessional impression on the other.
Links and posts in social media also support the effect of moving up in search engine rankings. As with ratings and reviews, it makes sense to ask happy customers to link to you or tag you in a post if it complements or rounds off the post. In short, the overall picture should also appear coherent here.
Since social media has become indispensable nowadays, you should actively use platforms that are suitable for your company and keep your customers up to date with news, special offers, or planned campaigns.
To get the most out of your reach, you should store posts and entries on your website and your social media profiles on Google My Business. In this way, you not only ensure that your regular customers and potential new customers are optimally informed, but you also have the opportunity to communicate and interact with your customers via these channels and thus support customer loyalty.
It doesn’t matter whether your company is still in the start-up phase or already established, in the short or long term it makes sense to entrust this task to an external agency or employee, as it can mean a considerable investment of time depending on the product or service. Identify and leverage the social networks that make the most sense for your industry.
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How to monitor your website’s ranking success in local search results!?
Google offers the Search Console for this. With this free service, you can monitor your Google results and see how your website is doing. This feature also allows you to manage your data and troubleshoot. With Google Search Console you can also check whether Google can find your website and its content on the Internet and whether your website can be easily read by crawlers and your content indexed.
If there are difficulties here, these problems can be eliminated with the Search Console. The use of this free Google service is recommended for everyone who has their website – regardless of whether they are founders, long-standing managing directors, administrators, SEO agencies, or web developers. Search Console supports almost all stakeholders in monitoring their website and traffic.
Another option that this service offers is that you can get Google’s search query data for your website, so you can see in black and white how often your page appears in search results, how many clicks it has, etc. Also, Search Console has the benefit of notifying you when Google has identified issues, spam, or indexing errors on your site, or when other pages have linked to your site.
Use local SEO to be findable for your future customers and ultimately attract them to your shop, restaurant, or workshop. The aim must be to win new customers and thereby bind them to you in the long term. Get support from a content marketing agency that specializes in search engine optimization. We can run an SEO check to quickly determine which screws need to be adjusted.
An attractive online presence in a responsive design with well-thought-out content as well as entries in the most important business directories and a continuously maintained Google My Business account will ensure that you continue to climb up the rankings in the local search and gradually expand your customer base.
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