Search Engine Optimization is one the essential digital marketing techniques businesses use to market effectively online through Search Engines. But before we go any further, what is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is the practice of optimizing your web pages to make them reach a high position in the search results of Google or other search engines. It focuses on improving the rankings of a website in terms of organic reach – also known as non-paid.
In general, SEO helps people from all over the Internet to find your business online easier when presented back as search results which is termed as the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
The majority of consumers today use the internet to search for local businesses. If your business doesn’t feature in local search results, you could lose out on potential customers. Local SEO puts your business in front of people who are more likely ready to buy your product or service.
Let me share with you some of the local SEO tips you can utilize to help improve on your business online presence;
1. Get On ‘Google My Business’
The Google My Business page is a snapshot listing of your business that appears whenever someone searches for your business.
It shows your business on a local map along with your hours, customer reviews and whatever pictures you have uploaded to represent your business. To make the most of this page, you want to include as much detail as possible such as keywords in your business’s description.
Google My Business allows you to control how your business appears in local search, while managing customer reviews and integrating your presence with Google Maps.
2. Put Your Business On Bing Places, Yext and Yelp
Apart from Google My Business, your can add your business listing on Bing Places, Yext and Yelp. Include all information about your business such as open and closed hours, location and contact info.
Bing Places and Yext are like Google My Business, but for Bing and Yahoo!. Don’t miss out on your potential customers by only using Google yet there are other search engines. Just don’t forget to optimize your listing with relevant keywords for maximum results.
3. Improve Your Local Ranking With Customer Reviews
If your review volume is low, then your business listing is at risk of falling lower in the rankings. We’re not saying that you need a hundred reviews a week to climb, but if your users aren’t active, it signals to Google that your business might not be, either.
Annoyingly, there’s no way for you to manually sync your Google My Business listing with other review sites. In the meantime, you can and should solicit more reviews yourself.
4. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly
Google sees local SEO as mobile-driven. If your mobile site isn’t optimized and loading in three seconds (or faster), you will fall behind.
Are you mobile-friendly? Find out using Google’s Mobile friendly test tool and many other available tools online. These tools will offer your detailed information on whether your website is mobile friendly or not.
5. Nail Down Your Local Content Strategy
Include local events and other activities in your editorial calendar, and work on your “local keywords” strategy to improve on your SEO.
Local keywords are no different from “regular” keywords — they just often include a location, and might include regional slang relevant to your business.
Not only will this content engage readers, but it also will be great bait for local links and shares — it’ll be easier to get people talking (and arguing!) about which dough nut place is better in your city instead of getting locals to argue about the best dough nut shop in the entire country.
Maximize the value you’re getting out of your meta tags by including your town in your title and description. Don’t just create spam, keyword-stuffed laundry list of towns, cities, products, etc. That’s not good SEO — be relevant and selective.
6. Earn Back links and Local Citations
Link building is always about getting the most lucrative back links. For normal SEO, this means targeting pages with high authority, a good link profile, and a decent amount of traffic.
For local SEO, all that is still true, but a new variable enters: local relevance.
Local relevance is exactly what it says on the tin: how relevant that site is locally. Your local newspaper probably isn’t in demand for back links (unless you live in a major city), but for local SEO, it totally is.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore bigger back links though! Chase any high-authority back link opportunity — just make sure your own profile contains some local link juice too.
7. Let’s Talk About Local SEO and Directories
Directories are actually important for a lot of reasons — not just back links. The thing is, Google will push more traffic to a business if they know their information is accurate.
Obviously, they don’t want to be sending traffic (either foot traffic or web traffic) to a place that doesn’t exist! So, they check what they have against other databases. If the info is correct, then you’ll get a boost.
Besides Google My Business, Bing Places, Yext and Yelp, there are countless business directories with solid domain authority that will list your business, including Facebook, Apple Maps, Better Business Bureau, Foursquare and many more.
8. Search for Active Bloggers In Your Community for an Easy Win
National bloggers are often bombarded by opportunities — but local ones aren’t. Make sure to reach out to them. Local restaurant reviewers, movie critics, mommy bloggers and nature photographers may have just the local influence you need to boost your authority and gain leads.
That’s it, those are some of the eight essential SEO tactics one can employ to improve on their online presence. Please feel free to share more tips on some of the other ways you think businesses could improve the Local SEO for better results.
Author: Emmanuel Luvuuma
Emmanuel is a freelance writer and an advocate for digital inclusion across Africa. He has taken on many roles such as the Community Manager for Kafeero Foundation, a Digital Skills trainer and as an IT Support Guru.