Local SEO is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that helps businesses be more visible on Google Search and Maps when someone searches for their products or services in their city or geographic region. Any business that has a physical establishment or serves customers in a specific area can benefit from local SEO, but certain industries need it more than others.
If you’ve been to a restaurant or used a service like a plumber, you’re likely familiar with the way people search for those local businesses. When you want a bite to eat or need an emergency repair, you don’t go to the Yellow Pages anymore — you pull out your phone and type a few keywords into Google to find what you need nearby. This is why local SEO has grown in popularity as it boosts the visibility and growth of local services and products.
A few years ago, we wrote a blog about the basics of local SEO that still rings true today. In it, we talked about the importance of optimizing your website with a focus on geo-targeted keywords and including your business’ name in your meta tags. These factors remain important, but there are other signals that play a role in how well your business performs in local search results.
As search engines evolve, their algorithms are becoming more sophisticated and complex to better match user intent with the most relevant results. This is why it’s so important to understand how search engines work and to constantly monitor trends in the industry. We also recommend referring to Moz’s annual Local Search Ranking Factors Survey to stay up-to-date on what is working and what isn’t.
The first step in any successful SEO strategy is conducting thorough keyword research. Knowing what your target audience is searching for will give you the information you need to create content that speaks directly to them. You’ll also be able to identify what competitors are targeting and make sure your business is not leaving any opportunities on the table.
Once you’ve honed in on the keywords that are most relevant to your business, it’s time to start optimizing your website. Begin by adding your business’s geo-targeted keywords to your page titles, headers, and meta descriptions. Then, use those same keywords throughout the content on your site – in both text and image alt tags if possible.
Don’t forget to manage your business listings and respond to reviews, both positive and negative. This not only shows that you care about your customers but can also help improve your local SEO performance by building up your online reputation. You may even see an increase in foot traffic! And don’t forget to make your website mobile-friendly. With over 86 percent of consumers looking up local businesses on their phones, a mobile-optimized website is a must-have.