Local SEO is the process of optimizing online content so that a business appears higher in search results for customers located in the vicinity of the business. This can be done for both brick-and-mortar businesses with physical locations, such as stores or restaurants, and service area businesses that operate throughout a specific geographic region, such as electricians or house cleaners. Local SEO strategies include claiming and updating online business listings (known as location data or citation management), creating unique website content for each of your local sites, building local citations, and monitoring and responding to online reviews.
As Google continues to prioritize the user experience and provide relevant search results, incorporating local SEO strategies is more important than ever for your business. In fact, according to a recent study by marketing analytics software company Moz, local search factors are the most important for both Local Pack and organic results.
In the past, it was easy for businesses to rank well in Local Pack results simply by ensuring their website was optimized with the right keywords. However, since 2017, this has become increasingly more difficult, as Google has shifted to place a greater emphasis on relevance and authority. To improve your local search rankings, you need to ensure that your content is targeted at the right keywords and that you’re building links from authoritative websites.
The most effective way to do this is by targeting “long-tail” keywords, which are phrases that people are more likely to actually use when searching for local products or services. For example, if you’re a plumbing company in London, you should target keywords such as “plumbing engineer”, “gas boiler repair”, and “local plumber”.
You also need to make sure that your NAP (name, address, phone number) is consistent across all of your online assets. This includes your website, Google Business Profile, business directories, and social media profiles. Search engines like to see consistency in NAP across all of these sources, as it helps them validate and verify the accuracy of your business information.
Another important factor is the number and quality of your online reviews. This can have a significant impact on your local search ranking, as it can help search engines determine the quality and relevance of your business. In addition, many customers will read online reviews before making a purchase decision, so having plenty of positive reviews can help them decide to do business with you.
To boost your online reviews, encourage happy customers to share their experiences with your business on social media and other review sites. You can also offer incentives such as a discount on future services or products to encourage them to do so. Lastly, don’t forget to monitor and respond to negative online reviews. This can have a huge impact on your local search ranking, as it shows that you take customer feedback seriously. By following these tips, you can improve your local search ranking and drive more traffic and sales to your website.