Local SEO is an essential SEO strategy for businesses looking to reach customers in their local area. Best practices of local SEO solutions revolve around optimizing your online store or website for location-specific searches and proper use of Google My Business (GMB).
When building your local SEO strategy, it is important to leave no stone unturned. In this article, we offer you local SEO solutions that will help you make sure your website is easy to find for your target audience online.
The benefits of local SEO solutions
In “Local SEO for Small and Medium Businesses” you can read about the meaning and principles of local SEO. In a nutshell, local SEO solutions give priority to optimizing a website or webshop for customers in the local area.
Local SEO is extremely important for local businesses because people often want to have advance information about a particular product or company. If you don’t use local SEO and your competitors do, they will show up in Google’s search results (SERP) and draw in your potential customer.
Consider searches with a geographical qualification, such as ‘warm bakery in Amsterdam Zuid’ or ‘hotel near Station Noord’. With local SEO solutions, you can take advantage of opportunities arising from these types of local searches.
Local SEO strategies you can compete with
With local SEO strategies, you can inform your audience about your business, increase brand awareness, and offer products and services to local leads. If you have a small business that operates on a regional level, you can use these to compete against large, national providers. Using more generic than specific keywords and having more visitors to your site generated from the demographic data (the user’s IP address and geolocation), you can better compete and increase your conversions.
10 Local SEO solutions to strengthen your competitive position
A “local search strategy” consists of multiple solutions to increase business visibility. You can think of having your site listed on a business site, managing online ratings and reviews, starting a locally focused social media campaign, and so on.
For now, we are going to discuss the ten local SEO solutions that are essential for local businesses.
1. Create and optimize a Google My Business account
For a business, a Google My Business (GMB) listing is imperative to attract local leads and it costs you nothing. A GMB account increases your company’s online visibility almost immediately by making it appear in places where you would otherwise not be listed.
You can follow the instructions on Google to set up your account, but make sure you don’t skip these important steps:
- When describing your business, include key keywords and the region you operate in.
- Choose the best possible category for your GMB listing, also make use of the subcategories and integrate the popular searches that are most applicable to your business.
- Verify your account with Google and make sure your name, address and contact information in GMB match those on your website and in other local publications, such as business listings.
2. Conduct local keyword research and optimize your website’s content
In addition to the free Google Keyword Planner, you can also use Google Trends to see the relevant keywords that are preferred in your area. Together, these two SEO tools give you an overview of searches using the keywords in the past year and the forecast for the next 12 months, the estimated value for PPC (pay per click advertising), the expected click rates and the competition to rank in search engines with these keywords.
You can also use a paid SEO tool that gives you an overview all at once, such as Semrush or Seranking, but because of the relatively high cost, you are better off using these tools when you are more familiar with implementing SEO.
Local SEO solutions are all about refining your keywords
- Perform a local keyword search and choose locally relevant keywords to target. Integrate them into the metadata of your website, in the body text on relevant pages and in the URL itself.
- Optimize the content of your pages. Use the “language” that is commonly used in your region. Mention area-specific features and attractions.
- Pay close attention to a location-specific ‘About Us’ page, focus on locally relevant information such as your commitment and involvement in the local community, local news and events.
- Provide backlinks to the most relevant pages. This requires involvement from local residents, so they will want to promote your site through their own websites. In addition, for backlinks, you can submit your site to relevant business pages in your area.
3: Identify keywords and track positions on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)
After you have identified keywords you want to rank for, it is important to track their positions. The Google Search Console is a free tool that provides you with information about your site’s performance, any errors in your website, how often and what pages are being viewed, what keywords are receiving the most clicks, and more.
4: Local link building or involvement of local residents and businesses?
You don’t have to choose between link building and engagement, because you can use them both. As a small business, you can take full advantage of the geographic proximity and familiarity you share with other businesses in your area.
Local link building is synonymous with local community involvement.
Make connections with other businesses and representatives in your area and ask them to link directly to your website. This is the quickest way to gather many backlinks that will provide strong signals to Google, making your website seen as a trusted authority.
However, it is important that the backlinks from other companies are relevant to your business. Relevant here means that there is a relationship in the industry: so a construction company can link to a painting company just fine, because it is plausible that they work together on a day-to-day basis and can review each other’s work. Would the construction company link to a bakery, the relevance is a lot less, because the construction company represents too little knowledge about the work of bakeries to give an opinion about it. (Unless the bakery caters to the daily lunches of this construction company.)
5: Work on your social media with a multichannel strategy
Find out what social media platforms your target audience uses. Is it YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Twitter or LinkedIn? You can use a number of these platforms to expand your online presence. The first step is to choose the platforms and coordinate a multichannel strategy that makes your messages consistent everywhere.
Use social platforms to showcase your unique products and services and share important messages about your company and your employees.
Here we list a few platforms that can help you with your local SEO efforts:
Facebook has the largest user base, which means you reach the widest audience. A key feature of Facebook is its ability to use geolocations. If someone has visited your store or business, this visitor can give you publicity through the check-in feature. This makes you visible to all potential leads among their friends.
Facebook also provides an opportunity to showcase your physical business with photos, advertising your products or services or planned events. These are activities that allow you to increase the engagement of your target audience for your business.
Twitter limits you to 280 characters, although you can also post images and videos to add some extra flair. The feature of Twitter that will benefit you most is the retweet feature, as it allows you to draw attention to an ongoing campaign or an upcoming event.
Twitter also allows you to contact your followers and ask direct questions (with polls) to gather valuable suggestions directly from your customers.
Instagram is a good platform to use images to increase your business image and customer engagement. Connect with your followers by showing beautiful images of your products and posting behind-the-scenes stories.
6: Communicate with your customers online
Managing your posts on multiple social media channels is not an easy task, especially for smaller businesses. Once you create a profile on a social platform, you need to update it regularly. After all, imagine a customer walking past your store and seeing the same display of the same products every day: would this customer come in?
Your posts should encourage customers to interact with your website pages. So ask your followers for suggestions and feedback, organize contests, giveaways or other engaging activities.
Make sure your posts on different channels are consistent with the posts on your website and GMB profile and that they represent your business.
Create a social media plan in which you schedule your posts, the goals you want to achieve with these posts and analyze whether your posts are effective.
7: Manage ratings (online reviews)
An online review can be as powerful as a personal recommendation. Therefore, it is important that you allow your customers to review and post their experience with your products online.
It’s crucial to monitor and respond to all your reviews, especially if you operate locally. These reviews – and how you handle them – have a direct impact on your company image.
You can ask satisfied customers to leave a review in an email after purchasing a product. You can also show your appreciation by responding directly to reviews published online. Resolve problems as soon as possible, otherwise they may result in negative reviews.
Tips for responding to negative reviews:
Everyone can see your response, so don’t say anything that could jeopardize your relationship with other customers.
Use diplomacy and remain professional, even if you think the customer is being dishonest. Contact the customer privately to resolve the issue.
If you made a mistake, contact the customer, make your apologies, and fix the issue.
8: Use geofencing ads
Geofencing is an ultra-efficient ad technique that draws a virtual boundary around your business based on coordinates. Your ad is activated on a mobile device the moment it enters or leaves your area.
This advanced marketing technique is most effective if you have optimized the content of your website or webshop with specific local search terms. This SEO technique offers value for money, as the ads are displayed to an audience that is likely to click on them because they are physically close to your business.
9: Optimize your website for voice searches
For voice searches, people often use the Google Assistant. For this, you need texts on your website that are adapted to the natural spoken language for the searches. Use of long-tail keywords (such as “gas station in Rotterdam” or “vegetarian restaurant near the station”) are ideal here.
For voice searches, you can make good use of structured data for which you mark pages using JSON-LD (preferred format by Google).
10: Regularly check the performance of your website with an audit
Simple issues on your website such as unavailable pages, missing title tags, irrelevant backlinks, not updated plugins, and more, can significantly hurt your ranking in Google if you don’t maintain your site. Conduct regular website audits to make problems visible and fix them.
Outsource the set-up for your local SEO activities
We can set up and implement the local SEO solutions for your business and fully provide you with all the information required for this. You can then maintain your local SEO with the tips we’ve posted in this article.
Does that sound like a good idea to you? Then contact us and we will take care of your local findability according to Google’s best practices!