Local SEO is a core component of any small business’ marketing strategy. Without local SEO, you can’t completely dominate search engine results in the niche you are competing.
In local SEO, apart from the niche/industry, there is another dimension that you need to cater: the geographical boundaries of your business that you are targeting.
It can be confusing to some — especially those who are just starting with local search engine optimization. How do you proceed then amid all the confusion?
In this blog post, we list 6 important points that you need to remember when you are just starting with local SEO. These six tips are not for advanced users, but these tips would give beginners a good head start in the right direction.
However, before we jump right into the tips and technicalities, let’s first scratch the surface and clarify a few basic concepts.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is considered a subpart of the search engine optimization world; it specifically deals with local businesses trying to capture the attention of potential customers in their local neighborhood. Local SEO, however, is not limited to a few blocks of an area. The coverage largely depends on the business itself.
For example, a famous restaurant may cover an entire city. On the other hand, a local barbershop may target potential customers in a few blocks around it.
When people who are near the barbershop, for instance, search for keywords like “barbers near me,” the local business may pop up in search engine results.
Why is local SEO important?
Local SEO has always been kind of important. However, with the recent increase in smartphones and mobile usage, the importance of local SEO has grown.
According to a study by ComScore, 56% of ‘on the go searches’ have local intent. And searches with local intent are 2x more likely to be converted than searches with non-local intent. Moreover, approximately 50% of mobile searchers visit an offline store within the next 24 hours.
These are impressive results — provided your business pops up for the right keywords.
Local SEO is one of the best and most efficient ways to rise above the competition — especially considering the fact that not all local businesses are effectively using local SEO to their advantage.
These are some of the many benefits of local SEO. Now, let’s jump into the tips we mentioned earlier. Here are 6 tips that beginners must remember when they are starting with local search engine optimization.
1. Setting up a Google My Business account
Local SEO begins with Google My Business (GMB). It is, by far, the most effective and efficient way to get your business listed in the local search results.
Setting up your business account in GMB can seem overwhelming, so we have created a guide for beginners who’d be doing this for the first time. For more information, read how to set up your business on Google My Business.
NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone Number. You are required to fill out this information in your Google My Business account. You will also need this information when you set up your business in other online business directories.
NAP is the most important piece of information that you provide about your business. It makes your entity credible and reliable. Therefore, make sure what you provide is completely accurate and doesn’t have any oversight.
Also, the information you feed in directories must be consistent with what’s there on your website. It means it should be exactly the same details and format everywhere on the web.
A tip to improve local SEO is to have your NAP on every page of your website. You can keep it in the footer. That way it won’t upset the website aesthetics.
Also, test after getting done that Google is able to crawl through your NAP. Often people mistake putting an image for displaying NAP rather than the HTML code that Google recommends.
3. Use the right keywords
When you are setting up keywords for your business, put yourself in the consumer’s shoes.
Use simple and natural keywords that’d come easily and naturally to a potential consumer’s mind when searching for your business or for the products or services you are offering.
For example, if you provide laundry services, use keywords like ‘Laundry’ and ‘Drycleaner’, etc. You’ve got the point.
Also, don’t forget to use a variety of relevant keywords — different variations, synonyms, etc. Different people often use different types of keywords to find the same result.
One tip is to use Google Trends to see if a particular keyword is gaining in popularity. By forecasting trends and jumping on them at the right time, you can get ahead of your competitors.
The ideal keywords are trending, have a good future, have a decent amount of search volume, have a low level of competition, and are long-tail keywords.
4. Add schema markup
Add scheme markup — also known as structured data markup — into your site for better ranking.
The schema markup is a code that lets Google and other search engines access deeper and more specific information about a business. Google recommends it because it makes it easier to determine and classify the website’s content.
Only a handful of businesses use this code as of now. Those who do are noticeably superior in search engine rankings.
Google offers a testing tool to see if the code is rightly executed on the website. So, if you are adding the code, don’t forget to check it with the Structured Data Testing Tool.
5. List your business in other directories
Directories help build up the reputation of your business as well as increasing online exposure and getting great SEO results.
Here is a list of a few good directories that can help you start with your local SEO.
- Google Business
- Yahoo Local
- Yellow Pages
- Bing Places
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
For more details, read 7 online directories for listing your business for local SEO.
6. Knock off duplicate listings
The Google guidelines about duplicate listings say:
“Do not create more than one page for each location of your business, either in a single account or multiple accounts.”
A duplicate listing can accidentally happen, or Google can mistakenly create it if you frequently use more than one important keyword.
For example, you have used ‘Zee’s Flower Shop’ and ‘ Zee Florist’ on certain pages, Google is likely to consider it as two separate business entities.
Therefore, remove duplicate listings to help Google find and rank only those that truly represent your identity.
Although local SEO is a vast field, the six tips mentioned in this article would give you an excellent launching pad to kickstart your local SEO efforts.
Stay tuned for more tips on search engine optimization.