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Did you know that nearly half of all Google searches are conducted with local intent? And that 97% of search engine users use the platform to find local businesses?] These are incredible numbers that represent a powerful resource.
However, local SEO strategies are a completely different ball game from generic, global SEO keyword strategies. They’re targeting a physical, geographic location combined with a specific search term.
A strong local SEO strategy will send locally significant signals to the searcher and enhance your relevance in the local market. This increase in traffic creates another signal that your site is a match for that search which will increase the popularity and ranking of your business.
But we all know that the real objective is to boost targeted, local traffic and sales. What are the key elements of a successful local SEO strategy?
#1 Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Google your own business. What did you find? How does it show up in search results? Is the information accurate? Does it also list your competitors? How does your information compare? Is there a Google Maps listing?
Much of what you see is data you can control. Optimize the information and settings in your Google My Business profile (GMB) to improve your rankings. Google organizes this information based on three parameters:
Is your GMB data relevant to the search? Does it share content and themes, not just words, with the intent of the search?
If the algorithm determines that your profile is more optimized with relevant data, but your location is farther away, your listing will be ranked higher than the less accurate competition.
This metric is determined based on what data Google has related to your business across the whole of the internet.
GMB Data Focus
These are the topics to focus on when optimizing your GMB listing:
- Complete and accurate contact information
- Verified location
- Strategic photo uploads
- Product listings
- Transparent review management
#2 Using Targeted Local Keywords
Research relevant keywords and phrases that would drive traffic to a specific location. What are the top topics related to your industry? What is the overall theme that defines your content?
Find keywords and long-tail phrases that are associated with those topics. Tie them into your local area by coupling them with location-specific language.
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Using targeted keywords in your content, digital ads, product descriptions, and social media posts will boost your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). It shows the algorithm that these themes are prevalent throughout messaging and not just your listing.
Keywords can be used in all these places to enhance your local SEO relevance and prominence:
- On-page SEO (blog articles, website content, etc.)
- Your GMB profile data
- Social Media
- Technical SEO data (site map, navigation, etc.)
- Off-page SEO (guest posts, backlinks, etc.)
#3 Optimize On-Page SEO
Audit all written website content and enhance it to include local, targeted keywords in as many places as possible:
- Content body
- H1 or title headings
- H2 headings
- Page titles
- Page description
- Page URLS
Keyword stuffing is out. If you try too hard, the language looks spammy and it becomes unnatural to read. This is a turn-off to the AI bots and will hurt your SEO rankings. For URL optimization, place keyphrases at the front end for better results.
Create location pages that share about who you are and what community you’re a part of. Include relevant information such as parking, current promotions, and happy client testimonials. If you have multiple physical locations, create one page for each but be careful not to “copy and paste” as Google isn’t happy with duplicate information.
#4 Leverage Off-Page Platforms
Google is, without question, the most popular search engine, followed by YouTube. But, don’t get lost track of other valuable platforms and other popular sites and services that can also enhance your local SEO strategy:
- Next door
- YellowPages (Yes, people still use it!)
- Apple Maps
What tools does your target market use? Where do they spend their time? A restaurant, for example, would focus on managing their listings on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable because they know this is where people go to get dining recommendations.
#5 Create Content With A Local Focus
What is important to your niche? How does this tie into your core message as a brand?
Create locally-driven, original content that is valuable and engaging to a local audience.
Weave in local attractions and events. Reference other local and reputable websites that talk about similar topics or concepts related to your target customer’s interests. Use local talent to source images.
If you want more local customers, build into the digital community. Reach out to other local businesses and initiate collaborations. Create a valuable local resource and use this to drive traffic. Think of a local camping guide, berry-picking trails, local gift shopping guide, childcare guide or nanny guide, etc.
#6 Optimize Technical SEO
The elements of technical SEO that are important for local strategies include:
- External link quality
- Internal linking structure
- Page load time
- Mobile optimization
External link quality tells the AI bots how well-connected you are online. An organized and updated internal linking structure shows the search engine crawlers everything your site offers.
When was the last time you waited more than a few seconds for a page to load before abandoning the search and moving down to the next result? Audit your website to check page load times; the faster, the better.
Mobile optimization is critical. In recent reports, Yelp reached over 36.74 million unique mobile app visitors worldwide, and 16% of online users in the United States said they searched online to find a local business several times a week. What’s more, 82%percent of U.S. smartphone shoppers tapped in "near me" to enhance their local search results.
Leverage Local SEO To Grow Your Traffic and Your Business
Make sure local prospects can find your business with these 6 proven strategies.
Jason started freelancing in SEO back in college, sold his first agency, and now is founder of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends, catching up on reading, and rewatching the Simpsons for the 20th time.
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