Search engine optimization helps your organization show up at the top of a results page online. Local SEO is a digital marketing technique to ensure your company shows up when local customers look for an area business with a physical location.

Create a Google My Business Page

One of the first steps to getting seen online is to set up a page on Google My Business. This site plays a significant role in local searches. A company listing here tells search engines you are a legitimate organization in the area. This credibility automatically moves you higher in the search results.

Check Out the Competition

BrightLocal gives you a picture of how you stack up to other businesses in your region. You can access data regarding your reviews, citations and backlinks to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses in search marketing.

There are many online tools available to analyze how your competitors rank online. Sites such as Spyfu, Ahrefs or SEMRush provide you with information regarding which industry keywords other organizations rank for in your area. You can use this data to help you create long-tail keywords to put in your site’s content.

Brainstorm Keyword Ideas

Creating local keywords is more straightforward than general keyword research as there is less competition for local search results. You can create a seed list of keywords by merely writing down your products and services in combination with your location. It is unnecessary to add the words “near me” to your keyword versions as Google accesses users’ specific areas for those types of searches. This area-specific targeting by Google works even when people are using incognito or private search modes.

Type your keywords into a search and scroll down to see the related search terms section. This information provides you with additional keyword opportunities to incorporate into your content. You can also access online keyword tools to help you develop more ideas to improve your SEO methods.

Ensure Consistent Citations

Online mentions of your company’s name, phone number and address online are called citations. These listings of your contact data are crucial for search engine algorithms and must be consistent. Review all the sites you have professional listings on and ensure the details are the same. It must be identical whether on Facebook, Angie’s List, Yelp, Google My Business or your website. When contact information is inconsistent, Google views it as untrustworthy and moves your site down the search results list. After you edit existing mentions online, add your company to local webpages you are not yet on.

Create a Local SEO Plan

There are various ways to optimize content for local area searches. Taking the time to do this builds your business, increases revenue and improves regional brand awareness. Some ideas include:

  • Write blog posts for your website about local topics or events.
  • Create guest blogs for other institutions in the area to increase your exposure to a broader audience.
  • Sponsor area teams to increase mentions of your company online. 
  • Host community events at your place of business.
  • Build content that is useful to the local community, such as area guides or lists.
  • Reach out to other companies to partner in a backlink strategy.

Remind Customers to Write Reviews

Your online reviews create authority with search engines, resulting in better search rankings for your site. Provide your pleased customers with opportunities to leave positive feedback online. Your search rank improves as you gain additional reviews. Create easy to follow action steps on your site and your emails. Remind patrons to leave reviews with signs at the register, suggestions on receipts and more. Satisfied consumers are typically more than happy to write positive reviews but do not remember to do it unless prompted.

Nearly half of all Google searches have local intent, making local SEO vital to your brick-and-mortar business’s success. Take the time to fine-tune your search marketing techniques to ensure continued growth.