One of the biggest mistakes business owners often make is trying to appeal to a global audience when they should be starting local. In fact, 46% of Google searches are looking for local information.
If your business isn't optimized for local visitors, you'll have trouble generating relevant traffic. Of course, local advertisements and word-of-mouth are good ways to locally promote your business, but it doesn't get better than local SEO.
When looking for local businesses, 97% of customers search online. It's safe to say that you'll miss out on many local customers if your business doesn't rank in local search results. But don't fret; you can still optimize your content marketing strategies for local SEO.
If you're wondering, "What does local SEO include?", you're at the right place. We've compiled a comprehensive guide on local SEO and how you can utilize it to rank in local search results.
What Is a Local SEO Strategy?
Local search refers to a user searching for businesses, services, or products specific to a certain city or town. For example, someone looking for tax companies in their area would search "tax companies near me" or "best tax companies in [location]."
Thus, local SEO (search engine optimization) refers to the process of optimizing your content to rank in local searches. This process helps you boost your online visibility to (potential) local customers and attract targeted traffic.
Local SEO is primarily beneficial to businesses with brick-and-mortar locations. Search engines typically rely on local keywords, location-specific landing pages, and links and citations to gather results for local searches.
As a result, businesses can target their content and products toward local prospects by specifying the location on their websites.
Businesses That Need a Local SEO Strategy
Not all businesses need to optimize their content marketing strategies for local SEO. Businesses that operate in specific geographic locations would benefit from ranking in local searches. Here are some examples of businesses that need a local SEO strategy.
- Restaurants and bars
- Local contractors
- Law offices
- Real estate companies
- Stores and boutiques
- Medical service providers
- Government agencies
- Hair salons
- Local non-profit organizations
- Marketing agencies
- Local consultants
- Coffee shops
- Auto dealers
- Educational institutions
Benefits of Local SEO
Focusing on local SEO puts your business in the local market and makes it visible to potential local customers. The benefits of local SEO are undeniable, especially for small businesses that rely on local consumers to grow.
Here are the seven most prominent advantages of adopting a local SEO strategy.
Improving Online Visibility
The first five search results collect 67.7% of all user clicks on Google. Therefore, if you want users to visit your website, you must do everything possible to rank higher in local search results.
If your business doesn't appear in the top 5 searches after a user searches something similar to "best [service type] in [location]," the user might not even come across your business at all. Local SEO helps you place your business exactly where the customers are, improving your online visibility.
Building a Community
Local communities are one of the best ways to keep the economy alive and maintain customer relationships. Local SEO helps you build a community that highlights your business' efforts to link and connect with your consumers and other local businesses in the same industry.
This boosts your rank by providing more reputable backlinks, but it also opens the door for supportive work relationships with companies in the same line of business as yours. When you refer your customers to their services, those companies will be inclined to return your favor.
Generating Relevant Traffic
Another way local SEO helps you is by generating traffic that's relevant to your business and its location. It's worth noting that 72% of all local searches result in an in-person business within the user's 5-mile radius.
By targeting local consumers with local SEO, you open the doors for visitations from people willing to become frequent customers. On the other hand, when you use a broad SEO approach, you might reach a large audience globally, but only a small percentage of them will be able to visit you.
Bringing Customers Back
As of late, customers have found more value in supporting local businesses, so doing business locally is a lot more convenient than taking a global approach. In addition, once they discover you and stop by, you can utilize local SEO strategies to ensure that their customer experience is personalized and targeted.
This will ensure that they stay for good, and your business pops up again when they search for similar services in their area. The purple link will trigger their memory of an exceptional customer experience with you and make them choose you again.
Building Trust and Authority
Local SEO helps businesses build trust and authority with their consumers, who assume that the top-ranked results in their local search are trustworthy companies vetted by Google. Therefore, using local SEO to gain the top spot in search engine results will automatically cause your visitors to trust and respect your business' credibility.
Reducing Ad Costs
Search engine users are more likely to click on the top organic results rather than opt for the sponsored options. Local SEO increases your chances of online visibility, ensuring that you never have to pay for ads again.
With an effective local SEO strategy, you're using Google as a free advertisement tool and gaining even more valuable clicks than a paid ad.
Once you build trust and a local community, bring customers back, and generate relevant traffic, the last way local SEO benefits you is by increasing sales. When users land on business websites in their area, they're more likely to visit you and purchase your services.
Even if your SEO-optimized content doesn't convince them, your close proximity is enough to encourage them to buy from you. Moreover, since you won't be paying for ads, you can expect an even better profit from these increased sales.
Examples of Effective Local SEO Strategy
Here are some of the best local SEO examples of how you can implement an effective local SEO strategy.
Landing Pages and FAQs
Creating a city-specific landing page is one of the best examples of a local SEO strategy. It's easier to rank in local SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) when you have landing pages specific to that location. However, writing city-specific landing pages can be tricky, so you can hire professional content writing services to do the job for you.
These landing pages can include location-specific contact information, address, and services you offer in that city or town. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams offers great examples of landing pages, including local images and details about local landmarks.
If creating city-specific landing pages sounds like a tedious task for businesses that operate country-wide, it might be easier to start with state or regional landing pages. AirBnB's Miami landing page is a great example, including all necessary information for those in need of their services in Miami.
In addition, FAQ pages are one of the best examples of how you can utilize local SEO to get user clicks. These FAQs can be placed at the bottom of city-specific landing pages and include local SEO keywords to attract user clicks. This Monterey Bay Aquarium FAQ page is the perfect example.
Local Specials and Events
Hosting local events is a great way to turn visitors into customers, but it also helps increase your local SEO ranking by a lot. However, you can't get these benefits without announcing these events on your business website and social media pages.
Green Bench Brewing in St. Petersburg, Florida, offers a great example of such an announcement by creating a specific landing page for their Hospitality Wednesdays, including details about the venue, timings, etc.
In addition, offering specials and discounts exclusive to locals is a great way to implement your local SEO strategy. As seen in hotels and theme parks, local businesses can benefit greatly from offering "Locals Only" packages.
Disneyland Florida offers a great example of this, including passes and discounts exclusive to Florida residents. In addition, focusing on local specials and events helps businesses make their mark in the local community by showing exclusive care for locals.
Local Blog Content
Of course, blog content is the most critical aspect of local SEO strategies, and the hardest part is maintaining activity. Publishing regular blog posts on your business websites and social media pages is the best way to keep the attention of your local customers.
If you're unsure what to write, it might help to begin with FAQs, location pages, new location announcements, product announcements, testimonials and interviews, and comprehensive beginner guides to your services.
"Best Of" Guides
Besides a guide to your services, your local SEO strategy will also benefit from guides to a general topic your audience would be interested in. For example, if you own a cafe, it's smart to publish a comprehensive guide on the top 5 pour-over methods. You may publish a guide on business insurance and everything it covers as an insurance company.
Providing insight and education is a good way to pique interest and appear in more searches.
How to Improve Local SEO Strategy?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to improve your content marketing strategies for local SEO.
Optimize Your GMB Listing
GMB (Google My Business) is the most critical part of implementing your local SEO strategy. This tool allows business owners to create free business listings, which will become the top factor considered by Google when providing organic local search results.
First, create your business profile and listing on GMB by providing your business name, store address, exact geographic location on Google Maps, business category, and contact information.
Verify your listing once it goes live by providing store or office photos, business hours, business contact information, and other categories relevant to your local business. Lastly, you can further optimize your GMB listing by providing regular fresh content and business updates.
Consider Mobile Users
Did you know that 82% of all location-specific searches are made by mobile users? If you haven't kept mobile users in mind while creating SEO-optimized content, it's best to start now.
Catering to mobile users can include optimizing your business website to fit mobile screens efficiently. In addition, your website must be mobile-friendly, ensuring that mobile users have no trouble navigating to the FAQs page or online shop.
In addition, it's important to include click-to-call buttons in your GMB listing and business website. Finally, it's worth noting that 60% of mobile users contact businesses directly from their search results, so you must make the option available for them.
Collect Customer Reviews
Review signals are also a top factor considered by Google while providing local search results. As a result, the best way to boost your online visibility is by accumulating authentic, positive reviews.
Plus, it will enhance your reputation in the local community. You can collect customer reviews by focusing on sites where Google expects customers to leave a review. You'll collect your reviews from your GMB listing, business website, social media platforms, and consumer directories.
Facebook, Yelp, Thumbtack, Foursquare, and Angie's List are a few websites that expect customers to leave reviews.
Prioritize Local Link Building
Link signals also influence your ranking in local search results, including linking domain authority and quantity. Local SEO is similar to broad SEO because it requires you to boost your link profile via link building.
Targeting authority websites in your specific location will help you do so. That includes licensing bureaus, trade associations, the Chamber of Commerce, and even .edu sites. If you want to gain valuable backlinks from local sites, you might want to consider scholarships, partnerships, or guest postings.
This is where building a local community with local SEO comes into play. It allows local businesses to establish beneficial working relationships with other businesses in the area.
Ensure NAP Consistency
Another thing Google considers while providing local search results is citation signals. That includes consistency in citation volume and NAP (name, address, and phone number). Besides GMB, your information must be available on major citation websites such as Bing Maps, Yelp, and Facebook.
Directories with higher domain authority should be your top priority. Other than that, you must also ensure that all information is consistent throughout all your platforms. Any misspellings, discrepancies, and duplicate listings can be detrimental to your local search optimization ranking.
Utilize Social Listening
Social listening can help fuel your local SEO strategy better than you think. You can easily make the most of social listening when you know which insights to look out for. In addition, you can use social listening to figure out what the locals are saying about your business and its industry.
Use these insights to discover audience interests and priorities and incorporate those findings into your SEO-optimized content. Then, you have the most of these social listening insights to change your products and strategies.
For example, social listening will let you know that people have complained about your establishment's lack of seating. In response, you can make an announcement on your GMB listing about a new seating plan.
Add Location Pages
As we mentioned, localized landing pages are the easiest way to optimize your content marketing strategies for local SEO. These pages include geo-specific keywords and details about your services in that specific location, causing you to rank higher in local search results.
The best way to make the most of these location pages is by including optimized H1, H2, and H3 headings, internal links, local images, and optimization for mobile users.
Perform a Local SEO Audit
SEO is an intuitive and ongoing process, so you can never step on the brakes if you want to keep ranking higher in local search results. To see where your website stands on an SEO basis, it may help to perform a local SEO audit.
In a Google My Business Audit, you may ask questions like, "How does my GMB appear in the SERPs?" and "Is the information on your GMB accurate?" Meanwhile, a Google Search Console Audit will determine whether your website is crawlable or has any error that would hinder indexing.
A citation audit would require accurate citations in the top business directories, while a website audit would question how well your website is performing.
Find Local Keywords
There's no doubt that your SEO-optimized content should cater to local customers, which is why you must include local keywords in various pages, whether a blog post or landing page. In addition, you can utilize Google's Keyword Planner to filter keywords based on your location.
Once you create a list of the relevant keywords, you can ensure that they appear in your URLs, meta content, and copy. It would also help to insert region-specific landmarks in your content aside from directly mentioning the city or town.
Start Your Local SEO Strategy Today
Local SEO is often overlooked, but it's a crucial marketing strategy for small businesses that benefit greatly from a local audience. Even when your business has reached a global audience, implementing a local SEO content strategy will only increase user clicks and sales.
When implementing your content marketing strategy, make sure to complete your local SEO checklist, including the optimization of your GMB listing, customer reviews, consideration of mobile users, local link building, etc.
Writing content for local SEO can be pretty tricky, especially if you're operating in several locations. In this case, content writing services such as Compose.ly come in handy, writing your local SEO-optimized blog content for you.