Especially in an era when smartphones seem to be in most everyone’s possession 24/7 and smart speakers are found in a growing number of homes, we’ve all likely asked our digital assistants for some sort of on-the-go area guidance before. Maybe it was, “Hey Siri, find a donut shop near me.” Or “Alexa, where is the closest gas station?” Or maybe the search was a typed one — on a smartphone, a tablet or even a desktop computer — for “nearby Mexican restaurants.”
In all of these cases, local search likely directed a consumer to a nearby business — and there’s a good chance it resulted in a sale. And the way most of the businesses appearing in the search results managed to land there: local SEO.
Strategic steps toward local success
In today’s digitally driven marketplace, local SEO — a tactic for increasing the likelihood that a business can be found via online searches involving a geographic element — can be a huge driver of business. In fact, nearly half of all Google searches seek local information, and almost 80% of local mobile searches lead to an in-store purchase. And especially for small- to medium-sized businesses that the consumer might not be aware of otherwise, local SEO can be a powerful key to success.
So how can you ensure that your business lands in the local search results when a ready-to-buy consumer is looking for your products or services? Consider these eight local SEO-focused steps to putting your business in a better position to be found via local searches:
1. Set up and optimize your Google My Business (GMB) listing
As the very first action recommended in Google’s own guidance on how to improve your local search ranking — and one of the most powerful singular steps any business can take to improve its local search rankings — claiming and completing your business’s Google My Business (GMB) profile is a key part of boosting your local SEO. Plus, it’s free and easy. To get started, simply visit the Google Business Profile Manager and search for your business, then fill in all the details needed to build out your business profile, such as your full business name, address, map location, business category and contact info. Once that’s all complete, you can optimize your listing with photos, business hours, additional contact info, in-store product details and more.
2. … and round out your social profiles
Whether or not your business is active on social media (and of course, fully leveraging social media is a great way to gain more exposure for your business and engage with actual and potential customers), it’s smart to at least create profiles for your business. You can do that on any and all social media sites where your potential customers may be active. Doing so will both make it easier for consumers to find your business and give search engines more details about your business. Social profiles also help you build citations — online mentions of your business and its location, phone number, web address, etc. — which are also an element that search engines consider in your business’s local search rankings.
3. Include a contact page on your website
One of the first steps to optimizing your website for local SEO is to ensure it features a contact page that clearly and prominently exhibits your business’s name, physical address and phone number. It’s also helpful to make the physical address and phone number clickable for users on mobile devices, so they can easily locate or call you with a simple touch of the screen — and without having to switch between apps.
4. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
More and more, modern consumers are going mobile. In fact, over 60% of Google’s organic search traffic in the United States comes from mobile devices — a fact that on its own exhibits the importance to business of having a mobile-friendly website. Add to this that nearly one-third of all of today’s mobile searches include a location element, and it’s clear that optimizing your website for mobile traffic is critical from a local SEO standpoint, too.
5. … and include a map to your business
Considering that the No. 1 goal of your local SEO efforts is to make it easier for consumers to find your business, including a map to your location on your website makes sense as a way to facilitate this objective. And if your business has multiple locations, a map pinpointing all of your places of business can be a big help to consumers who are seeking any of them out.
6. Localize your website
One of the top factors in achieving a high ranking in local searches is having a significant number of backlinks to your business’s website from other authoritative websites in your area. One way to achieve this is to target organizations such as licensing bureaus, trade associations and chambers of commerce in your region in an effort to get your business listed on their websites. Another is to create quality content about area events, attractions, news, industry gatherings, etc. — especially content that can help establish your business as a local authority in your industry — and host it on your website, which most companies do in the form of a blog. Over time, if your content is of high enough value to local readers, you’re likely to gain a wealth of backlinks from other local businesses, institutions and organizations.
7. Build up your customer reviews
Beyond being a significant factor in your business’s local search result rankings, having good customer reviews can play an outsized role in convincing potential consumers to choose your business over the competition. So, to ramp up both your search rankings and your customer base, it’s important for your business to take steps to get clients — and especially satisfied ones — to fill out online reviews of your company and its offerings. For some guidance on how to go about doing this, check out this blog article from The Brandon Agency’s sister agency, TBA Outdoors.
8. … and include some customer testimonials on your site
Customer testimonials provide a great way for your business to build trust among prospective customers — and they also serve as a trust signal with Google, helping boost your business’s local search rankings. For these reasons, it’s a good idea for your business to collect glowing testimonials and display them prominently on its website.
Could your brand use some expert help to increase the effectiveness of its local SEO efforts? At The Brandon Agency, our team of certified brand strategists and data-driven marketing professionals has a wealth of experience in boosting clients’ local SEO presence — and driving local customers through their doors. Further, TBA’s fully integrated marketing firm can cover the full spectrum of your brand’s marketing needs, including SEO, PPC, SEM, analytics, email marketing, social media, brand strategy, web design, creative, media, e-commerce and conversion rate optimization. To get started with help ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all of your marketing campaigns, contact us today.