Whether you already had a website dedicated to your local business before the pandemic happened, or are now preparing to build one, local SEO will play a critical role in your success.
So what makes local SEO so much better than regular SEO? To put it simply, it is easier to rank for location specific keywords than ranking for generic keywords. This is because in most cases, only small, local businesses, that are limited in number, are ranking for a location specific keyword. On the other hand, everyone from local businesses to multinational conglomerates are working relentlessly to rank for generic keywords.
In fact, it would not be very wrong to say that local SEO is perhaps the easiest way to attract relevant visitors to a local business website. If done right, local SEO can enable you to outrank your most immediate competitors almost overnight.
Even if that doesn’t happen, small efforts made to improve the local SEO of your website can make a big difference in a relatively small window of time. In many ways, local SEO has leveled the field and enabled local businesses to effectively compete with the big brands in their zip codes.
In other words, when done right, local SEO can enable your website to jump up several ranks for location specific keywords. While most local SEO services worth their salt can deliver such results almost definitely, there is a lot that you can do on your own, before you spend anything on local SEO.
Here are a few ways you can use local SEO to quickly outrank your local competitors:
Ensuring Consistency In NAP Details
NAP is short for name, address, and phone number. NAP details are one of the most basic components of a website that a search engine uses to collect accurate information about them.
However, if you are unable to maintain consistency of your business’ NAP details, it will have a negative influence over your website’s search engine performance. Not just SEO, consistency of NAP details is also important to ensure a positive user experience that builds credibility for your business.
The name, address, and phone number of your business are the most basic details that your potential customers may be looking for. The search engine algorithms realise this and use NAP consistency to measure the legitimacy of a business website.
For this reason, it is critical to ensure your business’ NAP details are consistent across your website and any business listings that you may have on other websites like Yelp.
Listing On Search Engine Listings (Pro Tip: Embed Maps)
Another great way to improve your website’s search engine performance is to list it on search engine directories like Google’s My Business. Similarly, it is also a good idea to list your business on Bing Places and on Apple Maps.
As critical as this step is to your local SEO success, getting it right is incredibly simple. For instance, to list your business on Google My Business, simply log on to the My Business page and register your business. You will be asked to enter basic details like NAP details, your operating hours, business category, and location. If available, it is a great idea to add some photographs of your business. Adding photos is especially beneficial for businesses like restaurants, cafes, and fitness clubs.
Once done, your business will start appearing in the local business listing displayed along with the search results (see screenshot below).
Pro Tip: Display your business’ location on your website by embedding Google Maps to your website. This will enable your potential customers to easily locate your store through your website. Moreover, Google will be able to better process the data from your website, along with the data from the embedded maps, which can improve the likeliness of your website ranking higher than before.
Listing On All Relevant Business Directories
Listing on different business directories offers dual benefits. One, it makes your business visible to more potential customers that are browsing these business directories.
Second, listing on business directories increases the number of citations your website has on the web. To put it simply, a citation is simply a mention of your business and is a ranking factor. According to Moz, among all the ranking signals used by search engines to determine ranking for websites, citations have over 8% influence.
More citations improve the likeliness of your website ranking higher for relevant keywords. However, don’t forget to ensure your NAP and other business details are consistent across your website, Google My Business Listing, and citations.
Smart Use Of The Right Keywords
No SEO optimisation effort is complete without optimising for the right keywords. After all, the keywords are the terms your prospects use to search for the services or products that your local business is offering.
There are many ways to conduct keyword research and find the right keywords for your business website. For instance, you can use this tool called Spyfu to check out the keywords that your competitors are ranking for. You can also use the Google Keyword Planner to find keyword ideas for your website.
Once you have prepared a list of relevant keywords, it is time to start optimising your content with these keywords. In other words, add the keywords you have researched to your various pieces of content on your website.
This advice isn’t limited to the copy present on your website pages, but also applied to the meta titles, meta tags, URL text, and the alt text used for images.
Make Your Website Mobile Ready
Last year, the number of mobile device users on the web surpassed the number of desktop computer users. Even in 2020, when most of us were surfing the web from the comfort of our homes, more than 50% of internet users chose mobile devices over desktop computers.
Mobile devices are cheaper and for most internet browsing purposes, they are more accessible and easier to use than firing up a computer or laptop. These are just a few of the reasons behind the immense popularity of mobile devices.
Today, the significance of mobile users is too large to be ignored. Not having a mobile ready website means your website is not optimised for over 50% of the users on the web.
Most businesses cannot afford to become invisible to such a large audience.
Besides the significance of the audience, there is another very pressing reason to invest in a mobile ready website. This reason is that search engines give preference to mobile ready websites.
In other words, if you have a mobile ready website, it gives you an instant edge over your competition.
These were just some of the many things that you can do to improve your websites’ local SEO performance. However, the entire list of tasks that can ensure your website stays on top of the search results for relevant local search terms is quite a long and complex one. The most surefire way to improve your rankings and consistently stay on the top of search results is to find a reliable local SEO expert.