As a small business owner, you do everything in your power to get your website in the top search engine ranking positions. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to tip the scales in your favor, including on-page optimization, inbound link building, to social media engagement, here’s a guide for optimizing your website for local search to dominate the search engine results pages.
First Things First: What is Local Search Marketing?
Local search marketing is the process and tactics used to reach your local audience online. This is the type of marketing that brick-and-mortar businesses use to reach potential customers on the internet. (For example, what kinds of tips and tricks would a Woodstock restaurant use to gain the best engagement and rankings? What about a local painting company, or HVAC company?)
Any type of business with a storefront or service area is a local business, and that does include small, medium and even enterprise level brands. When you get down to it, local search marketing is about raising brand awareness in a specific area, and can be accomplished through both organic SEO and paid campaigns like Google AdWords. That said, not every company needs to spend money on paid ads–there’s plenty of other things you can do!
The Case for Local Search Marketing for Your Small Business
Why optimize? Here are a few supporting numbers:
- 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else. (Source: SEO Tribunal)
- Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. (Source: Chat Meter)
- 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results. (Source: SEO Expert)
- The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 31.7%. (Alternatively, only 0.78% of Google searchers clicked on something from the second page.) (Source: Backlink)
Okay, okay, you’re thinking–what can I do now for my local business about these numbers? Here are some of the top ways to help optimize your business for local search.
How to Optimize for Local Search on Your Website
1. Invest in Content – We firmly believe in the power of content! Every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site, a new page where you’re able to target a geographical search phrase or keyword, and offers new opportunities for customers to find you in search engine results pages (or SERPs).
2. Write about complementary local services – A great way to build good relationships with other local businesses is to write about complimentary local services. For example, if you’re a restaurant, write about the farm-to-table service you use to get the absolute freshest ingredients. This lets you write helpful, local content without keyword stuffing, which is punishable by Google. Plus, you may get the added benefit of an inbound link as they return the favor.
3. Create location pages – If you’re looking to increase brand awareness in multiple locations, it’s imperative to tell users that you offer services in different locations. One way to do this is to have unique pages for each location, e.g., digital marketing services in Canton, and digital marketing services in Woodstock. Or if you’re a franchise, you must differentiate your location from others.
4. Optimize On-Page SEO Elements – On-page SEO elements include your page title, URLs, page headers, internal links, and page content, which should be optimized with keywords.
5. Target long-tail keyword variations – If you’re an HVAC company in Woodstock, you may want to cover HVAC repair in Cherokee County, HVAC repair in Woodstock, and HVAC repair in Holly Springs. The goal is to cover all the phrases people may use to refer to the city in your keyword research in order to capitalize on all the ways people will type in searches on the web. We use Google’s keyword tool to run long-tail keyword research for these types of variations.
6. Mobile-optimize your site – Is your site mobile-friendly? Local search and mobile search overlap in many ways–some of the most common ways people will look up your services on mobile include looking up locations, looking at online reviews, finding directions, and searching for contact information. Optimize their user experience by making sure your site is mobile friendly.
7.) Write about local and industry news – One of our favorite ways to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in our customers’ local areas is by writing about what’s new in the community and in the industries they belong to. These types of posts win big points for your rankings in Google, as your site will be boosted for new content.
We insist on using all of these tactics as best practices when we’re working with small business clients in Cherokee County and beyond. Our owners have shared a passion for helping local businesses win with their digital marketing for over a decade, and we love delivering local SEO tactics to help their businesses thrive.