How to improve your local SEO in 5 steps

Image by chetan kotadiya from Pixabay

By Nick Brown

When working on your online presence, what a lot of people have in mind is universal access to the audience all over the globe. However, is this really going to be the case? Even if you were to reach people across the globe, are they really your target audience? Even if they were, does it really pay off to ship your products to them? These are all the questions that you need to answer before deciding whether your business is ready to go global. More likely than not, however, you need to reduce all your quests and inquiries to a local level.

One of the best ways to give your business a boost in this regard is to invest in your local SEO. This way, you will increase your visibility to the local audience and upscale your business model quite drastically. Achieving this is no small feat and you need to devise a proper strategy. Other than this, acquiring some technical skills or outsourcing certain technical tasks are also advised.

– Sign up on Google My Business

One of the best ways to put your enterprise on the map is to sign up for the Google My Business database and customize your profile so that it envelopes everything relevant. First, you need to create a page and validate the ownership of a company. The way this is done is fairly simple – you get the validation code by mail so that you can confirm the actual location of your business. Otherwise, anyone could register a business using your address.

Once you have this covered, it’s important that you be as descriptive as possible. List what is it that you do and try to get some social validation on this subject matter. Customer reviews are your bread and butter, so make sure to encourage clients to share their own experiences. Authentic experiences are hard to fake and they’re one of the crucial reasons why people come to your business, to begin with.

The last thing you need to keep in mind is that the online activity of your business, especially your local SEO affects your offline sales, as well. This is because some people will look up your contact info before visiting you in person. Keep in mind that the majority of these people might not even go to your website. Instead, they will just take a look at your Google My Business page and contact you from there or come visit you at the address listed on this database.

– Technical aspects of your SEO

The technical aspects of your local SEO are pretty high on your priority list. First of all, while doing your keyword research, you need to start looking for local competitiveness. The way you can do this is by adding location-based keywords into the keyword research tools and analyzing results. Depending on the saturation of the local market, these keywords may be a lot easier to qualify for, to begin with.

Second, you need to conduct a thorough free SEO audit. Here, you will see exactly what your website needs. For instance, if your metadata is messed up or absent, it might be a lot harder for your website to be indexed. In order to make it more crawler-friendly, you would have to do some on-site optimization. The importance of audit in this system lies in the fact that you need to know what your flaws are before you can flash them out.

Also, it’s quite important that you learn how to organize your content the right way around. Both on-site and off-site SEO writing are quite technical and without an in-depth understanding of how this works, the results you get will not be as impressive. Taking a deeper look at your content and reviewing just how SEO-friendly its format is, may help you out in the future. The first step in solving a problem lies in knowing there is a problem, to begin with.

– Optimizing for voice search

At the moment, about 40% of all internet users in the US are using the voice search feature. This is about a third of the entire population in the States. Moreover, this is an ever-growing trend. So, does the absence of voice search optimization really hurts your efforts? Let’s just say that it’s a huge missed opportunity for a business. Also, keep in mind that it’s one of the best ways of becoming more competitive. The majority of your competitors are still not using this opportunity to the fullest, which provides you with a chance to get one step ahead.

The reason why voice search is making its big entrance nowadays and not before is mostly because the algorithm is far more sophisticated. Microphones are better and the algorithm uses both the location of the user, their search history and the context in order to give the discourse some frame. For instance, if the user has previously looked for large maritime wildlife, it’s a lot less likely that Google will provide them with results about a small country in the southwestern Great Britain than it would have been a couple of years before. Even though the words whales and Wales are homophones.

One of the biggest differences between traditional and voice search SEO is the use of proper grammatical forms and formats. It’s a lot easier to use the determiners and prepositions while speaking than to use them while typing. People using the traditional search box usually have no patience, or interest, in a proper grammatical form of their inquiry.

– Locally relevant content

If you have a content marketing strategy and a blog, one of the best ways to improve your local SEO is to delve into local topics. First of all, there are a lot of local news stories, activities and even incidents to write about. The best thing is that people are going to look for this content and there won’t be too much competition. Also, keep in mind that, as a business, you probably have a social media presence and the majority of your followers are local. This will increase the reach of all your posts quite drastically.

Second, you can use the authority and renown of notable people in the community in order to get a credibility boost yourself. How does this work? First of all, local experts are usually renowned in the community as it is. So, for instance, if a prominent local physician is about to write a post for your blog, chances are that a lot of people in the community already follow and respect this person. By association, your business also gains some reputation.

When using keywords, you can always go for something with location (we’ve already mentioned this one). This is not just good for the algorithm; it also enhances your overall relatability. Look at it this way, if all your examples are using people who live near your audience and you use the locations from their vicinity as markers, people are going to relate more closely to your content. It also helps you find your niche.

– Mobile optimization

In one of the previous sections, we’ve mentioned that a lot of people look you up online before actually coming to visit your store in person. A lot of people use mobile devices for their searches. Even if they did look you up online, what happens when they’re near the store? Well, they may whip out their phones in order to check once again. This is where SEO optimization is so important.

Also, if you’re in retail, your audience may use a phone in-store in order to compare the cost of items with other retail stores. They may also look you up while at the retail place of competitors. This is a last-minute save that is possible only for those with the best mobile SEO. Just think about it, mobile browsing and desktop browsing are not one and the same. A person browsing from home has all the time in the world. A person browsing from your competitor’s store will probably just check the first 1-3 results (most likely just one). In other words, this is a strong opportunity for you to unexpectedly connect with your target customer.

Optimizing for mobile users is really not a difficult task. You need to ensure responsiveness (loading within first 2-4 seconds), bigger fonts and an intuitive user interface for smaller screen sizes. All of these can be handled quite effectively even by a layman designer. With the full scale of the massive size of this demographic, it’s really hard to find an excuse to ignore your mobile SEO in 2021.

In conclusion

In the end, improving your local SEO presence is an intuitive step for every small and medium business. Because you’re reducing your target region and downscaling the scope of your target audience, it becomes a lot easier to remain competitive. This turns you into a specialist of sorts, limiting your total audience but increasing your appeal to your main target audience. The best thing is that these methods ensure that your total online footprint benefits, as well. All in all, the benefits of your local SEO activity always outweigh effort investments.

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Nick Brown is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and does audio/video editing as a hobby.

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