Local search might seem like the latest buzzword in SEO. But did you know that local searches already account for nearly half of all searches on Google?
If your business relies on local customers, you can’t ignore the power of Google.
As part of your SEO strategy, mastering local rankings could bring you hundreds of valuable referrals. Read on to learn about our top ten strategies for getting your business to the top of your local search pages.
1. Ask for Reviews
When you run a local search, reviews are the first things you’ll notice.
Genuine reviews are fantastic for small business SEO and will help you win more customers. So it’s worth contacting recent customers to ask them if they’ll leave a review.
In addition, include a review request as part of your standard post-purchase process (the easiest way to do this is using your email autoresponder).
Make sure you include a link to your Google business review page so that they add a review to the correct area.
2. Use Local Keywords in Your Content
If you already write search-optimized blog posts, you’ll probably know the importance of doing your keyword research before coming up with article titles.
The same applies to local searches. Use your regular keyword research to find relevant local keywords for your industry. Once you have a list, create some content based on those keywords.
It’s not only place names that work well for local searches. Landmarks, events, and news stories are highly effective ways to get local Google traffic.
3. Register Your Business
To get ranked for local searches, you must tell Google and bing you exist! You can do that by registering your business on Google.
That means creating a Google business profile and ensuring you link your business premises on Google Maps. It’s essential to your digital marketing strategy when you want to attract local customers.
Similarly, ensure you register your business on Bing places as you don’t want to forget about the second largest search engine as a valuable traffic source.
4. Connect With Customers
You might assume that a business profile on Google is a one-way thing, an advert for your business. But in the internet age, people want and expect to see a human behind that website and company logo.
One way you can do that is by responding to any reviews customers leave you. Respond to the good and the bad, be yourself, and be professional and honest. It will go a long way to getting potential customers to trust you.
And that little act of connecting with customers will leave a positive footprint on Google and ultimately help your local ranking.
5. Update Your Business Information
It’s easy to get into the routine of adding your business data to online directories, only to forget it once that task is off your to-do list.
However, there is a risk of your data becoming outdated, potentially hurting your local rankings.
Regularly audit your business profile on Google and any business directory, and check your service description, website, and contact details.
If you have specific phone numbers for sales inquiries, always make sure you include that instead of your general switchboard number. For more information on the best directories, click here.
6. Give Back
Local businesses have an excellent opportunity to get their name known through local sponsorship. Perhaps you could sponsor a youth sports team or donate a prize to a local raffle.
There are two benefits to this. First, you’ll get extra advertising, and local customers will remember your name. And secondly, you’ll get more backlinks to improve your local rank.
Of course, there is also a broader third benefit. You’re giving back to your local community, which is a noble and essential role for any modern business.
7. Get Familiar With Voice
More people are now using technology like Siri or Alexa to run basic searches, and local searches are one everyday use for these voice tools.
So you need to optimize your website for voice search by providing answers to some of the most frequent voice questions.
For example, if you run a coffee shop, you might want to have a question: does our coffee shop (in your local area) offer disabled access? The more local questions you can add to your website, the more referrals, and inquiries you’ll get via voice searches.
8. Get Active on Social
Social media might not directly influence search rankings, but Google does take into account something called social signals.
That is the buzz and chatter on social media associated with your brand, such as a blog post from your website that receives hundreds of shares.
So make sure you keep your social media profiles updated and stay active. Mention your local area regularly and connect with customers and the community.
9. Do On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is about making sure your website is readable to search engines. That means adding relevant keywords and ensuring your website is fast and works properly on mobile.
For local rankings, you’ll need to ensure you regularly use local keywords in places like images and page descriptions.
10. Link to Local News
Use PR to get your website and business features in local newspapers and their news websites.
That will give you valuable backlinks and also help you get your brand known in your local community. If you haven’t tried PR before, use a PR service with experience in getting your business featured in the local press.
Ten Ways to Boost Your Local Rankings
These ten strategies are worth exploring if you want more local customers. It takes time to grow your local rankings on Google. Still, once you do, it will help you generate regular and valuable business referrals.
You can explore some of the latest articles in our business section for more ideas on how to market your business to customers.