Technology has made the world feel like it’s both expanding and shrinking. Yes, connectivity has given us insight into people and places a world away, but perhaps the most relevant business impact has been at the local level. After all, for most businesses, clients come from within the community. This small radius is why an online presence is so crucial for companies of all sizes.
With nearly half of Google users utilizing the platform to find local businesses, staying ahead of the competition means getting the most out of local searches. This article will explore the best methods for improving your local search engine rankings without needing expert SEO services.
Understanding Local SEO
What Is It?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) encompasses all the methods used to improve both the quantity and quality of online traffic to a website organically. Local SEO refers to this process done at the local or community level to improve a website’s visibility compared to similar websites based out of the same city. Generally speaking, this is most important for businesses with a physical location. This is because increasing web traffic at the local level correlates with foot traffic and conversions.
How to Improve Local SEO?
Expert SEO services at the local level often overlap with general SEO tactics. However, there are some specific methods your business can use that will impact its visibility locally, more so than for general searches. Let’s explore a combination of both:
1) Focus on Google My Business
Google My Business is an online tool that allows businesses to curate their online presence on Google. This service is an essential component of any local SEO strategy because your profile on Google My Business affects both searches and presence on Google Maps, helping customers find you.
Making sure you have an accurate Google My Business profile could mean the difference between potential clients finding you or not. The information people see on their results page when they look for a business does not come from a website; it comes from Google. Keeping addresses, phone numbers, and other business details updated, and accurate will go a long way to being found online.
2) Stay Active
Staying active applies both to your Google My Business profile and website in general. Creating regular content in the form of blogs or videos while utilizing keywords potential clients might be searching for will help you climb ahead of other sites over time.
However, there’s more to staying active than creating content. Posting promotions, sales, and events to your Google My Business will help increase your visibility and draw attention from casual browsers. Google’s business tool has a post function that works similar to other social media websites, so you should take advantage.
3) Make Connections
Link building is the practice of acquiring and distributing hyperlinks from and to other websites other than your own. The way the Google algorithm works in this regard can be difficult to explain, but in essence, the more pages that link to your site and the more high-quality link interactions you have on a website, the higher you rank. Basically, Google takes this as a sign of reliability and trustworthiness; after all, they want to recommend their users experiences that won’t disappoint.
Making inroads with local (non-competitor) businesses that serve similar demographics is an excellent way to start, especially if they have an active website. Sharing links between each other and doing cross-promotions online can be mutually beneficial in growing a client-base and raising your online rankings.
4) Interact with Your Clients
Google places a lot of weight on reviews and so do potential clients. Just think about it, how often have you been browsing for a business and checked the reviews to see what real people had to say? We all do it, and your clients sure will.
Asking for reviews from happy customers is a great way to start building an online reputation. The more five stars people see by your name, the more likely they will be to visit. More reviews, in general, will also help boost your rankings.
To get the most out of this method, make sure to keep an eye on those reviews. Thank the good reviews and for the bad ones, ask what you can do to make their experience better and change their mind–this not just good SEO practice, but good public relations as well.
Time to Take Your Local SEO to the Next Level
Whether your business vision is a small-scale success or a sprawling company, you need to start with your immediate surroundings. Improving your online presence at a local level is one of the most effective means of increasing visibility and customers.