This is a question we hear more and more each week. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a great way to promote your products and/or services to local prospective customers precisely when they’re looking for them. So, if you’re trying to steal market share from your competitors, you need local SEO.
Facts that underline why Local SEO matters:
- “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years!
- 46% of all Google searches are local.
- 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles.
- 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else.
- 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase.
Here’s a Local SEO checklist to help you take advantage of this new trend:
Optimizing your website for local SEO is a different story than optimizing it for general search. People who search for brick and mortars or brands want more than a general listing, they’re looking for driving directions, working hours, reviews, special offers, etc. thus, a different approach is required to optimize websites for local SEO.
Ensure your homepage is focused on local keywords
Invest time to research and find the most relevant keyword phrases for your business then fine tune the location. For instance, if you’re targeting the keyword “affordable dentist”, add in your location ( i.e. “affordable dentist in Don Mills”).
Structure your URLs
Clean and simple URLs are more SEO-friendly.
Optimize your images
Large heavy images can make your site slow-to-load and result in a high bounce-rate.
Optimize your navigation menu
Items on your navigation menu should be made indexable.
Have consistent Name, Address & Phone (NAP) details
Business NAP info needs to be uniform across the internet to avoid confusion.
Feature complete location data
Have a Contact Us page featuring the NAP of all your physical locations.
Use structured data markup
Adding schema markup to your website improves SEO.
Pay attention to XML Sitemap
XML sitemaps make it easier for Google to find your site’s pages & also improve SEO.
Setup 301 Redirects
Use 301 redirects to point traffic to new URLs or domains.
Google Your Business!
- 56% of local businesses haven’t claimed their Google My Business (GMB) listing.
This stat outlines opportunity. Claiming your GMB listing and optimizing it is the keystone of local SEO and can help your listing appear in local searches giving you an advantage over your competitors.
Select business categories carefully as picking the right listing can help you rank higher for more your relevant keywords.
Tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics help monitor your site’s performance. Keep a close eye on your stats and fine tune your website accordingly to improve results.
Understand that the majority of local searches are done via mobile devices. Combine that with the fact that Google’s algorithm ranks mobile-first sites higher, and it should be obvious that you need a mobile-friendly website to help you achieve aggressive growth goals.
To highlight the importance of mobile-friendly website:
- 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.
- 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.
Take advantage of top Business Directories
Search engines depend on local content, social media, online profiles, links, citations, testimonials, reviews, etc. to provide the most relevant results. Be sure to provide accurate data across all channels.
Create/Claim as many relevant business directory listings as possible. Beware of unscrupulous partners that want to bulk upload bulk listings as they typically result in toxic links. Register individually the locations/properties you want to see in Google Local.
- Create/Claim listings on other directories to increase your chances of being found.
- Check listings on all major directories and resolve inconsistencies in your listings.
- Get on niche-specific, or industry-specific, directories to be found by more targeted prospective customers.
- Identify which social platforms your customers are and make your business visible.
Submit citations to top 50 sites and get featured on them for more referral traffic. Check your competitors’ citations and get on those sites as well, remove any duplicate citations which can push your rankings down.
Customer Reviews & Testimonials
Google reviews can give your business a huge credibility boost and higher local ranking without having to spend a dime. There are many Reputation Management tools in the marketplace that can help you obtain, monitor and reply to both first party and third party reviews. Be sure you reply to all reviews, especially the negative ones. Most understand that it’s impossible to please everyone, but they look at your response to learn more about the character of you and your brand.
We hope these tips will help boost your local rankings. Understand that strategies work best when they are custom-built for your business and industry. If you find that you’re spending too much time on marketing instead of running your business, Mystique can help. Connect with us, and we’ll work with you to customize a lead generation strategy that works for your business and goals.
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