Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful marketing strategy for small businesses. In 2020, four out of five consumers will use search engines like Google and Bing to find local information. Consequently, if you don’t optimize your business for local searches, you risk missing out on 80 percent of potential business.
Local SEO is the key to dominating your local market and keeping your business relevant. To help optimize your small business, here’s a guide to local SEO, setting up a Google My Business account, and optimizing your website for local searches.
What is local search engine optimization?
Local SEO helps small businesses promote products and services to local customers. According to SEO data, 46 percent of all customers use Google to search for local information, and 97 percent of customers learn more about local companies online than anywhere else.
To gather information for local searches, Google relies on signals like social media pages, links, and local citations to provide relevant location-specific results to prospective customers.
Why do you need a Google My Business account?
For small businesses, Google My Business (GMB) is paramount to boosting local search rankings. Because Google tends to share content it can support and verify, GMB allows businesses to create listings to meet Google’s needs. Using GMB, business owners can verify that their business is authentic, provide contact information, and engage with customers.
Google My Business also offers helpful features for small business owners, including bookings, photos and videos, online reviews, and customer insights. GMB’s dashboard allows small business owners to view key insights into customer activity, so you’ll be able to assess what’s working—and what’s not—on your business listing. Customer insights can also provide useful information about your customer base and help you reach a wider demographic.
To set up your GMB account, visit google.com/business to create and verify your business listing. Next, you’ll need to enter your business’s name, physical location, and choose a business category. If you’re not sure which category to choose, consider researching local competitors.
To get the most out of your GMB account, make sure to use Google Posts, upload photos and videos, encourage customers to post online reviews, and answer questions about your products and services from prospective customers. Although it’s not required, listing a contact phone number and website URL can further optimize your listing.
How can you optimize your website for local SEO?
After optimizing your GMB business listing, it’s time to turn your focus to optimizing your website for local SEO. Adjusting your internal link structure can help improve local SEO rankings by supporting user-friendly navigation, distributing page authority, and assisting with website hierarchy.
If your business has more than one physical location, create pages for each location. Each location page should provide information about your name, address, and phone number, along with promotions, reviews, and parking information. If your location only has one physical location, focus on writing a descriptive About Us page. To fully optimize your website, add a Google Map to each location page.
Finally, ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Local searches and mobile devices go hand in hand, and 90 percent of smartphone users search for local businesses on their mobile devices. Prospective customers will use your website to look up reviews, find directions, and learn more about your products and services. Encourage customer engagement with your website by creating a mobile-friendly, easy-to-navigate layout.
If you’re interested in integrating local SEO into your marketing strategy but aren’t sure where to start, consider enlisting the help of SEO professionals. Link Graph, an organic SEO company, can help your business dominate in local search results through an optimized blend of link building, business listings, and local directory citations. With monitoring and maintenance features, you’ll be able to ensure that your citations will stay consistent over time, expand into rich media, and maintain an edge over the local competition.