If you are a local business operator, make it a point to go in for a local SEO. This is very essential for small businesses that operate at a regional level. So, you may wonder about the difference between local SEO as opposed to national SEOs. National SEO focuses on ranking in searches across the country; the canvass is wide. But local SEO prioritizes appearing on search engine results pages (SERPs) in a specific location that you operate. This strategy relies on marketing your brand, products, and services to local customers or outlets.
A local business operator aspires for customers in his region or in his vicinity. Optimizing your local SEO ensures that you operate with this as the core strategy of getting local customers. Moreover, small businesses operate on shoestring budgets. Hence, you need to compete more effectively against larger national brands and the ‘big daddies’ that have deep pockets. By using keywords that are relevant in a specific area, you could improve the traffic.
For example, you are a supplier of flowers to a local market area in Bengaluru, you need to operate in this location to get more traffic using keywords effectively. There is no use trying to get clients from Delhi or Kolkata. Focusing on the local area can help bring traffic and lead to conversion in terms of business deals. Without local SEO, your business could be losing out on a significant amount of traffic that are extremely relevant to you.
Local search can work wonders for startups and small businesses. Even Google searches for local data. In fact, statistics have shown that 46% of all Google searches are looking out for local data. Hence, your business should be optimized for local searches. Otherwise you could end up losing potential customers in your immediate vicinity.
This is more relevant in the current Covid-19 pandemic which has resulted in major curbs in travel and transportation. Physical setups had to shut shop while businesses that adopted digital techniques survived. In this scenario, local SEO helped many businesses to stay afloat.
Having realized the importance of local SEO, here are the top seven tips that can make your local SEO successful.
1. Create a Google My Business Account
The first step is to create a Google My Business Account. This is a must for optimizing your Google listing related to your line of Business Profile. So create a profile that is simple and effective and this profile should be in sync with your Google My Business account. Provide all the requested information in your Google My Business account dashboard. This bouquet of information will then be added to your Business Profile, which appears in Google Search local results, the Google Search Knowledge Panel, and Google Maps.
Let us now look at the key ingredients needed to optimize your Business Profile on Google. Here are six points:
- Once you create a Google My Business account, verify ownership of the business.
- Provide accurate and up-to-date information and keep adding information when needed. But do not overload information. This will put off customers.
- List out the product or service you sell and back this up with images so that customers can get an idea of what you are into. Do not forget to include your logo, hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, how to reach your place if goods need to be picked up etc.
- Comments by customers are important. Hence, always encourage your customers to review your business online. But never solicit for a good review.
- Always respond to your customer’s reviews without delay and be sincere in your comments. If there are shortcomings, admit it and tell customers when you would do the needed changes.
- Publish posts (announcing products, events, and special offers) to your Business Profile using the Google My Business dashboard.
The above checklist would add to your brand’s reputation. More the reviews the better it is. Keep your contact data and working hours always updated; list out the holidays when you would not be operating. If there is a bandh or shutdown, announce this upfront. Updating current information is essential to customers and has acquired a new dimension in view of the pandemic. So, make it a point to list out the Covid protocols you are following and what the clients have to follow.
2. Optimize for Voice Search
Voice search is growing in a rapid way as the world is moving away from keying in word. Hence, in local SEO, it’s vital to use simple local dialects in order to optimize means of how people ask questions when they speak into devices, as opposed to how they type out their searches.
While using voice search, customers generally use more long-tail keywords with conventional search. This being the trend, you’ll also have to adjust the SEO of your content to fit the more conversational tone of someone speaking.
It is important to always consider user intent when optimizing for voice. This is because these searches are most often performed when the user needs a specific piece of information. For example, if a customer is into cooking, he may ask Alexa on how to convert milliliters into cups. In this case, the customer expects a quick and ready answer that is useful. If a potential customer uses voice search to ask about your business hours, he should get the answer immediately and this information should be part of your business profile.
3. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
The world is ‘mobile’ now. People have migrated in hordes from desktop to the ubiquitous mobile phones. Most online orders are made through mobile phones. Hence, you need to optimize your mobile phone site to remain in the game and be a major player in local SEO.
Some basics: use bigger and friendly fonts for easy readability; use pictures and short videos judiciously. If your photos are heavy in terms of size and pixels and videos too long, viewers would move away from your site. Your site should load rapidly and navigation should be easy and friendly.
4. Focus on Local Keywords
Go local should be your mantra. For this, your keywords should relate to what your local clients and searching for. Take the help of Google’s own Keyword Planner which has now gone local – so local that Indian languages are now there on search. Use such local language keywords along with English. Remember that keyword searches depend on the location. For example, if you are operating out of Bengaluru and servicing clients in the city, use keywords in English, Kannada and also Kanglish – a combination of Kannada and English. While taking the help of Google, look for locally important keywords to target. When you have them, they should show up in your site’s meta content, copy, and URLs.
Whenever you add content as a means to enrich your site, focus on local phrases. Latch on to new words that are trending, but they should be relevant to your line of business. Using local relevant words gives you the opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs). You should improve the content for web indexes by utilizing high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body. Also consider featuring client success stories and case studies using the high-volume keywords.
5. Reviews from Happy Customers Are Important
Most customers and prospective buyers go not only on what is on offer on your website but also on what customers who have used your product/services have to say. Such reviews are extremely important as such comments or reviews act as a guide for others to consider buying your product/services. Reviews from happy customers can optimize your Google My Business presence; it also encourages more local customers to buy from you. Studies have shown that nearly 90% of customers believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Rave reviews of a restaurant or a movie can bring in crowds without much effort.
Not many would write reviews. Hence you need to gently remind them. Here are some tips:
- Seek a review in person after a sale is successfully completed.
- Send a post-purchase email or text asking customers on their satisfaction level and request them to write a review. But ensure you do not approach dissatisfied customers. The best way is to ask for a ranking of your product or service and if it is high, you can safely seek a review.
- Do not leave reviews unattended. Respond to the reviews in a professional way, thanking reviewers and addressing complaints in not-so-favorable reviews.
6. Enrich Your Content Based on Local News Stories or Events
Local issues, events, fairs, festivals are important. There’s nothing more fascinating than writing content that talks or relates straightforwardly such issues or events. Celebrate a local success story. Have a pre-event post and then back it up when the event is on and then talk about it after the event is over. But ensure that the content is relevant to your line of business. If you are into flower or sweetmeat business, festivals are a jackpot to grab the attention of local clientele.
You should also go in for blog posts about the festival, its history and important nuggets. You can additionally make vlogs about local charities or causes that your business supports.
7. Use Location Pages or a Location-Specific “About Us” Page
Location pages play a major role, especially if your business has more than one location in an area. These pages need to provide the following:
- Hours when your business or store is open
- Name, address (with landmarks) and phone numbers. Ensure that the phone numbers are working when your business is open. Better to give more than one phone number. Call back if there is a missed call.
- Individualized descriptions
- Parking availability
- Google Maps attached to each location page
When you have multiple locations, take care to create unique content for each page.
Every location page should have information added to your “About Us” page. And the page should focus on local and relevant information. For example, if you have a florist, your “About Us” page can mention your major clients and the marriage halls and events that you can cater to. Also mention if you have door delivery of flowers for events like birthdays, wedding anniversaries etc. Go an extra mile by sending a small bouquet to important clients on their birthday or wedding anniversary.
EazyWalkers Digital, the leading Digital Marketing Company in Bangalore, has been in the business of SEO and ensured more site traffic, leads, and conversion since the system is tuned to address needs of local clients. With expertise in setting up websites and backing them with SEO for numerous businesses, EazyWalkers is also into brand & UX design. The unique feature of SEO is that it is made with you and for you. RAD emphasizes SEO-focused technique as an approach to assist you to compete with big brands that have limitless budgets to spend. By zeroing in on specific local SEO strategies, you can neutralize the competitive edge of bigger brands that regularly optimize for broader keywords and depend on brand recognition rather than value proposition to get traffic.
Also, businesses never know when Google brings forth new features on its SERPs to make local searches sharper and more focused. EazyWalkers has the expertise to catch the wind early ensuring that your business always remains on top of local SEO. By effectively using the top 7 tips listed above, businesses can be sure of getting more clients and stay on top.